The Hive makerspace to open in spring 2020

  • Those working on reviving Greenfield’s downtown are focused on a creative economy that will include a makerspace called The Hive in the empty storefront at 156 Main St. that once housed World Eye Bookshop. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 1/2/2020 8:38:50 AM
Modified: 1/2/2020 8:38:29 AM

GREENFIELD — It won’t be long before The Hive makerspace at 156 Main St. is open, according to Linda McInerney.

The creative director of Eggtooth Productions, who is working with others to create the new space, said it will welcome all types of artists, artisans, craftspeople, performers and “creators.” The Hive is expected to open in the spring of 2020.

Robert “Robbie” Cohn, owner of the building, said he decided to take a new approach to find an appropriate tenant for the 5,600-square-foot space. He contacted local “creatives” to find out what might be an “exciting contribution to the creative economy” in downtown Greenfield.

McInerney said they were unanimous in their response. Artists and artisans from myriad disciplines said a makerspace would be an “economic driver” and help create a destination downtown. So, Cohn moved forward with finding the team that put the plan in place to create The Hive, and sold the building to Timothy Grader of Holyoke Property Management.

Rachael Katz, owner of The Greenfield Gallery and technical consultant for the project, and Adrienne LaPierre, who will be the executive director of The Hive when it opens, are the project leaders who are implementing the vision.

Katz has combined her experience as a mechanical engineer and talents as an artist. She is the sculptor who created the “Beatrice the Bee” project, the largest public art project ever undertaken in downtown Greenfield. Six other bees painted by local artists will be placed around town in celebration of Bee Fest in May 2020.

LaPierre is an educational technology consultant who has spent five years working within the Brattleboro, Vt., public school system to develop innovative ways to integrate makerspace activities and engineering design into elementary and middle school curriculum.

The rest are volunteers who are bringing The Hive to life, McInerney said. She said a planning grant has been applied for and they are fundraising to cover the costs for the first year of development.

“The Hive is exactly the kind of place we want in a renewed downtown Greenfield,” Mayor-elect Roxann Wedegartner said. “It honors our city’s history as an innovator and place where things are crafted and made. And, it’s located downtown for all to see and enjoy, an immersive experience in art and innovation.”

The name, The Hive, is a tribute to the longstanding legacy of beekeeping in Greenfield. In the mid-1800s, Lorenzo Langstroth invented what people have come to know as the traditional beekeeper’s hive. Langstroth served as the pastor of the Second Congregational Church on Bank Row, where the festival is held each year.

McInerney said a makerspace is a membership-based community workshop with tools. It combines manufacturing equipment and education to enable members to design and produce manufactured work that wouldn’t be possible to create without resources that aren’t typically available to individuals.

“Makerspaces represent the democratization of design, engineering and fabrication,” McInerney said. “They are a fairly new phenomenon, but are beginning to produce projects with significant national impacts.”

What makes The Hive unique, she said, is that it fits the purpose and personality of Greenfield.

“Greenfield has constituencies that include high-tech designers, as well as traditional artisans and artists,” she said. “A comparatively large percentage of the population is made up of visual and performing artists, as well as craftspeople and do-it-yourselfers. The Hive will have something for all of them.”

Equipment will include industrial sewing machines, a leather-stitching machine and a community loom, McInerney said. Traditional artisans will work alongside engineers operating 3-D printers, laser cutters and computer numerical control (CNC) machines.

Performing artists may design fabric for costumes, and props for plays can be crafted at the same time as prototypes for new products take shape, she said.

“With such a diversely talented community to draw from, many serendipitous collaborations will unfold,” McInerney noted.

“I’m delighted to support this exciting project that I see contributing to the community in several ways: first, there’s a strong educational component that will provide important job training and project creation on site; second, The Hive will offer an outlet for creativity and collective expressiveness; third, it will make a positive contribution to the local economy, thus strengthening downtown Greenfield and beyond; and finally, this resource will build community in an honest holistic fashion” Grader said. “Just what Greenfield needs.”

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-0261, ext. 269 or afritz@recorder.com.




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