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

In partnership with MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists, we offer the ValleyCreates Artist Working Capital Grant program—a fast-tracked financial wellness and sustainability initiative—to artists who currently live or have studio space in Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden Counties.

This program pairs a $1,000 artist mini-grant with one-on-one coaching and online financial and business resiliency webinars focusing on navigating a post-COVID cultural sector.

An open application process yielded 115 applications for the first cohort, of which 20 artists were chosen.

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 will be 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

Check back to learn more about grants and trainings available to arts and creativity nonprofits in 2021.

Nicole Bourdon

Questions? Comments?

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