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.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Northampton Arts Council presents Summer Concert Series 2020

Poster by Nate Duval

The Northampton Arts Council presents
Summer Concert Series 2020

Enjoy Friday nights in the summer with live music streamed from Northampton. All shows will start at 6:00 PM, end at 7:30 PM. Admission is free for all! All three shows will be live-streamed on Facebook, YouTube, Twitch as well as broadcast live on Comcast Channel 12 in Northampton. Visit HAMPARTS.ORG for details.

Friday July 17, 2020 - Mtali Shaka Banda
Mtali Shaka Banda is a saxophonist currently based in Massachusetts. He has lived a fruitful musical life, and has had the privilege of sharing the stage with Sonia Sanchez, Talib Kweli, The Soul Rebels, Anik Khan, and The.Wav. As a first generation Malawian-American, he is a part of the growing Southern African music scene that has embraced jazz and soul music as a means for social change. In December 2018, he released his debut album as a band leader, “The Oneness Project: Rites of Passage.” The project is a blend of Hip Hop, Jazz, and Soul music aimed at not just creating a sound, but also spreading a meaningful message.

Friday July 24, 2020 - Kimaya Diggs
Rooted in her jazz, folk, and opera musical background, Kimaya Diggs has mastered a genre-defying style. Inspired by the acrobatic folk renderings of Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald’s jazz stylings, and Lianna LaHavas’ soulful charisma, she draws skillfully from her lineage of musical pioneers, creating a musical lane all her own. With a playful presence and frank, transporting storytelling, Diggs’ mastery of her voice is the focal point of each performance, and a transfixing experience.

Friday July 31, 2020 - Carinae
Carinae is an unstable star in the constellation that is the Western Massachusetts music scene. Three part vocal harmonies orbit around patchwork guitar and keyboard textures laced with driving rhythms. Lyrics that bring you home and stretch you out. Star gazing in an open field.

Headline Sponsors: The City of Northampton, Massachusetts Cultural Council, UMassFive College Credit Union, Czelusniak Funeral Home, The Daily Hampshire Gazette, National Grid
Media Sponsors: The Republican/MassLIVE, The Daily Hampshire Gazette

This is the fifth year that the Northampton Arts Council is presenting summer concerts in Northampton, continuing a long-held tradition that dates back to the 1970's. Since that time, this area has been fertile ground for producing unique original music, often renowned on the national level. Our mission is to showcase the best music from the Pioneer Valley as well as top notch touring acts that bring together the community to enjoy our picturesque downtown. Due to Covid-19, the format of this year’s series has changed to a live streaming format to avoid crowds, and to respect social distancing orders while still bringing together local and nationally recognized artists to create beautiful sounds for the people of Northampton.

Board Meeting 7/14/2020

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

New Children's Book Fund Established at Forbes Library

The Trustees of Forbes Library have established the Marie Hershkowitz Memorial Children’s Book Fund in honor of the beloved Bridge Street School teacher. The fund was established with a gift of $50,000 from Dr. Melvin Hershkowitz, Marie’s father.

Forbes Library’s children’s department is a crucial community resource that supports early literacy and a lifelong love of learning and libraries for the kids, families, and teachers in our community. This year, as part of a state mandate, Forbes Library will spend $20,300 on books and other materials necessary to meet the needs of kids and teens. Despite book budget cuts, circulation in our Children’s & Young Adult Department grew by 15% last year, totaling almost 100,000 items. Part of this growth was a result of our expanded outreach to schools and other organizations that serve youth in our community.

The library established its first book funds early in the library’s 125-year history and have added additional funds as opportunities have arisen through the years. Interest from these funds—along with donations and grants—are the sole source of funding for our book budget. Unfortunately, these funds are not keeping pace with spending increases. “A community of our size deserves a well-funded children’s department. We are seeking ways to improve sustainability for our annual book budget, and that’s why we are so grateful for the establishment of this new fund. With proper funding, we won’t have to worry about the future of our children’s book budget,” said Russell Carrier, President of the Forbes Library Board of Trustees.

The trustees plan to grow the fund to $100,000 over the next few years. “We are so grateful to Dr. Hershkowitz for his generosity. This fund will allow us to purchase about 90 children’s books from the interest of the fund in the first year and this number will continue to grow as the fund grows leaving a lasting legacy in Marie’s honor,” said Lisa Downing, Library Director. Books purchased with the fund will be identified with a book plate bearing the name Marie Hershkowitz Memorial Children’s Book Fund along with a line drawing of a greyhound, one of Marie’s favorite animals.

Anyone interested in contributing to the Marie Hershkowitz Memorial Children’s Book Fund should contact Lisa Downing, Library Director, at, by calling 413-587-1016, or by visiting the library’s website.

Monday, July 6, 2020

2020 Northampton Public Arts Festival Wraps Up

Photo by Paul Griffin, Artwork by @BelowKey

The second annual Northampton Public Arts Festival wrapped up on Tuesday June 30th with beautiful artist-painted cement barriers lining Main Street and Strong Avenue which provide space for outdoor dining in the streets of our City. From spray paint, to acrylic paint, these artists have beautified the downtown cityscape with a range of unique patterns, characters, and creative designs.

Held from Tuesday June 23rd through Tuesday June 30th, with invited artists Kim Carlino, BelowKey, Steph Burr, Ramiro Davaro-Comas, Lena McCarthy, Sabrina Dorsainvil and Silvia Lopez Chavez,  The second-annual Northampton Public Arts Festival promotes public arts through live mural painting. Due to Covid-19, the format of this year’s festival changed to avoid crowds, and to respect social distancing orders while still bringing together local and nationally recognized artists to create beautiful public art for the city of Northampton and the Pioneer Valley. 

The artists greatly enjoyed the public support from onlookers who made it downtown to say a face-masked wearing, socially distanced hello to the artists, took photos, and honked from cars passing by.

The Northampton Arts Council was invited by the Mayor and the City of Northampton Planning & Sustainability Offices to offer seven regional artists an opportunity to paint the 48 cement barriers, each that provide space for outdoor dining in the streets of the City. The cement barriers, owned by the DPW of Northampton and already primed by Planning & Sustainability and community volunteers, will be in place until November, 2020. 

This project is made possible with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, City of Northampton, Daily Hampshire Gazette, The Hotel Northampton, and the Downtown Northampton Association. A hearty thank you to Haymarket Cafe, India House Restaurant, Fitzwilly's Restaurant and Bar, Amanouz Cafe, and Shelburne Falls Coffee Roaster for feeding the artists.

Masslive Press

Link to Flyer

Link to Paul Griffin Pictures

Friday, July 3, 2020

Call to Artists: Sculpture Exhibition Opportunities in Boston - Deadline Aug 1

Boston Sculptors Gallery is a landmark cooperative gallery, now offering three distinct opportunities to support a geographically diverse group of sculptors, from emerging artists to seasoned professionals, all working in a wide range of media. There is no fee to apply. Application is competitive and juried at all levels. We would love to see your work!

All artists regardless of age, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identification, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or physical disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Full Members mount solo exhibitions bi-annually, participate in off site group exhibitions and participate in gallery operations.

Associate Members will have the opportunity to show their work once a year as part of a group show with the other Associate Members, without the usual responsibilities (gallery sitting and committee work) of Full Members. This is a one - year, renewable membership.

LaunchPad Artists will be selected for a one-time solo installation of their work in the entry level gallery space, with street view access.

For a full description of these three membership categories, including their respective costs and application procedures visit

Submissions are due August 1, 2020. There is no fee to apply.

For More Information Contact Almitra Stanley, Gallery Director 617-501-5600

Call to Artists: 2020 WMASS Community Mural Institute


The Community Mural Institute combines classroom instruction and experiential learning so that by the end of the Institute, artists can independently create and install exceptional community-engaged murals. The Institute teaches how to structure and facilitate community design and painting workshops, best practices for mural design, and how to create murals using the parachute cloth technique. 6 artists will be selected to participate in the Institute.

The Institute meets on three weekends over three months. Each artist will design, paint and install a 150 square foot community engaged mural over the course of the Institute. For this Institute, artists will be partnered with a pre-selected group of senior citizens. Artists must, without exception, be available to participate in all of the scheduled sessions.

Artists will be paid a stipend of $2,000 for their participation and all paint and materials will be provided.


JUNE 26 Artist Call is Opened

JULY 19 Artist Call Closed

JULY 24 Artist Notified of Selection

AUGUST 15 - 16 Session 1 (9AM to 6PM Saturday and Sunday)

AUGUST 24 - 30 Online One-on-One Design and Color Palette Consultations

SEPTEMBER 2 - 4 3 hour Design Projection sessions, day and time scheduled in advance.

SEPTEMBER 5 - 6 Session 2 (9AM to 6PM Saturday and Sunday. Note: This is Labor Day Weekend)

SEPTEMBER 26 - 27 Session 3 (9AM to 6PM Saturday and Sunday)

SEPTEMBER 28 - 30 Hands-On Install and Overpainting Assistance Available

OCTOBER 4 Mural Installations must be completed

OCTOBER 17 - 18 If the above schedule is delayed due to Covid-19 surges, we will push back the schedule and Session 3 will be held this weekend.


Muralists are introduced to the concepts of community engaged mural making and learn multiple activities for engaging the community in design discussions. Concepts will be presented by the instructors and the group will engage in each activity so they are learning conceptually and through experience.

Artists will be taught two protocols for engaging the community. One protocol can be used if gatherings are permitted and safe. The other can be used if gatherings of any size are discouraged. In this approach, artists will solicit design input via guided phone calls with participating community members.


With support from the instructors, each muralist will engage their community group in design input. Each muralist will then create a design based on that input.


The muralists will consult with instructors via email and video conference while developing their designs. The muralist and instructors meet via video conference with representatives of their community group to present and obtain approval of their design.


In pre-scheduled 3 hour sessions, muralists will work in pairs to project their design on to pre-prepared parachute cloth.


Muralists learn to prep parachute cloth segments and prepare the mural for community painting. Two approaches will be taught. One will be how to prepare and run community paint parties. The second approach will be how to prepare and distribute individual mural painting kits which will allow participants to paint a segment of the mural in their homes, on their own.


Muralists hold paint parties or distribute painting kits to their community groups.


Muralists complete the painting of their mural at home or in their own studios.


Muralists learn and practice how to install parachute cloth murals, and organize community celebrations.


Working in pairs with another institute participant and with support from the instructors, the muralists install their murals on the wall and complete the overpainting of the mural. If allowed, a community celebration is organized for the completion of the mural.


The three weekend training sessions will take place in person, inside. All of the training sessions, meetings and mural work will follow the MA Coronavirus Safety Recommendations, including the size of gatherings, spacing of participants, and use of personal protective equipment. We have identified one additional weekend if we need to adjust or pause during the course of the Institute.


The Institute is designed and run by Greta McLain, the Artistic Director of GoodSpace Murals and Britt Ruhe, the Director of Common Wealth Murals.

Greta McLain, Owner and Artistic Director of GoodSpace Murals, has over 15 years of mural making experience. Greta uses muralism to explore the ways that art can bring communities together, the power of visual language to activate voice, and the potential of art as a vehicle for hands-on organizing and educating. She has been to South America and Europe to study new and traditional techniques. She has created over 50 projects in and around Minnesota, Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Argentina, Mexico, and France. Greta works out of Minneapolis and travels around the country/world muraling and teaching wherever community art can be activated as a tool for positive community engagement. She earned her BA from the University of California Davis and her MFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Britt Ruhe is the Director of Common Wealth Murals, a non-profit dedicated to uplifting and celebrating communities through mural art. For over 30 years, Britt has led non-profit organizations, applying her skills in community organizing, project management, fiscal management, and public relations to create transformative opportunities for people to work together to improve their own communities. Britt has a deep love and appreciation for graffiti and street art, and a passion for community-engaged mural making. Britt holds a BA in Community Development and a MBA from the University of Massachusetts. She is the Producer of Fresh Paint Springfield, a mural festival in Springfield MA, and manages individual mural installations for public and private organizations.


Artists will be selected to participate in the Institute based on the following criteria:

• Live, work or have a meaningful connection to Hampden County

• The artist contributes to diversity of the group in the following areas: artistic style, race, ethnicity, language, gender and sexual orientation

• Openness to having your art influenced by community input (as demonstrated by either prior experience or written expression of interest)

• Interest in innovative approaches to integrating community and location considerations in their designs

• Prior experience teaching, facilitating workshops or public speaking

• Is able and committed to attend all scheduled sessions

Preference given to artists with experience engaging the community in education, discussion and/or collaborative mural making.


• Please indicate whether or not you: Have your own transportation Are available for all of the scheduled dates Speak any language other than English (if yes, please list)

Applications must be emailed by July 19th at 5PM

Finalists will be asked to participate in a short phone interview with the instructors during the week July 20 - 24.

Artists will be notified of selections by July 24th.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Please email the following to

• The names, emails and phone numbers of 2 references who can speak to your artistic and/or professional experience

• 3 to 5 images of your artwork which best represent the style you would use for a community-engaged mural

• If you have them, please share links to your social media and/or a website which show your artwork

• A short personal statement (one paragraph) about your approach to your art

• One short paragraph which explains your experience with and/or interest in community-engaged murals

• Briefly describe any prior experience teaching, facilitating workshops or public speaking

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Forbes Library Presents Civil Rights/The Right to Vote: Past, Present, Future - Online event July 15

Join us July 15 on Zoom for The Civil Rights Movement, the second event in The Right To Vote: Past, Present, Future.

Please preregister at

This year, Forbes Library is presenting a series of scholar-led public discussions about voting in America. Each event in The Right to Vote: Past, Present, Future starts with a presentation by a panel of speakers, followed by group discussion. Forbes Library received support for the series through “The Vote: A Statewide Conversation About Voting Rights,” a special initiative of Mass Humanities that includes organizations around the state.

The second event, on July 15, explores the Civil Rights movement with personal experiences and historical background, from the 1890’s Mississippi plan through Jim Crow, poll taxes, Voting Rights Act of 1965, to present-day challenges.

Four speakers will present historical context and guide discussion. The presenters are:

Dr. John H. Bracey, Jr., Professor of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst

Dr. Traci Parker, Assistant Professor of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst

Dr. Jesse Rhodes, Professor of Political Science at UMass Amherst

Dr. Kathleen Banks Nutter, historian, independent scholar (Moderator)

This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Registration is required for this event.

Additional events in the series are:
Current Barriers to Voting - September 21, 7 PM
The Youth Vote - October, date TBA

All events are free and open to the public. Details can be found at

This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About "The Vote" - Mass Humanities

“The Vote” commemorates the centennial of the 19th Amendment through grants to 17 Massachusetts organizations. Through public events, workshops for educators, museum exhibitions and new research, “The Vote” provides Massachusetts residents with free opportunities to consider issues including women’s suffrage, the Civil Rights movement, voter suppression, civics education, and teen voting.

The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declared that the right to vote could not be denied on the basis of a person’s sex. Ratified in 1920, it marked a major victory in the women’s movement by extending the vote to women. But with racism and xenophobia on the rise in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many women of color, like their menfolk, still could not vote. Poll taxes and literacy tests effectively barred many African Americans from voting, especially in the South, and Native Americans in 1920 could gain the right to vote only by severing their ties to their tribes. Many states had passed laws making it illegal for noncitizens to vote, and Chinese Americans were barred from citizenship. Clearly the ratification of the 19th Amendment represents a complicated moment in our nation’s history, one that warrants thoughtful reflection on how to commemorate it.

The year 2020 arrives at another pivotal period in our nation’s electoral history. Some states are considering extending the franchise to felons and younger teens, while others have increased the hurdles to voting. As voting rights, voter fraud, and electoral security are being debated across the country, the humanities offer essential resources for deepening our understanding of this moment.

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