Welcome Holyoke Artists!

The creative economy is booming in Holyoke and we couldn't be more excited to be partnering with the city for a third year in a row. We are thrilled to introduce the newest additions to our Holyoke Matched Savings Program -- our biggest and most eclectic group yet.

Whether photographing the lively food culture of the Pioneer Valley, painstakingly restoring a historically significant violin, or passing down the secrets of metal craftsmanship to Holyoke's next generation, these nine artists are fueling creative resurgence and bringing fresh energy, art and skill to the Paper City.

Sarah Coates' work teeters on the edge of art and design. While Sarah has an extensive education in contemporary jewelry that informs their creations, their work intentionally crosses the boundaries of jewelry making and expands into the realms of sculpture, installation, design, and writing. Conceptually, Sarah's work focuses on the schism between adulthood and growing up. Utilizing a material jamboree of hand-made or time-worn items to refine their own narrative, Sarah muddles with memories, simultaneously creating and getting lost in that same story. To Sarah, this particular brew of reality and fiction, steeped from the materials they use, is akin to making magic.

Sarah Coates,  This is My Hugging Cactus and So Can You , 2016  

Sarah Coates, This is My Hugging Cactus and So Can You, 2016

little cat metals

little cat metals

A classically trained metalsmith, Carol Joannidi of Little Cat Metals hand-fabricates timelessly modern jewelry with recycled American metal. She strives to create lightweight but durable designs using positive and negative space. Stone setting is always done by hand and each bezel is custom for the unique stone used. Carol was raised on Martha’s Vineyard surrounded by educators, artists, cooks, storytellers, and other creatives. Now residing in Holyoke, her designs are inspired by nature, math/science, and her surroundings.

Creating a distinctive and immersive experience for the viewer is Chris Nelson’s main goal. To achieve this he designs and builds site-responsive installations that complement their environments, often employing kinetic elements, sound and colored lighting. These pieces address the interaction between person and space, both on physical and emotional levels. Chris is interested in how people relate to a given space or environment and how their perspective changes as they navigate throughout that space.

Chris Nelson,  303 ZONE 4 , 2015

Chris Nelson, 303 ZONE 4, 2015


Sarah Peck is a luthier who concentrates on early stringed instruments. She makes and restores instruments in the viola da gamba family, all if which were popular during the 15th to 18th centuries. Her work includes historic practices in carving and decoration all the while trying to maintain playability that represents the best historical practices. Years of intensive work and study in Connecticut, Massachusetts, England and New York make Sarah not only an expert in her craft, but also in the history and development of Baroque instruments. Whether the task at hand is the painstaking restoration of a historically significant instrument or the routine repair and maintenance of a violin, Sarah spends the time deemed necessary to do the finest work.

Carlos Peña is an artist and activist who has been designing and screen printing garments for over 15 years. His prints address themes of social justice, using bilingual/Spanglish text along with images that reference pop culture and empower black and brown communities. Carlos is originally from the Dominican Republic, was raised in New York City and now resides in Holyoke. After deciding to turn his printing skills into a business, he opened Paper City Clothing on Dwight Street, where he currently offers a variety of screen printing and image transfer services along with community workshops.

Community workshop run by Paper City Clothing Company

Community workshop run by Paper City Clothing Company

Kamil Peters

Kamil Peters

Drawing inspiration from concepts of rebirth, mortality and nature, Kamil Peters uses steel, found objects, scrap metal and reclaimed wood to fabricate fine art and commercial pieces. His creations are heavily influenced by ancient artifacts but reflect our current culture. He explores a variety of textures, patinas and other finishing techniques to enhance the natural beauty of the found metal he uses. Through his career, Kamil has had the enduring goal of sharing his knowledge with others, particularly young people. In passing down the secrets of metal craftsmanship and sculpture, which he does at his Holyoke shop, The Diesel Works, he is fulfilling a sense of responsibility and paying homage to the tradition.

Matthew Johnson builds high quality, environmentally conscious furniture and custom cabinetry for residential and commercial clients. He founded Piedmont Woodcraft in 2011 on the premise that high quality, thoughtful design is as important as respecting the environment and limiting waste. To this end, Matthew's work uses naturally-based, environmentally friendly finishes and recycled or reclaimed wood and metals. Matthew frequents regional lumber yards throughout Massachusetts and greater New England that specialize in reclaimed lumber, seeking out wood with a history to use in my projects. Each piece is unique in some way, with a story of its own to tell.

Matthew Johnson, Two part wormy maple coffee table

Matthew Johnson, Two part wormy maple coffee table

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Dominic Perri is a professional food photographer who documents food culture for a variety of publications, businesses, and personal projects. He grew up in north New Jersey in a large Italian family where he developed his love for food at an early age. Dominic's photos range from close-up images of food at restaurants, to portraits of chefs, to his more recent work about the food "process." Being surrounded by farms and a lively food culture in the Pioneer Valley, Dominic is inspired to capture the life of food: the people that grow it, the hands that mold it, and the communities that enjoy it.

For Luis Salazar, video is the perfect medium to feature stories of individuals in divided communities in an effort to create awareness and bring people together. He has been a videographer since age 16. Luis' first documentary project was telling the stories of those impacted by terrorism in his home country, Peru. After an extensive career in Latin America, he moved to Brooklyn, NY and started the hyperlocal media platform, The New Regulars. There he created the film Locality, a living map of artists, leaders, and small business owners in Crown Heights. Luis is currently working producing a second season in Holyoke.

Luis Salazar,  Locality (film still) , 2016

Luis Salazar, Locality (film still), 2016

Our 2018 Holyoke programming is made possible by our generous partners and funders, specifically the  Barr FoundationMassachusetts Growth Capital CorporationSurdna Foundation, and the United States Department of Agriculture.