May 23, 2018

Creative Hub Worcester fundraising $850k from goal

Photo/Creative Hub Worcester/Gensler
The main events center at the planned Creative Hub Worcester, shown here in a rendering, can hold up to 300 people and is expected to help the center finance operations.
Photo/Brad Kane
Laura Marotta and Stacy Lord, executive director and chairman, Creative Hub Worcester, Inc.
Photo/Grant Welker
The front facade of the former Worcester Boys Club on Ionic Avenue.

A detailed vision for creating a new arts and events center at the former Worcester Boys Club is complete.

Now Creative Hub Worcester co-founders Stacy Lord and Laura Marotta are just $850,000 short of reaching their fundraising goal and getting construction started.

The pair, who are both artists, have already secured $4.5 million in tax credits, $1.1 million in financing and $850,000 pledged in private donations. They hope to raise another $500,000 from local foundations and another $350,000 from businesses and others in the community.

In all, the project is expected to cost about $8.1 million.

Fundraising must be completed by the end of the year in order for about half of the tax credits to be secured, Marotta said Wednesday.

Creative Hub Worcester is offering naming opportunities for various parts of the building, including $250,000 each for the main foyer and parking lot entrance, and $150,000 for an outdoor sculpture garden.

Their plan is for a 40,000-square-foot center for artists, performances and events in a 1914 brick building at 2 Ionic Ave. vacant for more than a decade. It will include two dance studios and a larger performance space available for rentals, three classrooms and more than a dozen small studios for artists.

The former Boys Club building was bought for $1.3 million in April 2017 by the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston, which is leasing the space to Creative Hub Worcester.

Already, a few partners have signed on. Struck Catering of Worcester has signed a three-year partnership for events there, and New England Dance Center of Worcester has committed to its dance space. Two other arts groups have also committed: Main IDEA, a Worcester arts program for students, and ArtReach, a Worcester art education center.

The club's former gymnasium will be an events space for up to 300 people, and its roof will be capable of hosting large outdoor gatherings with views of the city's skyline.

"It's a historic building, and it deserves to be revitalized," Lord said.

Photo/Creative Hub Worcester/Gensler
A rendering of the Creative Hub Worcester space shows its main features, including classrooms, studios, a main event space and a signature roof top space at top right.

Plans for Creative Hub Worcester are bigger than first expected, Lord and Marotta said, thanks to the size of the former Boys Club. But they saw a great potential in the old building and made a move they hope will complement arts and incubator-space expansion at the Printers Building a few blocks away on Portland Street and entrepreneurship and community art and theater space at 20 Franklin St.

In the meantime, Creative Hub Worcester is beginning its summer arts programming in the nearby Hadley Apartments building at 657 Main St.

The youth arts program, which is Creative Hub Worcester's first programming, will be run out of the building's first floor.

A grand opening of the space is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. on June 6.

The program will provide care for students from the Hadley Apartment building and Worcester schools. It will focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math, and will offer a diverse set of activities for students each day.

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