Arts Night Out, with a musical twist: Northampton’s Arts Night Out returns in August with live jazz

  • Drummer Jon Fisher is part of The Steam Trio, which will play outside Resinate as part of Jazzy Arts Night Out on Aug. 12. CONTRIBUTED/JULIAN PARKER-BURNS

  • Clarinetist/saxophonist Evan Arntzen, part of the Steam Trio, plays outside Resinate Aug. 12 as part of Northampton’s Jazzy Arts Night Out. PHOTO COURTESY OF RUTH GRIGGS

  • Singer Ryan Hollander will be joined by Miho Sasaki on keys and Will Lyle on bass at The Roost for Jazzy Arts Night Out in Northampton. CONTRIBUTED/JULIAN PARKER-BURNS

  • A scene from Jazzy Arts Night Out in 2019: Killian Karlson on guitar and Dann Friedman on saxophone, playing outside Cathy Cross in Northampton. CONTRIBUTED/RUTH GRIGGS

  • Bassist, composer and UMass Amherst jazz professor Fumi Tomita will be part of a duo playing at Rebekah Brooks Jewelers for Northampton’s Jazzy Arts Night Out on Aug. 12. CONTRIBUTED/JULIAN PARKER-BURNS

Staff Writer
Published: 7/28/2022 4:26:45 PM

Arts Night Out has a long tradition in Northampton. For three hours on the second Friday of each month, art galleries open their doors, dance ensembles may put on a performance, and workshops that invite public participation pop up as a way to showcase the city’s artistic variety and help bring visitors downtown.

On Aug. 12, the next Arts Night Out will take place, this time with an addition: live jazz downtown.

“Jazzy Arts Night Out,” a joint project of the Downtown Northampton Association and the Northampton Jazz Festival, will feature jazz musicians playing outside four city businesses between 5 and 8 p.m. It’s a project the two organizations first unveiled in 2018 and in 2019, but for the last two years, the pandemic shut the venture down.

Ruth Griggs, president of the Northampton Jazz Festival, says the goal is to bring a new wrinkle, another “creative, artistic dimension,” to Arts Night Out and draw special attention to shops and galleries that display artwork.

“It’s the Northampton Jazz Festival supporting downtown merchants at its core,” she said in an email.

And Amy Cahillane, executive director of the downtown association, said she’s always felt “we can’t have too much live music downtown — especially music that is free, activates retail spaces and spills out onto the sidewalk.”

“We are always looking for creative ways to encourage people to stop into our small independent retailers, and live music is a wonderful way to do that,” she said.

Griggs notes that the event also serves as an early promotion for the Northampton Jazz Festival itself, which this year takes place Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 in several locations downtown, with multiple artists playing mostly free shows (there’s one ticketed concert, for the Ron Carter Quartet, Oct. 1 at the Academy of Music).

For the free shows taking place Aug. 12, Griggs said, “We’ll have a volunteer at each location to hand out flyers, and there will be a poster at each location, too, promoting the events of the jazz festival.”

On Jazzy Arts Night Out, the Gabe Childs Guitar Duo will play at PINCH, the pottery and crafts store at 179 Main St.; singer and guitarist Ryan Hollander, joined by Miho Sasaki on keyboards and Will Lyle on bass, performs at The Roost at 1 Market St.; and the Steam Trio — Evan Arntzen on saxophone/clarinet, Matt Dwonszyk on bass, and Jon Fisher on drums — will play outside Resinate at 110 Pleasant St.

Meanwhile, The Fumi Tomita Duo, led by bassist and University of Massachusetts Amherst jazz professor Fumi Tomita, will play at Rebekah Brooks Jewelers at 147 Main St.

Griggs says she and other staff with the Northampton Jazz Festival hire the musicians — all are local — and work out the details with the merchants, who chip in to help the Jazz Festival pay them.

The downtown association, in turn, works with businesses to establish which ones might best host live music, Cahillane said, based in part on their layout and available space. Another consideration: Spreading the music around downtown is important to encourage people to walk to the different sites, she said.

More information on Jazzy Arts Night Out will be available at the DNA website,, and at the organization’s Facebook event. You can also visit

More summer artson tap in the Valley

Northampton doesn’t have a lock on arts festivals and events this summer. Art in the Orchard, the outdoor exhibit at Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton, has typically been a biennial show and was staged last summer and fall.

But rather than skip a year, the exhibit is back in 2022, focused on work by stone artist Gerald Clark and wood sculptor Mark Fenwick, with some “reprise” presentations of top creations from past Art in the Orchard shows. It opens Aug. 20 at Park Hill and runs through Nov. 27.

The Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival, featuring some 20 different musical acts, is expanding to two days this year, beginning Friday, Aug. 12 at 5 p.m. and continuing all day Saturday, Aug. 13 at Stearns Square near the city’s downtown.

On Aug. 23, Performance 32, the annual concert where area bands impersonate notable groups, will be staged at Look Park in Florence. This year the event (“Nevermind”), produced by the Northampton Arts Council, will feature the sounds of the 1990s and its mix of grunge, hip hop and more: think Nirvana, Pavement, Snoop Dogg and Public Enemy.

Other events include the 3 County Fair, at the 3 County Fairgrounds, Sept. 2-5; Millpond Live, the outdoor music fest at Easthampton’s Millside Park, Sept. 10-12; the Chalk Art Festival, Sept. 9 and the Doozydo Parade, Sept. 17, both in Northampton; the Arcadia Folk Festival at the Mass Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton, Sept. 17; and Florence Night Out in downtown Florence, Sept. 24.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at

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