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.

J. Scott Brandon Grant Fund

Northampton High School has a strong music community with programs, spaces, and opportunities for students to develop individually while participating in collaborative school-wide activities. Northampton High School sits in a town with numerous performance venues, music schools, and community organizations. Our school is also lucky to be able to employ two full-time music teachers, one for instrumental music and the other for choral music. The High School also has strong visual arts and theatre departments offering meaningful space for collaboration. For these reasons, great art is created at Northampton High School, and musically-inclined students have many opportunities.

Instrumental music, however, is, by nature, a luxury. Instruments are expensive, the supplies needed to maintain instruments are usually unexpected, and most importantly, the lessons to prepare students for participation in ensembles are costly. For most students in instrumental music programs at Northampton High School, families can manage these costs. However, for others, the cost of learning music is a significant obstacle. These students will miss the challenging and rewarding opportunity to perform with other musicians.

The J. Scott Brandon Grant Fund has been created to ensure that all interested students at Northampton High School will receive music lessons and supplies for their instruments throughout their high school careers. During the school year, a musician would provide weekly classes at a local music school (Downtown Sounds or Northampton Community Music Center - student’s choice). Ninth and tenth-grade Northampton High School students needing financial support would be eligible for scholarship funds to receive music lessons. Students would be nominated for the grant by Paul Kinsman, Claire Williams, and one board member of the Northampton Arts Councils’ Schools sub-committee each year in mid-March as course selection wraps up.

The Northampton Arts Council supports artists and ensures all community members can access the arts. The Arts Council is pleased to support the opportunity for students, regardless of their financial resources, to join an inclusive community of musicians. Northampton Arts Inc. is fulfilling its mission.

NHS Musical Director Paul Kinsman and Band Director Claire Williams will identify a student in June that could benefit from the fund and submit a proposal to the J.Scott Brandon Fund Sub-committee before the last day of school in the academic year.

J.Scott Brandon Fund Sub-committee reviews proposals (including timeline and costs) and votes to approve.

When a proposal is approved, the student is notified. Arts Council Production staff will work with the Northampton Community Music Center, and Downtown Sounds to identify the availability of the proper instructor. An agreement between all parties will be written and signed.

NHS Musical Director Paul Kinsman and Band Director Claire Williams will assess the efficacy of the grant through monthly progress reviews with the student and their instructor. The assessment will be shared with the committee to determine the appropriate action - continuation or termination of funding.

After the initial funding cycle is complete and if the Progress Reviews have been positive, NHS Musical Director Paul Kinsman and Band Director Claire Williams can apply to the Arts Council Schools Sub-Committee for an extension to grant, with the student’s consent.

The subcommittee meets to decide on the continuation of funding based on NHS teacher recommendations and progress reviews.

To donate to the J. Scott Brandon Fund, visit our PayPal Donation Link. Make a note on the check, in the memo line to read "JSB Fund," or do the same on the online donation portal.

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