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MassLive, Dave Canton

Springfield’s Love Art Collective hopes studio will sustain local artists

May 27, 2023

A Springfield art collective has been granted an additional $229,000 toward its goal to create a brick and motor location for city creatives to build sustainable careers from their art. The collective now has accumulated some $403,000 in funding for its Block Art Studio planned for a Mason Square location.

MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative announced the grants Friday. Besides the Springfield award, Holyoke’s Golden Bohemian LLC was granted $135,000 to create a performance venue on High Street.

Jasper McCoy is the driving force behind the Love Art Collective in Springfield as well as the managing director of the Block Art Studio project. He said both the collective and the studio are designed to make art in the city sustainable.

“I have found that a lot of creatives create in silence,” he said. “I want to help to professionalize creativeness.”

The Love Art Collective — and by extension the Block Art Studio when it comes online in April of 2024 — currently works with “creatives.” That is McCoy’s collective term for people who create, be they writers or artists, or musicians. He is a trained architect and a painter working in oils. He said he understands the creative urge but also recognizes that creatives need to eat and buy materials. That is the sustainable part. As the senior business strategist for Love Art Collective, McCoy spends his time helping creatives to market their talents.

“When it comes to putting themselves out to the world, creatives are not at their best,” he said. “I usually start with something really basic like getting them business cards. Then we work to get them out in front of people, going to festivals, things like that.”

The Block Art Studio will be a place that creatives can think of as their own space.

“I think the big difference in terms of long-standing impact toward making art sustainable is the need to have a place to work and to call home,” McCoy said. “It will be a place where you can work or just visit.”

As envisioned, the Block Art Studio will offer gallery space, arts and culture-oriented professional development opportunities, cultural enrichment programming, youth art initiatives, and community events including crossover events with the Springfield Museums and Springfield Public Schools.

McCoy has tapped Springfield Creative City Collective’s Executive Director Tiffany Allecia to serve as the studio’s director of creative and cultural development.

The Block Studio has arranged the purchase of a building in the Mason Square area, the neighborhood where McCoy lived as a youth.

“That was my neighborhood. As a kid I would go to the Mason Square Library,” he said. “I want to give back in a large way to the area that raised me.”