The Center for the Arts introduces its new team!

Kelly Silliman, Joanna Faraby Walker, and Melissa Dimetres. Photo by Ian Bauer.

Kelly Silliman, Joanna Faraby Walker, and Melissa Dimetres. Photo by Ian Bauer.

The Northampton Center for the Arts is thrilled to welcome Joanna Faraby Walker as its new managing director. Joanna joins Associate Director Melissa Dimetres and Program Director Kelly Silliman in forming the team that will lead the Center as it continues to settle into its new home at 33 Hawley Street.

Joanna Faraby Walker joins the Center staff on June 1 after six years as an arts administrator with Five College Dance. Prior to that, she worked at Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Greenfield, where she has also taught dance since 2011. Joanna has an MFA in Performing Arts Management from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been working in performing arts administration for over a decade, including stints with the North Carolina Theatre Conference (NCTC) and Jacob's Pillow Dance. Joanna is a strong believer in the importance of community arts, and is excited about working with local artists, educators, and arts enthusiasts in the great arts town of Northampton.

Melissa Dimetres is a writer who relocated from New York City and joined the Northampton Center for the Arts in July 2018 under the mentorship of former executive director Penny Burke and quickly became indispensable. She was promoted to associate director in February, and is thrilled to be an active part of such a thriving arts community. Melissa holds a BA from Smith College, and has previously worked as an advertising manager for Turner Broadcasting in NYC and as a writer and filmmaker in both New York and Los Angeles. She is passionate about arts administration and fostering the arts in our community and feels very lucky to be a part of such an incredible team at the Center for the Arts.

Kelly Silliman has been the program director for the Center since 2017, and worked closely with Penny Burke until her recent retirement. Kelly is a dance artist and educator who is also the director of the tinydance project. In her role as program director, Kelly created the Center’s unique summer arts program, ArtPlay, and supports broad multidisciplinary programming by local artists and makers. Kelly holds an MFA in Dance from Smith College and a BA in Theatre Arts from Stetson University, and is committed to investigating what it means to create programming through the lens of anti-racism.

The Northampton Center for the Arts provides affordable space for artists, performers, and educators while developing programming dedicated to arts education, multidisciplinary collaborations, and community connections. The Center is uniquely positioned to support artists and makers in producing their own performances, classes, workshops, and events. The new team invites community members to visit 33 Hawley Street this summer to learn more about what the Center has to offer and how they can be involved in its growth and success.

Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra Presents Spring Concerts!


Friday May 31st and Saturday June 1st at 8 pm

Tickets: $18 (adv.) $20 (door, cash or check only), $10 (under 18 and students with valid i.d) 

Join us in welcoming resident company The Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra as they present their signature event of the season; two concerts over two nights at the Northampton Center for the Arts. The Valley’s finest avant-garde community music ensemble will perform music by James Brown, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Bela Bartok, Felix Mendelssohn, Heitor Villa-Lobos and surf guitar classics such as “Pipeline.” 

HVGO is an ensemble of 15 all-amplified electric, acoustic, classical and bass guitars (plus drums) made up of all locally based players from a wide variety of stylistic backgrounds, creating a unique sound that can only come from such an unusual combination.

For more information about the concerts, please visit our events page!

More information about

Join us for Lisa Leizman Dance: Sweetness!

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MAY 10, 2019, 7:30PM


The Center for the Arts presents the Lisa Leizman Dance Company in concert on Friday, May 10 in the magnificent new Flex theater space of the Northampton Community Arts Trust Building, 33 Hawley Street, Northampton. The 7:30 pm performance is followed by a festive dinner reception prepared by members of the Lisa Leizman Dance Company.  Tickets are $17 for adults (in advance)/$20 (at the door) and $10 for children under 10 (in advance)/$12 (at the door), available at Advance tickets are strongly recommended.

Warmer days, sap flowing, soft growing light. Time for some sweetness! How about spending a lovely spring evening with the Center’s long-time resident dance company? Find sweetness in the old—repertory pieces “Evening Song” with music by Philip Glass in an extraordinary arrangement by Peter Blanchette and “Sonata for Alto Horn and Piano” set to music by Paul Hindemith. And look for sweetness in brand new work set to music by company composer-in-residence Andrea Kwapien (“Imbolc”) and in an aria from Cantata 51 by J.S. Bach. Underfoot, a beautiful new hardwood floor perfect for dance. Not to mention plentiful free parking and a delicious reception following the performance—now that’s sweet!

Join us on Pride weekend!

PRIDE comes to Northampton on May 4th, 2019. Join us at the Center for special programming! On Friday, May 3rd, in collaboration with Historic Northampton, the Sexual Minorities Archive presents Stories of Our LGBTQ Ancestors: Dr. Amber Starbuck and Mabel Stevens, a fascinating history talk about two pre-Stonewall era LGBTQ individuals who lived in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts. On Saturday, May 4th in the evening, end your Pride celebrations with a lively cabaret, Loving Women, highlighting the passions and struggles of the gay and women's liberation movements of the 1970's. Unwind on Sunday, May 5th with ecstatic dancing at Glow in the the Flex space, or with Western MA Tango (argentine tango) in Eli’s Room on the lower level.

April Arts Offerings

Spring brings so many exciting things, old and new! Check out our events page, as well as classes and workshops: we have new classes starting this month, and ongoing classes that you are welcome to join anytime. Artwork by Lourdes Morales and Abbie Steiner is up through the end of the month, and we welcome you during open hours to pop in and see the space, the art, and all that’s happening at the Center! Open Tuesday through Friday 2:00-6:00pm and by appointment.

Photos above, in order: 1. Program Director Kelly Silliman and Associate Director Melissa Dimetres welcoming guests at Will Call 2. Glow—Ecstatic Dance series 3. Strident Theatre’s kickoff fundraiser 4. Shakespeare Stage presents The Tempest 5. NYC-based concert pianist Melody Fader 6. Abbie Steiner’s art critique class 7. Abbie Steiner’s exhibit 8. Lourdes Morales’ exhibit 9. Wednesday morning drawing group 10. Western MA Tango classes 11. Community yoga classes 12. Teen performance workshop 13. Duncan dance classes 14. Lisa Leizman Dance classes

The Center invites you to Penny's From Heaven

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Friday, April 5, 7:30 pm at 33 Hawley Street

The Center for the Arts invites you to its debut signature party at Northampton’s hottest venue. Join us for an evening of music and dancing with DJ Johnny Memphis, colorful cuisine, creative cocktails, and special guests in celebration of Penny Burke (retired but not retiring) and all things Penny…

Visit our event page for more information!

There's nothing Like following up a snow day with some summer planning!

That’s right, even though it’s February, it’s time to start thinking about summer plans!


ArtPlay returns to the Center for the Arts in 2019! Register early for this exciting summer program for youth ages 6 to 12 years.

ArtPlay encourages kids to think of themselves as fundamentally creative beings with a fun, interactive, interdisciplinary approach. The program connects youth to local teaching artists through classes and workshops, as well as providing space and structure for youth-initiated performances and exhibitions. Kids will have the chance to experiment with dance, music, drama, visual arts, collaborative play, and more!

Click here for more information!

Introducing New Staff Member Melissa Dimetres


The Center gives a warm official welcome to Melissa, with the title of Associate Director. She will collaborate with the staff on all projects.

Melissa Dimetres joined the Northampton Center for the Arts in July 2018 under the mentorship of Penny Burke. After nearly a decade as a fiction and screenwriter in New York City, she relocated to the Valley and is thrilled to be an active part of such a thriving arts community. Recently, she was a playwright in the 24 Hour Theater Project. Her work has been published in journals such as the Metropolitan Report and the Common Denominator, and has been featured in staged readings in New York and Los Angeles. Her most recent project is as writer and director of the short film Two Eggs, Scrambled. She is passionate about arts administration and fostering the arts in our community and feels very lucky to be a part of such an incredible team at the Center for the Arts. 

Valley Advocate Gives a Shout Out to 33 Hawley's New Flex Space!

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“The most encouraging development in a stage-starved Valley has been the flowering of new venues along with more shows at established ones. Performances have begun at 33 Hawley, the Northampton Center for the Arts’ new home. A new-work showcase from the Northampton Playwrights Lab, the 24-Hour Theater Project, Shakespeare Stage’s Twelfth Night and Real Live Theatre’s When Last We Flew all took flight there this fall.” Link to article

The Center for the Arts Presents:

The Lisa Leizman Dance Company’s
“Long way home”

Friday, December 14th, 2018, 7:30 PM . SOLD OUT. Will-call tickets purchased in advance will be available from 6:30 pm. Doors open at 7:00 pm for general seating. Performance starts promptly at 7:30 pm.

Please join us for a winter concert celebrating the debut of the Center's resident dance company in the newly-opened Flex theater space at 33 Hawley Street. The performance is followed by a trademark festive dinner reception prepared by members of the troupe. Advance tickets are recommended.

About Long Way Home: After five years of wandering throughout the greater Pioneer Valley, awaiting a new home for the Center, this long-time resident company finally has a new residence. Grateful and joyful, the dancers will present audience favorites Spiegel im Spiegel, set to music by Arvo Pärt and Derek Walcott’s the amen of calm waters, with music by Ludovico Einaudi. The concert will also include the secret that bamboo guards with music by composer-in-residence Andrea Kwapien.

“There are no shortcuts in art. Do the work. Be tenacious. Be resilient. Keep going. Applaud the beautiful, elegant destination. Celebrate the journey, no matter how far. Take the long way home”—Lisa Leizman

Image by Bob Richard