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 and Transperformance.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Paradise City Arts Festival returns Memorial Day Weekend

WHAT: Paradise City Arts Festival
WHEN: May 26-28, 2018, Memorial Day Weekend
WHERE: 3 County Fairgrounds 54 Old Ferry Rd., off Rt. 9 Northampton, MA

Northampton’s Paradise City Arts Festival enters its 24th year as New England’s cultural, creative and culinary tourism destination.

Meet 250 outstanding artists and master craft makers traveling from 20 states to show and sell original works in ceramics, painting, decorative fiber, art glass, furniture, jewelry, metal, mixed media, photography, sculpture, wearable art and woodworking.

 The Paradise City Arts Festival was founded and is directed by artists, which gives it a unique perspective and a creative edge. One of the top destinations in the nation to enjoy the very best in fine craft, painting and sculpture, the Northampton event never sits on its laurels. The major transformations effected last year introduced three carpeted, airy new buildings connected by covered walkways, keeping patrons comfortable and protected, rain or shine. The 12,000 square-foot Dining Tent commands a grassy lawn surrounded by outdoor sculpture. With lots of brand new artists, great food by local chefs, lively music and fun activities, visitors are kept busy and enthralled all weekend long.

This award-winning event offers the chance to see the remarkable work and hear the stories of 250 extraordinary artists from every corner of America. Over 10,000 attendees, many traveling long distances, visit this sprawling show held on Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day Weekend. Yankee Magazine wrote this year that “the Northampton visual arts scene explodes at the twice-yearly Paradise City Arts Festival, an extravaganza of 200-plus top-notch craftspeople and fine artists that’s been dazzling shoppers since 1995.”
Director Geoffrey Post says, “There are fresh discoveries everywhere. Our primary goal is to curate an event that includes emerging and established artists side-by-side, a broad range of price points and aesthetics, and always the highest standards of artistry and craftsmanship. Combine that with all the extras – amazing food, live music and the chance to see artists at work – and that’s why so many people travel such a distance to see this fair every year.”

Flower Power!
Flowers have been exerting their influence over artists for centuries. During the Dutch Golden Age of still-life flower painting, the world went mad with Tulip Mania, paying thousands of Dutch guilders for a single bulb. From Monet’s obsession with waterlilies to Andy Warhol’s iconic Pop Art petals, flowers have taken center stage. They have also played an important role in American culture, with poet Allen Ginsberg coining the term flower power to symbolize peace and non-violence during the Vietnam War.

Paradise City’s themed “Flower Power!” exhibit brings together a colorful collection of art and fine craft that shows us how central flowers are in our lives. The show’s exhibiting artists share the magic of flowers in paintings, photographs, jewelry, glass, ceramics, metal, wood, fiber arts, furniture, and much more. For ten years, the themed special exhibitions at Paradise City Arts Festivals have enchanted and educated the public, while offering the artists an opportunity to be extra creative and think outside the box. This display is mounted inside Exhibition Building #2.

Silent Art Auction to Benefit the Survival Center
The Survival Center is the newest beneficiary of Paradise City’s popular Silent Art Auction. The Northampton Survival Center is dedicated to improving the quality of life for low-income individuals and families throughout Hampshire County by providing nutritious food and other resources in an atmosphere of dignity and respect. The Center now runs two pantries – one in Northampton and one in Goshen, distributing approximately 750,000 pounds of food each year. Paradise City’s exhibiting artists have generously donated hundreds of beautiful items to be auctioned each day of the Festival. 100% of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the Survival Center’s programs. The Silent Art Auction takes place in Exhibition Building #3.

International Foods and Live Music under the Festival Dining Tent
The 12,000 square-foot Festival Dining Tent is a microcosm of Northampton’s vibrant restaurant scene, with recipes that span the globe. Chefs introduce new dishes every season, often using ingredients straight from the Valley’s farms. From exotic curries and Thai classics to locavore burgers and duck gravy poutine, there is something for every palate. A full bar offers wine, beer and Paradise City’s signature cocktails, like Manhattan Meets Northampton.

This holiday weekend Paradise City presents jazz and swing by three of the region’s favorite bands:
May 26: The O-Tones! Whether they are playing Big Band Swing, Motown or R & B, this four-piece band showcases powerful vocal harmonies, catchy rhythms and amazing strings.
May 27: The Blend is a six-piece ensemble back by popular demand this spring. Enjoy a great repertoire encompassing swing music, big band, old jazz standards, and oldies from 50’s & 60’s. The Blend is led by three female vocalists: Carol August, Leslie Alexandra, and Andrea Niki – fronting three accomplished backup musicians on keyboard, drums and saxophone.
May 28: The Jazz Divas, Jill Connolly, Carol Abbe Smith and Barbara Ween, cover ballads, swing, bebop and blues in fabulous harmony, backed up by a great instrumental trio.

Workshops and Demonstrations for All Ages
Paradise City keeps its visitors’ hands, eyes and brains busy. Master Potter Tim Scull of Canton, CT is renowned for his enormous pots and platters, distinguished by the marks of wood vapor, raku, saggar and pit firing. Hear stories of the studio, fascinating insights on clay and watch a bravura demonstration of his ceramic skills on the potter’s wheel. Make your own patterned scarf using a rainbow of vibrant dyes! Richard Borden and Patricia Disantis of Shibumi Silks offer a fantastic hands-on experience in silk marbling techniques. Their enthusiasm for their craft is contagious. Alan and Rosemary Bennett, known for their life-sized, realistic renditions of fish and sea creatures, lead very popular clay sculpture workshops for children (and the young at heart). These activities are all in Exhibition Building #2.

The changing installations and large-scale sculpture along the Sculpture Promenade between the Festival Dining Tent and the Exhibition Buildings are catnip for kids, Instagram heaven and full of fantastic decorating ideas for the attendees’ own gardens.

In addition, one often comes across an artist working on a painting, sketching out a concept for a commission, carving wood or sizing clothing for a client. This is one of the little pleasures of Paradise City. Not only is the event an opportunity to meet the artists and talk to them about their work, but there is always a glimpse of the technique and thought process behind each piece of art.
Fast Facts

Paradise City Arts Festival
Known as “Springtime in Paradise”, featuring 250 competitively juried artists from 20 states exhibiting original works in ceramics, painting, decorative fiber, art glass, furniture, jewelry, metal, mixed media, photography, large-scale sculpture, wearable art and woodworking.

In four buildings and under tents, rain or shine, at the 3 County Fairgrounds 54 Old Ferry Rd., off Rt. 9 Northampton, MA: I-91 at Exit 19 or 20

May 26, 27 & 28, 2018
Memorial Day Weekend
Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm
Monday, 10am-4pm

Adults: $14. Seniors (65+): $12. Students: $8. Three-Day Pass: $16. 12 and under: free.
Free Parking!
Free full color program with admission.

And More!
Live jazz and sensational food under the Festival Dining Tent • Survival Center Benefit Art Auction • Special exhibit: Flower Power! • Creative children’s workshops • Demonstrations • Art installations along the Sculpture Promenade.
Call 800.511.9725 or visit:

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