Northampton Arts Council

The Northampton Arts Council is an organization whose goal is to support and promote the arts in Northampton. Originally created as a Local Arts Lottery Council, it began its work by administering a grants program in which proceeds from a state lottery are distributed to local artists, arts groups, and public schools.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Da Camera Singers Spring Concert

WHAT: Da Camera Singers “Dissident Voices” Spring Concert
WHERE: Helen Hills Hills Chapel, Smith College, Elm St, Northampton, MA
WHEN: Friday, May 31 at 8 PM

Da Camera Singers, Sheila Heffernon, conductor, presents “Dissident Voices” on Friday, May 31 at 8 PM at Helen Hills Hills Chapel, Smith College, Elm St, Northampton, MA and Sunday, June 2 at 3 PM at The Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew, on the corner of Federal and Church Streets, Greenfield, MA.

Dissident Voices celebrates voices that have expressed their dissidence through their historical actions, their poetry or their musical compositions. The concert will feature the music of Suffragette and English composer Ethel Smyth, African-American composer and concert pianist Margaret Bonds, Jewish composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, White-American composer and organist William Albright, and Latinx composer and conductor Francisco J. Núńez. The voices of Joan of Arc and Antigone will be brought to life in compositions based on their words. The repertoire includes settings of the poetry of Langston Hughes and Eric Gamalinda. Our guest artist, Anika Nailah, author and performance poet, will present her own spoken poetry and be our featured narrator for “The Lark.” Justina Golden, mezzo-soprano,will be the soloist for “The Lark.” Our guest pianist, Nancy Babb, will perform settings of spirituals by Bonds. The concert will also feature performances Heather Reichgott, pianist and Dustin Patrick, percussion.

Concerts are open to all. A free will donation is accepted.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Serious Play presents: Jessica Litwak / THE WALL

WHAT: Serious Play Theatre Ensemble presents THE WALL by Jessica Litwak
WHEN: June 21 & 22 7:30pm
WHERE: Flex Space A.P.E @ 33 Hawley / Northampton Community Arts Trust
                33 Hawley St, Northampton MA

Serious Play Theatre Ensemble presents, our third production in our series-

A close kin to the one we hear so much about, but this wall both real & metaphoric separates Jews from Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians. Litwak knows first-hand the perspective from both sides spinning a tale of hope and crushed dreams, faith and failure, and above all the unrelenting search for justice.

Written and performed by NYC based, award winning international theatre artist, Jessica Litwak

As seen by Serious Play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last August, this play uses poetry, humor, and diverse characters through puppetry to give voice to an impossible problem that can only be survived through increased humanity, paradoxical curiosity and artful expression. As a Jewish artist with important relationships in Palestine and Israel, Litwak has a unique perspective on the Occupation. She grapples with deeply felt paradoxes of heart & heritage, east & west, men & women, justice & peace.

Jessica Litwak is a multifaceted international theatre artist focused on theatre for social change & community engagement. She is an award winning playwright, actress, and educator. She received her BA in acting from NYU and her MFA in playwriting from Columbia. She often works creating theatre in the Middle East, Central Europe and the U.K. She is a core member of Theatre Without Borders and Artistic Director of the H.E.A.T. Collective and the founder of Artists Rise Up New York.

Barbershop Quartet concert at Forbes Library

WHAT: Shave & a Haircut Barbershop Quartet
WHEN: Monday, June 10th at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Coolidge Museum at Forbes Library 20 West Street, Northampton, MA

Shave & a Haircut returns to the Forbes Library happily singing old favorite songs, doo-wop, jazz, and Barbershop Classics for you in 4-part harmony. As usual, a fun little sing-a-long will be included.

This quartet has been performing for over 10 years. For the Northampton performance, Karl Knapp, original founder of Shave & a Haircut, will join in a couple of songs.

Pictured left to right: Ted Fijal (Lead/Tenor), Steve LeClair (High Tenor), Bill Simons (Bass), and Dick Bourbeau (Baritone).

Forbes Library
20 West Street
Northampton MA 01060

Monday, May 13, 2019

Zikina: East African Folk Blend Lawn Concert

WHAT: Zikina: East African Folk Blend Lawn Concert
WHEN: Wednesday June 19, 7 PM (Rain date: July 24)
WHERE: Forbes Library lawn, 20 West St, Northampton, MA

Free - all ages

The Zikina experience starts with curiosity. If you’re like most audience members, you’ll immediately ask, “What is that he’s playing?” Uganda native Gideon Ampeire draws you in with a variety of traditional East African instruments rarely found in the US, including enanga (zither), adungu (harp), and kalimba (thumb piano)- all of which he builds himself.

Once your interest is piqued by the instruments, you’ll quickly discover that there’s so much more to the band beyond novelty, with a multicultural blend of dance beats, rock, and jazz. Mike Cardozo (also of Gokh-Bi System) uses his guitar to improvise intricate melodic conversations with Gideon and dances through the beat with punchy rhythmic lines. Roston Kirk on bass and Kade Parkin on drums weave a sonic landscape that flows seamlessly from intense grooves to joyous dance beats to dreamy textures.  Gideon's vocals cut powerfully through the fabric or float lightly above. It all adds up to something completely new and unique, yet immediately accessible.

Forbes Library lawn concerts are FREE for everyone! Bring a picnic, bring a blanket, bring the kids.
Free parking is available after 6 PM in the library lot and after 5 PM at the Smith College parking garage, in the white spaces only.
Funding for this event is provided by the Friends of Forbes and community donations.

A Public Celebration at 33 Hawley Street, A Permanent Home for the Arts

WHAT: A Public Celebration at 33 Hawley Street, A Permanent Home for the Arts
WHEN: June 9th, 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm
WHERE: The Northampton Community Arts Trust, 33 Hawley St, Northampton, MA

The Northampton Community Arts Trust announces the launch of the pubic and final phase of its capital campaign for 33 Hawley Street on Sunday, June 9th at Hawley Street. This exciting new community arts facility is approximately two-thirds complete; the goal of the next phase of the capital
campaign is to raise the final 33 percent of the funds needed to complete the renovation of 33 Hawley. In recognition of 33 Hawley’s growing role in the Valley’s cultural life, and to kick off the public campaign and encourage community support for completion of this permanent home for the arts, the Arts Trust invites the public to a free celebration on June 9th. 

The June 9th celebration runs from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm at 33 Hawley Street, and has something for everyone. Starting at 1:00 pm, local artists perform every half hour in the Flex performance/event space, while other activities are ongoing throughout the building and grounds, including chalk art for everyone and the collaborative construction of an outdoor sculpture. From 5:00 to 7:00 pm there is salsa dancing, while at the same time Disney's Coco is screened in the Flex space. Food and beverages are available for purchase throughout the day from food trucks on site, and beer is available in a Building 8 Brewing’s beer garden. 

Northampton Community Arts Trust Board President Richard Wagner said, “33 Hawley embodies the mission of the Arts Trust, which is to ensure the long-term vitality of the Northampton region by acquiring and preserving affordable and accessible space for the arts. We bought this property in 2013 because we saw that it could be a permanent home in the community for a wide variety of artistic and cultural uses. We have already renovated and opened about two-thirds of the building. We have workroom/teaching spaces, a dedicated dance studio, a lobby and mezzanine that also function as event and gallery spaces, and the “Flex” a large space that serves as a performance and event hall. In the final phase of renovation, we will complete a 200+ seat flexible theater space, theater support spaces, a dedicated visual art gallery, administrative offices, and finishes to the lobby and mezzanine.” The Arts Trusts keeps 33 Hawley operational costs to a minimum by avoiding commercial debt and through energy saving measures that include a solar array covering most of the roof and supplying the building with electricity. Low overhead means 33 Hawley will be a sustainable home for the arts in the Pioneer Valley for decades to come.

Three long time Northampton arts organizations are currently in residence at 33 Hawley: the Northampton Center for the Arts, APE Ltd., and Northampton Community Television. These organizations act as portals to all artists, arts groups, arts educators and community organizations who seek to use the various spaces at 33 Hawley. 

While Northampton and the Pioneer Valley are widely known for their cultural offerings, the area is in danger of being a victim of its own success as property values rise and arts organizations are priced out of their homes. By acquiring, protecting and renovating two-thirds of 33 Hawley, the Arts Trust has already created a permanent home for the arts in the Northampton region. With the launch of the public capital campaign, the Arts Trust is asking the community to step up and complete the final 33 percent of 33 Hawley.

Funds for the purchase and renovation of Hawley Street to date have been raised through individual and business donations, and grants from The Massachusetts Cultural Council Cultural Facilities Fund and MassDevelopment, the Commonwealth Office of Finance and Administration, the Commonwealth Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Smith College, the Beveridge Family Foundation, C&S Wholesale Grocers, and the Wellspring Fund of the Peace Development Fund. For further information on the Arts Trust, visit or

June in the Hosmer Gallery: photography & botanical portraits

Photograph by Paul Redstone
WHAT: June in the Hosmer Gallery: photography & botanical portraits
WHEN: June 2-29, 2019 // Reception: Monday June 3, 6-8 PM
WHERE: Hosmer Gallery at Forbes Library

Ken Kipen: Black and White Photography 
Paul Redstone & Patricia McDonagh: Looking Closely: Two ways of viewing and portraying intimate landscapes

Using film negatives from a large format camera, Paul Redstone captures his views of flowers and water in platinum/palladium prints.

Patricia McDonagh translated her lifelong interest in plants by creating detailed images of flowers, mushrooms and leaves in her botanical art paintings. Sadly she passed away earlier this year.

Ken Kipen began his study of darkroom techniques in 1952.   "Photography has evolved for me as a way to recognize the life of worlds very different from my own.  As I travel I look to discover subjects and configurations that, in compelling ways, transcend their time and place. As empathy with chosen subjects is often very strong, desire to do them justice in camera/darkroom work can be counter productive.  But when I let go of all agendas my subjects seem to meet me halfway, and there comes a moment when I suddenly see the finished result and know how to achieve it.” 

Image by Patricia McDonagh

In celebration of Forbes Library’s 125th anniversary year (2019), a variety of images and objects from the Library’s local history collections will be featured in the Hosmer Gallery alongside the work of contemporary local artists.

For the month of June, we present Wild Flower Photographs by H.E. Robbins of Pittsfield, MA (1865-1946).
Henry Eugene Robbins attended Pittsfield High School and Cornell University. He spent a great deal of time working as a clerk for his father's plumbing and heating company, Robbins-Gamwell Corp. As a photographer, Robbins admired and emulated the work of Edwin Hale Lincoln, particularly his New England Wildflowers collection. The platinum prints in this collection were hand-colored by M. Augusta Loop and Florence N. Peirson.

Gallery Hours
Monday 9-9 ; Tuesday 10-6 ; Wednesday 9-9 ; Thursday 10-6 ; Friday & Saturday 9-5 ; closed Sundays and holidays.

Northampton Jazz Workhop Featuring NYC vocalist and tenor saxophonist Camille Thurman

WHAT: Northampton Jazz Workhop Featuring NYC vocalist and tenor saxophonist Camille Thurman WHEN: Tuesday, May 21st from 7:30 to 8:30, followed by the open jazz jam session
WHERE: City Sports Grille at Spare Time Northampton, 525 Pleasant St., Northampton, MA

We are thrilled to present for the first time at the Workshop NYC vocalist and tenor saxophonist Camille Thurman. I have heard all kinds of great things about Camille from many other of our guest artists and it seems she is really making waves in the jazz world. Here's the first paragraph from her
Acclaimed by Downbeat Magazine as a "rising star"  singer with “soulful inflection and remarkable, Fitzgerald-esque scat prowess” and hailed by All About Jazz as a “first class saxophonist that blows the proverbial roof of the place”, Camille Thurman has been amazing audiences throughout the world with her impeccable sound, remarkable vocal virtuosity and captivating artistry.  Many have praised her vocal abilities to the likeness of Ella Fitzgerald and Betty Carter. Her lush, rich & warm sound on the tenor saxophone has led others to compare her to tenor greats Joe Henderson and Dexter Gordon.

Camille will also be the lead artist for the Davis Financial Jazz Artists in the Schools Program happening on 5/20 and 21. She and the trio will be coaching the JFK Middle School Jazz band and then presenting an assembly for the school using some of the student musicians. This will be the fourth and final event for this year. The program is a collaboration of the Workshop and the Northampton Jazz Festival.

The concert set starts at 7:30, followed immediately by the jam session until 10:30. $5 per person room charge for the concert set and donations to the band gratefully accepted. City Sports Grille at Spare Time Northampton, 525 Pleasant St., Northampton, MA. 413-584-4830

Upcoming Guest Artists:
5/28 - Houston Person on tenor (2 shows and no jam session)
6/4  -  Nicole Pasternak and Ralph Lalama on vocals and tenor sax
6/11 - Giacomo Smith on clarinet
6/18 - Gary Smulyan on bari with Miro Sprague on piano
6/25 - Cindy Scott on vocals

For photos and videos of past NJW shows and related news, events and buzz, please see (and Like us) on FB at:

Artist News

    Council News

      Search This Blog

      Blog Archive

      Connect & Follow