Northampton Arts Council awards $22K to local artists, groups

  • Circle time at the Northampton Parents Center, led by Swansea Benham Bleicher, in this undated photo. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 3/14/2021 8:06:28 PM

NORTHAMPTON — It’s been a difficult year for artists and art organizations, with the pandemic shutting down the vast majority of live performances. But the Northampton Arts Council is doing what it can to keep artists afloat.

The council has awarded just under $22,000 in grants to support art projects and programming in and around Northampton. The 35 grants made, for $21,960, were allocated to the city by the Massachusetts Cultural Councils’ Local Cultural Council (LCC) program.

Overall, the Arts Council received 78 applications for a total of $108,269 in requested funding. Grants were awarded in seven different categories: dance, literature, media arts, multidisciplinary arts, music, theater and visual arts. The awards range from $250 to $1,200.

“I am pleased to continue Northampton’s long tradition of support for the arts community,” Mayor David J. Narkewicz said in a statement. “I look forward to enjoying, along with our city residents, the outcome of these exciting projects.”

Those projects cover a wide range of activities and designs. The theatrical ensemble Serious Play, for instance, received $500 toward presenting “Moving Water,” a multidisciplinary show that includes, acting, movement, music and video, this summer at the Northampton Arts Trust building in series of socially distanced performances.

The Lindsay Entertainment Network, a Springfield film and multimedia production company, received $1,000 for its Caribbean Connection program, a TV series that offers varied features on the people, culture and heritage of Caribbean, with stories on figures such as Harry Belafonte, Marcus Garvey Jr., and Bob Marley.

Another recipient is the Northampton Parents Center, which has received $1,100 for its weekly drop-in music classes for families with young children. The half-hour program, held Thursdays from 11-11:30 a.m., is led by a rotating group of area musicians.

And singer-songwriter, composer and filmmaker Diana Alvarez has been awarded $1,200, the largest grant, for her work with the BridgeSong Fund, a grant program she founded last year in collaboration with the Institute for the Musical Arts in Goshen to aid BIPOC women, nonbinary, trans, and genderqueer musicians in western Massachusetts.

Brian Foote, the Art Council’s executive director, said he wished the council could have funded all the projects requesting assistance. “The caliber of applications this round was extraordinary, which made the process extremely competitive among many worthy projects.”

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.


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