Getting Answers: Bombyx Center in Northampton facing cease-and-desist order for organizing certain events

The Bombyx Center for Arts and Equity in Florence has been hit with a cease-and-desist order for hosting certain events.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 9:13 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - The Bombyx Center for Arts and Equity in Florence has been hit with a cease-and-desist order for hosting certain events. This has left the nonprofit with more questions than answers.

Earlier this month, the Bombyx Center for Arts and Equity on Pine Street in Florence received an unexpected visit from the Northampton Fire Department a few weeks ago.

“The fire chief said he was responding to a noise complaint from a neighbor,” said Kyle Homstead.

Afterwards, the organization’s executive director received this cease-and-desist order based on observations including the live music and alcohol on the property, it was determined they were operating a nightclub, or a similar facility. They must install adequate automatic sprinklers.

Now, the building where Bombyx Center is located house religious organizations and a preschool as well. This order has left them with more questions than answers, especially when it comes to no music.

“Music has always been a part of that that’s true of every religion in the world, so you can’t say oh this and not this you know we’re going to leave the fire department as the arbiters of what requires as religious?” said Rev. Dr. Marisa Egerstrom.

“We have permitted to have a talk or a panel discussion here at full capacity, we’re permitted to hold church activities the preschool which is in the basement five days a week is permitted to be here,” said Homstead.

Northampton Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra issued a statement on the cease-and-desist that reads in part:

“While I acknowledge and admire the valuable programming presented by Bombyx, their operations must take place in a safe and compliant location... I will actively assist in helping seek funding for the fire safety upgrades needed for this important historic structure.”

Bombyx’s co-founder Kyle Homstead told Western Mass News a renovation project including a sprinkler system is in the works, but in the meantime bombyx is losing revenue.

“We had to cancel an entire weekend of programming that was not just Bombyx, it involved a number of businesses in the area through that weekend the cancellation cost well over $20,000 in economic harm to the small businesses,” said Homstead.

As for events slated for this weekend, we’re told that they are going to go on as scheduled.