June 20, 2016
Central Mass in review

Creative Hub aims to retain artists; build creative community

The Creative Hub Worcester is already under construction at the former Ionic Avenue Boys and Girls Club and the two co-founding art educators Laura Marotta and Stacy Lord see it as a way to keep Worcester's artists in the city through more studio space.

How much space?

We are talking 30,000 square-feet with approximately 25 studios and offices. But the renovations to the building go beyond studio space, and Marotta said it will be a hub for all artists, with an outdoor event space planned for the roof as well as a gallery and classroom space. The space will be built out by 2 Ionic Ave.'s owner Peter Heaney with everything expected to be completed in nine months with some of the space coming on as soon as six months.

What is the goal?

Marotta and Lord are seeking to retain the artists currently in Worcester who are bursting at the seams of the city's current studio space. According to Marotta, many artists are leaving for Boston and Providence where there is more studio and even live-work space. This effort is aimed at not only retaining the artists who are from the area and currently contributing to the economy, but recent college graduates.

"Artists responded to a Creative Space Survey (from the city) about how they wanted more affordable and accessible artistic spaces in Worcester," Marotta said. "We're going to be creating jobs."

Why do I care?

One of Worcester's main differentiators and attractions is its artistic bent, with events like Start on the Street drawing tens of thousands to the city every year and numerous murals around Worcester now reinforcing that artistic bent. With Fitchburg planning for an artist live-work space, Worcester might soon have even more communities enticing its artists to move.

Even if you don't care about art, seeing a historic building that is located close to the Voke Lofts upscale rentals being put to a higher use than self-storage, which was the original plan, should easily be seen as a positive.

Read more

Creative Hub Worcester to launch after-school program as first initiative

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