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

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.

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.

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

Meet Our ValleyCreates Advisors

Since 2018, the Community Foundation has engaged local community members and leaders with a strong knowledge of our region, the arts, and our cultural arts community. Through ValleyCreates, our advisors work collectively to provide capacity support to local nonprofits, act as application reviewers to assist with the Foundation’s grantmaking efforts to arts organizations and artists directly, and assist in outreach design and participation.

Matthew Glassman

Andrae Green
Andrae’s artwork explores the nuances of the collective consciousness that has been shaped by time, mythology, and memory. His painting “Acquiescence I” was acquired by the National Museum of China and many of his paintings belong to private collection around the world.

Iréne Shaikly/I-SHEA
Teacher & Performer at Community Music School in Springfield; Leadership Team Collective Member & Outreach/Publicity Manager at Survivor Theatre Project; Associate Artist at The Performance Project.

Johnny Miranda
Workforce Development Professional, Community Activist, Artist, and Entrepreneur. Recently, Johnny has been leading Chicopee’s art revolution, creating beautification projects to unite the residents and enhance the City’s landscape through murals.

Vanessa Pabon Hernandez
Senior Director of Education & Community Engagement at New England Public Media. Vanessa oversees the station strategic vision for education and engagement efforts, and is the Executive Producer of the Station’s award-winning, biligual series, Presencia.

Nicole Bourdon

Questions? Comments?

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