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.


Design by James K. Hindle

HELP OUR ARTISTS - COVID-19 Artist Relief Application deadline has passed
Arts events, concerts, and productions have been cancelled in cities across the nation due to the effects of COVID-19. Artists, musicians, and performers whose livelihoods are dependent on these events  are facing insurmountable loses. Now is the time to give back to the artists and performers who contribute so much to the quality, vibrancy, and enjoyability of our lives and culture. We are collecting donations to support artists in our community, who have been directly impacted by this global heath crisis. The funds raised here will be distributed as relief grants to eligible artists and arts organizations.

The Northampton Arts Council is administering a COVID-19 Artist Relief Grant for all artists and cultural producers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 and who contribute to the cultural vibrancy of Northampton, Florence, and Leeds. This decision was made in response to an artist input survey that we administered to local artists, in which artists shared their concerns about loss of income due to cancelled exhibitions, concerts, performances, and more..

The COVID-19 Artist Relief Grant opportunity is in place of the ArtsEZ Grant that is typically offered by the Northampton Arts Council each spring. Northampton Arts Council is allocating $10,000 to the COVID-19 Artist Relief Grant fund. The Board would like to award as much money in artist relief as possible. We invite members of the community to donate to our artist relief fund via this GOFUNDME CAMPAIGN. All funds raised here will be distributed through this grant round.


In order to qualify, you must:
1. Be an artist or arts organizer in the Pioneer Valley who has actively contributed to our region’s cultural vitality with regularity, or within the past year.
2. Be an artist or arts organizer who has facilitated a public project, program or exhibition in Northampton, Florence or Leeds in the past three years.
3. Be 18 years or older.
4. I am experiencing a loss of income that is impacting my livelihood and/or my ability to carry out my artistic and programmatic mission.

Applications will be evaluated based on eligibility and need. The objective is to provide financial support quickly to the producers of art and culture in our community who have lost their usual income. We expect more applications than we have funds to give, but aim to provide support to as many eligible applicants as possible.

April 16: Application opens. GoFundMe Campaign opens.
May 15: Deadline to apply. GoFundMe Campaign closes.
May 28: Awards finalized; email notifications are sent.


“Artists and cultural producers play a vital role in making Northampton a great place to live and work. We want to ensure that members of our artistic community have the support they need to make it through this crisis and create beauty on the other side of it. I’m grateful to the Northampton Arts Council Board for making the decision to allocate this fund towards artist relief and to the community for an outpouring of support for local artists at this time.”
-- Brian Foote, Executive Director of the Northampton Arts Council

In addition to the new artist relief grant, The Northampton Arts Council informed all grant recipients who were awarded funds during our ArtsEZ 2019 and our Local Cultural Council FY20 grant cycles that they have been automatically granted a 6 month extension. Grant recipients can complete the public component of their project at a later date or shift to an online format open to the public. All previously awarded grants have also been automatically and immediately converted into artist relief funds for any artists who need to use their grant to offset any living expenses incurred during this difficult time.

  • DONATE. Even if it’s a small amount. Every dollar helps.
  • SHARE/POST THE LINK to the fundraiser with a personal message about why this campaign matters to you.
  • Invite people in your network to donate.
  • Tag folks that might be able to help spread the word.
  • Join our FACEBOOK GROUP for more information and updates
  • Like our FACEBOOK PAGE
  • EMAIL US with feedback/suggestions on how we can do better to support artists

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 First Night Northampton, Northampton Summer Park Series, Transperformance and Silver Chord Bowl, and advocating on behalf of the arts community.
ArtsEZ GRANT ROUND - postponed until Spring 2021

The Northampton Arts Council is a unique Local Cultural Council in that it offers a second round of grants every spring with money raised through annual events like TransperformanceFirst Night Northampton, and the Four Sundays in February Series.

Funds are available to projects that take place in Northampton, Florence, and Leeds in the following categories: Dance, Film/Video, Literature, Mixed Media, Music, Schools, Theater, and Visual Arts.

Last spring, the Council awarded $20,000 to 29 recipients with grants ranging from $250-$1500. This spring we will award up to $20,000 to projects that must start no earlier than July 1, 2020, and must be completed by June 30, 2021. A list of past grant recipients is here.


  • ArtsEZ Spring Grant Guidelines are being updated
  • List of Local Venues/Spaces HERE
  • Funding for project proposals that will be completed between 7/1/20 - 6/31/21
  • Northampton Arts Council Logo & MCC Logo


--Northampton-based artists.
--If you reside in another city, your project must be held in Northampton, Florence, or Leeds.
--Work demonstrating the highest artistic/cultural merit.
--Projects that include a public component that clearly benefit the residents of Northampton such as an exhibition, literary reading or performance held in Northampton, Florence, or Leeds.
--Non-profit cultural and educational institutions that offer programs and events which bring arts and culture to a Northampton audience.
--Projects that are feasible (secured venue & other funding sources)
--Schools, not artists, should apply for projects that take place in schools.

What Happens if You Receive a Grant in the Spring?

ArtsEZ Spring Grant Reimbursement Information HERE
Funds are awarded on a reimbursement basis only. Request for payment must be made within twelve months of notification of grant award. In addition, all successful applicants must properly credit the Northampton Arts Council for providing funds to the project in all press materials, posters, programs, announcements, paid advertising by putting the Northampton Arts Council logo on the press materials. Failure to do so will result in loss of funding. An example of proper credit would be: "This program is supported in part by a grant from the Northampton Arts Council" as well as adding our logo to the marketing materials.

How does the Arts Council decide which grant proposals get funded?
The volunteer board members of the Arts Council review each grant. Each board member is assigned a grant category and carefully reads every proposal in that category, following up with the artists for additional information if necessary. Each assigned board member then presents all the grants in his/her category to the entire board during the grant review meeting. After hearing presentations on all the grant submissions, each board member scores each grant proposal in three categories: Artistic Integrity (0-10), Community Impact (0-3), and Feasibility (0-3). Each Board member’s score for each grant is calculated and averaged into a total score.
These grants can support a variety of artistic projects and activities in Northampton, Florence, and Leeds -- including exhibits, festivals, short-term artist residencies, scholarships, or performances in schools, workshops, and lectures. 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 Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community.

This year, the Northampton Arts Council will distribute up to $20,105 in grants. 

In Fall 2018 the Northampton Arts Council awarded 30 grants totaling $13,700 in support of a variety of projects from funds allocated by the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s LCC program including: Eli Liebman "Self Care: Life Inside the Empire," Kim Carlino "Oasis Northampton" Mural, and Da Camera Singers "Dissident Voices," among many others. The caliber of applications of last year's round were outstanding, and we were unable to fund many worthy projects. The Arts Council received 80 requests for almost $80,802 of funding. Grants are awarded in the following categories: Dance, Media Arts, Multidisciplinary Arts, Music, Theater and Visual Arts.
After the deadline, contact your LCC. Councils can decide if they would like to do any follow-up to applicants after receiving their application, which will happen after November 1. Even if you haven’t contacted them, you may hear from them if they would like to ask questions or collect additional information.

Will I receive notice of whether my application has been accepted via postal mail or email?
LCC’s have the option to send denial and acceptance letters via email or postal mail. Most councils will choose to send emails. If you haven’t received news by the end of January, try contacting the council.

Will the reimbursement process be moving online as well?
No. The reimbursement process will stay the same as it has in the past and will not move online this year.

I have another question that isn’t answered here.
If you have a technical issue or a question about the online application, please contact our help desk at 617-858-2721.

After the October 15 deadline, online submissions will be collated by Mass Cultural Council for each LCC and delivered to the council in the form of a PDF Panel book. Schedule the grant cycle voting meeting.

PDF Panel books will be emailed to councils on or before November 1. Between November 1 and December 30 councils hold voting meetings to make decisions on applications, send denial letters, and handle reconsideration. Remember: Councils must wait until after the Annual Report is complete before sending out approval notifications.

Hold your voting meeting and send out disapproval letters via hard copy or email by December 30. Wait for the 15 day reconsideration period to pass and check council mailbox and email regularly for reconsideration requests.

Complete the Annual Report to Mass Cultural Council by January 15, and notify successful applicants. Final reports for Council Programs from the previous year are due to Mass Cultural Council.

Click here for Fall Grant Reimbursement Forms and information

BJ GOODWIN MEMORIAL FUND - Now accepting proposals

In honor of BJ Goodwin--performer, dancer, and educator--the Northampton Arts Council has formed a new grant program for the arts community. The BJ Goodwin Grant is designed to provide direct assistance to a Northampton-based artist, writer or arts organization in recognition of exceptional work and to support the further development of artistic talents. It is our hope that this grant opportunity will also provide artists with recognition and affirmation from their peers and the public. Individuals or organizations that are considered for this grant have already demonstrated their exceptional work within our community and are looking for supplemental funding to bring their work outside our region to another country or another region within the U.S. If you are interested in applying for the BJ Goodwin Grant please email or call (413) 587-1069.

Good example of BJ Goodwin proposal is here

History of BJ Goodwin Fund here

BJ Goodwin Donation Sheet here

The Northampton Arts Council accepts donations from the community that go towards the building of this special fund. To donate to the BJ Goodwin Fund click here, please write "BJ Goodwin" in note section to define the donation. All donations are 100% tax-deductible.
MUSICAL INSTRUMENT GRANT FUND - Rolling Application Deadline

The Musical Instrument Grant was established to provide support to Northampton’s most promising young musicians. Every year, the NAC’s Musical Instrument Grant will select one high school student in Northampton, based on teacher recommendations, and provide that student funds to purchase a pre-professional to professional level instrument. The selection process is based on musical accomplishment, as well as financial need.

For more info:

All donations are 100% tax-deductible.
TRANSPERFORMANCE MUSIC BENEFIT was established to provide support to Northampton’s most promising young artists. Every year, the Northampton Arts Council directly donates a portion of the proceeds from Transperformance to the Parent Teacher Organizations of Northampton High School, JFK Middle School, RK Finn Ryan Road, Leeds Elementary, Bridge Street School, and Jackson Street School. The funds are earmarked for arts education and enrichment. All donations are 100% tax-deductible.
Conflict of Interest Policy
To ensure that members of the Northampton Arts Council are free from conflicts of interest, board members are required to disclose any current or prospective affiliations they or their immediate family members have with an actual or potential applicant. “Affiliations” applies to employment, board memberships, independent contractual relationships, advisory or policy relationships, substantial contributor relationships, or other financial relationships. In addition, panelists are required to disclose any past or current adversarial relationships with actual or potential applicants. Arts Council board members and staff who apply for a grant recuse themselves entirely from participating in the review process and allocation determinations of their grant application.

Connect & Follow

Artist News

    Council News

      Search This Blog

      Blog Archive