When art teachers Laura Marotta and Stacy Lord met in 2015, the two bonded on their shared values surrounding art, education, and community. Today, the pair are the married duo behind Creative Hub Worcester, a nonprofit organization that offers accessible opportunities in the Arts to members of Worcester’s community. Located at the nexus of downtown and Main South, their programs center around serving and amplifying the area’s vibrant population, specifically folx who are members of marginalized communities. As one of the city’s most active and visible Arts organizations, they’re making an impact and enriching lives through art, and they have plans to continue those efforts in even bigger ways.
Laura and Stacy’s relationship began as a long-distance romance, while Laura was still living and working in the North Shore area. Stacy, a resident of Worcester and long-time Art instructor in our public school system, is also a co-founder of stART on the Street festival. “I just felt extreme admiration and respect for Stacy… In awe of her” says Laura. Eventually, Laura joined Stacy in Worcester, and as their partnership blossomed, so did their vision for what would soon become Creative Hub.
Currently, Creative Hub runs an arts-based after school program at their 653 Main Street Youth Arts location. Students are offered time for homework, academics, snacks, and creative/workshop time where they participate in small group activities as well as receive one-on-one instruction with their projects. The after school program is priced affordably and Mass childcare vouchers are also accepted. Check out www.creativehubworcester.org/youtharts for more information.
Most recently, they’ve launched the Creative Hub Mobile Art Van, which you may have recently seen at Worcester Pride in September. Laura told me the van was designed to “go to any location to curate specific art programs for kids and adults”. The service is free for nonprofit organizations, but any individual or organization can book the Art Van for their event — such a cool idea!
The Creative Hub Exhibition Series, held at the Aurora (across the street from the Youth Arts space at 653 Main), presents local artists the opportunity to display their art at gallery-style events. In addition to curating and showcasing works from individual artists, Creative Hub also makes the exhibition space available to groups/artists looking to host a specific exhibit or show opening.
When preparing to write this spotlight on Creative Hub, I asked Laura Marotta what her and Stacy’s secret was to striking a work-life balance. “You can easily lose yourself when you start a business… together or as a couple”. She said the two like to take little getaways from Worcester once in a while, and she also stressed the importance of maintaining individual hobbies and interests separate from their shared endeavors. Many of us know the difficulties of balancing life with a demanding career, but I imagine it gets harder to do as the scope and magnitude of your work expands, and over the past several years, Creative Hub has done just that.
Across the parking lot from their Youth Arts space sits the future home of Creative Hub’s Community Arts Center at 2 Ionic Avenue. Formerly the site of the Ionic Ave Worcester’s Boys Club, then Boys and Girls Club, the building was built in 1914 and in use for almost 100 years. When Laura and Stacy set their sites on it, 2 Ionic Ave was threatened for demolition, and the wheels were already in motion to turn the property into a self storage facility. Creative Hub officially acquired the building in collaboration with the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston, a group that helps arts organizations find and retain space. The goal is to start construction on the Community Arts Center in 2022, with hopes of opening in 2023. Laura said the purpose of the Arts Center will be “making sure all community members have a safe and reliable space to be creative”. This includes access to artist studios, rehearsal spaces, classroom/workshop space as well as venue space for live events. Personally, as a creative professional working and living in Worcester, I can’t stress enough how much our community needs something like this, particularly in a way that is affordable and accessible, and Creative Hub aims to make this a reality. If you’d like to get involved with the development of the Community Arts Center, check out www.creativehubworcester.org for more.
It’s my pleasure to know Laura and Stacy both through their work with Creative Hub as well as their presence and dedication to Worcester’s LGBTQ+ Community. Their vision serves such an important ingredient in what makes a city feel alive: access to creativity for all. Their mission states “We believe that art heals. We believe that art changes lives”. I happen to agree, and if you do too, be sure to stay up to date with all that Creative Hub is doing. Get involved by attending an event or donating to support their programs. Follow them on social media (below), and check out their website (mentioned above). Keep an eye out for their Inaugural Gala, set for Spring ‘22!