Artspace Community Art Center receives grant to build ceramics studio


Staff Writer

Published: 06-09-2023 3:06 PM

With the help of a $14,000 matching state grant, Artspace Community Art Center on Mill Street can begin the planning and feasibility stage of creating a clay studio.  

“People of all skill levels – children all the way up through elderly – can make vessels… that they can then use in their daily life,” said Executive Director Madeline Miller. “It’s a very gratifying, very rewarding, very empowering art form.” 

The Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Cultural Facilities Fund aims to support major improvements to nonprofit cultural organizations, according to the Mass Cultural Council website. The grant, which will be matched by a donation from a small family foundation, will fund consultation services from Dee Boyle-Clapp of the Arts Extension Service, as well as a local potter and a local architecture firm. The total estimated cost of the project is $36,000, leaving roughly $8,000 for the organization to raise. 

“When I came on board in a staff role, the (Board of Directors) was thinking really carefully about the accessibility of the building and how the building is set up and can be put to best use,” said Miller, who started in the role in January. “The third thing… was our awareness as a team that there is no community clay studio in the town of Greenfield, at least that I’m aware of.”

Because the creation of a clay studio is an “infrastructure-heavy” endeavor, she said, it would help to address some of the big-picture questions around accessibility and building use. The consultation services will ensure the “longterm success” of the project. 

“It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to get going but once it is going, it has a way of building a really rich community around it,” Miller said. “In a community like Greenfield, where we do have a lot of socio-economic diversity and where we are underserved in arts education to a degree, there’s a real responsibility for an arts organization to have a long-term plan for this kind of programming.”

According to Miller, the nearest clay studios are all at least a 25-minute drive from Greenfield. 

“The thing about that is that there are transportation barriers for families with busy lives, working adults, people who don’t drive… and also, a lot of those classes are full a lot of the time,” she said. “There are wait lists.”

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Miller said she hopes to be completing the planning and feasibility portion of the project by the end of the calendar year, at which point the nonprofit will start looking into implementation grants. 

“There’s nothing better than seeing a kid walk out of a building with this object they created and saw through the whole process,” Miller said. “They imagined it, they crafted it, they finished it, they fired it they glazed it and there it is for them not just to admire… but to really engage with and use in their daily life.”

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