For context, consider reviewing the Master Plan that was drafted in 2008. We have pulled out the Cultural Resources chapter here and extracted the goals and strategies, as well as the prioritization of each of the strategies. See what we’ve done together already!
Below you will find links to Google Photos albums with photos of materials produced during each of the sessions. To the right you will find additional photographic documentation as well as digital transcriptions of some of the key output, including the History of the Future dates and responses to the open questions that participants responded to in the space. Feel free to comment on any of the documents and we will make sure to incorporate your ideas.
Click to view the incredible panoramic documentation from local artist Mark Roessler, who generously offered his time and expertise to help invite digital viewers into our environment. You can learn more about his work here.
Sensing & Discovery
May 18, 2018
June 1, 2019
June 22, 2019
Survey Responses: What is your vision for the future of Arts & Culture in Easthampton?
“Keeping up the great work. On track with all that is both meaningful and accessible to everyone.”
“I’d love to see a local venue that attracts national musicians (Same kinda vibe and size of Gateway City Arts in Holyoke). And I’d love to see more murals downtown (like what’s Springfield is doing with Fresh Paint).”
“I’d like to see more public art and a vibrant walkable downtown. I’d like to become involved in making art events happen and feel more connected to the city through that.”
“I love the live music at Mill Pond. I would like to see that happen more often.”
“Good food, community events for families, live music outdoor movie nights continuing”
“That the ratio of nature to man-made things stays the same or there is a slight increase on the nature side of things. That all feel welcome, and life long locals can afford to keep living here if they want. A River Valley Coop in Easthampton would be great and so would more local/urban food growing projects.”
“I love living in Easthampton and being a part of its wonderful community. I hope Easthampton continues to push for inclusivity and diversity in the city and all aspects of its development, including culture and the ahhhts, affordable housing and being a welcoming space for all.
However, there are residents flying the confederate flag in this very town.
And, comfortably so. To my horror and their shame.
Being a queer, biracial, politically-outspoken artist, and female, I find Easthampton and the Pioneer Valley a largely safe, open, welcoming place where I can be all parts of myself comfortably. This is not the case everywhere I go nor where I come from. I hope Easthampton will continue working to combat hatred and divisiveness.
I am recommending:
Inspired by recent news from my hometown, Milwaukee WI. Milwaukee County has declared racism to be a public health crisis and is implementing new policies and across the board training to address and improve conditions.
Milwaukee is the FIRST city in the entire country to do such a thing.
Let's have Easthampton MA be the second city to confront a national epidemic, and help lead the way from our very own zip code.”
“Social dances and lessons. I attend many of these in CT because that's the closest place with large social dances. There's a model of a community dance/fitness place in Middletown CT called Vinnie's Jump & Jive that I especially admire. https://www.vinniesjumpandjive.com/”
“Easthampton's reality is right on the money. My vision for the future: let's use the mill on Ferry Street! Maybe it becomes a park or a waterfall? Let's get the Historical Society to be MORE”
“Visible, unavoidable, supported and funded public art! I would love to see busker musicians on the boardwalk, more murals on the streets and sculptures in the parks.
I would love for there to be an accessible performance venue in Easthampton for dance, theatre, cinema, music, and other performing arts, available at cost for new artists and new work.
Participatory art, site-specific performances, collaboration between artists of different mediums!
Art in schools! Well-funded art classes with lots of materials and experienced teachers paid well, after school programs for music, visual arts, theatre, dance, and other performance art.
Affordable classes for people to learn from the many artists in town - writers, musicians, glass blowers, painters, dancers, circus artists, actors, tattoo artists, potters, sculptors, etc!”
“Affordable and handicapped accessible artist studios in the mill buildings. Continuing arts & culture events like are already in place. Fundraising events held at/for struggling businesses.”
“My vision for Easthampton: a City that is welcoming to all regardless (no ofs), that has housing to meet the needs of every citizen (seniors, affordable, families), that continues to encourage economic growth along with balancing the need for open space to recreate, re-group, play, that respects its past and incorporates that past into its future.”
“We would like to see greater support for diverse events and organizations with a broader concept of what is considered to have "enough public benefit." We recently were honored to be interviewed by Amherst Media. We feel a lot of our goals and ideals are nicely represented in this video. https://amherstmedia.org/content/meat-tea-valley-review
Additionally, we're happy to be hosting yet another of our quarterly release show/parties for the next issue of the magazine, June 1st, and invite all to come - especially if you've not seen what it is we do every quarter. This particular issue comes on the heels of winning best in category, (literary journal), in the 62nd Annual New England Book Show.
Survey Responses: What keeps you up at night related to Arts & Culture in Easthampton?
“I’m concerned about the rising cost of housing, and parking downtown. I’d hate to see Parking in Easthampton become as packed as downtown Northampton.”
“I hope we avoid becoming another Northampton. I would like to see Easthampton retain its identity as a small town of diverse people. I like Northampton but I’d like to keep Easthampton quirky and down to earth.”
“Nothing..I like what I have seen so far.”
“Missing opportunities for children to participate in creating art. Making at inaccessible to the every day Joe.”
“Getting too expensive for the life-long locals to live here. Also, I hope that the ratio of nature to man-made stays the same or there is a slight increase on the nature side of things.”
“I hope we avoid becoming Northampton lite. I hope we avoid becoming a place where people lose interest and hope and end up with empty storefronts.”
“Racial and ethnic homogeny.”
“Businesses and artists getting priced out of their locations/ studios.”
“Gentrification keeps me up at night!!! I hope we avoid a place that caters to only those with excess disposable income: artists and low to moderate income residents are forced to leave due to high housing costs, a downtown with too many hair and nail salons, expensive retail stores, and high end restaurants. I love the grit of Easthampton. Not grit in a negative way but a down to earth happening place where you can find music, eclectic food, community events, art events, etc. Like Keep Portland Weird we should Keep Easthampton ________ fill in the blank. I say Real.”
“We are concerned that portions of the Easthampton arts community seem to often prioritize marketability, appearing to commodify art into a limited "family-friendly" package. We are also concerned that decisions are sometimes made without adequate familiarity of the events, projects and/or organizations up for consideration. In addition, we are dismayed that we have basically been instructed to not bother applying for grants in the future, as we will not be considered, thus limiting our options to help engage the Easthampton arts community and serve the general public. Please feel free to contact us with specific questions.”