The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Monday, August 7, 2023

The Workroom Cooperative: A Pilot Program of A.P.E

The Workroom Cooperative 
Spaces are made by what happens in them

In 2024, A.P.E is piloting a space and curation cooperative model as a means of stewarding access to the Workroom at 33 Hawley. Artists, creators, and artist groups are invited to ‘buy-in’ to this time-based share structure, through which the responsibility for tending to, enlivening, and activating the Workroom will be distributed amongst the shareholders.

In creating the Workroom Cooperative, we are led by a commitment to artistic inquiry and the creation of new work, as well as by A.P.E.’s mission to steward space for artists in ways that reduce economic pressures which can encumber the creative process.

The Workroom Cooperative creates a space where a diverse group of artists: ● engage with a range of creative endeavors within all stages of the creative process (rehearsals, residencies, performances, festivals, etc)

● explore curatorial ideas

● share responsibility for care and upkeep of the space

● can teach classes and workshops

● cultivate rich dialogue, exchange, and reciprocal support of artists’ work ● honor time and space for process, including fallow periods

With multiple artists/companies designing what occurs in the Workroom, this model can expand the scope and reach of the artistic practices that happen there and ground the Workroom’s identity in the community as a space for process, performance, and inquiry. Co-ops have been shown to help arts thrive. We are excited to join this growing movement.


The Co-op is comprised of 12 shares, each lasting from January-December 2024. EACH SHARE INCLUDES:

● 4 hours of rehearsal/class time per week for 18 weeks in the Winter/Spring (January 29-June 2) and 12 weeks in the Fall (September 9-December 8 [currently excludes week of November 20, but that could change])

● 2 weekends per year (one in the Winter/Spring and one in the Fall). Weekends include exclusive use of the WR from Thursday at 4pm through Saturday at midnight. ● 1 full week per year for residency, performance, festival, workshop or other creative endeavors. These weeks offer exclusive use from Monday morning through Sunday night and would fall in January, June, July, August, and mid-December.

● Participation in Skill Share sessions (Technical skills, Design, Dramaturgy, Grant Writing, Marketing, etc)

● Use of technical equipment in the Workroom (scope to be determined), such as theatrical lighting, projection, and sound system.

● Access to the design and performance libraries housed on the second floor of A.P.E. during Gallery open hours.


$5000/yr: Arts organizations with a 501(c)3 or steady income stream

$3000/yr: Individual artists and unincorporated/recently incorporated arts organizations

*This model breaks down to about $8/hr for the individual artist level and about $12.5/hr at the arts organization level. Payments can be made annually, bi-annually, or monthly.

Organizations/artists can ‘buy in’ with more than one share as a way to access the number of hours needed for their work. The number of shares held by a single entity is limited to 3. Thus far, 2 shares are held by A.P.E. and 3 by the School for Contemporary Dance and Thought. We are seeking 4-7 additional artists / groups to join the Workroom Co-op.


Please note that curation by Co-op members is highly encouraged, but subletting is not allowed in the pilot year. All programming that occurs within a Co-op membership must be overseen by the Co-op artists/organizations and adhere to building wide protocols.

Alongside the opportunities for developing creative work and curatorial projects, the vision of the Co-op includes opportunities for connection and exchange and shared responsibilities for caring for the space. As such, commitments of all Co-op Members include:

● Two shared/potluck meals a year

● Two engagements per year to support other Co-op members’ events (running box office or tech, set up/strike, etc)

● Offering one skill share event per year

● Attending Co-op meetings (quarterly or to be determined by the group)


It is our hope that the Co-op model offers rich paths for creative process, artistic engagement, reciprocity, and connection to community. The Co-op model for the Workroom intentionally resists the commodification or monetization of space, as well as of art. This path makes a majority of the hours in the Workroom available to artists at rates far below market value, thus allowing artistic and curatorial decisions to be freed from the pressures of high space costs. We hope the Co-op model can build a thriving community of artists who share in the care and activation of the Workroom.

This model is an action to realize A.P.E.’s vision to:

● offer affordable space to multiple artists/companies

● protect space and time for process

● maintain periodic access to the space for the broader community

(8 weekends a year and 4-5 weeks in the summer will be reserved for rentals) ● honor A.P.E.’s commitment to fallow periods as important to the health of a space (2 weeks per year The Workroom will be closed for a time of inactivity)

● honor A.P.E.’s commitment to align scale with capacity

The Co-op model for the Workroom is crafted to cover roughly 75% of the Workroom’s operational costs. The remaining costs will be covered by rentals/use by non-Co-op artists and organizations.

We are enlivened by the possibilities and look forward to continuing to develop the specifics in connection with Co-op members.

Applications are due by August 14, 2023.

Decisions will be made by early September 2023, through a review process by A.P.E.’s leadership team and two artists / community members from the Pioneer Valley.

Questions? Email

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