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.

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Founded in 1980, the Northampton Arts Council has an all-volunteer board, appointed by the Mayor, and staff, consisting of a director, a part-time events producer, one student intern from Smith College, and one student intern from Northampton High School in the spring. 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), of which the Northampton Arts Council is one, 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 LCC's following our lead. The ArtsEZ Spring Grant round is made possible by two major fundraising events produced by the Northampton Arts Council; first, Transperformance, an end-of-summer music festival at Look Park held every August, and second, the Four Sundays in February Series which includes events such as the Silver Chord Bowl, KidsBestFest, and the Really Big Gong 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.


We also produce or help produce many other events in Northampton including but not limited to Northampton Summer Concert Series, RETROFAIRE, Cinema Northampton, Bi-ennial Exhibit at Forbes Library, Northampton Film Festival, Northampton Print and Book Fair.