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Community Music School of Springfield and the Springfield Cultural Partnership Announce Trust Transfer Project

SPRINGFIELD — Community Music School of Springfield (CMSS), in partnership with the Springfield Cultural Partnership (SCP), today announced the launch of the Trust Transfer Project, an initiative supporting and celebrating Springfield artists whose work conveys public health information in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and increase immunization rates. Funding for the Trust Transfer Project is made possible by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development’s 2021 Urban Agenda Grant Program, supporting community-based solutions to workforce and small business challenges.

“Directing these critical resources to support community-led partnerships in neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by the pandemic helps expand our fight against COVID-19,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are proud to make these targeted investments in programs that address key needs of urban communities across our Commonwealth, providing vital support to fight the pandemic while also helping to strengthen these communities for the future.”

The Trust Transfer Project will receive $75,000 of funding for joint program between Community Music School of Springfield and the Springfield Cultural Partnership. With the intent of placing a spotlight on artistic expression as a key component of building community trust, the Trust Transfer Project provides funding for Black and Latinx artists in Springfield’s South End and Metro Center neighborhoods to create messages in a variety of languages and artistic mediums. Black & Latinx communities continue to be impacted by COVID-19 at significantly higher rates than the White population. With the closure of arts venues and cancellation of in-person events, artists have lost both significant income and the opportunity to showcase their art form. The goal of the Trust Transfer Project is to support Springfield’s Black and Latinx artists from the South End and Metro Center, providing a platform to affect change and promote health and wellness in their communities.

Non-profit community organizations and working artists in the South End and Metro Center of Springfield will be invited to create works of art that include evidence-based messaging around COVID vaccines and stopping the spread. “We are grateful to Governor Baker, Lt Governor Polito, and Secretary Kennealy for their support and funding of the Trust Transfer Project. During these challenging and turbulent times, artists have been especially impacted. We are honored to support our local artists who bring hope and healing to our community,” said Eileen McCaffery, Executive Director of Community Music School of Springfield.

The Trust Transfer Project was inspired by The BeHealthy Partnership, a coalition of Baystate Health Community Health Centers, Caring Health Center, and Health New England. It was an outgrowth of the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s CultureRx initiative piloted in Springfield last year that brought together Public Health Institute of Western Mass, Caring Health Center, and Community Music School of Springfield as design partners for this new statewide initiative that advances the role of culture as a protective factor for the health of everyone in the Commonwealth.

“We hope to bridge the partnership gap among artists, the faith community, health institutions & community organizations as we come together in unity. Out of the darkness of this pandemic comes a shining ray of hope. Artists will be lifted up and encouraged as their gifts make room for them to create as they help in the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.” said Vanessa Ford, Project Manager, CMSS teaching artist and lifelong resident of Springfield, who served for the past eight years as a MA Senate Staff member.

“The talent of artists and art in Springfield is stunning. The SCP is thrilled to partner on this important project to build pathways for community action and collective leadership represented through art,” said Karen Finn, Executive Director of Springfield Cultural Partnership.

The Urban Agenda Grant Program promotes economic vitality in urban neighborhoods by fostering partnerships that capitalize on unique local assets and community-driven responses to specific challenges. Urban Agenda grants are competitive one-year awards that offer these partnerships flexible funding to implement programming and projects based on creative, collaborative work models to support economic progress in urban communities.