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, January 26, 2022

Seeking community support to allocate ARPA funding to Northampton cultural organizations

The Northampton Arts Council is encouraging our community to submit written comments in support of allocating 15% of Northampton's ARPA money to cultural organizations.

In December the MA State Legislature passed their $4B ARPA spending bill, which includes $60M for a grant program administered by the Mass Cultural Council to support the recovery for the arts and cultural sector. Mass Cultural Council is seeking public input on how to allocate these funds. There is still time to submit written comments, you can do so until 5pm on February 7, 2022. You may read more in the MCC’s recent blog post.

The Northampton Arts Council requests, on behalf of more than 20 arts and culture organizations listed below, that the City of Northampton set aside 15% of its Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CLFRF) to help those of us at the heart of Northampton’s tourism industry recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic.

The City of Northampton has long recognized the direct link between tourism and the creative economy, and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) specifically identifies “aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality.” The guidance materials from the US Treasury state that the funding may be used to “provide aid to support safe reopening of businesses in the tourism, travel and hospitality industries…as well as aid a planned expansion or upgrade of tourism, travel and hospitality facilities delayed due to the pandemic.” The Treasury guidance gives municipalities quite a bit of latitude in how funds are expended, including a provision that allows direct support to businesses and non-profits to mitigate financial hardship suffered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In terms of how CLFRF/ARPA monies would be distributed to arts and culture entities in Northampton, we can imagine a grant application process like those used for Community Preservation Act grants or Community Development Block grants, with funding levels ranging from $25,000 to $200,000. The grants could fund special new performances, one-time programs, and shovel-ready projects that would reinforce and expand Northampton’s national reputation as a city where the arts and culture scene is vibrant, eclectic, and not-to-be-missed.

We believe that Northampton has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a major investment in its creative economy, and that such an investment will reap short and long-term benefits.

Laurie Sanders and Elizabeth Sharpe, Historic Northampton
Dorothy Nemetz, Northampton Center for the Arts, Northampton Community Arts Trust
Lisa Thompson, A.P.E., Ltd., Northampton Community Arts Trust
Brian Foote, Northampton Arts Council

Writing on behalf of:

Academy of Music
Anchor House of Artists, the New England Visionary Artists Museum
Arcadia Players
Bang Bang Body Arts
Bishop's Lounge
Down Right Productions
Downtown Northampton Association
Forbes Library
Hampshire County Tourism & Visitor Bureau
Northampton Center for the Arts
Northampton Chamber of Commerce
Northampton Community Music Center
Northampton Jazz Festival Inc
Northampton Open Media
Oxbow Art Gallery
Panopera Productions
Pinch (artisan gallery/shop)
Pine Box Studios
Pine Box Studios LLC
Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares
R. Michelson Galleries
Serious Play
Signature Sounds/The Parlor Room
The School for Contemporary Dance and Thought / A.P.E.
Thornes Marketplace
Young@Heart Chorus

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