Crafting optimism: Snow Farm raises hope for an artistic community
Even though COVID-19 brought a significant financial hit to Snow Farm: The New England Craft Program in Williamsburg, MA, the small nonprofit is optimistic about the future.
“There’s still uncertainty ahead of us, but we also feel like we’re going to make it,” said Lisa Oram, director of Marketing and Communications for Snow Farm. “We were worried, for sure, but since we reopened in August and saw the positive response from our students and faculty, we are confident the COVID-19 containment plan works and we can continue operations.”
Like many small farms in Massachusetts, Snow Farm’s business model depends on travelers from around the region and around the country, who have not been visiting due to the pandemic. This idyllic location in the Berkshires attracts students from New England, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, California, and more
The 50-acre Williamstown facility, which serves as an artist’s retreat, reopened in August 2020 after securing emergency funding along with increased financial help from generous donors. Over the past few months, business has gradually returned as have students to scenic dorms and dining halls nestled in the Berkshire Hills.
“People have been coming here so happy to have someplace to go,” said Oram. “We’ve limited our class sizes to five or eight people, and with the ample studio space and expansive grounds, students can really spread out.”
The nonprofit offers intensive retreat style workshops to both teens and adults, with classes covering a variety of art mediums including, 2D/mixed media, ceramics, glass, jewelry/metalsmithing, mosaics, woodworking, and welding/metal sculpting.
For the pandemic, Snow Farm had to keep each class group of students together in the dorms and at mealtimes. Additionally, dining has switched from cafeteria-style to individually packaged meals while providing plenty of outdoor seating. They bought outdoor heaters for the patio, and adapted the studio spaces with fans, screen doors, tool sanitizers, handwashing stations, and more.
“We’re hoping people will keep local artists in mind and keep us in mind when searching for gifts. Staying local and spending money in Massachusetts goes a long way to help our communities while allowing artists to keep doing what they’re doing,” explained Oram.