Tag Archives: creative economy

Grant Program for Creative Entrepreneurs

The Assets for Artists’ fall 2013 grant cycle provides support for artist-entrepreneurs living or operating their creative business anywhere in Massachusetts.

Eligible applicants include artists in all disciplines — visual artists, performers, designers, photographers, film-makers, artisans, etc. — whose practice would benefit from the opportunity to receive working capital funds and improve their financial and business management skills to make valuable investments aimed at growing their creative enterprises. (Income and household asset guidelines also apply; check application form for details.)

By meeting savings goals and completing the required training, participating Massachusetts artists can receive $2,000 in grant funds as a savings match for “working capital” to grow their creative enterprise. Three training sessions on personal finance and business management for artists will be provided for free. Sessions will be offered in eastern and western MA (specific locations and dates TBA) and are designed to help the participants reach their personal savings goal and develop a basic business plan for investing the funds.

Application Deadline: Friday, October 11, 2013 by 5:00 pm. 

For complete information. 

Short Term Action, Long Term Change

From CNU New England: 

(USMS is a partner in this event)

Tactical Urbanism Salon Boston: This is a Test

Innovation District, Boston

Friday October 18, 2013 starting at 3 pm, and Saturday, October 19, 2013, Salon at District Hall is 9 am to 4 pm, Block Party starts at 4 pm.


This October 18 – 19, 2013 the New England Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism (“CNU New England”) will host a Boston Tactical Urbanism Salon with a number of partners from around the Boston region and the country. The concept behind Tactical Urbanism is to demonstrate the potential impact of short-term interventions in the built environment to create enduring change in the City. The purpose of the Tactical Urbanism Salon: Boston is to convene individuals and organizations from across the region who are already involved in similar initiatives (or the desire to pursue these strategies) to share their experiences, participate in hands-on demonstrations together, and to inspire similar activities across the Boston region. The event will also include a diverse lineup of speakers such as Mike Lydon, author of the Tactical Urbanism Handbook; Nicco Mele, author of The End of Big; and Mark Matel of Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation. To see the program, which is still under development, please visit the website listed below.

Future Boston Accepting Application for Creative Accelorator

From Helena Fruscio, Creative Economy Industry Director for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Do you have an idea for starting a business? Future Boston has just started accepting applications for a second business accelerator program.

Here is a link to the application with detailed information about the Accelerator Program.

The 6-month accelerator program (download brochure) is designed for creative people to learn how to create and launch a successful business. 25 entrepreneurs will be chosen through an application process to attend the program. Classes are held every other Saturday of the month.

Each class will be taught by experts and practitioners in the creative industries. The classes will be interactive and allow for one-on-one time with successful business leaders. Childcare can be provided upon request.

Who is eligible?
We are looking to help Bostonians start business in the following industries:

  • Advertising/Marketing
  • Fashion/Jewelry Design
  • Film, video, photography
  • Radio/television
  • Software, computer games and electronic publishing
  • Food/restaurant/hospitality

Applications are due by 8PM on Sunday, July 21. Accepted applications will be announced July 29.




CreativeNext Resource Meeting Sessions

creative-nextAre you a creative business owner looking for support?

Businesses working in the creative industries can sign up for sessions to access support and resources. Take advantage of this opportunity to connect to state and local business advisers during the new Creative Industries CreativeNext Resource Meetings and Office Hours.

CreativeNext Resource Meeting

Design Annex
66-70 Union Square, Somerville, MA
May 23, 2013
9am, 10am, and 11am

This is your opportunity to present to state and local business supporters ready to help move your business forward.

You will give a short verbal presentation about your business to a small group of business supporters. The presentation should focus on the business and the potential you see for the business to grow and the barriers to that growth. The supporters are people who are ready to help and will help connect you to the resources you need.

Only three spaces are available.   Interested businesses will be chosen on a case-by-case basis.

Click here to complete a contact form! (Sessions now filled)

Resource panel includes:


Office Hours

Design Annex
66-70 Union Square, Somerville, MA
May 23, 2013
1 pm to 4:30 pm

Not ready to make a presentation, but want to know what resources are available to grow your business?

Office Hours with Helena Frusio, the Commonwealth’s Creative Economy Industry Director and former Director of Berkshire Creative, is where you can individually access resources and support in half-hour meeting sessions.

Space is limited, and will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. 
Click here to sign up.


This CreativeNext Resource Meeting is presented by Union Square Main Streets in partnership with Mass Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

Saving the Golden Moment for Somerville’s Artists

For decades Somerville’s underused industrial buildings have provided super cheap spaces for musicians, dancers, theatrical and circus performers, sculptors, painters, tinkerers and every manner of casually creative folk to practice, network and grow their craft in the urban landscape.

In successive waves Somerville’s artists invested their energy in our community, claiming the city as home with the fierce, local pride learned from their blue-collar neighbors.

The creative economy proved itself to be an important partner in the economic development of Somerville.  Reused garages to funky buildings not much fancier than a dog house, from a simple metal shed barely able to keep out the elements to old big brick buildings that evoke a robust manufacturing past, these industrial properties were built for work and Somerville’s artists are doing that with increasing seriousness.  With entrepreneurial energy rooted in an offbeat sensibility, Somerville’s creative workers are building small scale businesses of promise.

For example, we’re seeing significant changes over in the former Ames complex, a business that was once Somerville’s largest employer.  The expanses that rolled out envelopes, manila folders and metal filing cabinets for offices across the country is filled now with an eclectic assortment of thriving businesses from silkscreen printers to guitar builders, collaborative roboticists to acrobats and rock climbers.

While modest from the outside, there’s impressive innovation taking place inside. Just last month one of the companies at the Artisan’s Asylum raised over one million dollars in less than a week to bring their invention into production.

But this golden moment of Somerville’s creative businesses paying cheap money to collaborative or passive landlords can’t last forever. These industrial areas where artists and other creatives work are no longer forgotten corners.

The growing market for new housing and commercial development, along with the new transit improvements, means that proposals to overhaul these properties, once deemed unfeasible,are being marked among the list of wise investments.

Somerville’s crumbling industrial architecture is the nest that nurtures our growing creative class. Studios and workshops in these marginal, quirky spaces fueled our city’s renaissance and as this wave of development grows these spaces are increasingly endangered. Somerville’s artists could very well fall victim, as has happened in other cities, to the gentrification they helped to create.

How might Somerville’s creative class respond?

Get serious about the business of your art so you have the financial means to weather the storm.  Create a business plan. Plan for the future of your creative enterprise. (Need help?  Artmorpheus is a good place to start, as is the Art & Business Council of Greater Boston.)

Get serious about real estate.  Property owners are the gatekeepers of a neighborhood, so Somerville’s artist community needs to get hold of the keys.  It’s too late to start organizing when the For Sale sign appears on the building of your rehearsal space or when the developer submits plans to turn your studio with amazing light into luxury condos. Be proactive and start exploring seriously the formation of artist co-ops to buy land and buildings in the City.  Back in the 80s Somerville’s Brickbottom proved an early example of creative professionals, working together, to reclaim an underused building for live-work.  Today’s artists on Vernon Street, on Joy Street, on Boston Ave, on Central and Washington and elsewhere, couldn’t you do the same for your workspaces?

Create a legacy.  It’s not only about saving this generation of creatives in Somerville but about maintaining the environment that will allow artists and makers to continue to live and work in Somerville. Just as the City of Somerville has a trust for purchase of affordable housing, a similar mechanism could be established to form a cultural trust to purchase and maintain affordable creative workspaces.


Twenty years ago our arts community showed audaciousness when they declared Somerville“The Paris of the 90s” and named Union Square “The New Left Bank.”  It was initially spoken in a self-mocking way because Somerville had more than its share of naysayers.  But working closely together, with lots of pluck, ingenuity and a can-do spirit, this community proved the tongue-in-cheek moniker to not be so ironic.  The same kind of attitude that kept Somervillians from acting like victims when we were down, can serve us well in today’s upswing.

Motives of Makers in the Creative Community Make a Rich Stew

From Make Magazine:

“People become makers for lots of reasons. Weirdly, many of them seem to start with E:

Entertainment: Making stuff is just plain fun.  When you’re done working, cleaning, and generally fending off entropy another day, making is good distraction. Economy: Making is often cheaper than buying. If you’ve settled on an end, but are short on means, DIY can close the gap. Education: If you’re learning or teaching how the world works, nothing beats a hands-on experience. Empowerment: Can’t buy it? Whatever the reason — scarcity, oppression, or just because nobody sells what you need — making it yourself may be the answer. Entrepreneurship: Making money making is not only fun to say, it’s fun to do. Many makers are in it, not just for the cash, but for the joy of having a job they love. ”

This is Mimi from Union Square Main Streets:

The Artisan’s Asylum, Fringe, Brickbottom Artists, and the literally hundreds and hundreds of artists and makers throughout Somerville (you can meet them at the upcoming Somerville Open Studios) are growing an incredible community of all these Es – and doing it in an environment of mutual support.  The creative economy thrives here because it declares that work and fun do mix, that life and business is all about continuous learning, and that the DIY spirit makes your stronger, smarter and your life more rich in every way.