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.

Friday, December 13, 2019

A Gift of Remembrance

A Gift of Remembrance; Anonymous donor honors lawyer Bart Gordon and his contributions to Northampton arts and culture.

The Northampton Community Arts Trust will name the mezzanine of 33 Hawley Street for Bart J. Gordon after receiving $150,000 to honor his memory. A long time Northampton resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, pledged $100,000 in a challenge to the community to match his gift with $50,000.  The challenge was met with contributions from the community, including many of Bart’s family members and friends, and a substantial gift from Saliq Savage, a local movement artist and developer. Saliq made his gift in honor of Bart and in memory of his recently deceased mother and father. A dedication ceremony will be held Saturday, December 14 at 5:00 pm.



Bart was a lawyer with the firm Buckley, Richardson, Galinas. In 1989, he chaired the Steering Committee for the Northampton Cultural Plan and worked tirelessly to bring arts organizations together with local businesses and city administrators to formulate a way to expand and sustain a wide range of cultural experiences and opportunities for community members. He served as president of the board of directors of the Northampton Center for the Arts and hosted a Sunday night blues program on WRNX- FM. Bart died suddenly at age 46 in 1995.  His community spirit is memorialized with an engraved stone and an oak tree planted beside a bench in back of Forbes Library.

The gifts will be used to support the ongoing capital campaign to complete the renovation of 33 Hawley Street, an energy efficient, economically sustainable center for arts and culture in the Pioneer Valley. The beautiful mezzanine in the lobby of 33 Hawley will be dedicated to the memory of Bart Gordon and his efforts on behalf of arts and culture in Northampton.

Sarah Cooper-Ellis, Bart’s widow, said “It is fair to say that 33 Hawley Street is the culmination of decades of visioning and hard work by organizations and individuals like Bart Gordon over many decades.”

Renovations to 33 Hawley are approximately 70% complete with two large work studios, a dance studio and a 2000 square foot flexible performance space in steady use under the auspices of the Northampton Center for the Arts, A.P.E. Ltd, and Northampton Open Media (formerly Northampton Community Television).  These three established organizations provide affordable access to 33 Hawley’s varied arts spaces.

“The Arts Trust is dedicated to keeping 33 Hawley’s operating costs as low as possible,” said Treasurer and Capital Campaign Chair Peter Whalen. “That means getting most of our energy from a 12,000 square foot solar array on the roof. It also means that we have not encumbered the property with commercial debt and therefore construction has followed fundraising: we undertake a phase of construction only when we have raised the funds to pay for it.”

To date, primarily during the “quiet” phase of the capital campaign, the Arts Trust has raised about $6 million for renovations to the 23,000 square foot building and the 1.5 acre lot on which it is located. Most recently, the area in front of the building was landscaped to create an attractive and welcoming park-like setting. 

The Arts Trust still needs to raise approximately $2.6 million to complete the unfinished portions of 33 Hawley: the 3800 square foot black box theater and theater support spaces, the dedicated visual arts gallery, administrative offices and finishes to the lobby and mezzanine. The gifts in Bard Gordon’s memory will support phases of this construction.

 The Northampton Community Arts Trust, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in May, 2010. Its mission is to protect and ensure the long-term vitality of the greater Northampton community through the acquisition and conservation of affordable space for the creation, presentation and exhibition of the arts. Funding for this project has come from generous individuals and institutions and government entities including: the Beveridge Family Foundation, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Whalen Insurance, the Peace Development Fund, Smith College, the City of Northampton, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of Administration and Finance, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. 

For more information on the 33 Hawley Street Project and on the Arts Trust please visit www.northamptonartstrust.org and www.@33Hawley.org

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