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Parties & Openings


April 12 - Lenox
IS183's Vermilion Cotillion

April 11 - Red Hook
WordWorks Opening At RHCAN

April 10 - Williamstown
CATA At The Clark

A Ver-million Turnout For IS183’s Annual Gala

Rachel Louchen reports from Lenox. Many parties request that guests dress to impress, but for the attendees who come out every year for the annual IS183 costume gala, impressionable and outrageous are often one and the same. It’s the only party where you can find a Teletubby dancing with someone wearing a giant papier mâché head. A sizable portion of the county turned out to support the Berkshires’ nonprofit community art school on Saturday, April 12. This year’s theme, The Vermilion Cotillion, bade attendees to dress in red, so guests showed up at the Eastover Resort wearing crimson suits, big ball gowns and elaborate masks and wigs. Festivities actually began at dinners hosted at private homes, farms or businesses. Then all headed to the party portion of the evening, where they entered a room filled with goods for the silent auction before heading onto the dance floor—an art installation in itself, with projections of funky images that put guests in the mood to groove (not that they needed much coaxing). Drinks were poured, sweets from Chocolate Springs beckoned and attendees took pictures posing on the throne, a fitting perch for so many in regal attire. This was not an early night, as most guests danced far into the evening, many of them already excited for next year’s celebration. Above, IS183 club member John Zutter, Brigitte Hughes and club member K.K. Zutter are studies in vermilion. 


Studio Manager Ben Evans and Board of Directors Vice Chair Robin Seeley.


Committee member Laura Mitchell and Janet Crawford were two of the many guests in crimson ball gowns; Chris Demos and Kate Baisley of Shear Design with Tyler Simmons.


Kristen van Ginhoven and Executive Director Hope Sullivan; Shakespeare and Company’s Heather Collis and Alexandra Lincoln.


Crispina ffrench and Megan Whilden were comfortable on the throne; Realtor Lisa Bouchard and Ed Ho of The Kinderhook Group.


The Olga Dunn Dance Company performed an original dance.


Realtor Marc Bachman and his wife, Carrie Bachman; Deb Ryan and Bill Ryan of Black Thumb Farms.


Supporter Jan O’Bryant and Maggie Mitchell, who participates in the art classes provided by IS183; A rare break from the dance floor for Tim Butterworth and Six Depot’s Sascha Woolfe.


RI’s Jake Levin and Silka Glanzman, a.k.a. The Butcher and The Baker, flank Susan Engel; Volunteer bartenders John Wendling and artist Maggie Mailer called the shots.


Everyone hit the dance floor as the DJ spinned well into the night.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 04/13/14 at 10:38 PM • Permalink

CATA At The Clark Draws A Crowd

Amy Krzanik reports from Williamstown. The Clark Art Institute’s Stone Hill Center hosted a large and happy crowd of supporters on Thursday night, April 10 as Community Access to the Arts (CATA) opened an exhibit of work by its A.R.T. students. The A.R.T., or Artistic Realization Technologies, program is a painting workshop for area adults with profound physical disabilities. Many of the students and their teachers were on hand to introduce the work and revel in its vibrant beauty. A bevy of unique gifts such as necklaces, magnets and other items emblazoned with the students’ work were for sale to help raise funds for the A.R.T. program. An after-party at Hops and Vines featured food from Deborah Gallagher Catering and guest bartenders, with all tips going to benefit CATA and its students.(Shown above: Executive Director Margaret Keller and Founding Director Sandy Newman.)


Becky Gold, Sarah Holland, Chrissy Wooliver and Sadie; Artist Carol Neuhaus with Bonny Estabrooks.


Board member Steve Shatz with Board President John Whalan; Cliff Love and artist Cathy Crofut.


Leah Couture poses in front of her art; Board member Ben Silberstein, Elaine Silberstein, Brendan Mathews and Margaret Keller.


Maureen Strype, Carrie Waara and author Same Crane; Faculty artist Pat Hogan and board member Elaine Radiss.


Ben and Elaine Silberstein, Liz Williams, John Whalan and Dawn Lane, CATA’s program and artistic director.


Artist Katrina Couture, Diane Firtell and faculty artist Stefanie Weber; Pat and Dennis Hogan with artist Myles Tosk in front of his work.


Margaret Keller and Ron Gallagher; Lisa Loomis and Sharon Boyd show off their CATA totes.


Sherry Monte, Debbie Gallagher, Sue Hamblin and Sally Chin; Marcela Peacock, Janet Holland and Marie Thurston admiring the art.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 04/13/14 at 04:25 PM • Permalink

WordWorks Kicks Off Read Local Red Hook Literary Festival

rhcan1Jamie Larson reports from Red Hook. The third annual Read Local Red Hook Literary Festival took over the normally sleepy Dutchess County village last weekend with readings, activities and music for all ages. The festivities kicked off Friday evening, April 12 with the WordWorks exhibition at the Red Hook Community Arts Network (RHCAN) Gallery in the heart of the village. In honor of the festival, local artists produced pieces inspired by the written word. Artists’ works played with the lines between words and art, using fonts, themes and even integrated performance to lovingly bridge the gap. The event also gave the public the opportunity to wander further back into the studios of the RHCAN to see what the collective is up to and why the organization’s mission is so worthy of community support. The Red Hook Literary Festival continued on Saturday with discussions about this year’s Read Local book (Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson), writing seminars, book sales, readings and signings (including an appearance by author and filmmaker John Sayles) and other events. (Pictured above: Artist and RHCAN sculpture curator Rita Gentile, RHCAN member artist Daniel Baxter and Literary Festival Director Juliet Harrison.)

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Reception host Linda Legendre and RHCAN Chair Kari Feuer; work by Feuer on display at the RHCAN Gallery.

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The RHCAN Gallery at 7516 North Broadway on opening night of WordWorks; Contributing artist Yvonne Laube with Cliff Laube.

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RHCAN organizing member Maria Isabel Pujol and photographer Ricardo Fernandez; a work by John Breiner.

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Rita Gentile reads from the dictionary as part of a performance mixed-media piece for the opening; Artist Rosalie Rossi and poet Roberta Gould.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 04/12/14 at 04:21 PM • Permalink

The Montessori School Brings Caribbean Cool To Havana Nights

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. “This Cuban cigar isn’t real; it’s chocolate.” “Well, in that case, get two!” Chocolate cigars weren’t the only themed treat at “Havana Nights,” The Montessori School of the Berkshires’ fundraiser on Saturday, April 5 at Shakespeare and Company. The benefit auction and dance party’s theme was inspired by the Montessori students’ Model U.N. study of Cuba and Nigeria, and featured cool Caribbean music perfect for a salsa, rumba or mambo, and Cuban-inspired food from Firefly Restaurant in Lenox. Guests were treated to classic Cuban dishes such as black beans and rice, ropa vieja (shredded beef), and black bean and mango salsa with taro chips. The silent auction featured a plethora of items from local and statewide museums and fun parks, one-of-a-kind crafts, and fine dining and massage certificates. The live auction, led by emcee Alison Larkin, included Beck concert tickets, a family portrait session, landscaping services and much more. And that’s not all! An after-dinner “dessert dash” and a “bejeweled lottery” gave guests first dibs on a dessert for their table and a chance to win a pair of earrings by sculptor and jeweler Daniel Porter Stevens. Proceeds from the night benefit the school’s financial aid fund. Pictured: Board President Church Davis, Marya LaRoche, who is the Director of School Advancement, and Tammy Valicenti.


Board member Bamby Neale and Dennis Pollock, who donated landscaping services to the live auction; Alison Larkin, the night’s emcee and auctioneer, with Shakespeare & Company actor Dana Harrison and screenwriter Marc Maurino.


Joey Chernila and RI’s recipe contributor Alana Chernila; Todd Covert, Head of School, and David Valicenti, trout fisherman.


Jennifer Carr and Becky Cachat, both parents of Montessori students; Gary and Linda Roth of East Chatham.

Bob and Tess Fedell with Lisa and Jason Baumgart; Emma Weiskopf and Sara Mugridge.


Jen and Pete Salinetti of Woven Roots Farm; Debbie Greene and David Goldfarb.


Meagan Ledendecker, director of education and co-founder of the school, with board member Dana Bixby; Marjorie Dix and board member Wayne Dix.


Check out the beautiful (and delicious) spread from Firefly in Lenox.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 04/05/14 at 10:43 PM • Permalink

R.O. Blechman’s Quivering Lines Bring Out The Crowds

oh8Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. R.O. Blechman’s iconic illustrations and cartoons have graced the covers and pages of the New Yorker and countless other publications for decades. Now, through May 11, those pages grace the walls of the Hudson Opera House. Blechman, an Ancram resident, has a body of work recognizable to anyone. With its understated quivering lines and combination of expressiveness and reserve, each piece seems to hang in the mind like a beloved doodle in the mangers of a great collective American consciousness. The exhibition, representing years of Blechman’s work but not being called a retrospective, opened on Saturday with a reception packed to the gills with admirers and friends who seemed greet each piece like a fond memory, whether it was the hundredth viewing or the first. (Pictured at left, children’s author and illustrator Donald Crews and R.O. Blechman.)

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Abby Adams Westlake, co-author of Love Where You Live, Steven Sorman, Bruce Birdsall and Karen Caldic; Glass artists Dean and Eliska Smiley with proprietor of Gilmor Glass Elizabeth Gilmore, and fellow glassmaker Regina Wickham.

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Hudson Opera House Co-director Tamera Dillon and Gwen Gould; Jennifer Rusch of Narofsky Architecture, Maya Narofsky and Trudy Roth

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Clarke Olsen and President of PS21 Judy Grunberg; Photographer David Franck and artist Gretchen Kelly.

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Maria Manhattan, Hudson Opera House Executive Director Gary Shiro and Mary DePhillips.

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Elizabeth and Paul Miller; One of the many Blechmans on display at the Hudson Opera House through May 11.

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Mary Bush and Melissa Sorman; Composer David Behrman, Terri Hanlon, Maria Manhattan and Mary DePhillips.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 03/30/14 at 02:04 PM • Permalink

A Mother Lode Of Guests At WAM’s ‘Motherhood Out Loud’

Lisa Green reports from Stockbridge. The final sold-out performance of Motherhood Out Loud at the Unicorn Theatre on Saturday, March 29, started off with a hitch that seemed to delight everybody. Technical difficulties had the production’s director, Jayne Atkinson, filling time by talking about her role on House of Cards. Finally, sound was restored, and the production, a benefit for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers and WAM Theatre, delivered an evening of monologues exploring the experience of motherhood in all its phases. Premiered in New York by award-winning producer Susan Rose, Motherhood Out Loud has had successful productions all over the country. The Berkshires cast featured some familiar names from stage and screen including Jane Kaczmarek and Michel Gill, but there were just as many talented writers, actors and activists in the audience to match the wattage on stage. At the end of the show, champagne appeared, and like a quick scene change, the stage was transformed into a party space with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and a lot of high energy. Above, the Festival’s director, Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez, and Kristin van Ginhoven, director of WAM.


Writer Sonia Pilcer and Barbara Newman, a creative strategist and writer who was the “matchmaker” between the production and WAM; Cast member Tammy Denease and Paul Solovay, a photographer.


Playwright Marsha Norman with Susan Rose and Alan Lafer.


Kari Harendorf, Rachel Siegel, a cast member, and Elisa Kammeyer; Samantha Lafer and Michael Irwin.


Jane Kaczmarek and Kristin van Ginhoven.


Cast member Barbara Sims and Hilary Somers Deely, who are co-curators of Made in the Berkshires; Jim Sexton, Jim Finnerty and Donna Hassler, executive director at Chesterwood.


Jeanie Hackett, an actor, author, director and teacher, with Susan Rose.


Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez and Lisa Rafel, a sound and healing educator; Amber Chand, a cast member, with Anni Crofut, a playwright and jewelry designer, who performed a piece of her own at the Saturday matinee.


Jayne Atkinson serves champagne; the stage is set for a celebration.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/30/14 at 12:22 PM • Permalink

Local Foods And Funds Flow At March Maple Dinner

Rachel Louchen reports from Lenox. If there was any doubt that the Berkshires are a culinary force to be reckoned with, the five-course March Maple Dinner on Monday, March 24 served as an excellent reinforcement of the talent of our local chefs, restaurants and farms. The annual dinner served as a fundraiser for the agricultural non-profit Berkshire Grown and its Share the Bounty program. Held this year at The Cranwell Resort, the dinner was able to accommodate a huge group of food enthusiasts. The night started out with hors d’oeuvres accompanied by a tasting of local beverages, before moving on to the grand showcase dinner featuring the culinary talents of Wheatleigh’s Jeffrey Thompson, Gala Steakhouse & Bistro’s Chris Bonnivier, Mezze’s Marianne Comella, Route 7 Grill’s Christophe Jalbert, Ron Reda of Table Six at the Kemble Inn and Daire Rooney of Allium. Five dishes later, guests were able to bid on auction goodies while very, very full. Above, Wolfe Spring Farm’s June Wolfe and Berkshire Grown Executive Director Barbara Zheutlin.


Deborah Morris with cousin Teresa Yurchis, who came from Portland, Oregon for the dinner; Phil and Jen Leahey of Leahey Farm in Lee.


Berkshire Mountain Distillers’ Jon Height and Michael Sherry poured some of their popular spirits; Joe Grochmal, his son Joseph, daughter Olivia and wife Ann were excited for the impending five-course feast.


Allium’s head chef Daire Rooney works on plate presentation multiplied by 100.


Board member Sarah Gardner and Program Associate Suzie Fowle; Melissa Leab and Rob Leab of Ioka Valley Farm in Hancock gave out samples of delicious treats like maple cream and butter.


Elaine Radiss with husband Rich Petrino and Bruce Friger; Nancy Kalodner and her son, Joel Kalodner, came out to support Berkshire Grown.


June Wolfe and husband Jim Wolfe, Peter Cherneff of Share The Bounty, Barbara Zheutlin and Route 7 Grill proprietor Lester Blumenthal.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 03/24/14 at 09:30 PM • Permalink

And The Berkshire Award Goes To: Three Deserving Honorees

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. There may have been a standing-room-only crowd on Saturday, March 22 for the 2014 Berkshire Awards Ceremony at the Berkshire Museum because the weather, for once, cooperated. But more likely, it was because the community truly wanted to honor and celebrate the contributions of the recipients, who were being recognized as leaders who create, keep and promote the artistic, historic and natural heritage of the Berkshires. At the awards presentation, video bios told the stories of Frances Jones-Sneed, a historian and professor at MCLA, who has been instrumental in discovering and documenting the rich heritage of the Black community in Western Massachusetts; the Nash family, longtime active supporters of arts and culture in the area; and George S. Wislocki, founder of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council. During the presentation, the Museum’s Executive Director Van Shields recognized the late Jane Fitzpatrick for her many contributions to the community, and wine glasses were raised in her memory. Then guests were treated to cocktails and hors d’oeurvres in the galleries. Much was made of the fact that Seth Nash (above, with Mary Nash) wore a tie for the event, now captured for posterity, and something the Blue Q co-owner is not likely to be seen in ever again.

Jeff Noble, a member of Berkshire Museum’s board of trustees, with Executive Director Van Shields; Nancy Fitzpatrick, owner and president of The Red Lion Inn, and Susan Wissler, Executive Director of The Mount.

Hope Sullivan, executive director of IS183 Art School of the Berkshires and Nancy Kalodner, owner of Benchmark Real Estate; Alice Wislocki congratulates Dr. Frances Jones-Sneed on her award.

Van Shields; Lydia Rosner, a trustee and the chair of the Berkshire Award Committee; Seth Nash; Suzanne Nash; Leo Nash; Dr. Frances Jones-Sneed; Mitch Nash; Bill Hines, president of the Board of Trustees; and George S. Wislocki.

Both Melissa Joyce and Deanna McKhan are regional vice-presidents at Berkshire Bank, an event sponsor; Kate Whalen of West Stockbridge and Chantal Rhind, a math professor at Berkshire Community College.

  Susan Lyman, a public defender for juveniles in Western Massachusetts and Larry Lane, who owns the Arcadian Shop in Lenox; Sally Mawhinney and Audrey Thier, both of whom formerly worked with honoree George S. Wislocki at the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, flank Sally Cornwell, who is currently on staff there.

Stephanie Gravalese-Wood, marketing and communications manager at The Red Lion Inn, confers with the Inn’s Chef Brian Alberg, who catered the event.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/23/14 at 11:32 AM • Permalink