The Arts Hub of Western Mass; A Huge undertaking. My interview with the Co-Project Managers; Lisa Davol and Dee Boyle-Clapp.

The Arts Hub is an online portal developed over years of trial and error. The result is the first of it’s kind initiative developed in part by my two guests, Lisa Davol, from Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and Dee Boyle-Clapp, from U Mass Arts Extension Program. Our conversation begins with a little history of the initiative which began decades ago with collaborations with thirty five stakeholders organizations in the Pioneer Valley Creative Economy Network. Early this year, the project held an Arts Hub Virtual Summit with classes and workshops attended by 150 creatives leading to the launch of the Arts Hub in January 2022. Previous to this initiative, there was no central place to find a lot of area artists for a successful creative economy especially during the pandemic which hit independent artists disproportionately. Our local economy here in the Valley is heavily arts-centered with one in six jobs tied to the creative economy.

Both Lisa and Dee took us through the website sections such as Opportunities, Directories, Visit Western Mass, Events and News. Each of these Tabs are loaded with information. The Opportunities tab lists funding opportunities, available spaces to create, Calls for Artwork, and Professional Development including Jobs, classes and workshops. The Directories Tab includes Artist Profiles (hundreds of them in all creative endeavors), Cultural Districts and Local Cultural Councils. Each link contains contact info, important program info, deadlines etc. The Visit Western Mass Tab lists a ton of resources for folks wishing to plan a visit to our area. Included is an impressive Calendar of events.

The Events Tab lists a daily Event listing; some days have dozens of listings. There is a link to submit your own Event in the Hub. The Connect Tab has an extensive list of local groups with links to these groups sites. The groups include a diverse listing from “Open Mics of Western Ma” to “Crafters” and “Art Educators” to many more. The News Tab includes long form articles on local Artists and related topics. Recent articles include topics like Enchanted Circle Theater, Poet Magdelena Gomez, Kent Alexander and more.

All artists in our area should list themselves in the Profiles sections. Use the Arts Hub of Western Massachusetts to book an artist, plan an event, list your skills, apply for a job, secure a grant, and much more. Check out the site at ArtsHubwma.org

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