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.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Order Closing School Play Areas and Parks and Recreation Facilities – EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY


By the authority granted by the Northampton Board of Health pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws c. 111 § 30, Merridith O’Leary, Public Health Director for the City of Northampton, has issued an order that the following school play areas and parks and recreation facilities in the City of Northampton be completely closed to the public. This order shall include all play structures, whether on public property or private property, be closed to the public. This order shall not apply to play structures at private residential properties where such structure is not used in common between or among different household units.

School Play Areas:

Bridge Street School

Jackson Street School

Leeds School

Ryan Road School

JFK Middle School

Northampton High School

Parks & Recreation Facilities

Agnes Fox Park

Arcanum Field

Parks & Recreation Facilities (continued):

Ellerbrook Field

Florence Fields

Lampron Park

Maines Field

Look Park (this Order shall not apply to employees on site to feed and care for animals in the Look Park Zoo).

Pulaski Park

Sheldon Field

Veteran’s Field

“The very best way to protect ourselves and our families from this illness is to follow the statewide advisory urging everyone to stay home except for essential tasks, which include essential jobs that can’t be done at home, urgent medical appointments, grocery shopping or visits to the pharmacy,” shared Merridith O’Leary, Health Department Director. “When people are out among other people, it is crucial that they practice both social distancing and frequent, adequate, hand washing. It is perfectly fine to go outside for exercise, as long as social distancing practices are maintained.”

The Northampton Police Department shall serve as the enforcement authority of the Department of Health under this order.

For more information contact:

Merridith A O’Leary, R.S., Public Health Director
City of Northampton
(413) 587-1214

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Call to Artists: Invitation to the Virtual Hosmer Gallery

You're Invited to the 2020 Virtual Hosmer Gallery!

Western Massachusetts artists in all media can participate!

We are very sorry to have to cancel the spring 2020 exhibits in the Hosmer Gallery. They will be rescheduled next year. In the meantime, we hope you'll join us online.

April, 2020 -- An Invitation to Artists

In this extraordinary time of social isolation, we miss your visits and sharing art with our community!
So the Hosmer Gallery at Forbes Library is inviting Western Mass. artists to create an online community art exhibit. If you would like to have your art included, please fill in the artist entry form!

We welcome anyone living and making visual art in the Pioneer Valley to submit up to 3 digital images of your work. We will do our best to include all submissions, screening for appropriateness as necessary.This exhibit will grow until the library building reopens, and stay visible for at least a month after that.

Join the exhibit and share your art: Art Submission Form
See the exhibit -- always changing: Virtual Hosmer Gallery

Comments and suggestions:

Forbes Library Hosmer Gallery
20 West Street
Northampton, Massachusetts 01060
(413) 587-1013

Saturday, April 4, 2020

How to File for Unemployment Benefits related to COVID-19

WHAT: Learn how to file for Unemployment Benefits in your state.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update: The federal government is allowing new options for states to amend their laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits related to COVID-19. For example, federal law allows states to pay benefits where:

- An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work;
- An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and
- An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.

March 30 update: New federal law allows states to extend benefits to self-employed and gig workers, and to provide an extra $600 per week as well as an additional 13 weeks of benefits. Learn more from these FAQs about Unemployment Benefits Finder or find the complete guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Select your state below to file and to learn more, including details about coronavirus updates. Please note that states are in the process of updating their websites to reflect these new laws. For now you should file for benefits as directed on your state's website and look for information about how to receive future updates. Also note that many states are experiencing high volumes of traffic and ask filers to be patient and persistent.

More Info:

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund

Small businesses across the country are confronting extreme economic challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial support at this critical time can make the difference between staying in business or closing permanently, leading to lost income, jobs and economic stability.

Thanks to a $2.5 million investment from Verizon, we are offering grants to help small businesses fill urgent financial gaps until they can resume normal operations or until other more permanent financing becomes available.

Additionally, Verizon recently launched #PayItForwardLIVE, a weekly livestream from big names to pay it forward for small businesses. Viewers can tune in every Tuesday and Thursday at 8PM ET/ 5PM PT on @Verizon’s Twitter, Yahoo, Twitch, and Fios Channel 501. As people support their favorite small businesses with #PayItForwardLIVE, Verizon will commit an additional $10 per use of the hashtag, up to $2.5 million, for a total of up to $5 million in support.

Link to application here:

COVID 19 Resource Links

Massachusetts Unemployment 

The Commonwealth is waiving the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits and expanded eligibility for individuals impacted by virus-related closures. 

Info & Apply: Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

DUA is holding Virtual Town Halls to help answer questions. 

Please Note: CARES Act-related unemployment benefits for the self-employed and others are not yet available as the state awaits federal guidance. Follow updates here

Information on unemployment benefits related to CARES Act. 

Helpful graphic for creative professionals on navigating unemployment benefits by AFL-CIO’s Department for Professional Employees.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Recovery Programs 

The SBA is quickly implementing new recovery programs for small businesses (including non-profits) with a range of incentives, loan forgiveness, and repayment options. Follow SBA guidelines carefully as these are being updated.

Paycheck Protection Program
An SBA loan to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis. Individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors are also eligible if they meet program size standards.

Loan forgiveness benefits are based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. 

Lenders may begin processing PPP loan applications as soon as April 3.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Loan Advance
The SBA’s EIDL Program provides small businesses with working capital loans to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue. The Loan Advance will provide economic relief to businesses with an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000.

See also, SBA Express Bridge Loans (for businesses who currently have a relationship with an SBA Express Lender), and SBA Debt Relief (for new and current 7(a) loans).

Massachusetts WorkShare Program

WorkShare offers an alternative to layoffs. Employees work reduced hours while collecting unemployment benefits to supplement their lower wages.

Tax Filing & Payments Delayed

The IRS has moved the deadline to file taxes from April 15 to July 15. Individual taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.

IRS updates regarding coronavirus tax relief

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has extended the deadline to file income taxes from April 15 to July 15.
MA Department of Revenue

Massachusetts Health Connector

The MA Health Connector is extending the enrollment period for uninsured individuals until April 25.

KPM & Associates Resource Center

Kevin P. Martin & Associates has created a COVID-19 resource center for businesses – including film and television production companies and non-profits, on taxes, film incentives, and more. 

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA)

VLA has assembled an emergency response panel of large law firms to advise artists and arts organizations on contracts, insurance, and labor and employment issues. The VLA is waiving service fees for artists and organizations suffering financial hardship due to the coronavirus. 

Email: Phone: 617-350-7600.

Boston Artists Relief Fund

The City of Boston, Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture is accepting applications from artists whose creative practices and incomes are being adversely impacted by COVID.

Cambridge Artists Relief Fund

The Cambridge Community Foundation, in partnership with the City of Cambridge is accepting applications to address the urgent need of arts and culture nonprofits, artists, and performers.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

City of Northampton to Open Temporary Emergency Shelter with ServiceNet at Northampton High School


Northampton, MA: Mayor David J. Narkewicz announced that on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, at 3:00 PM the City of Northampton, in partnership with ServiceNet, will open an emergency 24/7 shelter at Northampton High School (NHS) to serve residents of ServiceNet’s two overnight homeless shelters located on Center Street and Grove Street which are closing.

ServiceNet has been working tirelessly to keep the residents of its two overnight shelters safe since the onset of COVID-19, but current sleeping spaces within those two facilities are inadequate to allow for proper social distancing. The Northampton COVID-19 Emergency Management Team - led by the Mayor and composed of Public Health, Fire Rescue, Emergency Management, Police, Schools, and other city departments - has spent the last several weeks planning and setting up the shelter, securing resources, and working with ServiceNet officials on operational details.

The emergency shelter at NHS will be staffed 24/7 by ServiceNet staff and supported by city staff and community volunteers, including security provided by the Northampton Police Department. The city has secured meals for the site through our generous community partners Smith College and the Hampshire County House of Corrections. Upon entry of the shelter, staff and shelter residents will be screened by a predetermined set of health questions, and if any markers for illness are present they will not be allowed into the shelter and will be directed for medical evaluation and isolation at an alternative location. Once inside, residents will be screened twice a day.

The city is grateful for generous donations of supplies and other essentials from many area businesses, institutions, and individuals. The city continues to accept donations of necessary items. Please see for specific needs.

The City of Northampton continues to seek community volunteers who are able to assist in this effort to safely shelter our most vulnerable neighbors and urges people to contact Assistant Chief Andrew Pelis at for more information.

The City of Northampton has also established a COVID-19 Emergency Fund and is accepting donations from the community to support the shelter effort. Donate online at or make checks payable to the City of Northampton with “COVID-19 Emergency Fund” in the memo line and place in the Drop Box located outside the Municipal Office Building behind City Hall or mail to City of Northampton, Attn: COVID-19 Emergency Fund, 212 Main Street, Northampton, MA 01060.

Finally, ServiceNet is urgently in need of staff to support the emergency shelter and is hiring. If you or anyone you know is interested in this critical work, please visit

For more information contact the Mayor's office.


Office of Mayor David J. Narkewicz
City of Northampton
210 Main Street, Room 12
Northampton MA 01060
413-587-1249 phone
413-587-1275 fax

Apply to Perform at First Night Northampton 2021

WHAT: Performer Applications Open for First Night Northampton 2021
WHEN: Application Period April 1st-August 31st, 2020. Event on Thursday December 31, 2020
WHERE: Apply Online. Event takes place in downtown Northampton, MA.

The Northampton Arts Council is now accepting performer applications for First Night Northampton 2021

On Thursday December 31, 2020 the Northampton Arts Council will present the 36th annual community New Year’s Eve celebration and festival of performing arts. Since 1985, First Night Northampton has filled the Paradise City with a 12-hour family-friendly festival of the arts, culminating in a traditional ball-raising from the roof of the Hotel Northampton. Proceeds from First Night Northampton will benefit local artists and community arts activities.

We look forward to receiving many proposals and to creating a diverse, exciting, family-friendly event. Complete and submit the application no later than August 31, 2020. Proposals are reviewed as they are received, so early applications are recommended. Please submit separate applications for each proposal. Proposals without support materials will not be reviewed. We will be notifying applicants at the end of September. To apply to perform at First Night Northampton please complete the online application which can be found here:

Contact: Steve Sanderson, Events Producer, 413-587-1247,

Photo Credit: Steven E Nanton

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