Arts & Culture Department

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.

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 Silver Chord Bowl, Cinema Northampton, KidsBestFest-YouthFilm, RETROFAIRE, Summer Concert Series, and advocating on behalf of the arts community.

Northampton Arts Council
Northampton Summer Concert Series

On View at City Hall: NoHo to Noho: A Photo Story by Maddy Neely

Arts Night Out Opening Reception: August 11, 2017, 4:30–6:30 PM
Show runs: August 11, 2017 – September 5, 2017
City Hall Gallery - 210 Main Street, Second Floor, Northampton, MA 

 NoHo to Noho, a photo story, details similarities and differences of Maddy growing up in the neighborhood of NoHo in Greenwich Village of New York City; and her current life in Northampton MA, also called NoHo. Come along with Maddy as she compares and contrasts the two Noho’s, with their ordinary and extraordinary sights such as quaint cafes, local bookstores, city crosswalks and bicycles racks. No matter where you live, you will enjoy this stimulating pictorial adventure.

 This exhibit features a total of 20 photos; 10 photo comparisons.

City Hall Gallery
Second Floor – City Hall
210 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060
Gallery Hours: Monday–Friday 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Paint this Box!

Paint This Box! is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and City of Northampton.

Winners announced here


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 (413) 587-1269.

The procedure for determining whether your project should be issued a permit from the Arts Council would start by adding your project inquiry to the agenda of the Arts Council's next board meeting. Board meetings occur every second Tuesday of each month unless otherwise noted. The Arts Council will then vote on whether your project would fall under the umbrella of Public Art. If you project does fall under Public Art, a permitting procedure would commence with the director of the Arts Council.

Click HERE to download the policy, email to request to show your work in City Hall.

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 to get it signed. Then take the signed permit to the Police Department to obtain another signature.

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 to get it signed. Then take the signed permit to the Police Department to obtain another signature.

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.

Click here for more information about the Fall Grant Round

Northampton Arts Council Board Members 2017

Community and Visual Arts: 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.

Business Management: Kathy Murri graduated from Hampshire College, followed by a M.Ed. from Westfield State and an MBA from the Isenberg School at UMass-Amherst. For the past 16 years she has been the Business Manager at the Montessori School of Northampton. Prior to that she ran a boutique booking agency for folk/acoustic/blues/world artists and published a monthly folk/acoustic music events newsletter called Folkfare. In her spare time she creates crochet art and accessories using fiber and up-cycled materials. 

Presenting: George Myers (Chair) 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

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.) 

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.

Craftsmanship: Jonah Zuckerman (Treasurer) 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.

Real Estate: Herbert Ross 

Fabrication: Joseph Pesce

Seamstress: Jill St. Coeur

Marketing: Sarah Gibbons


2017 Board Meeting Schedule:

1/10, 3/14, 4/11, 5/9, 6/13, 7/11, 9/12, 10/10, 11/14, 12/12

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 for the up-to-date schedule.

Paradise City Cultural Arts District Logo

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 (

For more information visit: