Keene is a small rural city, with an historic downtown and a wonderful community of friendly people. We have a lot of heart and a quite a few creative people, but not much in the way of culturally enriching activities. The City of Keene encompasses 37 square miles of flat flood plains and forested hills, with Mt. Monadnock, the most climbed mountain in America, as the backdrop. Small-scale manufacturing, retail, tourism, and education make up the primary employers of our city. The city was once an industrial mill town and while some industry is still present today, many of the old brick mill buildings now stand vacant, inviting exciting possibilities for the emerging arts community. Keene has a predominately Caucasian population of 23,000 with a median age of 35. Keene is home to a state college and a progressive graduate school, giving the city a youthful collegiate vibe.
Once the project is completed we will see an increase in the retention our region’s young adult and family aged population. Our success will also generate an increase in the professional opportunities for artists in the region, bringing NH in alignment with our neighboring states. Keene will undergo a cultural renaissance and be recognized as a multi-faceted gathering hub for artists and performers and a vibrant center for cultural activities and art. This will become a driving force in the future of our local creative economy, which will draw tourists, new residents, and businesses to Keene and greatly enhance the lives of the current community.
Our community struggles to retain valuable young professionals and artists for whom cultural activities are core to their quality of life. Between 2000 and 2010, the region’s young adult and family-age population (ages 24-39) decreased by 14%. NH has the lowest number of “artistic occupations” in all of New England while the percentage solo artists per capita is higher than the national average. The lack of creative or art-based businesses negatively impacts our workforce competitiveness. Most notably, Keene lacks a hub for multi-disciplinary visual arts, music, and healthy social interactions.
A multi-disciplinary visual and performing arts space will serve as a keystone organization to energize Keene’s creative economy while helping to retain our valuable young professionals. Machina Artspace will stand apart from other non-profit art organizations because after the initial start-up funding we will be a self-sustaining Benefit Corporation, a for profit business with a mission for good. Machina Artspace will be a home to a visual art gallery, a community-based art education and workshop program, artist studios, an emerging artist incubation hub, a music/performance venue and social gathering place. We will provide a space for our talented visual artists and musicians while enhancing Keene’s economic vitality.
Place making: Where will we be located?
Related Spaces & Vision
These spaces are our inspiration!! Click the photos to learn more.
First Friday Artwalk in Downtown Keene, New Hampshire
Let's bring Keene's vibrant art scene to life on a monthly basis. Opening businesses with music, visual art, and performing art on every first Friday of the month!
This give us all the chance to network, build community, allow artists & music to sell, show, and promote their work, and for businesses to build relationships with new and returning customers.