ātac's mission is to provide a venue for visual and performing artists and nurture a community of artists, art supporters, and art appreciators in the MetroWest area of greater Boston.
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization in downtown Framingham, MA. Founded in 2005, we host high-quality, professional musicians and performers as well as being home to a variety of programs, open mics and classes. Our vision includes bringing together a diverse community of artists and art appreciators of all ages, cultures, and interests in a supportive and nurturing environment.
ātac was founded in 2005 by Michael Moran with the vision of bringing together a community of artists and art appreciators of all ages, cultures, and interests. Our first home was a small storefront in the village of Saxonville on the north side of Framingham. However, after a year of sold-out performances, it was clear that ātac needed a larger venue.
In May 2007, Framingham Town Meeting voted to lease the historic downtown Hollis Street Firehouse to ātac for 50 years. We began a Capital Campaign to renovate the building. The Board raised over $250,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. A year later, we officially settled into our new home: a completely renovated performance hall with space for music concerts, theater shows, art exhibits, classes, film screenings, and lectures.
In 2015, we celebrated a decade of bringing the arts to the MetroWest community. Our art galleries were updated and refocused to feature MetroWest artists. In addition, we launched our third exhibition space, Morton Street Gallery, through a partnership with Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company.
When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, ātac closed its doors and reached out to our community. Through the generosity of our members, friends, and with the help of Federal programs like the Paycheck Protection program and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, we remained operational, retained our staff, created a virtual platform, and experimented with new programs. Although closed to audiences, we offered our location to local non-profit organizations, community groups, and the City of Framingham. They provided direct services to our community, such as food and supply distributions and walk-up testing. To keep our space vibrant during the lengthy lockdown, local artist Lena McCarthy beautified our front doors with a new mural, and the youth from Discovering Hidden Gems designed a mural for our outbuilding. Then, in July of 2021, OUT MetroWest became upstairs tenants. They completed significant renovations to the second floor, creating program and office space and providing ātac with new opportunities for collaborations and increased financial stability.
Eighteen months after closing our doors, we re-opened our theater and galleries to live audiences in September 2021. If the pandemic challenges have taught us anything, it’s that we thrive when we rely on one another. ātac’s connections with area non-profits, neighborhood leaders, and creators have deepened to produce new opportunities for the arts in Framingham.
In many ways, ātac is returning to our roots as a community-centered arts organization. Our new collaborations allow us to increase financial sustainability, expand our capacity to produce dynamic programming and better respond to the artistic needs of our many MetroWest communities. In turn, ātac provides our neighbors and partners with intentionally inclusive access to valuable arts resources and community-focused support as we help bring their creative visions into vivid reality.