The Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association (GSFABA) and The Art Garden announce the launch of H.A.T.C.H. (Hilltown Art & Thriving Community Happenings), a pilot program designed to inspire, support, and help fund creative projects that engage the hilltown communities of western Franklin County. H.A.T.C.H. will support the development, refinement, and launching of projects brought forward by artists and other community members and is  funded, in part, by a Massachusetts Cultural Council Adams Grant awarded to the GSFABA last year.

Three free work sessions -- facilitated by working artists Jane Beatrice Wegscheider, Artist Director of The Art Garden, and Phyllis Labanowski, a regional artist and co-director of Art For A Change and ARTeens -- will be offered to help artists develop and receive feedback on their idea. At the end of each session, those interested in moving their projects forward may apply for the opportunity to present their vision at a community hatching event on Saturday, June 25 at the Buckland Town Hall.  Grants will be awarded to each project along with mentoring support and marketing assistance to help launch the projects. Applications will be available by May 1, 2016.

Work sessions will be held at The Art Garden on Monday, April 25; Thursday, May 5; and Wednesday, May 18, 2016. Applications for the hatching event are due Friday, May 27, 2016. Up to five projects will be selected through a juried process; projects moving forward will be notified in early June. All applicants will receive mentoring and support through the GSFABA.

The selection criteria includes:

·         Relevance to and/or based in one of GSFABA’s 10 towns (Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield, Rowe, and Shelburne);

·         Lead artist(s) lives or works in one of hilltown communities;

·         The project/event integrates the arts into the fabric of civic life and represents the distinct character and quality of our communities OR address challenges and priorities within our communities;

·         Comes from ideas within and/or engages the community in the making of the project or interaction after its made;

·         The project can be completed by May 2017; and

·         Has a realistic timeline and budget.

Creative projects, performances, or events including murals, sculpture, performance, spoken word, or street art as well as almost anything else you can imagine will be considered as long as the project meets the above criteria. Artists that create a performance or a community conversation with an artistic twist, an event, or a spectacle that is permanent or temporary, that engages residents and visitors are all encouraged to apply.

For more information contact:

Jane Beatrice Wegscheider, Artist Director of The Art Garden, 413-625-2782  email:

Phyllis Labanowski, 413.369.9985  email:

Carmela Lanza-Weil, Executive Director of GSFABA, 413-625-2526  email:

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