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

On View at City Hall: Northampton Streetscapes: Views of City Storefronts

Arts Night Out Opening Reception: March 10, 2017, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Show runs March 10 – April 11.
main street northampton

Inspired by local artist such as Scott Prior, Bill Rohan, and Greg Stone, Northampton native John Dunphy took his first painting lesson at the Guild Art Center back in 1999. Since then, Dunphy has created a number of paintings depicting various street scenes and storefronts in and around New England. The majority of his work is of local landmarks that will be familiar to those who live or work in Northampton and surrounding communities.

The City Hall exhibit will feature streetscapes from Northampton and Florence. They include images of landmark building such as the Hotel Northampton and the Academy of Music, as well as the ghosts of businesses past, including the South Street Variety Store and the JavaNet Café. The exhibit will also include the artist’s latest work, an oil on panel painting of the Pie Bar in Florence. Dunphy’s wife, popular artist and art instructor Debra Dunphy, will add to the exhibit with one or two of her own works of the local area.

The exhibit will feature original oil paintings and giclee prints of 14 different scenes.

City Hall Gallery
Second Floor – City Hall
210 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060
Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 

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: 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.

Graphic Design: Eric Olsson 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. 

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 

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. 

Fabrication: Joseph Pesce

Seamstress: Jill St. Coeur


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 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:

Paradise City Cultural Arts District Logo