The Hive moves into future Greenfield Center for Arts and Industry

  • The second floor of the Greenfield Gallery building on Main Street will be transformed into the Greenfield Center for Arts and Industry. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The second floor of the Greenfield Gallery building on Main Street will be transformed into the Greenfield Center for Arts and Industry. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • KATZ

Staff Writer
Published: 8/25/2020 6:56:18 PM

GREENFIELD — The HIVE makerspace has moved into a building soon to be renamed the Greenfield Center for Arts and Industry.

Owner of the former Rooney’s building, now Greenfield Gallery, Rachael Katz, who is also a member of the Greenfield Makers Cooperative — the group that came up with and is working on the idea for the makerspace — said the pandemic changed a lot of the plans, at the very least, slowing them down. Still, the project is moving ahead, though it probably won’t be open to the public before 2022.

“It’s taking us a lot more time, but we’re still functional,” Katz said. “We had several major sources of funding redirected to the pandemic, so this is turning more into a grassroots effort.”

Katz said the original plan was to open the makerspace to the public next year, but it won’t happen that quickly. The HIVE had planned to move into the former World Eye Bookshop space on Main Street, but the Greenfield Makers Cooperative couldn’t reach a lease agreement with the owner.

“We’ll be able to open it to 10 or 12 core supporters who are helping us build it, and then later to the public,” she explained.

Katz, who bought the former Rooney’s building on Main Street, opened the Greenfield Gallery on the ground floor, rented space on the second floor to artists and others, and lives on the third floor. She said the Greenfield Center for Arts and Industry, which she is planning, will be based on the second floor.

“We hope to build a fixture here in Greenfield for a long time to come,” Katz said. “It will fit into the historical culture of the city and will take its heritage and update it for the 21st century. I’d love to see this building filled top to bottom with a combination of arts, science and technology. It will be a combination of a traditional makerspace incubator, but a place for creative work at the intersection of arts and sciences.”

Katz said the mission will remain the same, but with a different pathway. People from different mediums will work next to each other, using some of the most high-tech machinery, like digital design and 3-D printers, but also leather crafters and artists repurposing materials to make new items. Katz said, for instance, an artist will be working in the center and his or her work will be displayed in the gallery.

Katz said she can’t predict the future, but the plans for the center are looking bright at the moment.

“It’s still about democratization of innovation for all, allowing everyone access to tools and other things they might never have had access to otherwise,” she said.

One of the biggest challenges will be finding the money to install an elevator in the building to make it accessible to all, she said, because the group had planned to use some of the funding it lost for that project.

“We had hoped to open with good capitalization, everything from money from the city through a Community Development Block Grant to state and federal funding, but that all got redirected to the COVID response,” Katz said. “It’s a challenge right now to build new or expand when existing businesses are struggling to survive because of the pandemic.”

Greenfield Makers Cooperative President Adrienne LaPierre said the core group is slowly building the makerspace on the second floor and will buy some equipment using a grant from Greenfield Community College.

“We don’t have all of the details at this point, but we’ll be partnering with GCC to help fund memberships for its students and community members,” LaPierre said. “It’s all very exciting to have a makerspace in a building that is focused on raising the visibility of arts within the downtown. There’s a synergy in that building.”

LaPierre said she looks forward to seeing artists’ items on display and possibly for sale in the Greenfield Gallery.

“There’s so much opportunity for collaboration here,” she said. “And we’re very flexible about how we’re going to evolve. I’m really hopeful for our future.”

The other members of Greenfield Makers Cooperative are Christina Gay, Linda McInerney and Mark Waller.

To donate to The HIVE, visit: hivemakerspace.org and click on the “donation” link, or mail a check to: The HIVE, 231 Main St., Second Floor, Greenfield, MA 01301.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.


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