Holyoke Launches Survey of City’s Creative Force

This summer, Holyoke’s Office of Planning and Economic Development wants to get a handle on the size of the city’s creative sector. Holyoke’s entrepreneurs have created products including music mash-up technology featured on Good Morning America and holographic paper used to make Super Bowl programs. Creative economy coordinator, Jeffrey Bianchine says more than seventy artists are already on the city’s radar.

“But where are the other hundred to two-hundred that are just quietly doing it in their homes and their
 garages or their kitchens.”

Bianchine says two surveyors — both UMass Amherst graduates — will generate a comprehensive list of residents who work in the creative industries. He says that kind of tool could help link artists to business development resources — like lawyers and accountants — and encourage like-minded entrepreneurs to collaborate.

“Say you’re a steel worker and you’re now with another metal worker and a glass worker and a wood worker and you’re all coming together and figuring out how to create a product that you would never be able to create on your own. And having the business know how to do that.”

Bianchine says the surveyors will make an effort to reach out to members of the Latino community — which he says is underrepresented at city networking events and workshops. He says the data will be analyzed to identify the strongest industries in Holyoke and those that might develop in the future. The report should be complete by mid-August.