About Flywheel

Flywheel is a non-profit, volunteer-run community arts space open to all, offering:

  • Live music
  • Art exhibits
  • Film & video screenings
  • Poetry & spoken word
  • Theater & performance art
  • A zine library
  • Space for meetings & discussion groups
  • Fun and games
  • ... and more!

Flywheel is a place for countless types of artistic expression, where people can come and create, have fun, and exchange ideas. Flywheel is not owned by anyone, it is everyone's to share and support.

Flywheel Mission Statement

Flywheel, a collectively run, not-for-profit space, aims to build community and give artists of all types the opportunity to craft, practice, and perform their work in an environment where creativity is valued over profit. Volunteer-run and governed by consensus, Flywheel believes that art and information should be equally accessible and affordable to all people.

Who we Are

We are a volunteer collective of artists, musicians, parents, videographers, community members and other good people dedicated to running a space that is created and controlled by the people who use it. Anyone can participate in Flywheel's decisions by joining the collective. In the collective, every member has an equal vote.

How it works

Q. Who owns Flywheel?
A. Flywheel is operated by the Flywheel collective.

Q. Who decides on the programming?
A. Programming is determined by the Flywheel community. Anyone may join the collective, get trained on our procedures, and schedule an event.  If you don’t like what Flywheel is offering, get involved and book your own event.

Q. What does Flywheel provide artists?
A. We provide you with space, respect, a portion of the door money, and freedom to express yourself. We also send our listings to the local papers, print up a monthly calendar, post it on our website, and e-mail it to our listserv. Beyond that, artists are responsible for their own publicity. Think of it as an enhanced do-it- yourself space. That’s how Flywheel started – we "did it ourselves."

Q. Where does Flywheel's funding come from?
A. A portion of Flywheels funding comes from grants but we primarily rely on donations ranging from $1 to $1,000 from individuals. Fundraising events have included car washes, concerts, house shows, tag sales, an annual appeal, and record fairs. Many people and businesses have donated equipment, supplies and services. We also rely on sales from our café. The largest on-going contributions are the countless hours of volunteer work that keep Flywheel going. Your donations of time, money, goods, and services are greatly needed and appreciated!

Q. Where does the money go?
A. All proceeds from our grants, donations, and fundraising efforts go toward Flywheel's utilities and other expenses. Flywheel takes a small percentage of door money with the rest going to performers.  Flywheel keeps its events at an affordable cost.

Q. What kinds of events do you have at Flywheel?
A. Just about any kind! Punk, pop, avant-garde, hip-hop, jazz, techno, folk, theater, art openings, game nights, haunted houses, and videos, just to name a few. We have performers from all over the world and from just down the street, really famous people and local yokels.

How to get involved

Everyone who walks through our doors is involved in Flywheel. We invite everyone who values what we do to contribute something to keeping it going, and growing. Below are some suggestions:

Take a shift. We are in constant need of people to run our café and soundboard at shows. It's easy, fun, and we’ll train you. Two nights a month would help us out a lot.

Produce a show or series. Make your dream a reality – a certain type of music, a series of screenings by local filmmakers, a discussion group, a youth group – you name it. You could even write a grant and possibly receive funding for doing a project at Flywheel.

Join the collective. Your ideas and energy can help Flywheel become better than ever.

Donate your talents. Examples: electricians, lawyers, CPA's, web designers, photographers, videographers, carpenters, grant writers, archivists. Whatever you’re good at or like to do can help us greatly.

More information can be found on our volunteer information page, by calling 413.527.9800 or by writing us at infoATflywheelarts.org. We'd love to hear from you!

Flywheel Origin Story

In the spring of 1998, Cindy Bow and Helen Harrison founded Valley Arts and Music Alliance (VAMA), a grassroots collective in which artists would help each other produce free, all- ages shows that reflected the their own creative visions rather than the values of the music industry establishment. VAMA attracted like-minded people, most of whom were already doing similar things in their own homes, church and dorm basements, record stores, VFW halls, and any other place they could find. Together the group produced over two-dozen shows through December of 1998, when a friend and supporter found a permanent space in Easthampton – a long-vacant cabinet store owned by a local doctor. As word of the space spread, more people joined, and Flywheel was born. Our doors opened in March of 1999. Since then, the unique expressions of countless artists continue to transform the space from day to day. In 2007, we decided to leave our home of 8 years at 2 Holyoke St. and relocate to Easthampton’s historic Old Town Hall.  Over the years, some old friends have moved on while new ones have joined us, but the vision remains the same.

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