Virtual summit to mark launch of Western Mass ArtsHub


Staff Writer
Monday, January 03, 2022

A new website that will include an online portal with information about local artists and creative businesses throughout the region is set to launch next month.

Creators of the Western Mass ArtsHub say the initiative will be the first comprehensive website to list artists in every discipline. The launch will take place at an upcoming ArtsHub Virtual Summit: “How to Recover and Thrive.”

“We’ll have a bunch of people together at once, so we’ll be able to explain it and do a run-through and let people know how they can use it, as well as how they can be involved … in shaping it going forward,” said Lisa Davol, who manages the ArtsHub project through the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. “A lot of work has gone into it on the technical side … and now people can really learn how to bring information from their communities to the ArtsHub, so it’s more comprehensive.”

ArtsHub was created by the Western Massachusetts Creative Economy Network, a collaboration of 21 organizations that support the creative economy, includes cities and towns throughout western Massachusetts.

“It’s exciting,” Davol said. “The idea has been worked on, probably, for the past 20 years, but it’s never really come into existence. There’s been a lot of tries and fails, so we think hopefully this is going to be a sustainable way of doing what a lot of people have wanted for a long time.”

The portal will also include a place for people to post requests or opportunities, or to view a calendar of events in the region.

“It’s sort of this central hub to find people and information, pertinent to the creative community,” Davol said.

The virtual summit, during which the portal will launch, will take place from Jan. 10-14. The goal of the summit is to provide tools to help those working in creative fields recover from the disruption created by the pandemic and learn how to position their business to thrive as the economy recovers.

“There’s going to be workshops on how to get found; how to market yourself; how artists can get out there,” Davol explained.

The workshops and networking sessions will be offered in the morning, afternoon and evening to accommodate different schedules, and anyone who registers for the event will have access to all sessions afterward.

The virtual summit and the Western Mass ArtsHub were in part funded by a $185,934 grant from the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and its Regional Pilot Project Grant Program.

Tickets are on sale now at umass.edu/aes/artshub, with an early bird rate of $35 until Jan. 4, and $55 thereafter. Scholarships for the cost are also available online.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne