Space is a strategic imperative for a majority of cultural organizations—places to work, make, perform, and gather. However, space requires long-term thinking and capital. Rather than owning or leasing for long-term benefit, most nonprofits seek short-term gains. After all, real estate is risky, and nonprofits are rarely rewarded by funders and grantors for spending on overhead.
Add the fact that affordable space to buy or lease is exceedingly hard to come by in Massachusetts and it’s clear that the real estate world is designed for individuals and corporations, not for nonprofits. This reality leaves mid-size organizations insecure in their future and denied the full value of real estate, such as appreciation or future income streams.
At the A&BC, we want to end this vicious cycle. Our Creative Campus initiative is dedicated to developing and owning creative real estate projects, we seek to eliminate barriers for smaller organizations and individual artists to access safe, affordable, long-term, flexible space.
The A&BC has recently purchased Western Avenue | Studios & Lofts, a vibrant artist community located in Lowell, Massachusetts that is home to 350 individual artists and their businesses from across the Greater Boston area. The complex also includes an exhibition space, black box theater, gallery/shop, brewery, café, and an after-school arts program. The Western Avenue community is an economic development engine and cultural asset for the Lowell area and beyond.
Creative Campus initiatives are supported by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in real estate development, architecture and construction, historic preservation, financing and funding, cultural planning and placemaking, and arts programming.
The A&BC and Creative Hub are currently working to revitalize one of Worcester’s greatest assets and establishing a unique artists’ community and creative space. The former Boys Club at 2 Ionic Avenue, now vacant and desperately in need of rehabilitation, is preparing for a complete transformation into the Creative Hub Community Arts Center—a dynamic space for artists, creative entrepreneurs, and community members to work, make, collaborate, perform, and attend events in a vibrant, multi-purpose environment.
Rendering of the forthcoming Creative Hub Worcester by Studio DRAW.
The spring/summer 2022 edition of the Boston Art Review is out, and it includes a fantastic feature by Anita Morson-Matra, “Real Talk," that focuses on the state of live-work spaces for artists in Boston. Anita…
In 2016, Stacy Lord and Laura Marotta started 501(c)(3) Creative Hub Worcester (CHW) to bring accessible arts education to the Worcester Area. CHW’s mission is to provide affordable and accessible opportunities in the arts for…