Freak of the Week - Shire City Sanctuary

At 40-50 Melville Street, Pittsfield, MA there is a transformation is happening!

My husband and I bought this amazing Roman Catholic Church, and rectory in 2006 to house the manufacturing company I founded in 1989 and sold in 2003.  I was sitting at the helm of the business, but had no equity in it, so, decided to build equity as landlord to the company with my husband.  In May 2008 the owner of Fuchsia, Inc. dba, Crispina, closed the company.   We were left owning a couple buildings without an anchor tenant wondering how the future would unfold.

Alchemy Initiative is an organization that first got together in January of 2009 and was housed in the lower level of our former Notre Dame church until recently.  The organization was formed, initially by 4 ladies (myself and three others), with a 5th joining shortly there after.  We came together for similar reasons, but, as it turns out, different enough, for three of the 5 to have chosen other paths. I am one of those three.  For me, the impetus was the development of the property my husband and I own on Melville Street and its proximity to the hub of Pittsfield, MA.  A small city and county seat on the upswing in the heart of Berkshire County in Western MA.

After filing for Not-For-Profit status, developing a Board of Directors, and appointing a Director, Alchemy Initiative decided in early May 2012 that they did not want to be tied to a bricks and mortar location.   Since this decision, I have stepped down from their Board of Directors and am pursuing property development without the encumbrance of group decision making.  My project is called Shire City Sanctuary and there are all sorts of ways all manner of people can get involved.

Studio Space is for rent!  There are eight studios planned for our lower level.  The format is open, ceilings high, and light amazing, (and getting more amazing as we replace metal window panels with plate glass!)   A shared office with desks, a conference table and high-speed internet access is part of the deal.  Feel free to contact me for more details at or 413-236-9600.

Shire City Sancutary Holiday Sale will be held on December 1 and 2 from 10-6pm in the beautiful main floor of our building.  Vendor applications are coming soon!

BINGO! Pittsfield’s newest gallery is housed on the brick walled, wood floored stage area of the lower level adjacent to the studio spaces.  Our premiere show opened on July 6th 2012 as part of the city wide First Fridays Artswalks.  The turn out was strong and each of the three artists showing, sold work.  BINGO! is focused on showing work created onsite or curated by those working onsite.  On August 3rd our second show will feature screen printed images from The Dolphin Studio a ffrench family business based in Stockbridge MA with printing facilities located onsite at Shire City Sanctuary.

Hallelujah! cut flower CSA is in the second year of production.  The garden is a lovely get away from the hubbub of this little city and is located on the grounds of the former rectory.   Shares are sold to support urban agriculture and the farmers working hard to provide a beautiful green space in our city.  Full shares offer 15 weeks of freshly cut, organically grown bouquets available for pick up on Wednesdays in the studio.  Half shares and individual bouquets are available too.  Place your orders at 413-236-9600 by Monday at 5pm for Wednesday pick-up 11-5pm.

So, as you can see, there is a lot going on here in Shire City!  Come visit us the next time you are in town.  Shire City Sanctuary, 40 Melville Street Pittsfield, MA 01201  A full website is in the works at