November 2, 2018

Seven Central Mass. entities receive collaborative workspace funding

Laura Marotta and Stacy Lord, executive director and chairman of Creative Hub Worcester, which received $94,500 in funding for collaborative workspaces.

Seven entities in Central Massachusetts, from Becker College in Worcester to LaunchSpace in Athol, have received a share of $2.2 million in state grants to help spur entrepreneurship and small businesses.

The grants announced this week by Gov. Charlie Baker's administration cover 28 organizations in 21 cities and towns.

Central Massachusetts entities receiving funding:

  • 526 Main Street Partners, Worcester, $250,000. The group proposes an arts-related studio space and creative retail incubator. The developer will use grant funds to renovate, outfit and equip the studio. Fixtures will include sinks, counter tops, large open areas, drying racks and private work spaces. In addition to the fixtures and equipment, a large portion of the funds will be used to renovate the space and bring it up to modern building code and standards.
  • BamRock Entertainment LLC, Framingham, $135,783. BamRock Entertainment's Red 13 Studios is a membership-based collaborative for musicians, artists, videographers, photographers and other creatives. Funds will be used to build and furnish additional spaces including a collaborative visual studio, dedicated co-working and community space (including a kitchen), and administrative offices, and for the purchase of new and/or used equipment.
  • LaunchSpace, Athol, $105,000. LaunchSpace operates a co-working space at the Orange Innovation Center and is opening a second location in a former school building in Athol. The new space will operate as a community kitchen, co-working space, and will provide opportunities for workforce education and development. The grant will be used to replace the building's broken heating system.
  • Creative Hub Worcester, Worcester, $94,506. Creative Hub Worcester is building a maker space within its future arts center where artists, entrepreneurs, innovators, hobbyists, and students can come together and work in a dynamic ecosystem of fine arts genres using high-quality equipment. Funds will be used for construction, furnishings and equipment.
  • NewVue Communities, Fitchburg, $25,000. NewVue Communities sponsors the Fitchburg Arts Community, a future 58-units mixed-income artist-preference housing development and studio space located at the site of the former BF Brown School, the former City Stables, and the former high school annex building. The project will support artist community cohesion with public art, gallery and studio space, and a landscape plan that knits the site together with an arts campus that connects to the Fitchburg Art Museum and downtown Fitchburg. This grant will be used to provide the necessary site engineering needed to support rezoning efforts for the project.
  • Alternatives Unlimited, Whitinsville, $22,500. Alternatives Unlimited and its arts and culture subsidiary, ValleyCAST, will use funding to undertake a feasibility study and strategic plan for the Whitin Mill Complex, as well as additional property operated by Alternatives in the Blackstone Valley. The project seeks wider use of these properties in collaboration with artists, community groups, educational institutions, and entrepreneurs for the long term.
  • Becker College, Worcester, $21,400. Grant funding will be used to create the first ever e-sports lab of its kind in Central Massachusetts. The project will also add capacity to the augmented reality and virtual reality lab located at the New Ventures Center at the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute, known as MassDiGI, within Becker College's Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship.


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