Sunday, October 30, 2011

Artscape Call for Melville Inspired Art: Deadline Extended to 11/10/11

The City of Pittsfield and the Artscape Public Art Committee invite artists to send in proposals for the annual yearlong Artscape public art exhibition in Pittsfield, the largest city in culturally-rich Berkshire County, Massachusetts. The 2012 exhibit will be held in conjunction with CALL ME MELVILLE, a citywide celebration of the author Herman Melville and his masterpiece MOBY DICK, which was written in Pittsfield, through contemporary art. Please forward to other artists who may be interested in submitting work. 
For performing arts and other exhibition opportunities on this theme, please contact Megan Whilden, Director of Cultural Development for the City of Pittsfield at (November deadline applies only to Artscape public art submissions.)
The mission of the City of Pittsfield’s Artscape program is to enhance the downtown’s character and attract visitors by installing and promoting works of art in various outdoor locations accessible to the public throughout the downtown area.
The city of Pittsfield, Massachusetts is located in the heart of culturally rich Berkshire County, in western Massachusetts. A city of 45,000, Pittsfield is home to the Berkshire Museum, Hancock Shaker Village, Barrington Stage Company, the Colonial Theatre, South Mountain Concerts, the Berkshire Music School, the Berkshire Athenaeum, the Storefront Artist Project, and a variety of other cultural attractions. In addition, the city features a winter ski resort, a state forest, two lakes, the Housatonic River, and a National Audubon Society sanctuary within its city borders.
Artists proposing a work for public display are encouraged to visit the City of Pittsfield before submitting their proposal. Applicants must take into account that the site is an urban outdoor environment. Please be aware that sculptures and installations must meet safety requirements and be able to withstand the effects of weather and public use. Insurance coverage for the artwork (protection against damage, theft or vandalism) is not provided. Liability insurance is provided by the City of Pittsfield. The exhibition of the work will be between May 2012 and May 2013. Installations will be March – April 2012.
2012 Theme:
    In 2012 Artscape is partnering with the City of Pittsfield on a summer-long celebration of Herman Melville and his great American novel, Moby Dick, which was written in Pittsfield. This year we are specifically looking for work and installations that are thematically related to Moby Dick and other nautical themes, and/or Herman Melville and his other works. Out-of-the-box, diverse works are encouraged, whether serious or creatively interpreted, abstract or objective.
Selection Process:
Proposals are juried by an advisory committee composed of prominent curators, artists, arts administrators and Artscape member representatives.
Recipients are granted financial support in the amount of $500. Some technical assistance, approved by the Artscape committee on a project-by-project basis, is provided to install work. Placement of all work is determined by the committee. Requests for site-specific locations must be submitted with the original proposal.
This program is open to all artists, nationally and internationally. Artscape can not provide any housing or transportation. Artists living outside the local region have to make their own living and travel arrangements.

  • Current Resume
  • References
  • CD With Images
  • CD Script
  • Color Laser Copies, Photographs Or Digital Prints
  • Proposal for work – please include a drawing or rendering for proposed new work. Also include weight of piece, materials, and if applicable, specify needs in order for the piece to be displayed (example: electricity)
  • Price list if work is available for sale
  • Self Addressed, Stamped Envelope (For Return Of Materials)
  • Self Addressed Stamped Postcard (Optional) (notify you of receipt of proposal)
  • Current Resume: This should include information about education; exhibition history; awards, grants/residencies; and details of any published writings or reviews about your work.
  • References: Please provide the names, addresses and telephone numbers of two people who are familiar with your work.
  • Ten Images on CD: Images should be of recent work, particularly if they relate to your proposal. DO NOT SEND MORE THAN TEN IMAGES. ONLY THE FIRST TEN WILL BE REVIEWED.
  • CD Script: Please send a list (printed hard copy) that corresponds to the submitted images. For each image, include the title, date, materials and dimensions and, if necessary, a brief description of the work.
  • (optional) 1- 5 Color Laser Copies, Photographs Or Digital Prints
These should be of images selected from the submitted images (do not send images of works that are not included on the script). Be sure to label each one with your name and a number that corresponds to the script.
A brief description of the work that you would like to exhibit. This can be a written description and/or a drawing, plan or rendering.
Price List: If work is available for purchase please list the price. Sales are made with 30% of sale price going back to Artscape and 70 % to the artist.
Self Addressed, Stamped Envelope: large enough to enclose all submitted materials and should have enough postage to cover return mailing.
Self Addressed Stamped Postcard (optional)
For notification that your proposal package was received, please enclose a self addressed, stamped postcard.
Please DO NOT send:
  • materials larger than 8-1/2 x 11 inches
  • original artwork
  • large format transparencies
  • video tapes
Self Addressed, Stamped Envelope: large enough to enclose all submitted materials and should have enough postage to cover return mailing. Self Addressed Stamped Postcard (optional) – For notification that your proposal package was received, please enclose a self addressed, stamped postcard.

Completed proposals must be received in the office of Community Development at the address below by 4:00 pm on November 10, 2011.
Be sure to put your name, address and telephone number on all materials.
Please do not send your proposal by registered mail or return receipt.
Send your proposal by regular mail, Federal Express or UPS to:
Artscape: 2012 Public Art Proposal
c/o Rebecca Tefft
Department of Community Development
City Hall
70 Allen St.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Telephone: 413-499-9368
Hand Delivered:
To deliver your proposal by hand, please deliver to the Department of Community Development, Room 205, Pittsfield City Hall, 70 Allen St., Pittsfield, Massachusetts. City Hall hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4pm. p.m.
Monday through Friday

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

History & High Heels at the Sept. 15th 3rd.Thursdays!

Downtown Pittsfield’s monthly 3rd.Thursdays street festivals feature great music, great shopping, great dining and exciting events and surprises, and the September 15th 3rd.Thursdays has all that and more in store for attendees, thanks to our lead sponsor this month, Berkshire Life. We’re celebrating Pittsfield history in conjunction with the city’s 250th anniversary this month and featuring a new event that gives men and boys the chance to walk the walk and take a stand against domestic violence…in high heels.

The September 15th 3rd.Thursdays also features the first ever Walk A Mile in Her Shoes event, a fundraiser for the Elizabeth Freeman Center. Men are invited to take a stand against domestic violence by walking a symbolic mile in women’s shoes. Walk A Mile in Her Shoes participants gather pledges of any amount to support their walking a mile in women’s shoes down North Street and back. By doing so they also take a stand against domestic violence. Participants include Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn, Pittsfield City Councilors Michael Ward, Pete White, Pete Marchetti, and Kevin Sherman, City Council candidate & School Committee member Churchill Cotton, Flavours Restaurant co-owner Chin Lee, and District Attorney David Capeless. To sign up or for more information email or call. 413-499-2425. You may also donate to participants during the walk at 3rd.Thursdays.

We’re celebrating Pittsfield’s history this month in honor of the city’s 250th anniversary with support from the Pittsfield Cultural Council. Enjoy storefront exhibits and sidewalk Walk-Ons depicting Pittsfield’s past, present and future. Voices Theatre Company will perform their ghostly re-enactment of Pittsfield historical figures called Shades of the Revolution at 7pm at Park Square. The Berkshire Museum, as always open late and free to Berkshire County residents on 3rd.Thursdays, invites people of all ages to share their memories of the Berkshire Museum. And at 5pm, the Colonial Theatre offers a free guided tour of the Colonial, including a peek behind the scenes backstage!

The We Are Pittsfield oral history project records the stories and memories of Pittsfield citizens from all walks of life for future generations. This week’s 3rd.Thursdays highlights the video recordings made so far and invites attendees to contribute their Pittsfield memories to the project. We Are Pittsfield videos will be shown, free to all, on the big screen at Barrington Stage Company on Union Street from 5:30pm to 7pm, and their ICritic booth will be available for attendees to tell their stories and memories for posterity. The second screening will be outdoors in front of the Crowne Plaza on South Street from 7pm to 8pm. For more information and to watch and read additional Pittsfield stories, visit

Over twenty local and regional performers will be featured at this week’s 3rd.Thursdays, including the world music ensemble Gaia Roots, hot swing and jazz by the Lucky Five, jazz-funk fusion with Unfulfilled Desires, the folk harmonies of Mountain Breeze, the family friendly melodies of Terry a la Berry and Friends, and the youth musicians of Berkshire Rocks. The latest nightspot to open downtown, Y Bar at North Street, features a solo show of work by artist . Down the street international artist-in-residence Dolla of South Africa will be showing works in progress at the Ferrin Gallery, and the Berkshire Community College gallery at the Intermodal Center features an opening reception for a solo show of contemporary work by Edward Pelkey.

3rd.Thursdays is a free monthly cultural street festival held rain or shine in downtown Pittsfield from May through October. 3rd.Thursays are organized by the City of Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development. 3rd.Thursdays major cosponsors include Berkshire Bank, Berkshire Gas, Berkshire Life, Greylock Federal Credit Union and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. 3rd.Thursdays major downtown partners include Donovan & O’Connor LLP,  the Colonial Theatre, the Berkshire Museum, Beacon Cinema, Barrington Stage Company, Spice Dragon, and Mission Bar & Tapas. For more information visit or call 413-499-9348.



Saint Joseph’s Lawn (Rain:Lichtenstein Center for the Arts)
5:30 pm - 7:00pm Unfulfilled Desires jazz-funk-fusion
7:00 pm - 8:00pm Mountain Breeze folk harmonies
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Spice Dragon (Rain: Indoors)
6:30pm – 7:30pm The Eagles Stage Band
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City Stage - Corner of North & Eagle St.
(Rain: The Beacon Cinema lobby) 
5:00pm – 6:30pm Gaia Roots world music & dance
6:30pm – 8:00pm Lucky Five hot jazz & swing
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Legacy Banks Block – 99 North St
5:307:20pm Berkshire Bank presents Terry A La Berry
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Corner of North St. & East St. @ The Popcorn Wagon
5:00 pm - 6:00pm Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Registration & Shoe pick
up.  The Walk supports the Elizabeth Freeman Center
5:00 pm - 6:45pm Andy Kelly, Joe Torra, David Grover & Kathy Jo
Grover Perform Walk A Mile in My Shoes and much more
6:00 pm  Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Walk begins
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Park Square
5:30 pm - 7:30pm Hooping with Stefanie Weber
6:00 pm - 7:00pm Drum Circle with Otha Day
7:00 pm - 7:30pm Shades of the Revolution: A Ghostly Re-Enactment of People, Places and Scenes from Pittsfield’s Past presented by “VOICES” Theatre Company
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Crowne Plaza  (Rain: Indoors)
5:00 pm - 7:00pm Greylock
7:00 pm - 8:00pm We Are Pittsfield free screening
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Barrington Stage Company
5:30pm – 7:00pm We Are Pittsfield free screening & recordings
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The Marketplace Café – 53 North St.
5:30 pm - 7:30pm  Ampersand Heritage music + history
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The Emporium – 31 South St.
5:00 pm - 8:00pm Book signing with local author Ty Allen Jackson plus milk and cookies

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Third Thursdays + WordXWord Festival = Minds Blown

Pittsfield’s 3rd.Thursdays street festival joins forces with the third annual WordXWord Festival this Thursday night, August 18, presenting over three dozen musicians, artists and performers throughout downtown.  The streets and sidewalks of downtown Pittsfield will fill with live music, street performers, great shopping, outdoor dining, new art, and thousands of people  from 5pm to 8pm and beyond. A half mile of North Street will be closed to traffic from Park Square to Maplewood Avenue between 4:30pm to 8:30pm.



The evening’s most celebrated performer is Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who will be reading and telling stories from his recent memoir, A Reason to Believe: Stories from an Improbable Life, at the Colonial Theatre. The reading is free but advance tickets are strongly recommended. Call the Colonial Theatre box office to reserve: 413-997-4444.  The event will begin at 7pm and will be followed by a booksigning with the governor. Copies of the book will be available for purchase in the Colonial Theatre lobby.

Live music and spoken word performances can be found indoors and outdoors throughout downtown. The City Stage will be at the base of North Street and features alt-folk singer-songwriters Jeff Byrd, Susan Cattaneo and John Colvert. Palace Park host the Berkshire Rocks youth stage with local youth musicians performing; and the out-of-the-box Encyclopedia Show featuring Megan Thoma will be performing on the lawn at St. Joseph’s Church, followed by 3rd.Thursday’s first ever outdoor open mic, from 6:30pm to 8pm. 

Shawn’s Barbershop hosts the WordXWord slam poetry preliminaries at 6pm followed by slam poet champion Omar Holmon at 7:30pm, free to all. Across the street at Ferrin Gallery artist and writer Douglass Truth will be signing copies of his new illustrated book, Everything I Know *Subject to Verification from 5pm to 7pm. (His Iphone photographs are on display at the Lantern Bar and Grill down the block.) And the Town Players will present a staged reading of Karel Fisher's "Stepping on My Head in Dr Scholl's Sandals," at 5:30pm and again at 7pm at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts.

The Town Players will present staged reading of Karel Fisher's "Stepping on My Head in Dr Scholl's Sandals," beginning at 5:30pm, preceded at 5pm by guitar music. After the show audience members will have the chance to talk with the performers about the reading and ask any questions they have.

Baba Louie’s is hosting two pizza eating contests at 3rd.Thursays. The first is open to the public. Registration begins at 5:45pm and is limited to twelve people, with a $5 registration fee. The second contest, at 6:30pm, will pit the Pittsfield Police Department against the Pittsfield Fire Department. All proceeds from the contests will go to Berkshire Community Action Council’s Community Garden Project.  There will also be a live remote from the Live 95.9 FM crew.

In addition, the Brazilian rhythms of the Berkshire Bateria will be rocking the street in front of Spice Dragon from 6pm to 8pm, and Phil Grover’s Doo Wah Revue will be performing in front of the Intermodal Center, courtesy of Berkshire Community College. Meanwhile, The Marketplace Café hosts the Easy Ridin’ Papas.  Otha Day will be leading an interactive drum circle on Park Square along with hula hooping with Stefanie Weber.

An artist’s reception for Colleen Surprise Jones’s latest exhibit “Inter Alia: Abstractions," will be held at the Berkshire Community College’s Intermodal Gallery.  "Inter Alia: Abstractions" ("inter alia" is Latin for "among other things") is an exhibit of abstract paintings and sculpture. Gallery hours are from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

New works by Marguerite Bride will be on display at Gallery 25 from August 18 through September 11, 2011. The exhibit will kick off with an artist reception on from 5:30–8PM.  Bride has gained regional recognition for her scenes of the Berkshires in a series called “Local Color”. She has expanded her repertoire in this exhibit to include paintings of eastern Massachusetts, especially Cape Cod and the Islands, and has entitled this show “East Meets West”.  Painter, art critic, blogger and former slam poet Carol Diehl will show a small selection of work from her "Journal Paintings" series in conjunction with a reading at 7pm at the Berkshire Museum.

Stop by the Berkshire Museum for free and fun WordXWord activities - Tell-a-Story Step-by-Step - chalking your stories on the sidewalk.  Hopscotch Poetry, kids can hop through a traditional hopscotch diagram with words written in each square, creating a poem as they go. Wally Rap will be a spoken-word open mic right next to Wally, the Museum’s stegosaurus, where kids can create original rap lyrics. Stories on the Wind will have participants writing narratives on long streamers of paper, which will be pinned up to wave in the breeze.  Then come play fun games and win prizes at the free kid's zone booth located at 78 North St, sponsored by South Congregational Church.  Come get Smurfed at the Beacon Cinema, get your face painted Smurfy-blue and the first ones there will get a free mini-movie poster of The Smurfs.  To celebrate 5 years of 3rd Thursdays the Beacon Cinema presents $5.00 admission all day on 3rd Thursday all movies ($6.50 for 3D).

Photo by Eric Korenman

Berkshire Bank has teamed up with Store Front Artist Project.  Stop by the Berkshire Bank at 99 North Street to meet famous cartoonists Joe Staton (Scooby-Doo, Batman, Green Lantern, etc.), Mark Martin (SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and Garry Black.   Enjoy art making for kids at Bisque, Beads and Beyond and pick up something for yourself with 25% off everything.

The Berkshire Running Center, located on 42 Summer Street is a run specialty store and training center located out of Berkshire Nautilus.  Owners Kent Lemme and Shiobbean Archey will be hosting a grand opening celebration this 3rd Thursday from 6-8pm.  Come join them for fun runs downtown, every 15 minutes!  There will be great giveaways and raffle prizes.  Their intention is to become the Grand Central Station for running and racing in Berkshire County. 

A special Library of Congress traveling exhibition—mounted in a customized 18-wheel truck will be open at Park Square during 3rd. Thursdays.  The “Gateway to Knowledge” exhibition will bring high-quality facsimiles of many of the Library’s top treasures and information about the millions of resources in the Library’s unparalleled collections to small towns and rural communities across America.  Ultimately, the “Gateway to Knowledge” is expected to visit up to 60 sites in states across the Midwest and South over the next year.

North Street’s unique locally-owned businesses will be open late for your browsing pleasure, including Treehouse, a newly opened children's boutique and family clubhouse, hosting a quiet space for nursing and new moms during 3rd.Thursdays.  Pateez Boutique, a store for women of all ages offering 20% - 50% off great styles from clothing to handbags to shoes and sandals; the Newberry Place with their one-of-a-kind gifts; and Mad Macs Inc., Berkshire County's Only Apple Authorized Service Center.  Also on North Street you’ll find a number of great deals and specials if you shop during 3rd .Thursdays, RJ Stohr’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, which will be offering 50% off almost everything in the store for one day only; and Pittsfield Bra and Girl features a 50-75% summer clearance tent sale offering select sleepwear, loungewear, bras and accessories.

Participating downtown restaurants that will be open late for your dining pleasure include Ad Lib, Hot Harry’s, the Highland Restaurant, Baba Louie’s, Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant, Bagels Too, Spice Dragon, Mary’s Carrot Cake Café, Flavours, Shiro, Mission Bar and Tapas, The Marketplace Café, Doc’s Deli, The Crowne Plaza, Mad Jacks, and the Lantern Bar and Grill. In addition, there are a wide range of street vendors will be selling a variety of food to enjoy as you walk around the streets and enjoy all that 3rd.Thursdays has to offer.

Downtown Pittsfield will continue to be alive with entertainment and fun throughout the evening. The Celtic folk band Rakish Paddy continues its tradition of playing every 3rd.Thursdays at Patrick’s Pub on Park Square, as does the jam band Billy Keane and the Misdemeanor Outlaws at Mission Bar and Tapas. Both are no cover, but get there earlier to ensure your seat.  Also enjoy Melissa Brinton’s solo acoustic guitar performance at Flavours Restaurant also no cover.  If you want to enjoy some theatre be sure to check out Barrington Stage Company’s The Game tickets range from $15-$60.  Later in the evening stay downtown for Misty Blues in the Lounge at Spice Dragon at with no cover or head over to dance with DJ Bruno’s club and dance music at the Underground Pub $3 cover at the door.  Both events begin at 9pm.

For more information about 3rd.Thursdays, please call 413.499.9348 or visit 3rd.Thursdays is a monthly free community street arts festival held rain or shine in downtown Pittsfield on the 3rd Thursday from May through October. Plenty of free parking is available.

Click here to download the flyer and map for August's 2011 3rd. Thursday.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Jim Horsford Pottery Classes Return to the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts

After a break for the summer, we are very excited to welcome back Jim Horsford to offer inexpensive classes for adults this fall.  No experience is necessary. 

Classes begin on Wednesday September 7th and Thursday September 8th from 6:30pm-8:30pm. Classes last 6 weeks, and will end Wednesday June 8th and Thursday June 9th, 2011.

$195 for adults, includes all materials

28 Renne Avenue, Pittsfield, MA 01201
Course Description:

The course is 12 hours of instruction on the potter’s wheel. No experience is needed. Beginners are welcome.

1. First class:

Students wedge two pieces of clay and step by step we throw two small pots: a mug and a bowl.

2. Second class:

We continue throwing and make three more pots.

3. Third class:

Now that we have five pots that have been kept moist in plastic and we trim the bottoms of the pieces.

4. Fourth Week:

Its back to throwing, and we make three larger pots.

5. Week five:

Work from week four is trimmed, handles are made for mugs and pitchers, clay can be added to the exterior of work or textures can be carved into the surface of work.

6. Week six:

Each student will have six to eight pots that they will glaze.

About a week after glazing, students from all classes will return for a pick-up celebration.

For more information check out his website.

Check out some of his students' work below:

To sign-up for classes call Jim at 413-243-3261 or email him at:

New Jewish Arts Show Opening Reception

This new exhibit, entitled "Hands, Hearts and the Sacred: The Judaic Art of Barbara Barron and Wendy A. Rabinowitz" features two nationally acclaimed Judaic artists.  Their works will be displayed along with both Jewish and Yiddish music and song presented by Arlene Symons at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts on Saturday, August 27th. 

Barbara Barron and Wendy A. Rabinowitz met in the summer of 2010 and felt an instant rapport and commonality in their lives and their artwork. The creation of sacred beauty (Hebrew: 'hiddur mitvah') impels these two artists to come together to remember, express and reconnect to their ancient Jewish heritage and beyond.  The exhibit will include ceremonial objects, collages, and assemblages that reflect the work of their hands, hearts and the sacred.

Barbara Barron

Barbara Barron describes her art form as being "a demanding, labor intensive and exciting form of artistic expression."  She specializes in Judaica and works with quilted machine applique using photo transfer techniques, hand dyed batiks, Dupioni silks and metallic threads.  She resides in East Otis, Massachusetts and Delray Beach, Florida and received her BA from Hunter College, her MA from Teacher's College at Columbia University, and studied fibre and ecclesiastical embroidery at Oxford University and the Royal School of Needlework in London, England. She operated Barron Designs, a fiber art gallery in Deer Park, NY for twenty-four years, creating commissioned wall hangings for commercial and residential interiors. Working in the tradition of her faith, she has created over fifty Judaic curtains, torah covers and wall hangings. Her torah cover won the prestigious Avis Lee & Abraham Neiman Judaica Prize Competition by the Jewish Museum of Florida in Miami Beach and was purchased for its permanent collection. In addition, Barbara has had numerous one-person and group exhibits though out the United States and Japan, including Pindar Gallery in Soho, NYC.  

Barbara Barron
Completed commission from May 2011 at the Congregation Ahavas Achim, Highland Park, NJ  93" x 35".

The Ten Commandments - Barbara Barron

 Come see why Hampshire Life describes Barbara Barron as the "Fiber Genius".

Wendy A. Rabinowitz

Wendy A. Rabinowitz believes: "All art is a healing, a 'tikun olam' to creation..." She uses this as a base for her work as a weaver/mixed-media artist who works out of her studio, Living Threads Judaica, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  She will be exhibiting work from her new series "Shattering of the Vessels, Gathering of the Sparks" which reflect concepts from the mystical threads of Judaism. Her one-of-a-kind Judaic artwork of silk, wool, metallic fibers and surface embellishment is included in home, synagogue, museum, organization and gallery collections though out the United States and Israel. Rabinowitz's creations combine her love of bold color, texture, and forms with her deep commitment to the environment, peace, healing and women's issues found in the Torah, Psalms and blessings. Her artwork was included in the "Miracles of Peace" exhibit at The United Nations; the Mayyim Hayyim Gallery in Newton, MA; and she recently had a solo exhibition at The Chabad Gallery in NYC.   She is included in the National Women's Museum in Washington, DC and was the recipient of the Anshe Chesed Purchase Prize Award. Her commissioned work includes a newly-finished Presentation Plaque for the outgoing president of  the international organization Hadassah; the Jewish Women's International Research Center at Brandeis University; Westchester Reform Temple, White Plains, NY; and The Jewish Center in Haifa, Israel. Born in Chicago, Ms. Rabinowitz studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and with Rabbis Zalman Schacter-Shalomi, Alan Berg, Gershon Winkler and Everett Gendler. Ms. Rabinowitz is dedicating her exhibit to the late Rabbi Jack Stern, who greatly admired and encouraged her work.  

  Wendy A. Rabinowtiz The Burning Bush; 24"H x 18"W x 3"D

"The intention is that my artworks will be a visual pathway of connection and spiritual renewal."
- Wendy A. Rabinowitz

Wendy A. Rabinowtiz What is Above, is Below; 42"H x 56"W x 8"D

"Every fiber of her [Wendy A. Rabinowitz's] weaving expresses the deepest understanding of the warp and woof of our religion and its ancient origins that have held our people together... her 'Living Threads' provide an instantaneous appreciation and deep respect for the many facets of Judaism and a neighborly appreciation for its deep-seated beliefs."
- Barbara Hirschl, owner, The Touchstone Gallery, NYC
Musician Arlene Symons has spent a lifetime both performing and teaching music. An accomplished classical pianist, she has performed extensively on radio and with orchestra halls in New York. She then turned to singing as well. Ms. Symons comes from a family of Yiddish theater entertainers and has a deep love and extensive repertoire of the music of her heritage, as well as folk music of other cultures. Arlene is the founder and director of Berkshire Chorus at Hevreh.

Hearts, Hands, and the Sacred kicks off with an opening reception at the Lichenstein Center for the Arts on Saturday, August 27th, 2011 from 3 to 5pm.  This event is free and open to the public. Come meet both the artists and enjoy their innovative work. The exhibition will run through Saturday, October 8th and the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts is open Wednesday-Saturday from noon to 5pm. For more information about Hands, Hearts, and the Sacred call the Lichtenstein Center at 413-499-9348.


Hands, Hearts and the Sacred
August 27th- October 8th
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 27th 3pm-5pm
Gallery hours: Wed-Sat 12 noon-5pm
The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts
28 Renne Ave, Pittsfield, MA 01201

Thursday, August 11, 2011

WordXWord Festival Welcomes Gov. Deval Patrick

 Cultural Pittsfield and  The Word X Word Festival welcome Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts, who will share “lessons from an improbable life,” joining over 60 other writers and performers participating in the annual Word X Word Festival in downtown Pittsfield, starting August 13-20, 2011. He will be reading from his memoir,Reasons To Believe: Lessons From an Improbable Life, at the Colonial Theatre, located at 111 South Street, at 7pm on Thursday, August 18.

“We’re honored to have the Governor of the Commonwealth as one of our featured performers at Word X Word,” said festival founder Jim Benson. “Not only is he an accomplished writer, his father Laurdine Patrick was a jazz musician who performed with John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and the Sun Ra Arkestra.” Gov. Deval Patrick is part of the Word X Word Festival's spoken word performance legacy, joining dozens of other writers, poets, singers/song writers, play writes in this fantastic festival.

Word X Word Festival celebrates the word in all its glorious forms, be it written, spoken, sung, or even acted out. This is the third year for the Word X Word Festival and with each year it gets bigger and better, drawing in all different types of artist from all over the country that use the power of the word in their artwork, ranging from songs and poetry to one man shows and graphic art.

Released in April 2011, A Reason to Believe has been warmly received. Kirkus Reviews notes, “Patrick gives powerful voice to the reflective inner man who has a keen eye for things that really matter…A welcome celebration of idealism in a cynical time.” Library Journal enthused, “Patrick shows himself here to be a gifted writer. Especially engrossing are the early pages on his childhood—he summons forth all the senses as he describes 1950s–60s South Side Chicago.”  Listen to an interview with Deval Patrick on NPR's Morning Edition here.

In January 2007, Deval Patrick became the first black governor of the state of Massachusetts, one of only two black governors elected in American history. That was just one triumphant step in a long, improbable journey that began in a poor tenement on the South Side of Chicago. From a chaotic childhood to an elite boarding school in New England, from a sojourn doing relief work in Africa to the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies and then to a career in politics, Patrick has led an extraordinary life. In A Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life, he pays tribute to the family, friends, and strangers who, through words and deeds, have instilled in him transcendent lessons of faith, perseverance, and friendship. Find out more about Gov. Deval Patrick at

We are very excited that Gov. Deval Patrick has decided to participate with and enjoy the Word X Word Festival this year, he will be a great fit with all the other talented artist that will be performing in the more than 30 events going on during this week long festival celebrating the word. A full schedule of Word X Word events is available online at The festival will also co-exist with Cultural Pittsfield's 3rd Thursday on the 18th, a monthly event that happens every 3rd Thursday from May through October.

Tickets to the reading are free but must be reserved in advance at the Colonial Theatre box office, Copies of his memoir will be on sale in the Colonial Theatre lobby courtesy of The Bookstore of Lenox, Massachusetts and he will be signing books afterwards. Please come and enjoy the power of the word in this wonderful festival's third year of celebrating the word in all its forms.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Pittsfield Ethnic Fair Celebrates Culture & Communities Around the World!

The 2011 Pittsfield Ethnic Fair Returns This Sunday
Featuring Food & Entertainment From Around the World

On Sunday, August 7, the first block of South Street between Park Square and Housatonic Street will be closed to traffic and filled with thousands of pedestrians enjoying tantalizing aromas, captivating rhythms and colorful costumes as once again the annual Pittsfield Ethnic Fair celebrates the many cultures that make up the Berkshires and beyond.

Free and open to all, the Pittsfield Ethnic Fair will be held, rain or shine, from 12 noon to 6pm, with dozens of international food and craft vendors and two stages of music and dance including klezmer, polka and African music, salsa rhythms, Irish fiddles, and much more from around the world.

Two stages will feature dancing music from the renowned recording artists the Eddie Forman Polka Orchestra; salsa and more from Bronte Roman (pictures above) and El Grupo Caliente; African singer-songwriter Appollo Nzima; traditional Irish tunes from Rakish Paddy; klemer music by yiddishkeit; and Middle Eastern-inflected world music by HuDost (pictured below).

Mayor James Ruberto is a big fan of the Pittsfield Ethnic Fair. "As the grandson of Italian immigrants I believe it is important for our community to celebrate its cultural heritage and to welcome and celebrate new immigrants and cultures as well. That's why we have made Pittsfield a 'Welcoming Community' for new immigrants and why each year we help sponsor the Pittsfield Ethnic Fair, to highlight and enjoy the many contributions that both old and new immigrants have made to our community."

The Pittsfield Ethnic Fair committee is chaired by Mario DeMartino, a longtime community leader. DeMartino noted, "The Pittsfield Ethnic Fair highlights and celebrates the best of our community. I'm glad my children and grandchildren are able to attend and enjoy the rich diversity found here and the wonderful music, dance, food and craft that is featured every year. Please bring your kids and grand kids to the Pittsfield Ethnic Fair so they can learn about and experience different cultures - and have fun too!"

The Fair, which is free of charge and open to all, will be held for the first time stretches on the first block of South Street, which will be closed to traffic. Plentiful and free parking is available at the McKay Street parking garage and the First Street parking lot.

Local vendors will be offering mouthwatering treats from South America, Italy, India, Ireland, Africa, Malaysia, Germany, and more, as well as wine and beer tents for those over 21 years old.  Food vendors include Lucia’s Latin Kitchen, Papa Joe's Ristorante, House of India, Flavours Malaysian Restaurant, the German-American Club, The Italian-American Club, Tony Sombrero’s, UNICO of Pittsfield, the Irish-American Club, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Mad Jack’s BBQ, Sons of Italy Itam Lodge, Irish Sister City Committee, cupcakes and Italian cookies from Delicious Traditions, CIAO, Civitan, Kiwanis, Krispy Kones, That’s A Wrap, and more.  Craft booths will feature handicrafts, jewelry, clothing, and more from around the world.

The Pittsfield Ethnic Fair is generously sponsored by Berkshire Bank, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Berkshire Healthcare Systems, Downtown Inc and the City of Pittsfield. For more information call 413.443.6501.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Downtown Pittsfield to apply for Official Cultural District Designation

The city of Pittsfield plans to be one of the first municipalities in the Commonwealth to apply for the newly authorized state Cultural District designation.

A cultural district, according to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, is a specific geographical area in a city or town that has a concentration of cultural facilities, activities, and assets. It is a walkable, compact area that is easily identifiable to visitors and residents and serves as a center of cultural, artistic and economic activity.  Passed by the Massachusetts legislature in 2010, the statute that created cultural districts has specific goals. They are to attract artists and cultural enterprises; encourage business and job development; establish the district as a tourist destination; preserve and reuse historic buildings; enhance property values; and foster local cultural development.

“Downtown Pittsfield, with Barrington Stage’s two theatres, the Colonial Theatre, the Berkshire Athenaeum, the Berkshire Museum, the Berkshire Music School, the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, Storefront Artist Project, NEW Stage Performing Arts Center, Bisque, Beads and Beyond, the Alchemy Initiative, the Beacon Cinema, three dance studios, the Artscape public art program, and over fifty working artist studios, is truly the cultural center of the Berkshires and perfectly positioned to meet the requirements of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ newly created Cultural Districts Initiative,” noted Pittsfield Cultural Development Director Megan Whilden.

She added, “3rd.Thursdays, the Pittsfield Ethnic Fair, the Polish Family Picnic, the Pittsfield Art Show, the WordXWord Festival, the Festival of Gathering Roots, the Grecian Festival, the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade, the Handmade Holiday Festival, the Halloween Parade and other events also add to the year round liveliness of downtown Pittsfield, along with the growing live music scene, with local and regional performers regularly featured at Brulee’s, Flavours Malaysian Restaurant, Mission Bar & Tapas, and Spice Dragon.”

A public meeting was held on Wednesday, June 22 and attended by over two dozen members of the community, including people from the education, business and cultural sectors. Meri Jenkins, the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s manager of the Cultural District Initiative, provided an overview of the requirements and process for applying and answered questions. Attendees were very supportive of the application and the Massachusetts Cultural Council has indicated that downtown Pittsfield has excellent prospects for being approved. Pittsfield is also eligible to establish Cultural Districts in other parts of the city in the future.

The proposed Downtown Pittsfield Cultural District’s borders would mirror those of the city’s existing Downtown Arts Overlay District, which was approved by the Pittsfield City Council in 2006, and later that year won a statewide Smart Growth Award. A copy of the map can be found online at and copies are available at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts between 9qm and 5pm Monday through Friday.

The next step in the application process is a City Council resolution in support of applying for the Cultural District designation, which will go before the Pittsfield City Council at their July 12 City Council meeting. A public hearing will be also be held as part of the July 12 Pittsfield City Council meeting, scheduled for 7:30pm. Public comments and questions are also welcomed via email at, or phone at 413-499-9348. for more information on the Cultural Districts Initiative, please visit the website of the Massachusetts Cultural Council at

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pittsfield Art Show Invitational Opening Reception

Sixteen Pittsfield artists working in fiber arts, ceramics, oil painting, photography, watercolor, and more will be featured in the new group show opening at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts Friday, June 10th.

The retrospective anniversary Pittsfield Art Show Invitational features creative talents and collective works from 16 artists that have been part of the downtown Pittsfield Art Show during the past 7 years. This show... coincides with the many activities celebrating the 250th birthday of Pittsfield. The artists invited to display their works in this exhibit include: Morris Bennett (oils), Michael Boroniec (ceramic), Beverly Bourassa (watercolor), Marguerite Bride (watercolor), Jan Charbonneau (fiber arts), Lynette Cornwell (paper/cloth, purses), Crispina ffrench (fiber arts), Jeffrey Gardner (landscape photography), Leo Mazzeo (oils), Sean McCusker (oils), Anne Pasko (mixed media/watercolor), Barbara Patton (ceramics), Jeffrey Reynolds (photography), Michael Rousseau (oils), Allan Seppa (photography), and Scott Taylor (acrylic).

Morris Bennett
earned his B.F.A. from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, and his M.F.A from the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Ohio.

After a year of travel and study in Italy with his wife, the artist Anne Roland, he taught art in the secondary level of the Pittsfield (Ma.) Public Schools. Since his retirement he has been teaching two courses for the evening school of the Pittsfield Public schools and offers two workshops at the Canyon Ranch Spa in Lenox Massachusetts.

Michael Boroniec, resides and creates sculptural work in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. His work is a journalistic approach, a photograph or chronograph of time, primarily focusing on materials and the direct relationship to the viewer, location, and society. Michael's primary work is sculptural, though he has also found success and audiences for his work in other media including painting, printmaking, and experimental/time-based art. His work chronicles the times, often taking ready-made objects and transforming them into iconographic representations of our culture. He explains ‘art’ is an alternate way of communication.  

Since leaving the Boston area and moving to the Berkshires in 1995, Marguerite Bride has been able to focus her time and energy upon pursuing her childhood dream…to become a painter.

Her formal art training began in 1992 with a course of study at the Worcester Art Museum, accompanied by private art lessons … and hours of practice. After moving to Lenox in 1995, she attended the Interlaken School of Art, and enrolled in the Visual Arts program at Berkshire Community College.

Jan Charbonneau
is a fashion artist and a native to the Berkshires.  For years she worked mainly in the field of formal dress wear for women.  Through the use of men's recycled  neckties, she has  discovered the excitement of creating the connections of a textured past with the impressions of a promising present.

Continuous inspiration for new designs comes from her treasured customers. Jan has been especially privileged to serve many clients by making custom items from the personal  tie collections of departed loved ones. 

Lynette Cornwell is a collage artist who came to the idea of book purses via "altered books." Her altered books have included biographical story-telling using a collection of memorabilia and personal ephemera, as well as ironic re-takes or artistic expansion on the original book's contents. She also make book boxes, blank journals from book covers, specialty cards, and small books in a variety of formats. A small artistic support group that Lynette belonged to here in the Berkshires spent one of their project-days together making purses from a set of old Charles Dickens books. That idea brewed and stewed in her head for quite awhile, when she came across a set of children's classics her Dad had given her 50 years ago. Finding they had insignificant monetary value, she made them into book purses. They were popularly received, so she built a larger inventory. They have been a hit everywhere she takes them, and people love them as great gifts as well as for their own use.

Crispina ffrench, sweater, and used clothing alchemist since 1987, currently lives in a renovated Roman Catholic rectory with her studio next door in the church in Pittsfield, MA. She divides her time between her children, recycling business and developing the property, she and her husband, purchased in 2006. The goal is a community of creative endeavors including organic urban farming, utilizing sustainable building practices like rainwater catchment and alternative energy sources, and hotel/hostel music venue. This development is happening in collaboration with several like-minded reconstructionists of different sorts. 

Jeffrey Gardner has traveled around this country his whole life, seeking the less known paths, the “blue highways” as they are sometimes called. He has always been drawn back to New England and Berkshire County in particular. Jeff has found great comfort in these familiar hills, from the Connecticut border through Stockbridge and Richmond and on up to Williamstown. The landscape and most importantly, it's old barns in various states of disrepair has caught his eye more than anything else.

Jeff started photographing these barns in different settings and formats when he first moved back here from California in the early 1990s. He began his craft of framing his barn photographs with the very same wood they were made of.

Though Leo Mazzeo often works with other media, he is primarily an oil painter. Leo use bold, heavily-pigmented color with gestural brushwork, and sometimes knife-work, on surfaces usually under-painted, often with red or black. He uses only a very small selection of colors, preferring to find my way to the colors he seeks through mixing on his pallet, as well as on the surface, since he also prefers to work wet on wet, whenever possible. Leo often works quickly to help convey an initial feeling of directness and immediacy, both in subject matter and presence. For him, a sense of the moment is vital and he wish the viewer to harvest feelings of empathy and longing, positive or negative, for a similar situation or experience.

When Sean McCusker first started painting he was spending most of his spare time at night walking through the lit streets of Amherst. The contrast of the bright yellow of the street lamps against the cold blue tones of night was comforting as it meant the stresses of the day were over. Since then his work has reflected a feeling of the cool loneliness of the night, contrasted by the warmth and security of artificial illumination. 
With any work, the viewer decides the meaning. So, only as a starting point, let me offer mine. Most of his paintings center around a single figure set against a vast empty space. The scenes often depict the longing for something better, that is often just over the horizon. The light illuminating the darkness is always just out of reach, but has a stronger presence in the dark. The figures struggle to reach the light, as they yearn for better things. So Sean consistently plays with a sense of darkness, desire, and hope.
Anne Pasko's work crosses a broad range from serene to wild - from monochromatic paper collage to vivid and highly textured mixed media paintings with found objects and acrylics. Her pieces may encompass the symbolism of women's spiriituality or my love of the earth and our natural environment or the loric and magic of a place like Monhegan Island, Maine.

Anne enjoys working and experimenting with textures and new techniques. It is the uncertainty and search for new techniques and exciting combinations of color that keeps her burning with passion to "do art".  She is frequently asked how she comes up with some of the images and pairings of materials - the answer is always that these are not from a clear, conscious place but rather something that bubbles up out of the subconscious - a re-membering of an ancient symbol, or an image seen or felt in a dream.
Barbara Patton (ceramics)

Michael Rousseau
current body of work is an exploration of the somber and dramatic effects of chiaroscuro using techniques gleaned from his study of Caravaggio, including: pigment choices, subject matter, composition and application.

He paints contemporary subjects using a combination of modern and traditional oil painting techniques. He derives his subject matter from the people, places, things and ideas that are around and surrounds him as an American artist living in the 21st Century.

Allan Seppa started being serious about photography in the late 1960's, when he bought his first 35mm SLR film camera and signed up for the comprehensive correspondence course offered by the former Famous Photographers School of Westport, Connecticut.  He completed the course and enjoyed practicing his newly-learned skills for the next few years.

Soon after moving to the Berkshires in Massachusetts, he joined the venerable Berkshire Museum Camera Club. During the many years that he was a member of the Club, he won many awards for my color slides in competitions within the Club and ones sponsored by the New England Camera Club Council (NECCC). He attended many of the annual NECCC conferences, gaining addition knowledge and inspiration from their numerous and varied lecture programs.

Scott Taylor can’t remember a time in my life that he wasn’t drawing or painting and over the years it has become a great source of relaxation for him. Though mostly self-taught, he has had the privilege of being around some wonderful artists whose guidance and encouragement has helped him to grow not only as an artist, but as a person.

Scott loves old barns and other unique buildings (lighthouses, cottages and the like). Endeavoring to depict the emotion and history contained in their structure is one of his favorite challenges, from intriguing entryways to weathered windows and rusted rooflines. Solitary pathways and fields with rhythms created by rock walls, streams and trees are a constant draw for my imagination as well. But attempting to find a stylistic thread that connects his work, Scott has to say is not necessarily the line or subject matter, but rather the varied use of color in the pieces that he creates.
Pittsfield Art Show Invitational kicks off with an opening reception at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts on Friday, June 10th from 5 to 7pm. This event is free and open to the public. Come meet the artists and enjoy their new work. The exhibition will run through Saturday, July 16th and the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts is open Wednesday-Saturday from 12pm-5pm. For more information about the event, call 413-499-9348 or email

The Art show has taken this year off due to construction projects immediately affecting the downtown site. The Art Show will return to the renewed downtown site in July 2012 and promises to be as exciting and successful as it has been in the past.

Pittsfield Art Show Invitational
Friday, June 10th – Saturday, July 16th
Opening Reception: Friday, June 10th 5pm-7pm
Gallery hours: Wed-Sat 12 noon-5pm
The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.
The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts
28 Renne Ave, Pittsfield, MA 01201