Just as people in the creative economy thrive with access to mentorship and learning opportunities, they need places to work and live. BlueHub invested in Western Avenue Studios & Lofts (WASL) to ensure the facility is preserved under the stewardship of established partner organizations.
WASL is one of the largest existing artist-studio complexes in the United States. Situated in a renovated historic mill building, the 250 studios have a vacancy rate of 0%, reflecting the current demand for affordable space; the accompanying 50 units of affordable work/live loft apartments not only support the arts but also help combat regional gentrification.
In 2022, WASL’s founder sold the space to the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston, Inc. (A&BC), a 30-year-old nonprofit dedicated to empowering and supporting artists and small arts and cultural organizations. BlueHub supported the transition with a $3 million acquisition loan, adding funds to those from Eastern Bank, A&BC and the seller to help close the deal and preserve the affordability of the studios.
A&BC’s larger goal is to create a cultural community development corporation that supports greater access to capital and addresses systemic inequities in the cultural sector by providing safe, affordable and permanent spaces where art can be made, rehearsed and experienced within the area’s diverse communities.