SPRINGFIELD — The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts’ newly launched arts initiative, ValleyCreates, announced the appointment of five community advisors to support the initiative’s core mission to address underserved communities’ access to arts and culture funding and resources.
Gina Beavers, Arts and Culture editor for the Valley Advocate, will serve as a liaison to arts and culture organizations in Hampshire and Hampden counties. Vanessa Pabón-Hernandez, director of Community Engagement and Education for WGBY, will serve as the initiative’s liaison to arts organizations in Hampden County. Matthew Glassman, co-artistic director ensemble of Double Edge Theater in Ashfield, will serve as a liaison to rural arts and culture organizations with a focus on Franklin County. Rosemary Tracy Woods, executive director and chief curator of the nonprofit Art for the Soul Gallery in Springfield, will serve as the ValleyCreates events curator. Finally, Kent Alexander will serve as the initiative’s diversity, equity, and inclusion facilitator. He brings with him years of experience conducting anti-racism and social-justice-focused workshops for various local organizations.
Each community advisor will contribute up to eight hours per month for one year and will receive a stipend. ValleyCreates is supported by the Barr Foundation, through the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts’ participation in the Creative Commonwealth Initiative.
“Our team at the Community Foundation believes that building authentic bridges to communities that may not have traditionally been served by our funding or programming is essential for our work,” said Janet Daisley, vice president for Programs and Strategy. “We’ve identified the role of the community advisor to ensure that a wide range of nonprofits benefit from our Barr Foundation funding — including those who are traditionally underserved by community resources, and who haven’t historically had a seat at the table helping to shape funding strategies.”