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.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Northampton Arts Council Distributes $40,000 to Local Artists for COVID-19 Relief

(Northampton, MA-) The Northampton Arts Council raised $29,000 and re-allocated $11,000 from its own budget for the COVID-19 Artist Relief Fund and will be distributing relief grants in the amount of  $330 to 120 local artists. In April, the Northampton Arts Council announced the COVID-19 Artist Relief Grant for artists and cultural producers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 and contribute to the cultural vibrancy of Northampton, Florence, and Leeds. This program was designed in response to an artist input survey, in which seventy-four artists shared their concerns about loss of income due to canceled exhibitions, concerts, performances, and more.

“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,” said Brian Foote, Executive Director of the Northampton Arts Council. “I’m grateful to the Northampton Arts Council Board for making the decision to allocate funds towards artist relief and to the community for an outpouring of support for local artists at this time.”

In addition to the new Artist Relief Grant, the Northampton Arts Council informed all 2019 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. The 2019 grant recipients may also complete the public component of their project in an online format open to the public or use their grant as artist relief funds to offset any living expenses incurred during this difficult time.

As we look to the future, the Northampton Arts Council is acutely aware that many in our community are still struggling. The board, under the leadership and vision of Executive Director Brian Foote, hopes to use art and culture to build community in this time of isolation, to shine a light on underlying inequities in our world, and to inspire collective action and change for the betterment of each of us. This work is aligned with our commitment to equity and inclusion. Historically arts and artists have played an important role in difficult times of civil unrest and pandemic, and our current times prove no different. During this pandemic, people who are isolated at home and distanced from their communities, are turning to music, film, and other art forms for entertainment, connection and relief. As civil unrest rises due to police brutality and racism, the arts, literature, and traditional practices are used to challenge and fight against unjust, oppressive systems and power holders within the context of nonviolent actions, campaigns, and movements. These creative and artistic tactics inspire us to reclaim our humanity and celebrate our work as communities and individuals. In difficult times, artists are here to hold a mirror to society and to imagine a way forward, expressing and inspiring our collective action for justice, liberation and peace.

All are invited to join the Northampton Arts Council Facebook Group, which aims to create an online community for artists and cultural producers or check out our COVID-19 Resource page. The Board will continue to seek new ways to bring our community together, even remotely, through the arts. We thank the community for supporting our mission when we need you the most, and look forward to sharing our plans with you in the coming months. If you are able, and would like to continue to support our work, please email us with your ideas and suggestions, follow us on social media @nohoarts (Instagram), @artscouncilnorthampton (Facebook Fan Page), @nohoartscouncil (Twitter), join our email list, or donate here.

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