Grant puts spring in Arts Trust’s step: $42K for dance floor part of $1M awarded by state

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  • Former Valley resident Chelsea Granger, now of Connecticut, stands with her completed mural in the newly renovated courtyard of the Northampton Community Arts Trust building on Arts Night Out on Friday. The Arts Trust is one of the organizations to be awarded funding from the state’s development agency to convert older buildings for new use. A $42,000 matching grant will be used to install a resilient “sprung floor” for dancing and other performances at the venue in a space that once served to store lumber. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Dancer Shayla-Vie Jenkins, who performed recently at the Northampton Community Arts Trust building. The trust has received a $42,000 state grant for building a new performance floor at the building. PHOTO BY ANNA M. MAYNARD/COURTESY APE@HAWLEY

Staff Writer
Published: 10/9/2021 7:00:20 AM

NORTHAMPTON — State officials have awarded more than $1 million to collaborative workplaces and other organizations across the commonwealth, including the Northampton Community Arts Trust, as part of a program designed to strengthen community-based innovation and entrepreneurship.

In addition, the Springfield Museums has been awarded a $1.2 million Shuttered Venue Operator Grant, administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as part of federal aid for theaters, concert halls and other arts organizations that have suffered economic losses during the pandemic.

Funding for places including Northampton’s Community Arts Trust building, known by its shorthand name of 33 Hawley, comes from MassDevelopment, the state’s development finance agency.

In a statement, Gov. Charlie Baker said the funding was important for supporting efforts across the commonwealth to convert older buildings for new uses and to develop different ways to revitalize communities.

“Massachusetts remains a leader in innovation, with collaborative workspaces providing professionals in every kind of industry a place to test new ideas, explore talents and engage with peers,” Baker said.

Northampton Community Arts Trust received a $42,000 matching grant to install a resilient “sprung floor” in the largest performance area at 33 Hawley, known as the Workroom Theater; the floor will allow for dancing and other performances and will better protect dancers from injuries.

A dance and arts festival in the Workroom last weekend raised an additional $3,000 for the floor, and APE@Hawley, which oversees the space, is pursuing additional grants and donations for the project.

Kathy Couch, the Arts Trust president, said in a statement that the state funding would help provide “a space where artists can work with more freedom from risk to their bodies as they pursue these new visions to offer to each other and to the broader community.”

Also receiving help from MassDevelopment was The Ethnic Study CoWork Café & Bookstore in Springfield, a combined work and education hub. It aims, in particular, to “elevate the leadership skills, business opportunities, and voices of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) within the 413 area,” according to its website. The organization was awarded $100,000.

Because of COVID-19, Springfield Museums was forced to close for four months last year — the first time that had happened in its 164-year history. Given that, said President Kay Simpson, she and her staff are “deeply grateful” for the $1.2 million Shuttered Venue Operator Grant.

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, added that the facility “is a staple in the cultural scene in downtown Springfield.”

As part of the American Rescue Plan, the shuttered venue program has provided over $16 billion in grants to venues nationwide, all of it administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.


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