The Brick House in Turners Falls gives artistic platform to youths with Momentum Arts program

  • Momentum Arts teacher Katarina Mazur, Youth Program Director Jane Goodale and Daniela Jurado of AmeriCorps in the Music Room at The Brick House Community Resource Center on Third Street in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Jane Goodale is the youth program director at The Brick House Community Resource Center on Third Street in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The Brick House Community Resource Center on Third Street in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 8/11/2021 2:04:10 PM

Following a pandemic-necessitated hiatus, the Teen Center at The Brick House Community Resource Center has reopened with its Momentum Arts program.

Funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Momentum Arts is a free youth creativity program that has a series of experienced artists teach classes in their respective mediums. Running on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 3:30 p.m. for children ages 11 to 19, the program consists of a series of units (ranging from six weeks to three months long), with each unit being taught by a different artist.

Youth Program Director Jane Goodale said she hopes Momentum Arts can be both a valuable resource and a conduit for post-pandemic creative togetherness.

“The year was just a lot of trying to stay in touch with participants and make sure they’re doing OK,” she said of The Brick House’s work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Brick House on Third Street didn’t emerge unscathed from the height of the pandemic, Goodale said. Staff members were stretched thin after AmeriCorps members who had been working at The Brick House were relocated.

With youth interest in Momentum Arts at a low point and staffing limitations prevalent, Goodale said bringing in excellent teachers is paramount.

“We’re always looking for talented artists to teach workshops,” Goodale said. “All of our Momentum Arts classes are taught by people who have experience in their art or craft.”

Goodale also said The Brick House seeks variety in the mediums included in the program to cater to the interests of the children and young adults who participate.

“We’re open to people’s suggestions and we can get artists to match up with people’s interests,” Goodale said. “We’re trying to get a pulse all the time. ... (Our pre-pandemic ceramics class) happened because the kids were like, ‘We want to throw.’”

The Brick House has held courses for practicing several audio and visual mediums. Works of different painting and art styles adorn the walls as evidence. A music studio packed full of equipment shows another dimension of the space’s creative identity.

“The focus is on skill development,” Goodale said. “Apply it, and then possibly produce something.”

Goodale said the product can be not only a creative achievement, but a financially lucrative one. Through art shows, students have made “substantial amounts of money” selling their work. This experience, she said, can also serve as a gateway into the professional world.

“I think a big part of Momentum Arts is to have the exposure,” Goodale said. “I really think the art shows have been a key way that people have gone on to be recognized for what they’ve made and recognized in a professional light.”

The Brick House hosts exhibits quarterly, including both art shows and open mics. Goodale said she is open to trying out other types of events in the space as well. In addition, the organization rents out its first and second floor spaces for people to use independently.

For more information on Momentum Arts, contact Jane Goodale at 413-800-5705 or jgoodale@brickhousecrc.org.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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