ValleyCreates: Kicked off 2020 with new funding and trainings

We can’t believe it’s been two years since the launch of Creative Commonwealth and ValleyCreates!

ValleyCreates 2020 began with two new happenings:

Community Engaged Artist Training

Yara Liceaga-Rojas, workshop leader

On January 23rd and 24th, twenty-one artists from throughout the region convened at the Northampton Center for the Arts  for a highly interactive workshop that explored ways to more deeply engage their communities through their artistic practice. Led by Yara Liceaga-Rojas and Shey Rivera, working multi-genre artists, the workshop was an opportunity to learn new approaches and to enhance the vibrancy of the arts community by establishing new or strengthening relationships. The participating artists represented a broad range of disciplines such as spoken word, painting, sewing, graffiti art, and theater, and came from a diverse range of communities in the region. Assets for Artists, a program of MASS MoCA, partnered with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts to create this exciting opportunity.

Collaborative Arts Grants Awarded

Also in January, $150,000 of grants were awarded to five collaborations comprised of arts organizations and artists. These projects, along with four others, received planning grants in early 2019 to explore and test ideas to create meaningful change in the Valley through the arts. Some of these ideas were seeded during an event we hosted in January 2019 where organizations and artists were invited to spend a day dreaming up new and big ways to impact change through the arts.

Throughout this grant process, we piloted new ways of grantmaking, beginning with applicants submitting video applications, rather than traditional text-based applications. Each collaborative project submitted a planning and implementation video where all partners discussed their roles in the project, and what they hoped to achieve. We also piloted an online platform featuring the projects to engage with and seek co-investment from selected donor advised fund holders.

The projects and their lead agencies are:

The Collaborative Community Art Response Team (CCART), Art Garden
Charles Neville Legacy Project, Blues to Green
The Dignity Project, Center for Design Engagement
Our Grandmothers Project, Holyoke Community Media
ENSEMBLE: Seeding the Future, Ko Theater Works
Valley Arts Mentors, Piti Theatre Company