Bruce Fowler and Nancy Sachs founded Paper City Studios, LLC at 80 Race Street in Holyoke in August 2007. The building is located along the second level canal. It has a long history as a wholesale and retail grocer’s warehouse and most recently a local beer and wine distributor and realty. The current owners, both artists, purchased the building with the vision of establishing an active community of working artists both within the building proper and in collaboration with other area artists and the community at large.
Bruce Fowler, MFA in sculpture and former designer builder and Nancy Sachs, a ceramic sculptor and social worker bring their collective skills and experience to the Race Street project. They are developing a 36,000 sq ft mixed use arts building in the Historic Canal/Arts & Innovation District combining ground floor commercial and gallery space with artists’ studio rentals on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The 4th floor has evolved into an open stunning raw 6600 sq ft all-purpose installation, performance space … for now. The plan is to expand and develop this space into artists live work studio and workspaces. A former carriage house made of brick, currently connected by a narrow sky lit staircase to the main front building, will hopefully one day house shared classroom, shop, studio space. Current tenants include: photographers, painters, mixed media artists, print maker, graphic designer, installation and performance artists. The commercial businesses are currently in transition.
The economic revival of downtown Holyoke and promotion, advocacy and support of the Canalwalk and other urban revitalization projects are also important components of their mission. Bruce and Nancy have hopes to include a café restaurant on the ground floor as well.