Our History

Easthampton City Arts has proudly been a cultural initiative of the City of Easthampton since its inception in 2005.

Our Story

Easthampton City Arts was founded in 2005 as an entity within the Easthampton City Planning Department as the result of a thoughtfully facilitated process initiated and led by the City. Local artists, local businesses, and residents were engaged in the visioning, planning, and establishment of this arts-related economic development initiative. This dedicated group, consisting primarily of volunteers, met twice a month over the course of two years to share ideas, explore possibilities for governance, and to create the structure that would become ECA.

Taking Root

The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) granted funding for Easthampton to hire a City Arts Coordinator to manage the new ECA initiative. While it began as a part-time position, the ECA Coordinator role has expanded steadily since — and became a full-time position in 2011. During its first 11 years, MCC’s John and Abigail Adams Arts Program was instrumental in securing necessary funds to establish and cultivate a burgeoning year-round lineup of arts programming and cultural events, many of which continue today drawing audiences from all over New England seeking a vibrant arts experience.

Thriving and Flourishing

In 2005, ECA opened its first gallery in Old Town Hall in the City’s Historic District. This space and its exhibitions nourished and supported the local arts community by offering a public gathering place for artist receptions and cultural events. With the opening of ECA Gallery, ECA was able to bring increased visibility and tangible opportunities to the City’s arts community.

In 2012, ECA established its second exhibition space in the Payson Gallery, which currently showcases artworks that are specific to the City of Easthampton. Most recently, ECA and Eastworks partnered in 2013 to establish the Mill Arts Project (MAP) Space, which supports an emerging curatorial program. In addition to these exhibition platforms, ECA regularly activates public spaces throughout downtown Easthampton during its monthly Art Walk and annual festivals including Easthampton Book Fest and Cultural Chaos.

ECA is Proud to be a Cultural Initiative of the City of Easthampton