New LAVA Center to complement arts scene on Greenfield’s Main Street

  • The new LAVA Center — Local Access to Valley Arts — has signed a lease at 324 Main St. in Greenfield. Pictured are co-coordinators Vanessa Query, Lucinda Kidder and Jan Maher. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The new LAVA Center — Local Access to Valley Arts — has signed a lease at 324 Main St. in Greenfield. Pictured are co-coordinators Vanessa Query, Lucinda Kidder and Jan Maher. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The new LAVA Center — Local Access to Valley Arts — has signed a lease at 324 Main St. in Greenfield, between the Pushkin Gallery and TD Bank. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Silverthorne Theater Co. now has an office at the LAVA Center — Local Access to Valley Arts — at 324 Main St. in Greenfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Contributed image Contributed image

Staff Writer
Published: 1/7/2020 10:11:42 PM

GREENFIELD — When three women with similar visions joined forces, the result was what Lucinda Kidder calls “an arts incubator” for Franklin County.

Co-coordinators Kidder, Vanessa Query and Jan Maher are opening the Local Access to Valley Arts (LAVA) Center, a new performing arts, black box theater and community space on 324 Main St., between TD Bank and the Pushkin Gallery. The center’s focus will be to create opportunities in the arts, primarily performing and literary.

The space is 3,000 square feet and fully accessible, with a 49-person occupancy. It will house Silverthorne Theater Co., Local Access to the Pioneer Valley and Dog Hallow Press, as well as one office for rent. The group signed the lease on Friday.

Query, Maher and Kidder said they established the center as a nonprofit because they found they all had compatible missions.

“I had created a local access in Washington state 30 years ago, and recently I decided it was time to rejuvenate it,” Maher said. “I ran into Lucinda and we got the plan into the works. Now we’re in this great space. We have a mission to bring opportunities in and through arts in the Pioneer Valley.”

Query said she worked with Kidder — who recently retired as Silverthorne’s artistic director — through Kidder’s theater company, and is now tasked with managing the space — “something I’ve always wanted to do.”

The LAVA Center will host a variety of arts events, classes and workshops, as well as be a space to display and sell art produced by local artists and craftspeople.

Kidder said the hope is that the space can be nonpermanent to allow for flexible use. The uses range from theater classes and improvisation groups to book club meetings, Maher added, with groups being able to rent the space.

“We also want people to know we’re not in competition with anyone,” Maher said. “We’re here to compliment them.”

“We’ll have a calendar letting people know what’s going on,” Query added. “We are also here to help small organizations write grants. ... We want it to be a real resource to the community.”

The LAVA Center focuses on the communal and collaborative aspect of the arts by: providing assistance for organizations needing grant funding to pursue arts projects; ensuring the high visibility of center activities through a comprehensive public relations program; actively “match-making,” enabling likely partner organizations to find each other for collaborative work; and maintaining a communications center for the dissemination and distribution of notices, requests or news for local artists and arts organizations.

“Whether this place sinks or swims, it’s because of community involvement,” Kidder said.

The group is also looking for donations of chairs, gallery lights, a projector, office furniture and other items.

The LAVA Center’s grand opening will coincide with Greenfield’s annual Winter Carnival, with events on Friday, Jan. 31 through Sunday, Feb. 2. All events will take place at 324 Main St.

Confirmed events include:

Friday, Jan. 31

■4:30 p.m. — LAVA Grand Opening Party with the Farley String Band, followed by watching the parade at 6 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 1

■12:30 p.m. – Brattleboro International Folk Dance - learn folk dance steps with Rachelle Ackerman - for kids of all ages!

■1:30 p.m. – Kids story time with author-educator Doug Selwyn.

■2 p.m. — Strings for Kids advanced ensemble performance.

■5:30 p.m. — BYO Performance Salon. Attendees are invited to bring something performative to share, such as a favorite poem, something they’ve written, musical instruments, etc.

■7:30 p.m. — Silverthorne Theater Co.’s Fashion Show.

Sunday, Feb. 2

■5 p.m. — Community potluck and discussion of what people would like to see happen in the space, accompanied by a traditional Irish music session.

Learn more about Local Access to Valley Arts and the new space at or

Reach Melina Bourdeau at or
413-772-0261,     ext. 263.


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