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Posts Tagged ‘easthampton’

Looking for an affordable venue for your chamber music group, your living-room theatrical production, your poetry group’s public readings? Need a performance space with a cat to give your book promotion that certain je ne sais quoi?

Nidhi Subbaraman has a nice piece at the Boston Globe‘s betaboston site on a tool that can help you find the perfect space.

“Gregorian Oriental Rugs opens at 10 a.m. every weekday, and with wood floors and high ceilings, this converted paper mill in Newton is an airy showroom for antique Turkish flat-weaves, Ikats from India, and countless other intricate, handmade imports from the Far East and Middle East. Some evenings, however, the expensive carpets and rugs are folded, stacked, and put aside, and the store is transformed into an intimate performance venue for local artists. …

“Most people hear about this unusual event space from friends. But to reach community art groups, Gregorian recently listed his venue on SpaceFinder Mass, a kind of Airbnb for the performance world that came to Massachusetts in January. The service connects artists hunting for budget performance or rehearsal space with unusual, informal, and affordable venues.

“ ‘We talk about SpaceFinder being a discovery tool,’ said Lisa Niedermeyer, its program director. Venues can share their calendar for availability, and artists can search by square footage, rates, and timing. The website also handles payments for the bookings.

“Started in New York three years ago, SpaceFinder was developed by Fractured Atlas, a nonprofit group that supports artists. SpaceFinder lists more than 6,600 spaces in 11 cities in the United States, plus Toronto, where you can rent a pirate ship. In Philadelphia, artists can rent a mosaic sculpture garden. …

“SpaceFinder was launched in Massachusetts in partnership with the Arts and Business Council of Boston, and more than 200 venues in the state are listed, most of which are themselves in the arts business — small museums and theaters, for example, dance studios and art galleries.

“In addition to Gregorian, other outliers include a fitness club in Dorchester and a winery in Southampton. …

“To connect with active art communities in far-flung corners of the state, Fractured Atlas reached out to Seth Lepore, an independent artist in Easthampton, to spread the word about the service among artists and to enlist venues.

“ ‘Space is a huge issue here in Western Massachusetts,’ said Lepore, who helped connect SpaceFinder with local studios.” More here.

Photo: Jessica Renaldi/Globe staff
Gregorian Oriental Rugs on a regular work day.

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Last fall, I blogged about the worthy Granola Project, which gives employment to refugees in Rhode Island. It is housed at the social service agency Amos House in Providence. I bought some of the granola at the farmers market a just last week.

Now Sarah Shemkus has written for the Boston Globe about a similar initiative for refugees in Massachusetts, but with the goal of helping refugee women to spin off companies on their own.

“Moo Kho Paw fled the violence and oppression of Myanmar for a refugee camp in Thailand nearly a decade ago,” writes Shemkus. “Five years later, she, her husband, and their baby daughter resettled again, this time landing in Springfield.

“As she adapted to her new home, Paw started looking for a job … That’s when she learned about Prosperity Candle, the Easthampton company where she has now worked for three years.

“ ‘I love the job,’ Paw said. ‘It helps me to pay the rent, to buy the baby diapers.’

“That’s precisely what Ted Barber, 46, hoped for when he and partner Amber Chand founded Prosperity Candle in 2010. … Sales are only part of its mission — the company says its real goal is to help women in and from developing countries by teaching them new skills and creating jobs. …

“In Easthampton, the company employs refugees such as Paw to make and package candles and fulfill orders. Currently, up to four refugees are working there at any given time, though Barber expects to hire more as the business expands. …”

The idea for an enterprise like Prosperity Candle first occurred to Barber when he was working in Africa, helping entrepreneurs build small businesses. …

” ‘I realized I wanted to do something different.’ …

“Rather than giving away money or supplies, [his] company would provide women with the resources, skills, and support they need to start a sustainable businesses. …

“Prosperity Candle formed as a low-profit limited liability company, a structure that requires the business to put its social mission ahead of profits.”

More.

Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh for The Boston Globe
Moo Kho Paw (left) and Naw Test made candles at Prosperity Candle in Easthampton.

Prosperity Candle formed as a low-profit limited liability company, a structure that requires the business to put its social mission ahead of profits.

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