Community Foundation Announces Artist Grantees for ValleyCreates Project Evolution Program

SPRINGFIELD – The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts has announced the names of twenty local artists selected to receive a combined $80,000 from its new ValleyCreates initiative program, Project Evolution. This arts and culture investment is designed to aid past ValleyCreates Working Capital grantees in their successful completion of forthcoming arts projects.

Supported in partnership with the Barr Foundation, the Project Evolution Grant program combines monetary support with project-administration professional development, and cohort learning opportunities. Each artist will receive a $4,000 grant, free participation in a number of workshops, and one-on-one sessions with nationally renowned coaches and trainers.

“We’re so excited about this new grant opportunity that supports artists in all stages of their project development, from ideation, creation, and through implementation. These grants will help 20 artists move their projects forward over the next year and get it to that next stage,” said Community Foundation Program Officer Nicole Bourdon. “The grantees are writers, filmmakers, painters, photographers, crafters, musicians, and performers, and their work is all timely and engages community in meaningful ways”.

The artists selected were chosen from over 60 artists that have received ValleyCreates Working Capital grants over the last two years. Among these is multimedia artist Sam Perry who said, “The generosity of the Community Foundation of Western MA last year truly changed my life. I saw that my work has value in this community and that I had so much to give back. Being awarded the Working Capital Grant allowed me to see myself as an Artist and not just a musician,” said Perry. “I am so proud of what my collaborators and I were able to accomplish last year, and I know we have miles yet to go.”

Matthew Glassman, Community Advisor for the ValleyCreates Initiative added, “Although it’s a simple notion — that artists need support to research and develop their ideas —the fact is that support is rare. There aren’t many places locally or even nationally where artists can turn for project development support. So, the fact that the Project Evolution Grant program has launched in western Mass is quite meaningful.”

The 20 artists that received grants from the Project Evolution Grant program are:

Faith Alkiewicz, Northampton
Diana Alvarez, Holyoke
María Luisa Arroyo Cruzado, Springfield
Rachel Blackman, Northampton
Frankie Borrero, Springfield
Lori Clark, Deerfield
Keshawn Dodds, Springfield
Michelle Falcón Fontánez, Indian Orchard
Magdalena Gómez, Springfield
Mark Guglielmo, Northampton
Imo Imeh, Holyoke
Maria Kenison, Springfield
Robert Markey, Ashfield
Kurt Meyer, Shelburne Falls
Heshima Moja, Indian Orchard
Ivonne Montoya, Northampton
Samuel Perry, Turner’s Falls
Rochelle Shicoff, Monson
JaJa Swinton, West Springfield
Shandyce Willis, Springfield