The Arts Trust's mission is to acquire and protect spaces for creative work in the community. The energy-efficient building being developed at 33 Hawley Street will be inexpensive to operate and free of capital costs. Interior spaces are being designed with maximum flexibility: three informal classroom/rehearsal studio spaces, visual arts exhibition spaces, a 200+ seat black box theater and ancillary spaces, a flexible performance/event space with a catering kitchen and a large lobby with concession area and box office/offices. Over 100 parking spaces surround the building, along with other outdoor spaces with potential for creative use.
The Arts Trust will implement its mission by creating long-term leases with organizations that produce arts activities in the building. The Northampton Center for the Arts, which has a 30-year history of producing events, will serve as an operational and managerial tenant of the building, and will facilitate much of the core programming. It will create a 12-month master calendar, with oversight by a committee of members of the Arts Trust, A.P.E., and New Century Theatre. A.P.E. and New Century Theatre will also be regular users of the spaces.
Programming at the building will be expansive as multiple events can be scheduled simultaneously.
Activities will fall into four broad categories:
- generative research and process that could include short-term rehearsal or long-term residencies
- community-oriented classes and workshops in visual arts, theater, dance and other disciplines
- visual arts exhibitions, theater, dance and music performances as well as film showings and other audience-oriented events
- revenue generating rentals to individuals or groups.
Long-range program planning will maximize flexible, creative use of spaces and maintain affordability through energy efficiency, public/private collaboration and volunteer involvement. Planning goals include:
- Programs for emerging artists
- Artist residencies mixed with short-term use
- Serving children with a range of hands-on experiences
- Creating a liaison with local schools and colleges
- Fostering intercultural communication and arts education
- Remaining responsive to needs of both artists and the community
With design and fundraising underway, the Arts Trust is hosting rehearsals, classes, and other activities in the building under the Northampton Center for the Arts' management, This generates rental income, helps defray operational costs, provides continuity for the Center for the Arts' programming, and assures the community of the Arts Trust's commitment to creating an arts hub downtown.