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.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Karinne Keithley Syers: A Tunnel Year at A.P.E

WHAT: Karinne Keithley Syers: A Tunnel Year
WHERE: A.P.E. Ltd. Gallery126 Main Street. Northampton, MA
WHEN: May 3-10th
Performance on May 5 at 5 & 8 pm $10
Gallery hours for A Tunnel Year: Monday – Sunday, 12-5, Friday 12-8. 

A Tunnel Year is a three-part book with a play at its center, built from a few years’ worth of interrupted thoughts crammed into one-line scenes voiced by animals. Germinated in the Bardo of parenthood and compelled to work in the form of the fragment, it asks: Did I escape? Or am I lost? A Tunnel Year will be installed as a walk-though comic book, and also performed as a live radio play with a cast of five actors from the 2016 New York production at The Chocolate Factory Theater.

Karinne Keithley Syers is a writer, performer, and book maker now based in Northampton after 20 years in the downtown New York experimental communities bridging dance, theater and poetry. Her installation/chamber opera, Montgomery Park, or Opulence, won a 2011 New York Dance and Performance "BESSIE" Award for Outstanding Production.

Photo by Brian Rogers

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Northampton Jazz Workshop features saxophonist Tim Armacost

WHAT: Northampton Jazz Workshop features saxophonist Tim Armacost 
WHEN: Tuesday, April 24th, 7:30 to 8:30PM followed by an open jazz jam session until 10:30 PM 
WHERE: The City Sports Grille at Spare Time Northampton, 525 Pleasant St., Northampton.

This will be Tim's second appearance at the Workshop. Here's an excerpt from his bio: After a life of travel and discovery on three continents, Grammy nominated saxophonist Tim Armacost has established himself as one of the most important improvisers on the New York scene today. Armacost was born in Los Angeles, but came of age as a musician in Tokyo, New Delhi and Amsterdam, where he burnished his reputation as an upcoming talent, with a big tenor sound and an impeccable rhythmic sense. He tours regularly around the world both as a sideman and a leader. Armacost has worked with a phenomenal number of jazz greats, including Al Foster, Jimmy Cobb, Kenny Barron, Tom Harrell, Billy Hart, Victor Lewis, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Peter Erskine, Ray Drummond, Roy Hargrove, Don Friedman and Randy Brecker.

Upcoming Guest Artists:
5/1 - Steve Santoro - vocalist with Jocelyn Pleasant on drums
5/8 - Fred Haas - alto sax with Claire Arenius on drums
5/15 - Don Braden - sax and flute with Jimmy Maddison on drums
5/22 - Steve Davis - trombone with Jon Fisher on drums
5/29 - Hendrik Meurkens - vibes and harmonica with Jon Fisher on drums

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. City Sports Grille at Spare Time Northampton, 525 Pleasant St., Northampton, MA. 413-584-4830

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Youth call for 16-year old vote in Northampton

The Northampton Mayor’s Youth Commission calls for lowering the voting age to 16 for all municipal elections.

The NMYC, along with at Large City Councilor William Dwight, is sponsoring a resolution calling on the Northampton City Council to petition the Massachusetts Legislature to allow sixteen and seventeen-year-old citizens to join the ranks of enfranchised voters for all municipal elections.

This action comes at a time when youth engagement in critical issues is rising and voter participation is declining. The local March for Our Lives demonstration on March 24th illustrated the desire of younger people to participate in our democracy and to have a say in how they are governed.

"As the issue of gun violence becomes more prevalent,” said Youth Commission Chair Margot Shocket-Greene (16), “the youth of America have realized that we must be the voice to push for gun control laws and advocate for our own lives.”

“In order to have a voice and be represented by our government and to make the necessary changes in our community, access to voting is essential so that the youth can be a part of bettering the community and country.” Schocket-Greene added, “I believe this could greatly improve both levels of voter turnout and political engagement"

Currently there are no communities in the Commonwealth that have been granted this authority although there are several towns and cities that are pursuing the right to lower their minimum voting age. Should the Legislature accept the petition the measure would likely be referred back to the citizens of Northampton as a ballot question.

“A democracy works best when participation is expanded,” Councilor William Dwight, liaison to the Youth Commission said, “and we have been led most recently more by the consciences of teenagers than self-identified adults. If we can retain the energy and commitment that they have displayed then we will all be better off for their involvement.”

The resolution will be on the agenda for the City Council meeting of April 19th at which time the Council may vote to approve the resolution in first reading or refer it to committee for further discussion.

“Our democracy is an ever-evolving experiment,” said Northampton Council President Ryan O’Donnell. “In fact, debating the fundamental rules of our democracy is an important democratic act in and of itself. I appreciate that that the Youth Commission has started this debate in Northampton.”

(Draft resolution included below)


Margot Schocket-Greene
Phone or text: 413 275-5679

Bill Dwight
Phone or text: 413 262-6710

Monday, April 16, 2018

Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra Premieres Concerto

WHAT: Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra Premieres Concerto for Guitar Orchestra by Peter Blanchette
WHERE: Sweeney Concert Hall, Smith College 144 Green Street Northampton, MA. 
WHEN: Saturday, May 12 at 7:30 pm.

The Center for the Arts is pleased to present composer, performer, and guitar innovator Peter Blanchette directing the critically acclaimed Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra (HVGO) at Sweeney Concert Hall, Smith College on Saturday, May 12 at 7:30 pm. The concert is the world premiere of Blanchette’s Concerto for Guitar Orchestra. This three-movement work, the first-ever of its kind, celebrates the composer’s earliest musical memories, fragments of pop and ethnic music, absorbed in countless, solitary sessions, teaching himself to play the guitar by ear.

Steve Waksman, Chair of the Smith College Music Department writes, “Peter Blanchette's Concerto for Guitar Orchestra is a wonderfully rendered fusion of rock energy with the discipline of contemporary art music, like the Rolling Stones meets Philip Glass, using deceptively simple riffs to develop complex structures. Blanchette’s fine attention to the nuances of guitar tone really sets the piece apart. It takes an incredibly subtle ear to pull together the purest sounds of a nylon-string instrument and the overdriven bite of a solid-body electric without one overpowering the other, but here they sing in perfect harmony."

The concert also serves as a farewell performance for Blanchette, the founding musical director for HVGO. Beginning this summer, Joe Ricker of Amherst, MA, will take over the position. Blanchette on his tenure and retirement from HVGO: “About 70 guitarists have played with us since 2009. It’s been an amazingly rich experience for me, one that proves people can get together and make very new music and that listeners will enjoy it. Now that HVGO has a home again with the Northampton Center for the Arts at 33 Hawley Street, it’s time for me to move on to other personal artistic activities that I have set aside. So many people, including my whole family, have contributed to the project, and for that I am deeply grateful.”

HVGO is an avant-garde music ensemble founded by Peter Blanchette in 2009, with a roster of 15-20 acoustic and electric guitarists from widely varied traditions. Since its inception, HVGO has been a resident company of the Northampton Center for the Arts. It is supported by the D’Addario Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Frank Lucchesi Trust.

Though known as a Bach specialist, Blanchette has a repertoire of unusual and celebrated musical arrangements that run from medieval to contemporary to ethnic styles. He is a recipient of New England Public Radio Foundation’s Arts & Humanities Award for Outstanding Individual and is a veteran performer at Spain’s Cordoba Festival of the Guitar, Boston’s Symphony Hall, NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Town Hall, New York City.

Tickets for the concert are $15 for adults, $12 for students and children. They are available in advance at or Brown Paper Tickets and at the door from 6:30 pm on the evening of the performance. Door sales are cash or check only.

Photo credit: Ron Mann

Audio demos from the Concerto:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Kathy Ford Quilts at Arts Night Out

WHAT: Kathy Ford Quilts at Arts Night Out
WHERE: Friday, April 13th 5-8pm
WHEN: Northampton Community Arts Trust 33 Hawley Street Northampton, MA.

Join Kathy Ford in the downstairs studio for a special Arts Night Out featuring a quilt display and live music beginning at 5 pm, followed by a reading and book signing at 7 pm.Kathy will share excerpts from her recently published book, Adding Wood to the Fire, A Quiltmaker’s Way, with candid writing and over sixty pages of rich color illustrations.

Kathy offers an inspiring account of how art and life come together to be seen. Part tale of artist finding voice, of quiltmaking process, and of awakening, the heart of this book is a story of creative spirit. Her body of work can be seen at

Übeer Fest returns to Easthampton April 28th

WHAT: Übeer Fest
WHERE: Eastworks Building, 116 Pleasant Street Easthampton, MA.  
WHEN: Saturday, April 28th from 4-7 pm

Übeer Fest, western Massachusetts’s most diverse and eclectic beer festival, returns to the Eastworks Building in Easthampton on Saturday, April 28th from 4-7 pm. Übeer Fest is presented by the Valley Beer Trail and Provisions Northampton. Übeer Fest focuses on quality local, regional and global brews.

“Übeer Fest features a dozen local breweries, plus carefully chosen regional brews and exceptional global brews,” says Mark Lattanzi, Event Director. “We celebrate the creativity of local and regional beer culture, and the heritage of some of Europe’s great breweries and beer styles. Übeer Fest is truly all killer, no filler.”

In addition to the 12 western Mass breweries at Übeer, local importer Shelton Brothers will bring a selection of some of the global brews they’re famous for, like experimental brewery Mikkeller, and legendary lambic makers from Europe.

“Übeer Fest offers guests the opportunity to taste incredible beer not easily found outside of a few select stores and pubs, plus the latest, freshest offerings from the amazing western Mass brewing scene,” says Lattanzi.

Two food trucks will attend Übeer. Murphy’s Mobile, the food truck of Murphy’s Pub in Agawam, offers hearty pub food. Sun Kim Bop brings creative Korean fusion tacos and more.

Advance tickets are available right now for $35 ($45 at the door) at

Übeer Fest is presented by Valley Beer Trail and Provisions Northampton, with support from Atkins Farms Country Market, Country Hyundai, Country Nissan and Northampton Volkswagen.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art Presents the 8th Annual Barbara Elleman Research Library Lecture with Anita Silvey

WHAT: 8th Annual Barbara Elleman Research Library Lecture with Anita Silvey  
WHERE: The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art - 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA
WHEN: Saturday, April 28th at 2:00pm

Editor, author, and scholar Anita Silvey will deliver the annual Barbara Elleman Research Library (BERL) Lecture on Saturday, April 28th at 2:00pm at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. The BERL Lecture is an annual event featuring the country's preeminent scholars, book collectors, researchers, editors, authors, and illustrators in the field of children's literature.

Anita Silvey's lecture Celebrating the Caldecott: The Stories Behind Some of the Great Caldecott Medal and Honor Books takes a look "behind the curtain" as she reveals insights into the publishing and promotion of these Caldecott treasures. Silvey will draw from her 40 years of experience in publishing and evaluating children's books, including her work as publisher of children's books at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company (formerly Houghton Mifflin) and as editor of The Horn Book magazine. The lecture is free with museum admission and a reception and book signing will follow.

At noon, prior to the lecture, educators, librarians, and caregivers are invited to participate in Sharing Caldecott Medal Books, an informal discussion sharing their experiences introducing Caldecott Medal books to children. This program will be given by Susan Schiller and Barbara Weber, volunteers in The Carle's Reading Library, and Susan Wells, school librarian at Wildwood Elementary in Amherst. Reservations are required for the noon discussion; visit for more information.

Guests will also have time to explore The Carle's special exhibition, Eighty Years of Caldecott Books, co-curated by Barbara Elleman and Chief Curator Ellen Keiter. The exhibition celebrates artistic achievement in picture books, presenting a chronological display of the winning Caldecott titles from 1938 to the present. 

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