What’s Cooking at the Berkshire Art Kitchen?
Gabrielle Senza in front of one of her landscape paintings
Art dealers often say they want their galleries to be places where their friends and clients will feel at home and want to hang out, but Gabrielle Senza really means it. She has moved into an old colonial with a deep front porch on Main Street in Great Barrington (across from Searles Castle) and she has dubbed it the Berkshire Art Kitchen (BAK). “It’s a different sort of live/work space,” she says.
Senza, an accomplished painter who has shown at the OK Harris Gallery in Manhattan, ran the pioneering Spazi Gallery in the village of Housatonic for most of the 1990s. She moved to Rome for a time but returned after she got pregnant. “Have you ever been in an Italian hospital?” she says. “I did not want to have my child in one.” She and her son, Matteo, 10, moved into the Main Street house in December. After having all the old wallpaper removed and repainting the walls in warm, soothing colors, she has transfomed the house into a tranquil and welcoming backdrop for exhibiting art and gathering creative people together.
Her inaugural exhibit, “The Promise of Light,” features her own ethereal landscape paintings (you may recognize her work which hangs at the restaurant Local 111 in Philmont) as well as sculptures by Joe Wheaton, a wall piece made of Mardi Gras beads by John Lawson, abstract monoprints by Karen Skelton, and works on paper by John Clarke. She’s also curating a show called “Radical Detour” at the Storefront Artist Project in Pittsfield, where she’s on the board. “Radical Detour,” which is being held in honor of the Berkshire Festival of Women in the Arts, will feature work by women artist/activists who address topics such as gender issues, global warming, racism and human rights. As if that were not enough to keep her busy, Senza is hosting a soul-food potluck and house concert benefit at BAK on March 5 for Red Collaborative, a group she started in 2003 that engages survivors of abuse and trauma in public art projects as part of their healing process.
Senza plans to show films and host discussion groups and even offer an alternative environment where creative folks who work home alone (and too often procrastinate) can spend a few hours during the day working quietly surrounded by like-minded people for a small fee. “In the spring, I am going to put cafe tables on the porch,” she said. “I will have WiFi, so come back when it gets warmer and bring your laptop.”
The Berkshire Art Kitchen
400 Main Street, Great Barrington; 413.717.0031
“The Promise of Light”
Opening Reception with Champagne, Chocolate and Live acoustic music by John Clarke
Saturday, February 28; 4 -6 PM; RSVP required.
Soul-Stirring Women in Music
Pot-luck supper with performances by Vikki True, JoAnne Spies, Carol Stevens, Carol Emanuel, Maia Conty, Trice Atchison, Mary Campbell Case, Eve Schatz, and Stephanie Campbell
Thursday, March 5; Dinner at 6; music at 7:30
Storefront Artist Project
124 Fenn Street, Pittsfield; 413.442.7201
Opening Reception Friday, March 6; 6 - 8 PM