Northampton Arts Council

The Northampton Arts Council is a city board and a non-profit 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.


The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as Transperformance and Four Sundays in February, and advocating on behalf of the arts community.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


The Northampton Arts Council has set an October 15th deadline for applications from organizations, schools and individuals for grants that support cultural activities in the community.

According to Council spokesperson Brian Foote, these grants can support a variety of artistic projects and activities in Northampton, Florence, and Leeds, including exhibits, writings, festivals, field trips, short-term artist residencies or performances in schools, workshops and lectures.  The Northampton Arts Council will hold open office hours at their location at 240 Main Street, Memorial Hall Room #5 Northampton, MA 01060 on Wednesday October 8th from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM for any potential applicants looking for advice on the application process.

The Northampton Arts Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The LCC Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community.

This year, the Northampton Arts Council will distribute up to $10,592 in grants. Previously funded projects include: $750 to Historic Northampton for Fast Forward: New Filmmakers at Historic Northampton. $1000 to Donnabelle Casis for Florence Night Out. $750 to Serious Play! for "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf." $700 to Jennifer Polins for Catalyst Dancers, celebrating PVPA’s Catalyst Dancer’s 16th performance season.

For specific guidelines and complete information on the Northampton Arts Council please visit or contact Brian Foote at (413) 587-1069/  

Application forms will be available online beginning September 15th at This year the application process will be online only. Please do not submit paper applications.

Founded in 1980, the Northampton Arts Council has an all-volunteer board, appointed by the Mayor, and staff, consisting of one director, one part-time arts events producer, and one student intern.  Each fall, the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), a state agency, allocates money to all of Massachusetts' 351 cities and towns through 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCCs), one of which is the Northampton Arts Council, in support of community arts activities.  This is the largest decentralized program of its kind in the United States.

In addition to administering the LCC program, we were the first cultural council in the Commonwealth to raise money for a second round of funding every spring, with only a few other LCCs recently following our lead.  The Arts EZ Spring Grant round is made possible by two major fundraising events produced by the Northampton Arts Council: Transperformance, an end-of-summer concert at Look Park held every August, and the Four Sundays in February series which includes events such as the Silver Chord Bowl and the Really Big Show.  In addition to grant programs, the Northampton Arts Council offers arts enrichment programs in the public schools, initiates public art projects and advocates for the arts in the city.  For more information please visit our website:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Moma Baby God at Smith College!

Take a cupcake, put on a name tag, and prepare to be thrown into the world of the Christian Right, where sexual purity workshops and anti-abortion rallies are sandwiched between karaoke sing-alongs and pro-life slumber parties. Choices for Life Crisis Pregnancy Center is hosting the Students for Life of America conference, and right-wing teenagers are vying for popularity while preparing for political battle. 

Our tour guide is fifteen-year-old Jessica Beth Giffords, an endearing and overly-caffeinated pro-life activist with two life goals: 1) Marry Justin Bieber, and 2) Become the next It-Girl of the Christian Right. She does pretty well until she meets John Paul, a flirtatious Christian boy sporting a purity ring, and struggles to contain her own sexual feelings while surrounded by the “pre-marital sex=death” mantra of the Students for Life conference. Forty years after Roe v. Wade, MOM BABY GOD is a darkly comedic exploration of American girl culture amidst the ongoing political backlash against feminism and reproductive rights. 
Developed by actor and activist Madeline Burrows with director Emma Weinstein and designer Allison Smartt, this popular nationally touring show manages to bring out audiences of feminist activists, theater lovers, and Catholic missionaries alike. MOM BABY GOD is a rare night at the theater that is both thought-provoking and smashingly entertaining.

Location: Halle Flanagan Studio Theatre, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts 

Smith College Sponsors: The Program for the Study of Women and Gender, Department of Theatre, Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, Center for Community Collaboration, Wurtele Center for Work & Life 

Additional Sponsors: The Northampton Arts Council

7:30 PM 
No reservations necessary. Tickets are free! We recommend coming at least 30 minutes before the start time.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Positively Center Street

When retired music impresario Jordi Herold contacted longtime music writer and national magazine editor David Sokol to help chronicle the Iron Horse’s first 25 years, little did he think that seven years later, the project would finally take shape in the form of a full-color 164-page book. In Positively Center Street, a richly illustrated memoir, Herold—who owned the beloved, still-thriving club from 1979 through 1993 and then programmed it from 1995 to 2004—details some of his most memorable experiences at the Northampton, MA club that played a vital role in the booming cultural expansion and renaissance of this once-quiet college town.

Positively Center Street chronicles Herold’s early love of music—growing up in a home where the words “Flood The House with Music,” in block capital letters, hung over the kitchen sink—and his initial vision for a coffeehouse, inspired by a trip to London shortly after graduating college. From its backstory detailing the origins of the club’s name to the inauspicious “grand opening” on February 24, 1979, the book begins by taking readers behind the scenes, inside the room that would grow from a 60-seat coffeehouse into a 170-seat music hall, all the while presenting some of the best-known musicians and comedians in the world. During Herold’s tenure, first as club owner and then programmer, more than 8,500 shows graced the Iron Horse stage.

Positively Center Street is packed full of stories recalling the joys and tribulations of running a club that doubled as a restaurant. And along the way, there are growing pains and countless evenings of on-stage magic and off-stage craziness. Beginning with the club’s first big-name act (Dave Van Ronk) and growing with shows by future stars (Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, and Mary Chapin Carpenter, to name but a few), the club quickly took on a life of its own. Herold colorfully tells of appearances by blues legends Willie Dixon and Albert Collins, gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, British folk-rockers Fairport Convention, and jazz greats Stan Getz, Freddie Hubbard, Archie Shepp, and Frank Morgan as if they happened yesterday. And the list is endless.

Positively Center Street tells the story of youthful dream that became a cultural institution. Although the cozy, living-room atmosphere of the Iron Horse has changed a bit over the years, the musical magic that flourished inside 20 Center Street in Northampton will forever be remembered and cherished by concertgoers, from far and near, who visited the club. And many of those memories are indelibly etched into the pages of Positively Center Street.  - David Sokol

There will be three readings locally for the new book:

9/14 Iron Horse 7 PM $25
9/20 Broadside Books 7:30 PM Free 
9/27 World Eye (Greenfield ) 4 PM Free

Monday, September 8, 2014

Eloi Saint Bris - Featured Artist

From Eloi's Website
1. I live in Paris and I’m 25 years old. I'm a writer and creative entrepreneur who seeks answers to a question. What does it take to say 'we'? 
2. My first project is Bain de Minuit, an art collective I co-founded. We combine art direction, storytelling and sociology to create immersive parties & performances that question the world we live in, yet invite everyone to step in and interfere freely.
    2.a visit our website
    2.b this is the art book from our last performance
    2.c read some raw reactions 
3. My second project is Le Cercle des Enfants Terribles, a Parisian community I co-founded and run on a daily basis. At a time of high pessimism for our generation, we created Le Cercle to foster collaboration among us. We promote our members' projects and develop a strong network that all our members can access. We also give other people the opportunity of a day-long immersion in the Parisian life of one of us.
    3.a an article I wrote that speaks about my personal reasons
    3.b this is who we are
    3.c our last newsletter
4. I'm a freelance writer, involved in fiction and journalism. I contribute to the Huffington Post, American and French edition.
    4.a a sample of my articles on the French Mojogay marriage and a political column
    4.b a shortlist of my writing (to be updated)
5. I am a creative consultant for Palais de Tokyo.

Florence Night Out - Friday, September 19, 5:30-8:30pm

For more information:

Pop-Up Mobile Art Boxes Take Art to the Streets at 3rd FLORENCE NIGHT OUT 
A fun, free event that celebrates community through art, dance, music, film and local business

FLORENCE, MA – Interactive Mobile Art Boxes, where artworks explode from within the box, will delight all ages at this fall’s FLORENCE NIGHT OUT (FNO), Friday, September 19, 2014 from 5:30 – 8:30 pm. Florence artist and lead organizer Donnabelle Casis is co-curating the event with local writer and Co-Director of The Creativity Center at Hampshire College Carla Costa, to create a dynamic lineup. Donnabelle teamed up with Tony Gleason, Florence resident and owner of DIY Mobile Box, to have six “Mobile Art Boxes” (MABs). MABs are 8’x8’x16’ pop-up temporary art spaces that will house interactive, multimedia installations by artists: John Slepian (performance art), Jake Meginsky (sound art/installation), Maggie Nowinski (video), Chris Nelson (installation), Sally Curcio & Anne LaPrade Suethe (installation), The Quarry & The Coast with Mount Emult aka Matthew Newman (short films). MABs will occupy surprising areas all over downtown Florence. 

• Artists from the Arts & Industries/Pine Street Studios Building will participate with open studios, demonstrations, and sales, 221 Pine Street.
.• Kimberly Bourque, a Master of Occupational Therapy student at Bay Path University, completed her summer field work with the Enrichment Center. She compiled a local peace art tile project entitled “Resiliency” created by 12 brain injury patients. See it at the Florence Arts & Business Center, 140 Pine Street 
.• Art Always will have a craft table for children accompanied by an adult from 5:30-6:30 pm at Arts & Industries, 221 Pine Street.
• Diane Nevinsmith artist reception at Cup & Top, 1 Main Street
• Jim Gipe photograph exhibit at Pivot Media, 70 Maple Street
• Open studios: Sean Greene with guest artist Philip Knoll, Richard Lloyd, Phoebe Berkel, guest artist Brian Maryansky, 30 North Maple Street 
• Martin Bridge paintings at Upton-Massamont Coldwell Banker, 93 Main Street
• Used book sale to benefit a literacy organization, Writer's Mill, 34 North Maple
• Family Fun Magazine will have fun games and activities, Main Street
• Wine & Canvas will offer free painting sessions at the Florence Arts & Business Center. Sessions will begin every half hour starting at 5:30pm – 8:30, 140 Pine Street.

• Kelly Silliman of the tinydance project, in collaboration with Charnice Charmant, will present “Tangled Layers”, Main Street.
• The Bakers, The Fawns and Rick Murnane will perform at the Florence Civic Center, Park Street.
• Free Range Cats will play at Coldwell Banker Upton-Massamont Realtors, 92 Main Street.
• Russell Kaback will perform on the porch from 5:30 – 6:30 pm at Tranquility Day Spa, 40 Main Street.
• Teri Anderson of Dance Northampton will teach zydeco dance lessons from 6:00 – 6:50 pm, and Zydeco Connection will play great music from 7:00 – 8:00 pm at the VFW, 18 Meadow Street.
• Electric Ride bike demos on the bike path, Electric Ride Electric Bike Rentals, 30 North Maple
• Northampton High School Improv Troupe from 5:30 - 6:30pm, Cup and Top Cafe, 1 Main Street
• Full Circle Bike Shop will demo bikes at the Florence Dental parking lot from 5:30-7:30 pm, 41 Main Street. FCBS will have a post-FNO movie screening at the shop starting at 8:30pm, 141 North Main Street.

• Cup & Top Cafe will have a special menu highlighting local harvests, 1 Main Street
• JJ’s Tavern will offer an Oktoberfest menu, 99 Main Street.
• Cooper’s Corner will provide a beer and wine tasting, 31 Main Street.
.• First Church will provide refreshments at the Florence Arts & Business Center, 140 Pine Street.

For more information:

Bach to Baghdad: A New Beginning

Northampton, MA--"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent,” wrote Victor Hugo. It is in that spirit that the Iraqi Children’s Art Exchange offers Bach to Baghdad, a concert featuring internationally acclaimed musician Peter Blanchette. The event takes place on Sunday, September 28 at 2 pm at the Arts Trust Building, 33 Hawley Street. All tickets are $15 and are available online in advance at Door sales are cash or check only.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Artists Selected for Fifth Annual Northampton Chalk Art Festival

Artists Selected for Fifth Annual Northampton Chalk Art Festival

Following a juried selection process, nine artists have been invited to render their work in chalk on cement canvases located throughout downtown during the BID’s fifth annual Northampton Chalk Art Festival on Friday, September 12.

This special “Arts Night Out” event features cash prizes of $250, $150, and $100 awarded by a panel of judges for the top three creations. Presentations are made on the steps of City Hall at 5 pm.

Drawing takes place downtown from 10 am until 4 pm on the day of the event. The public is encouraged to watch the chalk art pieces develop and to view completed work in the evening while enjoying Northampton’s monthly gallery walk from 5-8 pm.

The public is also invited to an informal “family free draw” in front of the Arts Trust building at 33 Hawley Street, 5-7 pm. Sidewalk chalk is available for anyone who wants to participate. “Chanterelle to Go” brings its fabulous food cart to the site, and music is provided by “Prone to Mischief,” a delightfully sophisticated brass band. Visitors are invited to tour the inside of the building and view the plans for its transformation into community arts space.

Selected chalk artists for 2014 include former prize winners and veteran competitors Stephanie Gerolimatos, Mark Bodah and Matt Rodriguez who form Team Bodalimadriquez and “The Living Art Studio” partners Scot Padget and Jon Hanna.  Mural and mosaic master Robert Markey makes his third contribution to the festival, and both Dean McKeever and Linda Babcock join the competition for second time.  Chrissy Neithercott of Chesterfield and Sloan Tomlinson of Hatfield participate for the first time as do noted local artists Sally Curcio and Stephen St. Francis Decky.

The designated chalk art sites, except for the Smith College Museum of Art on Elm Street, are all located on Main Street: the Academy of Music; ode; Pinch; the Artisan Gallery; Thornes Marketplace; First Churches; Don Muller Gallery; William Baczek Fine Arts. Along the route, viewers have an opportunity to stop in at venues that participate in Arts Night Out. A detailed listing of exhibitions appears on the Arts Night Out website at and is published in the brochures found at participating locations where maps of the chalk art sites are also available.

The Northampton Chalk Art Festival is a presentation of the Northampton Business Improvement District (BID) It sponsored by Chartpak, Inc. and produced in cooperation with the City of Northampton and the Northampton Center for the Arts.