Promoting Creative Workspaces in Somerville

Our Vision
Smart Space helps to provide and preserve work-only spaces for artists and makers in order to maintain and encourage Somerville’s creative vitality, diverse artist population, and unique character into the future.

Our Mission
Initiated by a dedicated group of long time Somerville residents and artists, Smart Space advocates for local artists and makers. The creation of a new hub for the arts in Somerville will address the decreasing availability of work and studio spaces for our artists, makers, and workers. Smart Space sustains deep roots in Somerville’s creative population; we seek to build upon neighborhood character by enriching cultural resources while promoting economic creativity and growth. Our mission integrates arts, culture, and the creative economy into existing neighborhoods. We foster an environment for public exposure to the arts, we create opportunity for local businesses, and we provide a locus for innovative contributions to Somerville’s changing economic and cultural landscape. Smart Space upholds a commitment to preserve our unique and diverse community by nurturing the artists, makers, and workers who help make Somerville so extraordinary.

Smart Space Board of Directors

Jen PalacioJen Palacio | President

Jen moved to Somerville in 2006 and quickly fell in love with the various neighborhoods, squares, and the unique creative community of the city. After about a decade as a project manager for various financial institutions, and inspired by the artists and makers in her community, she started her own craft business aptly named Just Enough Nonsense in 2010. Jen has participated in several local craft fairs and artist events including: ArtBeat, Somerville Local First’s Local is for Lovers Markets, and Somerville Open Studios. A former employee at one of Somerville’s favorite locally owned gift shops, Davis Squared, she still stops by seasonally to update the chalkboard art behind the register. Jen has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from BU and a Master’s in Sustainability and Environmental Management from Harvard. She is excited to marry her business expertise with her passion for the arts as part of the Smart Space team.

Damon LehrerDamon Lehrer | Vice President

Damon studied drawing and painting with Paul Rahilly and attended Boston University as a graduate student in painting. He has shown paintings at the Pepper Gallery in Boston and Peter Tatistcheff Gallery in New York, among others. He has taught at various schools including the Rhode Island School of Design, Boston University, The Art Institute of Boston, Massachusetts College of Art, and Montserrat College of Art. In 2010, he started the Boston Figurative Art Center, with its central studio in Somerville, to promote figurative art and artists in the area; it has since grown into an organization with hundreds of artist and amateur members.

Michael J. EpsteinMichael J. Epstein | Founding Board Member

Michael J. Epstein is a Somerville-based filmmaker and songwriter/musician, and member of the Somerville Arts Council Board. His debut feature film, TEN, a surrealistic, post-exploitation exploration of identity, is currently on the international festival circuit and has been featured in CURVE, Fangoria, DigBoston, and The Boston Herald.

Michael’s music and music-video work has been featured by TIME, USAToday, and SPIN and has appeared in numerous TV shows and video games (Dance Dance Revolution, Rock Band). His band, The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library, was selected as CBS best local rock band in 2013 and has focused on collaborations including an original rock ballet at Dorchester’s Strand Theatre with BalletRox, Art-Exchange: songs based on visual works and visual works based on songs, 37 songs to celebrate speakers at TEDxSomerville, and a continuing run on the franchised Encyclopedia Show Somerville.

Michael hopes to work in collaboration with others to establish a filmmaking studio in Somerville.

Development Partners

fort-point-logoRichard Graf | Project Developer

Fort Point Consulting


pqa-logoPeter Quinn | Architect

Peter Quinn Architects


kmdg-logoKlopfer Martin | Landscape Architect

Klopfer Martin Design Group



Andrew Fish | Visual Artist

Joel Janowitz | Visual Artist

David S Knisely | Attorney at Law

Kathleen Hogan Knisely | Urban Planner

Brian Zink | Visual Artist and Art Installer

Former Board Members
Resa BlatmanResa Blatman is the former President and an original founding board member of Smart Space. Resa is a longtime resident of Somerville (27 years) and a Somerville homeowner (17 years), and she has a passionate dedication for her adopted city and home. Resa holds a BFA in graphic design from MassArt and an MFA in painting from Boston University. She is a visual artist and has worked at Vernon Street Studios in Somerville since 2006. Her work deals with issues of global warming, nature, and the shifting landscape. She shows her work widely throughout the U.S. and has several upcoming exhibits through 2016, including a solo exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Georgia. Resa is a recent recipient of The Arctic Circle residency and will be traveling to Svalbard, Norway in June 2015 to see the great icebergs and glaciers firsthand.
Anne LillyKinetic sculptor (and an original founding board member of Smart Space) Anne Lilly uses carefully engineered motion to manipulate our perceptions of space and time. Her highly ordered and precisely constructed interactive sculptures move in strikingly organic, fluid and mesmeric ways. She is a 2014 visiting artist at MIT, 2013 recipient of the Annalee and Barnett Newman grant-award for lifetime achievement, 2012 artist in residence at AIB, and 2011 recipient of the Blanche E. Colman award. She exhibits widely in the US and Europe, and her work is held in corporate, private, and museum collections across the country. Her studio is located in Somerville, MA — one thin floor above a fine chocolate manufacturer. Anne joined the board of Smart Space to assist in the effort to envision, create and sustain a permanent, dedicated artist work-only building for the City of Somerville.
Please consider making a donation!

Your contribution to Somerville Makers & Artists, Inc. will help with the many costs associated with developing a new not-for-profit art center in Somerville.

  • Contractor fees and services
  • Architectural renderings
  • Development fees
  • Sprinkler and new HVAC systems for the building
  • Public green space/park
  • Artist and maker studios for the creative community
  • … and much, much more!

We at Somerville Makers & Artists, Inc. are very grateful for any amount you can donate now, and into the future. Thank you!

Your donation is tax deductible. Somerville Makers and Artists, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation registered in Massachusetts. We are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorized access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic, and managerial procedures via a third party website, to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.
Your personal information is not stored anywhere on the Somerville Makers & Artists, Inc. website.
Somerville Makers & Artists, Inc. does not offer refunds via this website.
EIN: 47-2187545.
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Our mailing address:
Somerville Makers and Artists, Inc.
6 Vernon Street, #321
Somerville, MA 02145