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.

Public Art

An excerpt here: "Anything within a sidewalk, street, or on a public building, excepting property under the jurisdiction of the School Committee, that is considered public art by the Arts Council and is reasonably expected to last longer than 90 days, shall not be installed without a permit from the Arts Council. Public art may include, but is not limited to: murals, sculptures, and art installations." Copy of Ordinance available for download here

If you or your organization are interested in creating public art or have questions surrounding your project, please contact us at or call (413) 587-1069 or apply here.

The procedure for determining whether your project should be issued a permit from the Arts Council would start by applying for permission with the google form. Your project would be added to the agenda of the Arts Council's next meeting. Meetings occur every second Tuesday of each month unless otherwise noted. The Arts Council will then vote on whether your project would be considered Public Art.

If your project does fall under Public Art, a permitting procedure will commence with the Director of Arts and Culture.

How to Initiate a Public Art Project in Northampton, Florence, or Leeds:
1- Identify a location.
2- Identify who owns the location.
3- Get written permission for the location from the location owner.
4- Apply for a Permit to Initiate a Public Arts Project through the Northampton Arts Council Google Form
5- Director of Arts and Culture will contact you with any questions.
6- Project proposal will be added to the agenda of the next Northampton Arts Council Meeting.
7- Director will contact you with Arts Council feedback and a decision regarding your proposal.
*- The artist coordinates an execution plan with the Director of Arts and Culture with dates, times, personnel, and process.

*-Director of Arts and Culture gets final permission from the City's D.P.W., Mayor's office, and Police Department for the plan and any other relevant city departments.



Railroad Bridge Public Art Project

The Northampton Arts Council announced in May of 2011 the selection of Water Music by David Teeple as the artwork to replace Leland Johnston’s “Dream” Mural on the bridge entering Northampton. Following an open call for proposals, a selection committee selected Teeple's artwork, which was installed the week of October 3, 2012. Acting Mayor of Northampton David Narkewicz, Northampton Arts Council Board of Directors Chairperson Betsy Stone, and artist David Teeple, performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the route 9 railroad bridge at 4pm, Friday October 14, 2011.

The Northampton Arts Council, in cooperation with the City of Northampton, unveiled a major public art installation on the Route 9 railroad bridge in Northampton, facilitated a juried visual arts exhibition at the Hosmer Gallery in Forbes Library; all around the theme water.

The public art installation, called Water Music, is comprised of two essential visual components--a series of stainless steel panels spanning the width of the bridge, which represents the surface of water, and a suspended blue, aerial map of the Connecticut River. The 4,000 piece installation acts as both a painting and a sculpture. The panels form the “ground” or “canvas” for the work, while the river element represents a flowing brushstroke.

Follow the River: A Juried Exhibition and Performance

Running concurrently with this site-specific installation was a visual arts exhibition guest curated by David Teeple, at the Hosmer Gallery in Forbes Library in Northampton, MA. Artwork was selected through a blind-jury process. The focus of the juried exhibition called, Follow the River, provided a conceptual framework that directly engaged with the innovative power, beauty, and scope of art inspired by water.

Emphasis was placed on artist’s work, which engaged, inspired and celebrated the life-affirming properties of water. One goal of this exhibition was to initiate a dialogue between artists and the community, and to demystify and provoke the many facets of this most elusive and essential compound. Topics encouraged, but not limited to, included, beauty, recreation, agriculture, energy, symbolism, mythology and weather, addressing questions like; How can the science of water be communicated through a work of art? What impact is the global water crisis having on us locally? The undercurrent of the exhibition is one of shared inquiry and optimism.

A Special performance featuring The Thursday night Underscore +/- group, developed by Nancy Stark Smith occurred on Saturday, October 15, 2011.

Street Musician's Permit for Northampton: For permission to perform in downtown Northampton, please download this form here and bring it to the Department of Public Works 125 Locust Street, Northampton, MA 01060. Please bring valid identification. Permits cost $25, expire on December 31, and take up to 10 days to process. 

Street Performer's Permit for Northampton: For permission to perform in downtown Northampton, please download this form here and bring it to the Department of Public Works 125 Locust Street, Northampton, MA 01060. Please bring valid identification. Permits cost $25, expire December 31, and take up to 10 days to process. 

FINE ARTS SIDEWALK OCCUPANCY PERMIT: For permission to sell art in downtown Northampton, please download this form here and bring it to the Department of Public Works 125 Locust Street, Northampton, MA 01060. Please bring valid identification. Permits cost $25, expire December 31, and take up to 10 days to process. 

Are you interested in using Pulaski Park in downtown Northampton for an event or gathering?
  • The city does not give permission to host events in Pulaski Park because we don't reserve or permit park use, except for City-sponsored events.
  • Sound can not be amplified.
  • The park needs to be open to the public at all times.
  • City-sponsored events are scheduled throughout the year and are done with the maintenance of the park, weather, and the health of the turf in mind, as well as in coordination with events at the Academy of Music.
  • Small areas of the park are used for such things as Fitness in the Park and tai chi classes, but all of these things are done with the expectation that there may be others in the space upon arrival and people can not be kicked out of the space as it is a public area.
  • Admission, invitation-only or requiring a ticket is strictly prohibited.
  • Sidewalks or walkways can not be blocked.
  • Tents cannot be erected or staked into the ground (including tables, chairs, signs... anything with legs that could pierce the surface), and items can not be rented and dropped off at the park as it is not an event venue.
  • Like most parks, anything carried in must be carried out, i.e., trash, as any overflowing trash will attract animals to the area.
  • Pulaski Park is our beautiful downtown park open to the public for all to enjoy. Please respect the rules and help keep it in the condition you found it.
  • Consistently, since the park reopened after renovations, the city has yet to issue permits for any non-city-sponsored events in the park. Other areas do provide space for events, i.e. Veterans' Field. If you want more information, email our Parks & Rec department at
  • For a schedule of City-sponsored events, please visit: or

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