Arts & Culture Department

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 and monthly events of interest to the community as Transperformance, Four Sundays in February which includes The Silver Chord Bowl & The Really Big Show, Cinema Northampton, KidsBestFest, YouthFilm, RETROFAIRE, Summer Concert Series, and advocating on behalf of the arts community.

The Arts and Culture Department works to fund, promote and present high-quality, community-based arts programming for the benefit of artists, residents and visitors to the City of Northampton. The department works with the arts council to perform tasks assigned to local cultural councils under MGL c. 10, § 58, or successor statutes. The department coordinates the Paradise City Cultural District under MGL c. 10 § 58A. The department serves as the city’s liaison to local, regional, and statewide arts and culture organizations. The department provides administrative, clerical and technical support to the arts council.

DISPLAYING ART IN CITY HALL GUIDELINES FOR ARTISTS

1. Scheduling of your exhibit, including the date and time of your opening reception, needs to be done through the Department of Arts & Culture. Generally work is displayed at 3pm on the first Tuesday of the month and runs for 30-days. Work must be taken down on by 2pm on the first Tuesday of the following month. Other display and removal arrangements may be made in consultation with the Department of Arts & Culture.

2. Visit the second floor of City Hall before your exhibit to become familiar with the space.

3. You are responsible for hanging your work using the hanging system in place in the second floor hallway of City Hall. Please make arrangements with the Department of Arts & Culture to coordinate a time for hanging and displaying your exhibit.

4. If you need help, bring a friend. While the Department of Arts & Culture may offer to assist, please don’t count on the Department to be available. You may also want to bring a small stepladder, wire, and other tools to assist in hanging your pieces.

5. Write your own labels that can be affixed to the walls without damaging the paint.

6. Write a statement about yourself and your exhibit that can be affixed to the wall. The statement should be no bigger than 8.5” X 11”, hung near your work and like your labels, it shouldn’t damage the paint. The artist’s statement should include your contact information so interested community members can contact you directly. Employees of the City of Northampton are not available to facilitate artist/community member/buyer communication.

7. Northampton City Hall is open from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday.

8. Parking meters in Northampton require money from 8:00am to 6:00pm.

9. The artist is responsible for publicity and the Department of Arts & Culture will provide a press list if requested. It will be up to you to let your friends, family and collectors know about your exhibit and to invite them to your opening reception.

10. Sales are encouraged. All prices should be posted near the artwork. Pieces not for sale should be clearly labeled as such. All pieces sold must wait until the end of the show to be given to buyer. In extenuating circumstance (buyer needs it sooner), the piece can come down if it is simultaneously replaced with another of similar proportion. The City of Northampton and the Department of Arts & Culture take no commission on the piece(s) sold.

11. In selecting items for your exhibit, do not include artwork that might not be appropriate for City Hall, which is a public space. Artists are prohibited from hanging depictions of nudity, or other material that is not family-friendly. City Hall is a public space used by many community members.

Email arts@northamptonma.gov to request to show your work in City Hall.

Northampton Arts Council Board Members FY16-FY17

Arts and Community: Ellen Augarten has been a portrait photographer for over twenty-five years, specializing in fine black and white images of her favorite subject: people. She’s on the grant review committee and the exhibition committee.

Arts and Presenting: George Myers is the general manager of the Amherst Cinema. He has extensive knowledge of the Northampton Art Scene, night life and music scene. Booked national, international tours for musicians. Curates film series.

Arts and Graphic Design: Eric Olsson (Chair) graduated with a BA in Finance and Operations Management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has worked as a marketing and graphic design consultant since 1991 with clients throughout the New England area. He began working with Knowledge Matters in 1999 as the Creative Director. Eric has taught classes on graphic design and printing technology at Smith Vocational High School in Northampton, MA. 

Public Art and Photography: Stephen Petegorsky is a professional photographer whose work has been exhibited nationally and is in numerous collections throughout the country. He has an M.F.A. in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. He has taught at Smith College, Hampshire College and at the University of Connecticut. Stephen served on Board of the Arts Council for six years and is returning after a two-year hiatus. He is currently an Associate Member of the Arts Council.

Herbert Ross

Visual Artist and Book Author: Janet A. Ruby is a professional studio artist, specializing in painting, handmade books and enameling. She is a Professor of Art and Design at Shippensburg University, in Shippensburg, PA. Jan is currently writing an Art Appreciation textbook for Prentice Hall/Pearson ( Art Appreciation, the Creative Process, 10/ 2014.) 

Arts and Community: Kathy Service (Clerk) our past co-Chair has long been an avid arts supporter and works not only for the Arts Council but has worked for almost every other arts organization in Northampton. In the past year she was co-Chair of First Night, organizing over 150 volunteers. She works for the State Department of Mental Retardation and has involved many of her clients in our programs, as actors, volunteers and audience members.

Printmaking and Exhibitions: Esther White is an artist and arts organizer based in Northampton, MA. Esther's art practice includes printmaking; textile dyeing and needlework; publishing photocopied artists' books and zines; and organizing community art events and spaces.

Arts and Craftsmanship: Jonah Zuckerman has run the furniture making studio City Joinery for near 20 years. He has an undergraduate degree in art/art history and a masters in architecture, and was a Fulbright fellow in Nepal, where he studied traditional building techniques. As president of the non-profit Furniture New York, he helped launch the annual event Brooklyn Designs. His furniture has been published widely and shipped all over the world.

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2016 Board Meeting Schedule:

6/14, 7/13, 8/9, 9/13, 10/11, 11/8, 12/13

Board meetings take place in the City Hall Hearing Room at 210 Main Street from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM on the second Tuesday of every month. 

Please contact arts@northamptonma.gov for the up-to-date schedule.

MCC/LCC Fall Grant Program

The Local Cultural Council (LCC) Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences annually.

The program promotes the availability of rich cultural experiences for every Massachusetts citizen.

Administered by 2,400 municipally appointed volunteers, the LCC network consists of 329 councils serving all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns. Each year, local councils award more than $2 million in grants to more than 5,000 cultural programs statewide. These include school field trips, after-school programs, concerts, festivals, lectures, theater, dance, music, and film. LCC projects take place in schools, community centers, libraries, elder care facilities, town halls, parks, and wherever communities come together.

Some of our funding priorities are:

--Northampton-based artists.

--If you reside in another city, your project must be held in Northampton, Florence, or Leeds.

--Work demonstrating the highest artistic/cultural merit.

--Projects that include a public component that clearly benefit the residents of Northampton such as an exhibition, literary reading or performance held in Northampton.

--Non-profit cultural and educational institutions that offer programs and events which bring arts and culture to a Northampton audience.

--Projects that are feasible.

--Schools, not artists, should apply for projects that take place in schools.

Last fall, the Northampton Arts Council awarded $10,592 to 24 recipients in a highly competitive round with grants ranging from $250 to $1500 to projects in the following categories: dance, film/video, literature, mixed media, music, schools, theater, and visual arts. The caliber of applications during every grant round tend to be outstanding, and we are unable to fund many worthy projects. The Arts Council frequently receives over 50 requests for funding every fall. 

The Local Cultural Council Program was first established in 1982 and was managed by the Massachusetts Arts Lottery Council. Then in 1990, the Arts Lottery Council merged with another state agency, the Mass. Council on Arts and Humanities, to form the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The MCC has overseen the LCC Program since and receives its funding from an annual state appropriation.The LCC network consists of 329 councils serving all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns. Each year, local councils award more than $2 million in grants to more than 5,000 cultural programs statewide. These include school field trips, afterschool programs, concerts, festivals, lectures, theater, dance, music, and film. LCC projects take place in schools, community centers, libraries, elder care facilities, town halls, parks, and wherever communities come together.

Click here for more information about the Fall Grant Round

Paradise City Cultural District

Known as ‘Paradise City’ since the renowned soprano Jenny Lind first visited in the late 19th century and coined the phrase, Northampton enjoys city sophistication within a panoramic setting, as well as a strong artistic identity.

Arts and culture are an integral component of Northampton’s identity and vitality. Amidst impressive – and largely intact – 19th-century architecture, the City’s bustling downtown core is brimming with art galleries, music stores, metal-smiths, antique stores, cultural organizations and institutions, including the renowned Smith College Museum of Art and the first municipally-owned theatre in the nation, restaurants and cafés offering a variety of ethnic fare, concert halls, and nightclubs. Combined with monthly open studio nights, a plethora of family-friendly festivals and events, and hundreds of concerts per year, downtown Northampton possesses the high volume and eclectic mix of cultural assets, as well as a very cool vibe, envied by any successful arts district.

For decades, Northampton has been earning and establishing a reputation as being a “hub of the arts” (D. Nemetz, Chair, Northampton Center for the Arts) and a charming place to live, work, and visit. Along the way, Northampton has attracted a significant cluster of visual, literary, and performing artists and creative entrepreneurs while garnering many distinctive accolades, such as, “Top 25 Arts Destinations” by American Style Magazine, 2000-2009; “Great Cities for a Simple Life” by AARP Magazine, 2009; “Great Places in America” for Main Street from the American Planning Association, 2007; Award for Excellence for the “Best Downtown Shopping District” by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, 2006; “Ten Great Places to Revel in Cinematic Grandeur,” as reported in USA Today, 2005; “Top 100 Places to Live” by CNN Money Magazine, 2005; “A Dozen Distinctive Destinations” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2001; and “Number One Best Small Arts Community in America,” by author John Villani, 2000.

The Paradise City Cultural District is an architecturally impressive, compact, walkable and bikeable area encompassing approximately 14 square blocks and possessing numerous assets and amenities supportive of a thriving arts district, including a very visible creative-sector presence; easy highway access, bus transit, and incoming high-speed Amtrak rail service (Springfield-to-Greenfield route expected in early 2015 as part of the Knowledge Corridor project); an attractive street-scape and skyline punctuated by the city’s majestic church spires; a diverse selection of restaurants, cafés, and coffee shops; and in-city overnight accommodations (adding another 100 hotel rooms, totaling 460). As one of the Five College communities in the Pioneer Valley, Northampton enjoys a strong infusion of college students, adding to the city’s diversity and contributing to its eclectic night life. In addition, the Forbes Library, which is located within the cultural district is a valuable community resource that presents an active calendar of cultural programming for both children and adults, ranging from art exhibitions in its spacious community gallery, music/dance performances, writing/author workshops, poetry readings, knitting circles, and story time. The Forbes Library is also the largest source of primary material on Northampton’s former resident and mayor Calvin Coolidge, and is the only public library in the United States to house a presidential collection (www.forbeslibrary.org).

For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/toomuchawesomeforonelittletown