Abundant Arts & Culture
Devotees of the arts will have a field day uncovering all the treasures to be found in the Pioneer Valley. The region offers a rich array of artistic pursuits, from its museums and galleries to its crafts shows and live performances.
Dubbed the "#1 Small Arts Town in America," Northampton is a hotbed for the arts and its aficionados. The downtown area is filled with galleries, unique shops and venues that showcase art and culture from centuries back…or modern days. The Smith College Museum of Art houses a distinguished collection of Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso and others in contemporary galleries. Museum-quality art is what attracts thousands to the twice-annual Paradise City Arts Festival at the Three County Fairgrounds. Each summer since 1991, New Century Theatre has presented top-quality plays in Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts at Smith College.
The upper Pioneer Valley is also home to Museums10, a consortium of 10 of the area's most dynamic and esteemed museums. The Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst showcases international artists and the Mullins Center offers an array of concerts and shows for all interests. Several outstanding museums are found in Amherst including the Beneski Museum of Natural History, Amherst College; Hampshire College Art Gallery; Mead Art Museum at Amherst College and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.
Further north, the Turners Falls Riverculture celebrates Turners Falls as a destination for arts, recreation, culture and history. Visitors enjoy open artist studios, historic tours, music, theater, museums and much more.
Springfield, the largest metro region in the Pioneer Valley, offers a variety of options for arts and culture fans. At CityStage, theater buffs can embrace musicals, modern dramas or slapstick comedy. Springfield's historic Symphony Hall features Broadway shows, dramas, comedies, concerts, children's theater and special performances and is also home to the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, performing classical, pops, family, educational and chamber music.
The Springfield Museums at the Quadrangle include the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, where guests can take in world-class artwork, sculpture and treasures from around the world; the Springfield Science Museum, home of the Seymour Planetarium, the country's oldest operating planetarium; the Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History, which showcases some of Springfield’s most innovate contributions and inventions; and the playful Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden which features five bronze sculptures honoring the Springfield native and some of his most famous creations.
Among the many institutions for youth in the arts is the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet in Holyoke, a training school for students interested in pursuing a career in classical ballet. Passport Holyoke is a collaboration of several Holyoke-based arts entities and offers several events year-round. No visit to Holyoke is complete without a stop at the grand Wistariahurst Museum, a historic Victorian American estate with guided tours and gardens.
Indian Orchard’s Titanic Museum and the Titanic Historical Society contain an intriguing collection of Titanic-related memorabilia. Museum founder Ed Kamuda served as both a research assistant and an extra for "Titanic," the hit movie about the doomed luxury vessel.
Each summer, the Pioneer Valley's art scene is enhanced by the addition of some exceptional performance series and festivals. The Stearns Square Concert Series, held on Thursday evenings through the season, is set in downtown Springfield’s Stearns Square and attracts thousands of revelers to enjoy its lineup of rock, pop and blues acts. Holyoke’s Mountain Park is a newly-reopened venue for summer concerts featuring music’s top performers. Sevenars Concerts, recognized by Time magazine as "one of the best small music festivals in the USA," features the celebrated Schrade/James family pianists, prize-winning newcomers and renowned artists and unfolds in Worthington during the summer months.
The scenic Berkshires is home to Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, which presents dance from the world over, including several free performances, as well as the famed Norman Rockwell Museum, which honors the life and art of the legendary painter. Famous names are found onstage each summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival where the works of gifted playwrights continue to attract faithful attendees.
Smith College Museum of Art
Elm Street at Bedford Terrace, Northampton, MA 01063
Contact: Margi Caplan
Paradise City Arts Festival
30 Industrial Drive East, Northampton, MA 01060
Contact: Geoffrey and Linda Post
New Century Theatre
P.O. Box 186, Northampton, MA 01061-0186
Off-season phone number: 413-587-3933
Contact: Sam Rush
97 Spring St., Amherst, MA 01002
Contact: Kevin Kennedy
The Fine Arts Center
10 Curry Hicks, University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003-9267
Contact: Shawn Farley
University of Massachusetts Amherst
200 Commonwealth Avenue, Amherst, MA 01003
Contact: Paul Dionne
Beneski Museum of Natural History, Amherst College
11 Barrett Hill Drive, Amherst, MA 01002
Contact: Peter Crowley
Hampshire College Art Gallery
893 West St., Amherst, MA 01002
Contact: Carolyn Arnold
Mead Art Gallery at Amherst College
Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002
Contact: Karen Cardinal
Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
125 West Bay Rd., Amherst, MA 01002
Contact: Sandy Soderberg
Turners Falls Riverculture
One Avenue A
Turners Falls, MA 01376
Contact: Lisa Davol
One Columbus Center, Springfield, MA 01103
Contact: Tina D'Agostino
Springfield Symphony Hall
One Columbus Center, Springfield, MA 01103
Contact: Tina D'Agostino
Springfield Symphony Orchestra
1350 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103
Contact: Susan Bennett
The Springfield Museums
220 State Street, Springfield, MA 01103
Contact: Sara Orr
Massachusetts Academy of Ballet
4 Open Square Way, Holyoke, MA 01040
Contact: Rose Flachs
1 Court Plaza, Holyoke, MA 01040
Contact: Melissa Boisselle
238 Cabot Street, Holyoke, MA 01040
Contact: Melissa Boiselle
The Titanic Museum
208 Main Street, Indian Orchard, MA 01151
Contact: Ed Kamuda
Stearns Square Concert Series
Springfield Business Improvement District
1441 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103
Contact: Don Courtemanche
Route 5, Holyoke, MA 01040
Contact: Eric Suher
Sevenars Concerts, Inc.
30 East End Avenue #3A, New York, NY 10028
Route 112 at Ireland Street South, Worthington, MA 01098
Contact: Rolande Schrade
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
358 George Carter Rd., Becket, MA 01223
Contact: Mariclare Hulbert
Norman Rockwell Museum
9 Route 83, Stockbridge, MA 01262
Contact: Margit Hotchkiss
Williamstown Theatre Festival
P. O. Box 517, Williamstown, MA 01267
Contact: Lisa Bender