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Mass Humanities Shifts Headquarters to Holyoke

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The move marks a new chapter in the organization’s 50 years of supporting the humanities in Massachusetts.

Mass Humanities, the state’s leading funder of public humanities programs, is relocating its headquarters from Northampton to Holyoke in August. The foundation will move into the newly renovated Armory Building at 130 Race Street.

“We are honored to join the vibrant cultural landscape in Holyoke,” said Brian Boyles, executive director of Mass Humanities. “The humanities connect each of us to traditions and perspectives that strengthen the bonds we share as participants in our democracy. We look forward to learning from this incredible community and to deepening our commitment to this region.”

You can watch a brief TV segment by 22 News, and listen to a recent episode of NEPM’s The Fabulous 413, to hear more about the milestone.

Group walks in front of the Armoury Building.
A group of Mass Humanities grantees walks in front of the organization’s future headquarters, located at 130 Race Street in Holyoke.

The move comes during the organization’s 50th anniversary year. To mark the occasion, the foundation hosted a social gathering at Mill 1 Events on Friday, June 28, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. Mass Humanities grantees, staff, board and former board members, community partners, and local legislators came together to celebrate the cultural sector and forge new connections in Holyoke. Titled “The Future of Storytelling,” the event featured performances by poets from Holyoke and Springfield, as well as musicians Bomba de Aquí and Tony Silva.

“Holyoke has a strong story to tell, it’s a reflection of our country’s story,” said Joshua Garcia, Mayor of Holyoke. “Here in Holyoke, we are local and regional collaborators in the business of helping people, compassion is in our DNA and that is part of our story.”

(L-R) Brian Boyles, Mayor Joshua Garcia, and Aaron Vega.

“I want to welcome Mass Humanities to their new location in our city and I look forward to our collaboration in making Massachusetts a better place for all people to live and share their story,” said Garcia.

Mass Humanities is one of fifty-four state affiliates of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Founded in 1974 on the campus of UMass Amherst, the foundation has remained in the Connecticut River Valley while supporting organizations across the Commonwealth. In 2023, Mass Humanities awarded more than $2.3 million in grants to Massachusetts non-profits.

Keynote speakers at the event included:

  • Representative Patricia Duffy
  • Michael Bobbitt, Executive Director of Mass Cultural Council
  • Mayor Joshua Garcia

In addition to reestablishing its center of operations, Mass Humanities has implemented several new initiatives to commemorate its 50th anniversary:

Since 2000, Mass Humanities’ central office has been located at the Pomery-Shephard House in  Northampton.

Grantee Zee Johnson.
Zelmon “Zee” Johnson, owner of Olive Tree Books in Springfield, speaks to a group of Mass Humanities grantees during “The Future of Storytelling,” a workshop held the same day as the organization’s reception announcing the move to Holyoke.

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