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June 10, 2016

Maker space coming to Worcester's Ionic Ave. Boys and Girls Club

Courtesy This open portion of the building will be used as a gallery and event space.

A 30,000 square-foot maker space with approximately 25 studios and offices is under construction at the former Ionic Avenue Boys and Girls Club.

The space set to be completed in six to nine months, which will be called the Creative Hub Worcester, is designed to give artists an affordable location to create, according Laura Marotta, who co-founded the space with fellow artist Stacy Lord. The new space at 2 Ionic Ave. is being built out in response to the needs of the community, she said, as gathered in a Creative Space Survey conducted by the city that found artists wanted more affordable and accessible studio space. This reuse of buildings in Worcester has been part of an ongoing discussion among city officials and those in the arts community.

According to Marotta, the new space will help bring together the wide-spread artists of Worcester while also retaining them in the city.

“One of our biggest missions is retaining college kids and artists in the city … a lot of artists are going out to Providence and Boston because there is more space for them,” she said, explaining that much of the current studio space in the city is at capacity.

The building is also designed to be a hub for all artists, with an outdoor event space planned for the roof of the building as well as a gallery and classroom space.

“There’s all these isolated pockets of really great arts communities in the city and we want to bridge the gap,” Marotta said.

Marotta and Lord teamed up with Peter Heaney, property owner of 2 Ionic Ave. and owner of On-Site Carpentry. Heaney’s original idea of turning the building into a self-storage facility was tabled once he learned of the business plan for Creative Hub Worcester.

An open house preview is scheduled for Saturday, June 25 from 2 to 5 p.m.

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