These Two Women Are Building An Arts Hub In Worcester And Found Empowerment Among Female Entrepreneurs In The Process

By Aviva Luttrell, Springfield, Mass.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Two Massachusetts women are creating a dynamic arts hub in Worcester which will include creative offices, a visual arts maker space, a classroom space with educational programming for local youth and an art gallery., Springfield, Mass.

It all started with two women who had an idea.

Now, three years later, Laura Marotta and her wife, Stacy Lord, have obtained nearly all of the $8.1 million in funding that it’s going to take to transform the former Ionic Avenue Boys Club into a hub for the arts in Worcester.

Marotta and Lord hope to close out the financing of their capital campaign by the end of the year and begin construction with an opening date of spring 2020.

Through that process, they’ve joined a community of female entrepreneurs in the city, becoming more confident and empowered during the age of the #MeToo movement, when the narrative around women is changing.

“Real women lift up other women, that’s so important,” Marotta said. “We’re all dealing with and facing the same types of adversity in our lives.”

They said traditionally, women have been taught that it’s bad to make others feel uncomfortable. But with the need to raise tens of thousands of dollars for the facility, Marotta said she’s become less afraid to speak up and push back.

“I don’t feel like I’m in a box anymore where I have to protect people from anything, people don’t step around us and especially in the world that we’re in, the fundraising world, there’s no tip toeing,” she said. “When I was growing up, I never wanted to disappoint anybody — you have to take that out of it. You have to learn that this is not your personal life, this is not a friend thing, this is something that you’re building and that you have to convince people, no matter what, that this is going to happen.”

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