Connecting the arts and creative communities across Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties

Art and creativity bring people together, create community dialogue, and inspire imaginative approaches to community challenges. And, arts expressions not only enhance communities, but they help cities and towns attract tourism and creative talents and spur innovation and economic growth.

Our Valley boasts extraordinary artists and creative energies which enhance the quality of life of local residents in countless ways. Looking ahead, the Community Foundation aims to create an even more vibrant arts and creativity sector that is interconnected and collaborative, actively engages the full and diverse community with programs and artistic expression opportunities, and is recognized as a force for economic vitality and civic engagement across the region.

We recognize that gaps and inequalities currently exist across our arts and creativity sector. Below are the needs identified by people in our region’s arts community. Our ValleyCreates grantmaking seeks to address these issues in our region’s artistic communities. Ultimately, we all will benefit.

Current ValleyCreates Grant Opportunities 

Working Capital Grants for Artists

Status: closed
Deadline: July 15, 2022

The Working Capital Grant Program is a fast-tracked financial wellness and sustainability initiative for artists who currently live or have studio space in Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden Counties.

In this round, this program pairs a $1,500 artist mini-grant with one-on-one coaching and online financial and business resiliency webinars focusing on navigating a post-COVID cultural sector. Selected grantees will:

This program is offered in partnership with MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists.

The first group, primarily artists of color, convened (virtually) in July 2020 to complete the series of webinars. Each received a $1,000 grant. The following artists participated:

Diana Alvarez, Holyoke
Alvilda Sophia Anaya-Alegria, Springfield
María Luisa Arroyo, Springfield
Donald Blanton, Springfield
Frankie Borrero, Springfield
Omarthan Clarke, Springfield
Patricia Crutchfield, Southwick
Michelle Falcón Fontánez, Dorchester
Joshua Gale, Northfield
Michael Grant, Springfield
Andrae Green, Springfield
Imo Imeh, Agawam
Amina Jordan-Mendez, Holyoke
Robert Markey, Ashfield
Jesse Morrisey, Easthampton
Ryan Murray, Springfield
Lorna Ritz, Amherst
Leslie Parks, Springfield
Alexcelin Saldana, Chicopee
Myles Sanders, Chicopee

The second cohort was selected in January 2021 and will complete the program this spring:

Susanna Apgar, Easthampton
Emma Ayres, Greenfield
Justin Beatty, Hadley
Cinamon Blair, Clinton
Ed Branson, Ashfield
Brendaliz Cepeda, Springfield
Keshawn Dodds, Springfield
María José Giménez, Easthampton
Magdalena Gomez, Springfield
Joanne Holtje, Belchertown
Jeff Kasper, Northampton
Qualina Lewis, Springfield
Emma Mesa-Melendez, Springfield
Hannah Mohan, Pelham
Jason Montgomery, Easthampton
Damaris Perez-Pizarro, Chicopee
Akil Pinnock, Palmer
Julissa Rodriguez, Indian Orchard
Kristina Scott, Springfield
Emikan Sudan, Northampton
JaJa Swinton, West Springfield
Narelle Thomas, Springfield
Leonard Underwood, Springfield

A third cohort was selected in the summer 2021.

Ivonne Montoya, Northampton
Pamela Means, Easthampton
Heshima Moja, Indian Orchard
Sula Gordon, Northampton
Shanice Lewis Brawner, Indian Orchard
María Irene Kenison, Springfield
Anthony Bass, Springfield
Christopher Lenaerts, Buckland
Morocco Flowers, Springfield
Luis Garcia, Springfield
Alih Thomas, Springfield
Shandyce Willis, Springfield
Mark Guglielmo, Northampton
Joey Burr, Indian Orchard
Chloe Tran, Agawam
Sarah Marcus, Florence
Amanda Lindsay, Holyoke
Samuel Perry, Montague
Kathleen Anderson, Amherst
Audira Cave, Springfield
Kurt Myer, Shelburne Falls
Ted Hinman, Greenfield

A fourth cohort will be selected in the summer 2022.

Project Evolution Grants

Status: Closed

When open, this opportunity becomes available to current and former grantees of ValleyCreates’ working capital grant program.

The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts’ ValleyCreates Initiative is a multi-faceted grant that combines project grant support with cohort learning, 1:1 coaching, and additional project-administration-oriented professional development, to ensure that artists have the tools they need for their project to succeed.

Applicants must submit details of an existing project in any of the following stages:

In advance of applying, applicants are encouraged to participate in Yara Liceaga Rojas’ workshop “The Basics of Building a Grant” to help with designing a project and budget that best meets your goals and the financial scope of the grant before submitting an application. Participation in this workshop is strongly recommended.

What grant recipients receive: 

To inquire about this grant opportunity, please contact Nicole Bourdon, Program Officer at 413-732-2858.

The first group that received grants in June of 2022 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

Check back to learn more about grants and trainings available to arts and creativity nonprofits in 2022.

Nicole Bourdon

Questions? Comments?

If you have any questions about ValleyCreates, please contact Nicole Bourdon, Program Officer