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, August 29, 2018

Historical Footnotes: Dancing Through Northampton’s History

WHAT: Historical Footnotes: Dancing Through Northampton’s History
WHEN: Sept. 14 & 15 ONLY, 7-8 p.m. music; 8-9:30 performance.
WHERE: Northampton Community Arts Trust, 33 Hawley Street, Northampton MA 

7-8 p.m. Music by Peter Jones, Art displays by Elizabeth Stone, Michael Tillyer, Kristina Madsen, and performance installation by Peter Schmitz

8-9:30 p.m. Historical footnotes by Laurie Sanders, Betty Sharpe, co-directors of Historic Northampton and friends. Performances by Deborah Goffe, Andrea Olsen, Jennifer Polins (Friday), Lailye Weidman (Saturday), and films by Wendy Woodson and Sasha Statman-Weil.

Cost: $15 at the door, $12 online at

Historic Northampton and A.P.E.@Hawley Street join forces for a special collaboration on September 14 & 15 to celebrate the opening of the new Flexible Performance Space at the Arts Trust’s building, 33 Hawley Street. Linking contemporary dance works, site-specific films, music, and visual art with Northampton’s rich history, twelve area artists and their collaborators will offer a range of surprising ecological and cultural perspectives, all with ties to Northampton’s past.

Engaging the imagination in multiple forms, Historical Footnotes: Dancing Through History highlights the continuity between local history and the arts.  Historic Northampton’s co-directors Laurie Sanders and Elizabeth Sharpe and colleagues will read from historical letters, diary entries and news articles, giving audience members a context for experiencing the history-inspired creative work of contemporary artists. “The audience will be able to reflect on those who came before as well as watching artists create and make history,” said Andrea Olsen, the project’s artistic director and a performer. “These are first steps in the lineage of this recently opened space for the creation of original work,” she said.

The proximity of the Community Arts Trust at 33 Hawley Street and Historic Northampton, alongside the newly designated Pomeroy Terrace Historic District, offers fresh possibilities for extending Main Street’s creative energy. This part of Northampton--Market Street, Bridge Street, Hawley Street and Pomeroy Terrace--was more integrated with Main Street until the 1890s when the railroad line was elevated. This section of Northampton included some of the first English homelots and was used by native people for millenia. 

Dances include a solo by Andrea Olsen inviting memories of previous artists, including the Swedish opera star Jenny Lind whose performances in Northampton in 1851 and 1853 drew thousands of enthralled listeners; Deborah Goffe’s choreography is partnered with an excerpt from Sojourner Truth’s description of an experience she had while living in Northampton in the 1840s; Peter Schmitz’s installation will focus on the “unseen, unheard and unrecorded” people within a community; Jennifer Polins and ensemble (Friday) focus on the musical potency of Bach to transcend time and space, Lailye Weidman brings us to more recent musical history with her energetic solo based on hardcore punk (Saturday). The evening is book-ended with Wendy Woodson’s film, which takes us on a walk by Northampton’s Mill River and Sasha Statman-Weil’s documentary, which focuses on the role of sacred spaces in shaping community and includes an interview with Gordon Thorne, one of the visionaries and key funders of 33 Hawley Street.

In addition to movement and videography, visual artists Elizabeth Stone will display a dress made of paper based on Jenny Lind; Michael Tillyer will showcase a new sculpture, “Really!” made from a white pine that was cut at Historic Northampton and pulled to Hawley Street by oxen last January. Renowned local furniture maker Kristina Madsen will display a “chair with bird’s nest” that was included as part of Dance Gallery’s performances at Thornes in the 80’s.

“It’s going to be an extraordinary evening combining art and history,” said Historic Northampton’s co-director Laurie Sanders.

Tickets are $15 at the door and  $12 on line at:

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Northampton Arts Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

For more information, contact:
Laurie Sanders:  413-584-6011; 413-588-2642
Andrea Olsen:  802-989-3035

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