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.

Public Art



WATER: A PUBLIC ART PROJECT

Railroad Bridge Public Art Project

The Northampton Arts Council announced in May of 2011 the selection of Water Music by David Teeple as the artwork to replace Leland Johnston’s “Dream” Mural on the bridge entering Northampton. Following an open call for proposals, a selection committee selected Teeple's artwork, which was installed the week of October 3, 2012. Acting Mayor of Northampton David Narkewicz, Northampton Arts Council Board of Directors Chairperson Betsy Stone, and artist David Teeple, performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the route 9 railraod bridge at 4pm, Friday October 14, 2011.


The Northampton Arts Council, in cooperation with the City of Northampton, unveiled a major public art installation on the Route 9 railroad bridge in Northampton, facilitated a juried visual arts exhibition at the Hosmer Gallery in Forbes Library; all around the theme water.


The public art installation, called Water Music, is comprised of two essential visual components--a series of stainless steel panels spanning the width of the bridge, which represents the surface of water, and a suspended blue, aerial map of the Connecticut River. The 4,000 piece installation acts as both a painting and a sculpture. The panels form the “ground” or “canvas” for the work, while the river element represents a flowing brushstroke.


Follow the River: A Juried Exhibition and Performance

Running concurrently with this site-specific installation was a visual arts exhibition guest curated by David Teeple, at the Hosmer Gallery in Forbes Library in Northampton, MA. Artwork was selected through a blind-jury process. The focus of the juried exhibition called, Follow the River, provided a conceptual framework that directly engaged with the innovative power, beauty, and scope of art inspired by water.




Emphasis was placed on artist’s work, which engaged, inspired and celebrated the life-affirming properties of water. One goal of this exhibition was to initiate a dialogue between artists and the community, and to demystify and provoke the many facets of this most elusive and essential compound. Topics encouraged, but not limited to, included, beauty, recreation, agriculture, energy, symbolism, mythology and weather, addressing questions like; How can the science of water be communicated through a work of art? What impact is the global water crisis having on us locally? The undercurrent of the exhibition is one of shared inquiry and optimism.


A Special performance featuring The Thursday night Underscore +/- group, developed by Nancy Stark Smith occurred on Saturday, October 15, 2011.



CITY OF NORTHAMPTON ARTS ORDINANCE - 285-9

Excerpt here: "Anything within a sidewalk, street, or on a public building, excepting property under the jurisdiction of the School Committee, that is considered public art by the Arts Council and is reasonably expected to last longer than 90 days, shall not be installed without a permit from the Arts Council. Public art may include, but is not limited to: murals, sculptures, and art installations."


Copy of Ordinance available for download here


If you or your organization are interested in creating public art or have questions surrounding your project please contact us at arts@northamptonma.gov or (413) 587-1269.


The procedure for determining whether your project should be issued a permit from the Arts Council would start by adding your project inquiry to the agenda of the Arts Council's next board meeting. Board meetings occur every second Tuesday of each month unless otherwise noted. The Arts Council will then vote on whether your project would fall under the umbrella of Public Art.


If you project does fall under Public Art, a permitting procedure would commence with the director of the Arts Council.


DISPLAYING ART IN CITY HALL GUIDELINES Click HERE to download the policy, email arts@northamptonma.gov to request to show your work in City Hall.


Street Musician's Permit for Northampton: For permission to perform in downtown Northampton, please download this form here and bring it to the Department of Public Works to get it signed. Then take the signed permit to the Police Department to obtain another signature.



Street Performer's Permit for Northampton: For permission to perform in downtown Northampton, please download this form here and bring it to the Department of Public Works to get it signed. Then take the signed permit to the Police Department to obtain another signature.

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