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Parties & Openings

July 26 - Stockbridge
Fête des Fleurs

July 26 - Stockbridge
Naumkeag Garden Party

July 26 - Copake
FarmOn Hootenanny

July 26 - Lenox
Butterflies, Beavers & Bonfire Gala

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Beavers, A Bonfire And Becky At Berkshire Sanctuaries

Mary Garnish Bauman reports from Lenox. Photos by Susan Geller. There were many alliterations at the silent auction table, as Berkshire Sanctuaries attempted to introduce its new director, Becky Cushing, to party attendees. Brava with Becky, Boating with Becky, and Beer with Becky were just a few of the 100 auction items offered at the Butterflies, Beavers & Bonfire Gala on July 26. This year marked the sixth fundraiser, and 85th anniversary, of Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. Event founders Mary and Alan Bauman coined the phrase “bonfire chic attire,” hinting at the outdoorsy but elegant nature of the event. Food trucks circled the picnic area, and included Kathy and Gabe Lloyd of How We Roll (who coordinated the night’s catering), Lakota Bar-B-Q and Grampie’s Dog House. The Chocolate Springs truck provided a cold chocolate shot, as well as its signature treats. Live jazz courtesy of Jeff Link, Charlie Tokarz and their bandmates filled the air as guests lined up at the bar provided by Kelly’s Package Store of Dalton. Partygoers danced around a roaring bonfire and drummed with Jim Weber and his samba group, Berkshire Bateria, as the evening came to a close. Becky was introduced by Gail Yeo, the Central/West Regional director of Mass Audubon, who touched upon ways their education programs benefit area schools. Camp counselors and trail guides, Hannah Sherman and Betsy Baczek, presented a 16-year-old snapping turtle named Oliver that they use as a teaching aid with campers. The funds raised are used to support Pleasant Valley, Canoe Meadows, and Lime Kiln Farm sanctuaries. Pictured above: Gail Yeo with Amy Steele, advisory board president, and Becky Cushing, newly appointed Berkshire Sanctuaries director.

Heather Pelle Rose and Kevin Sprague of Studio Two; Tammy and Brian Arseneau, Michelle Arseneau and husband Justin Allen.

Artist Peggy Rivers is flanked by her son, Elliot Shields and her husband, Van Shields; Waiting to place an order at the How We Roll food truck are Janice Lee and Bill Talbot, owner of Asia Barong.

Danielle Mullen was the guest of Kim Winger, who won tickets for the gala at the Berkshire Museum auction on June 21; Photographer (and silent auction donor) Ogden Gigli is flanked by Catherine Brumley and Rosemary Larkin.

Ernie Jordan of Grampie’s Dog House hot dog food cart; Education program volunteers Jake Raser, RBC financial advisor Brooks Sherman (former volunteer), Nicole Lipiec (an Albany attorney), Hannah Sherman and Betsy Baczek.

Rene Laubach, newly retired after almost 30 years as Berkshire Wildlife Sanctuaries director, with long-time advisory board member Dennis Arseneau; Jim Weber (in blue cap) leads the Berkshire Bateria by the bonfire.

Betsy Baczek holds Oliver, a 16-year-old snapping turtle; Alan Bauman, co-founder of CompuWorks, with wife Mary Garnish Bauman of Garnish Design.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/28/14 at 05:25 PM • Permalink

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An Evening In The Afternoon Garden At Naumkeag

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. There can never be too many garden parties – it’s the perfect opportunity to stockpile sights, smells and sunshine to help us make it through the long winter. Naumkeag’s garden party on July 26 definitely will be one to remember fondly while snowbound. The national historic landmark celebrated the restoration of landscape designer Fletcher Steele and former inhabitant Mabel Choate’s Afternoon Garden with bites from SoMa Catering that were as tasty as they were artful. Cocktails included a “Mabel’s Martini” by Berkshire Mountain Distillers, and the Allen Livermore Trio provided jazz as guests strolled the stunning gardens. A performance by Berkshire Pulse dancers, under the direction of Bettina Montano, helped dedicate the refurbished Afternoon Garden, one of Steele’s most famous designs. Shown above: Host committee member Elizabeth Hamilton with Lauren LeBlanc, board member Paul LeBlanc and Joanna Ballantine, regional director of the Trustees of Reservations.

Gail and Gilbert Ahye; Brian Renaud, Daniel Dempsey and Somchai Piraban.

Naomi and Ernest von Simson with Jane Ryan; Leah Letourneau and Michael Gove of Northampton, MA grab seats to take in the view.

Bob Barker, host committee member Marilyn Dee, Pat and Philip Kennedy-Grant and Madelyn English on the top lawn.

Raymond and Kelly Casella of Casella Design; Joe Lewis, Donna Hassler, director at Chesterwood, and Mark Wilson, the statewide curator & cultural resources manager for the Trustees.

Host committee member Margaret Pontasse with Gigi Wilmers and Jane Hart; Dennis Palmer and Sasha Piatczyc.

Mary Boone Wellington, Carolina Schulze (seated) and Elizabeth Goldfeder.

Sarah and Bronly Boyd; Engagement Manager Dyan Wiley with Stacey Carver and Allen Harris of Berkshire Money Management.

Margot Towl, host committee member, with Tony and Suzanne Balestro; Carrie Wilkens and Will Regan.

Berkshire Pulse dancers helped dedicate the garden with their performance.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/27/14 at 07:31 PM • Permalink

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A Summer Wind Breezes Through Fête des Fleurs

Lisa Green reports from Stockbridge. As if on cue, the breezes blew gently at the Berkshire Botanical Garden‘s Fete des Fleurs on Saturday, July 26, where kites on mobiles (some provided by students at IS183 Art School of the Berkshires) twirled beneath the tent. This year’s theme, Summer Wind, complemented the Garden’s current exhibit, “Windswept: The garden that celebrates the beauty of the wind.” The cocktail party was the perfect opportunity for Matt Larkin, chairman of the board, to introduce the new executive director, Michael Beck, and to thank honored guests Herb and Jeannene Coyne, who are among the longest supporters of the Garden. One item was auctioned: dinner for eight prepared by Chef Peter Platt of The Old Inn on the Green, which was awarded to the highest bidder at $2,700. Hats off to the organization, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary year. Above, Michael Beck and Matt Larkin.

Gloria McMahon and Ed McMahon, who is retired from the board; Wendy Linscott, a current board member, with Jean Rousseau, the winning bidder of the evening’s auction.

Props for their props: Pauline Archer Willis and Anthony Archer Willis came accessorized for the windswept occasion.

Brian Monteleone of Albany and Lorayne Seibert; Herbert Coyne, the honored guest, with Michael Conforti, director of The Clark Art Institute.

Lee Abraham and Katherine Abraham, art and antiques dealers Joy Flint and Charles Flint, and board member Jo Dare Mitchell; Lori Rose of Stone House Properties, newlyweds Jim Hatch and Kathi Hatch, and Connie Eagan.

The BBG’s Marketing and Communications Manager Brian Cruey, who is also RI’s garden contributor, with Matt King, Lainie Grant and Beau Buffier.

KK Zutter, the newest member of the BBG board, shows off the garden hat she created; Best friends Malinka Jackson and Nancy Kalodner, owner of Benchmark Real Estate.

John Spellman, Bob Mitchell and Genya Hopkins; Leo Nesbit and artist Cookie Coyne, with Danielle Pablo, a motion designer and animator, and Bill Mayott, a currency dealer, both from New York.

Mike Dolan and Maura Bergen of New York, with Daniel Vincent and Stephen Borboroglu of Sheffield.

Board member Jeannene Booher and Genya Hopkins; Musicians Joe Rose and Paul Green.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/27/14 at 09:42 AM • Permalink

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The FarmOn! Foundation Celebrates Its Fourth Amongst Friends

Rachel Louchen reports from Copake. The annual Friends of the Farmer Hootenanny! Fundraiser Dinner returned for the fourth year bigger and better than ever on Saturday, July 26. At the Copake Country Club (with views of Copake Lake below), the dinner was nirvana for a locavore, featuring a menu filled with fare from farms throughout Columbia County prepared by host Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten of abc kitchen. The event benefited the non-profit FarmOn! Foundation, which answers the important question, “who makes the food I eat?” by raising awareness of food sources and providing agricultural education to young people. After the dinner of roast pig and chicken, the lively auction had guests John Varvatos and Dr. Oz onstage engaging and encouraging the crowd to bid on some exciting items. And as if the multiple-course dinner, plus a cheese tasting course and cocktails weren’t enough, the evening concluded with a sundae bar, for which nearly everyone managed to save some room. Above, Chase Thomas and FarmOn! board member Stephen Mack.

Karp, Ackerman, Skabowski & Hogan coworkers Jodi Cole, Debbie Bryant, Carla Altomer and Alejandra Garcia; Suzanne and Michael Graves.

Shirley Ball and Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets (and farmer) Richard Ball; Alex Taylor and Kipp Edick.

Amazing Real Live Food Company’s Rory Chase and Patrick Porter provided the cheese, which Hillrock Estate Distillery’s Tim Welly perfectly complemented with bourbon; Berkshire Property Agent’s Tim Lovett with Monterey General Store proprietor Scott Edward Cole.

Nanci Weaver, Friends of the Farmer founder Tessa Edick and Ryan Armstrong of abc Kitchen.

Courtney Dearnley, Dairy Princess of Columbia County, with Dairy Ambassador Emily Oms; Scott Morris with event sponsors Elyse Harney Morris, Brigitte Harney and Mike Harney.

Rebecca Ross, Jessica Knez and Jason Ross came from NYC to support the cause; Realtor Jen Harvey of Berkshire Property Agents with Ethan Culleton.

Linola Dempah, Paulette Daniel, Julie Leblanc and Naomi Mulgrage enjoyed the food and the views.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/27/14 at 12:50 AM • Permalink

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Alchemy Initiative Leaves No Stein Empty At Arrowhead

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Alchemy Initiative sure knows how to pick a party spot, as evidenced by the choice of venues for its annual Empty Stein fundraiser. Last year, the Inn at Richmond hosted, and this year Herman Melville’s Arrowhead had the honors on Monday, July 21. Alchemy board members greeted guests and led them to tables laden with colorful steins, each with a beer ticket inside. The difficult part wasn’t drinking libations provided by Big Elm, Wandering Star and three homebrewers, or eating a fine spread of appetizers and On A Roll eggrolls, but in having to decide on only one mug out of the 100 on display. Local potters Daniel Bellow, Stephanie Boyd, Ray Bub, Lorimer Burns, Ben C. Evans and Michael McCarthy, as well as the artists mentioned below, created unique steins to commemorate the occasion. The evening also included a performance by Satellite Shine (with Wes Buckley on guitar and Jason Schultheis on drums). Proceeds from the fundraiser support Alchemy’s year-round workshops, Handmade Holiday Festival and management of the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market. Pictured above, standing: Stacy Strain and Patricia Boissevain; seated: Jennet Cook and her mother Janet Cook.

Sara Katzoff and Peter Wise, co-founders of The Berkshire Fringe; Rachel Parzick, Eamonn Barry and Chris Vecchia.

Stan and Jan Spencer with Jenny Benson and George Whaling; Megan Whilden and Berkshire Museum’s Lesley Beck.

Alchemy Initiative board members: North Adams city planner Mackenzie Greer, director Jess Conzo, potter Sandra Thomas and Alison Basdekis.

Musician Wes Buckley with Jim Toner; Nina Garlington, Alison Turk, Jennifer Starr and Peter Garlington, Design Director at Interprint.

Danielle Hammell and Jeff Mason with Lyn Mason and Ron Mason; Aurora Cooper and Jen Jaehnig of Big Elm Brewing.

Brett Larmon and Wandering Star owner Chris Post; Chris and farm manager Kristen Laney with daughter Nora in front of the new chicken coop at Arrowhead’s CSA farm.

Just a few of the steins guests were able to choose from. Pictured are steins by Amrita Lash (far left), Jackie Sedlock, Michael Boroniec, whose work will be on display at Lauren Clark Fine Art starting July 26, and Sandra Thomas.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/22/14 at 09:31 AM • Permalink

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Berkshire Film & Media Collaborative Holds A Posh Picnic

Rachel Louchen reports from Lenox. It is a truth universally acknowledged; Berkshire residents love brunch and Tanglewood, and Sunday the Berkshire Film & Media Collaborative (BFMC) combined both, to raise money for its educational initiatives. The BFMC recognizes the abundance of creative residents living in our region and creates work, education and production opportunities in the film industry, in the hopes that a younger generation will establish long-term roots in Western Massachusetts. The brunch was hosted by actors and Great Barrington residents Jayne Atkinson and Michael Gill. Guests enjoyed their meals as the Lawn at Tanglewood became flooded with attendees for that afternoon’s performance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra featuring Joshua Bell. And as if a delicious meal at a beautiful location wasn’t enough, brunch attendees got Shed seating for the BSO performance —  a most perfect dessert. Above, Advisory Board member and Williamstown Theatre Festival Trustee Joe Finnegan, Executive Director Diane Pearlman and Advisory Board member and Images Cinema Executive Director Sandra Thomas.

Board member Karen Zink with her husband, Rich Zink and daughter, Lauren Zink, and BIFF board advisor Barbara Newman.

Val Whalening and John Toole; Graphic designers Curtis Bohner and Kari Giordano.

BFMC supporters Lani and Tom Tyrell; Kate Baldwin provided the picnic-perfect spread, with help from sister Amy Butterworth.

Brunch hosts Michael Gill and Jayne Atkinson pose on the picturesque Tanglewood lawn.

CATA Program and Artistic Director Dawn Lane with Nancy Kalodner, realtor extraordinaire; Peggy Daniel and Dr. Matt Mandel, co-medical director for VIM Berkshires.

Volunteer Nanci McConnell and chair of event committee Holly Hunter; Volunteers Nicole Cote and Benjamin Hunter made brunch staples like Bloody Marys and mimosas.

BMFC board president William Beautyman with film buffs Jack and Lorraine Rubin.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/21/14 at 09:43 AM • Permalink

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A Farm-To-Table Dinner Seeds The Sylvia Center

Lisa Green reports from Kinderhook. It’s pure brilliance for The Sylvia Center to hold its annual farm-to-table benefit dinner right at Katchkie Farm. On Saturday, July 19, approximately 330 supporters got a taste of the center’s mission: to inspire children to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm. The party was hosted by Liz Neumark’s Great Performances catering company, which owns Katchkie Farm and The Sylvia Center. Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres prepared at the Tartinery Station and strolled about the fields planted with fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. At long tables under a tent, they feasted on items made from Hudson Valley products. A live auction offered jam and pickle sessions for six with master chefs, and the silent auction featured Dutch-inspired wheelbarrow benches, each festooned with its own decorative details. Funds will help bring students to Katchkie Farm to participate in The Sylvia Center’s programs both in Columbia County and New York City. Many of the kids have never seen food growing, and at their day at the farm, they can hold a chicken, take a tasting tour, harvest produce and work with the chefs — activities many of the adults at the tables agreed they’d love to do, too. Shown above, Anna Hammond, executive director of The Sylvia Center, Actor Bill Irwin, Linda Abbey of Great Performances, and Bob Mihalik and Les Newman of Botanica Floral and Event Design.

Tanu Kumar, Lindsay Clinton, Wall Street Journal columnist Ralph Gardner, Jacob Israelow, founder of Dirt Capital Partners, and Michael Glynn, a real estate developer from Brooklyn; Nell Wachsberger and Mike Coleman.

Liz Neumark, the founding force of the farm and center, which began with Great Performances, the evening’s catering company, and her husband, Chaim Wachsberger.

Alaina Sparks of Westchester County, who volunteers with Katchkie Farm, and Lisa Laudico and Anthony Laudico of Westport; WABC-TV News Reporter Dave Evans and Wade Laing.

Tom Whitridge of Ink, Inc., Timothy Van Dam, Tim Husband, Ron Wagner and Nathan Kernan.

“Farmer Bob” Walker, who has transformed the Katchkie land into a year-round organic farm, and Kristy King; Susan Ball and John Brigham.

Alan Fishman, chair of BAM‘s Board of Trustees, Gary Stefanick, a chiropractor, Rob Arango, director of client development at The Plaza, and Judith R. Fishman, who is on the board of the Mark Morris Dance Group.

Martha Roth, a midwife from Nyack, and her son, Santos Irwin; Perfect Ten students and Hudson residents Damaris Shakespeare, Markiah Gordon and Destiny Collins, with Laura Miller, director of The Perfect Ten After School, Inc.

Cookbook author and culinary educator Alexandra Leaf, who runs choclate tours in NYC, and Debbie Gardner, a board member of The Sylvia Center and dinner co-chair.

Claude Levy-Carrick watches his sister Hannah Levy-Carrick power up the blender by pedaling the bicycle as Nina Simmons, chef instructor at The Sylvia Center, encourages her to go for speed; Claude and Hannah enjoy the smoothie fruits of their labor.

Erminia Rivera and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez of New York’s 7th Congressional District sit on one of the wheelbarrow benches up for auction; Ami, Howard and Lindsay Kaplan.

The sylvan setting under the tent.

Related story: Eat, Plant and Learn to Love Good Food at Katchie Farm

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/20/14 at 03:21 PM • Permalink

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Northwest CT Arts Council Cultivates Art In The Garden

Rachel Louchen reports from Harwinton. The Northwest Connecticut Arts Council is a non-profit dedicated to promoting arts and culture in the 25-town region, so it was fitting that its annual party featured artists painting on site and numerous musical performances on grounds that are themselves a work of art. On Saturday, July 12, the Council hosted the third annual Garden Party at Victoria Elliot and Dr. Marvin McMillen’s home garden with its carefully cultivated flora and fauna as well as fountains, sculptures and intricate shrubbery. Surrounded by all this creative inspiration, local plein air painters used the beauty of the gardens to create their own interpretation of the environment, much to the enjoyment of guests watching the artists at work. There were also multiple musical performances located throughout the garden, hors d’oeuvres served and a tented area where guests were encouraged to purchase artwork. The popular event proved successful again this year, with the strong turnout of supporters and artistic members of the community proving how important the arts in our region are. Above, Executive Director Amy Wynn with Event Coordinator Jessica Morozowich.

The fountain was just one of the eye-catching displays on the lush property.

State Representative Roberta Willis and Bill Willis; Torrington High School art teacher Victor Leger interprets the scenery.

Renowned dulcimer player Thomasina Levy performed; Sabrina Beck and John Beck of Harwinton.

Nancy Winter, volunteer Rob Fuoco and Ann Mazeau were thrilled to support the Council; The Council’s Manager of Membership and Outreach, Debbie Freund, with volunteer Mary Ann Pangilinan.

Barbara Rodenback and hostess Victoria Elliot showed off their classic garden party style.

Torrington Savings Bank co-workers came out to support the cause: Wendy Healey, Vicki Mercier and Doreen Hoffman; Collette Hurst was the lone artist working with pastels while sketching the garden.

Gary Goodwin with realtor Gael Hammer of Klemm Real Estate; Litchfield Jazz Festival Founder/Executive Director Vita Muir and Joyful Noise member Anne Voglewede.

Artist Jim Laurino; Arts Council Board Chair Vanessa Giannasi and Tom Giannasi.

Guests were treated to an a capella performance by Joyful Noise choir.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/14/14 at 01:06 PM • Permalink

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Stonover Farm IS183 Benefit Art Show

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. No one needs an excuse to visit the picturesque grounds of Stonover Farm, to sit by the pond and watch the ducks, or to visit with Tom and Suky Werman. But on Thursday, July 10, there was a fantastic excuse to stop by the Lenox B&B for a glass of wine, as IS183 Art School of the Berkshires opened its summer benefit show—Landscapes, Farmscapes, Cityscapes, Mindscapes—in Stonover’s Barn Gallery. Curated by Suky Werman herself, the exhibit features new work by Maggie Mailer, Katherine Bowling, Mike Glier and Cynthia Wick, as well as works on paper by Lisa Breslow, photography by Fran Forman, Karen Halverson, Rob MacInnis and Paul Mutimear, and collages by Mike Metzger and Nancy Rubens. The exhibition will run through September 1, and can be viewed by appointment. A portion of the proceeds from sales will benefit IS183. Above: Hope Sullivan, executive director of IS183, and daughter Elke enjoy the summer evening.

Stonover’s Suky Werman, gallerist Leslie Ferrin and Amy Butterworth of IS183; Danielle Steinmann and artist Maggie Mailer, whose paintings appear in the show.

Jesse Metzger and her father, Mike Metzger, an artist in the show; Blue Q’s Seth Nash, Cynthia Wick, one of the artists in the exhibition, and “Sandy” Sanderson, the opening’s token Canadian.

Marcia Stamell, Arthur Yanoff, Elfi Six and Carol Mailer; Karen Halverson, whose work hangs in the current show, and Ellen Metzger.

Beth Rose and Will Schillinger; Painter Lucy MacGillis and Piero Lanzanó.

Realtor Tim Lovett, photographer Scott Barrow and Scott Edward Cole, owner of the Monterey General Store; Vicki Bonnington and Lauren Joy, an IS183 board member.

Cookiehead creator Lisa Newman with Cathy Deely; Leslie Ferrin and Martina Caruso of new North Adams gallery space Independent Art Projects.

Danielle Steinmann and photographer Gregory Cherin; Architect Kristine Sprague with Nancy Kalodner.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/13/14 at 09:03 PM • Permalink

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Tanglewood Gala Celebrates Andris Nelsons’ Arrival

Lisa Green reports from Lenox. The silvered roses that graced the tables at the Tanglewood Gala on Saturday, July 12 represented the commitment between new BSO music director Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. (The rose is a token of betrothal in the opera Der Rosenkavalier, a portion of which was performed that evening.) Although he was scheduled to start his directorship last year, an injury in Europe forced Nelsons to delay his arrival until this season, which only added to the anticipation of his long-awaited presence. On a sublime summer evening, orchestra supporters gathered under tents decorated in a rose-inspired theme, and enjoyed a dinner featuring Julia Child’s “most exciting meal of her life,” Sole Meuniere, in recognition of what would have been the famous chef’s 100th birthday. After the concert (standing ovation, of course, followed by fireworks), guests returned to the dessert tent beside the newly reopened Highwood Manor House, where the conductor was formally introduced and spoke of his appreciation for Tanglewood and its supporters. Above, Gala Chairs Jane Mayer and Dr. Robert B. Mayer, in an annual tradition, gathered their family for the gala: Rachel Judlowe, Mike Judlowe, Doug Drachman and Erica Mayer.

Joe Hearne, BSO double bassist and Jane Brett, a Life Trustee Elect; Dieuwke Fiedler and Peter Fiedler, who is on BSO’s Board of Overseers, and Deborah Stiles.

Nancy Edman Feldman and Jacqueline Togut, both of whom were on the Gala Committee, with author and activist Letty Cottin Pogrebin.

Filmmaker Mary Murphy, Ray Murphy and Pam Murphy; Diane Brown and Richard Brown.

David Glodt, Shirley Marks, Marita Glodt, who is president of the board of directors for Barrington Stage Company, Sydell Blatt and Lee Blatt of the eponymous performing arts center in Pittsfield.

Stephen Hayes, Rick Dildine, Shakespeare & Co.‘s incoming executive editor, and Sarah Hancock, Shakespeare & Co.‘s board chair; David McCadden and Gero Schliess.

Jill Hornor, a member of the BSO’s Board of Overseers, with Yo-Yo Ma.

Folk and blues musician John Sagner (a.k.a. Cooker John), Judy Beardsall, Bea Bloch and Alan Sagner; Donald Peck, Laurie Peck, Peter Andersen and Sue Andersen.

Gala Chair Dr. Robert J. Mayer presents Maestro Andris Nelsons with a silver rose, symbol borrowed from the evening’s selection of Der Rosenkavalier signifying the conductor’s “betrothal” to the BSO family; Board of Overseers member Alexandra Fuchs and Gideon Argov.

Maestro Andris Nelsons. Photo by Marco Borggreve.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/13/14 at 11:51 AM • Permalink

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Barrington Stage Company Celebrates 20 Remarkable Seasons

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. It was like old home week at Barrington Stage’s 20 Seasons Celebration on Monday, July 7, as actors, musical theater writers and others from the theater’s past returned to take part in the performed retrospective. Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Board Chair Mary Ann Quinson recounted the theater’s history from its start at Mt. Everett High School in Sheffield. Actors from past shows delivered a musical review from many of Barrington Stage’s outstandingly successful productions, including The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which went on to garner two Tony Awards on Broadway, and last season’s stellar On the Town, which is headed for the Great White Way. While the performers were competing with the noisy cloudburst that seemed to hover over the building, BSC staff accomplished the Herculean feat of moving the party setup from tents across the street into the adjacent Elks Club. (If the company — felled by an epic storm during its first season — could run a box office from a pay phone, what’s a little rain during a party?) At the reception, guests mingled with actors, actors caught up with each other and all danced to tunes provided by The Wanda Houston Band. [Photo, above: Actor Mark H. Dold, Tony Award-winning director John Rando, Kiss Me, Kate’s Elizabeth Stanley and Julianne Boyd.]

Former Pittsfield mayor Jimmy Ruberto and Christine Condaris chat with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick; A family parties together: Dawn Kerrigan, Samantha Kerrigan and their aunt, Barbara Alibozek.

Board Chair Mary Ann Quinson, Actors Debra Jo Rupp and Mark H. Dold, and Lighting Designer Scott Pinkney.

Sharon Siegel and Bobbi Cohn toast BSC; Artist Joe Goodwin and Mary Spina.

John Blaylock, June Guertin, Bill Finn, composer/lyricist and artistic producer of BSC’s Musical Theatre Lab, Rachel Sheinkin, who won a Tony Award (best book) for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Arthur Salvadore.

Lauren Marcus and Joe Iconis, musical theater writer and performer who appeared over the weekend at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret; The ladies of the 2005 Follies production: Donna McKechnie and Kim Crosby.

BSC’s Music Director Darren R. Cohen and David Topchik, who co-wrote the book and lyrics for the 2003 production The Game.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/08/14 at 10:03 AM • Permalink

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PS21 Presents A Stylish Fashion InTENTsive

Rachel Louchen reports from Chatham. High up on a mountain underneath a giant tent, PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century presented the first-ever Fashion InTENTsive, a fundraising event on Saturday, July 5 to support its summer programs. The evening showcased clothing from PS 21’s own Rewraps, located on Main Street, which resells used clothing to benefit the organization. With the help of longtime volunteers and friends of the not-for-profit, numerous locals appeared as models and performers. Now in its ninth year, PS21 has a full season of diverse events planned for the summer, including the popular Movie Tuesdays underneath the stars, and live music and dance classes, which have been drawing a diverse turnout. Alan Chartock, Director of WAMC radio, who is a longtime friend of founder Judy Grunberg (seen above with Johnna Murray, Rewraps Manager and event advisor) served as auctioneer. Valatie resident Amy Freinberg-Trufas was the fashion segments director and taught the local novice volunteers how to do their little turn on the catwalk.

Volunteers Wendy Power and massage therapist Brin Quell manned the entrance; site manager Sam Reilly with concessions manager Anna Acciani.

Judy Grunberg with music segments director Uel Wade; auctioneer Alan Chartock and singer Sally-Jane Heit.

Chatham residents and PS21 charter members Arthur Fredericks and Jane Fredericks; volunteers Kate Gulliver of Austerlitz with Kathy Marin of Chatham.

Strutting on the catwalk. Photo credit: Barbara Reina

Bill Camp provided set and light design while singer Zachary Pearson performed; Sally-Jane Heit who performed, with Johanna Murray.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/07/14 at 03:26 PM • Permalink

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Kris Galli Shares Her Dreams And Digressions At Spencertown Academy

Regina Burgio reports from Spencertown. Against the backdrop of a perfect summer evening, Kris Galli opened her solo show of new works, Dreams & Digressions, on Saturday, June 28 at the Spencertown Academy. A self-taught artist, Galli has been painting for more than 25 years and has built a following of ardent admirers throughout the region, many of whom came out to see the exhibit of recent figurative and abstract work. The show’s signature piece, “Everyone You Have Ever Known,” was highlighted on the cover of the July issue of Berkshire Homestyle Magazine, and features a young woman covering her eyes, hair blowing across her face, while various hats float behind her. The artist lives with her husband, photographer Edward Acker, in Lenox. Her work is shown regularly at various locations throughout the Northeast as well as restaurants in Lenox, including Alta Restaurant & Wine Bar and Church Street Cafe. Dreams & Digressions will be on display until August 10. Above, Galli discusses her signature painting with one of the guests.

Guests included New Marlborough residents Patti Banner, a social worker, and Sam Barkin, an importer; Susan Burns, a hairstylist from Lee, and Steve Malin, a tile setter from Sheffield, stand in front of a painting of their niece.

Karl Gabosh, a private art dealer, with Ria Olsen, a technical translator; Photographer Susan Geller and Galli.

Mary Newton and Frank Newton, owners of the Summer White House Inn in downtown Lenox; Denise Ulick and Michael Ulick, former owners of Church Street Art Gallery, also in Lenox.

Ann Vartanian, volunteer coordinator at the Spencertown Academy, with the artist; Tom Werman and Suky Werman, owners of Stonover Farm Bed and Breakfast, with jewelry designer Margo Morrison and Ella, an Italian Greyhound.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/30/14 at 03:43 PM • Permalink

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Shakespeare & Company Hosts A Midsummer Night’s Gala For The Bard’s Birthday

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Though he couldn’t make the show, the Bard was there in spirit on June 28th as Shakespeare & Company celebrated his 450th birthday with a gala and opening night performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Guests mingled inside and under tents outside the Tina Packer Playhouse as they enjoyed cocktails and a buffet dinner catered by Firefly. Before the show, the play’s director, Tony Simotes, and Board Chair Sarah Hancock presented Governor Deval Patrick with a framed photo collage of his past visit to the Company and thanked him for his support. Following the performance – a humorous and high-energy production set in Jazz Age New Orleans – guests enjoyed birthday cake for the Bard and dancing under the tent. The evening’s proceeds help fund the Company’s education and training programs. Shown above: Christopher Sink, Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer and Jon MacClaren.

Gala co-chairs Phoebe Giddon and Deborah Ryan; Lucy Simotes, Artistic Director Tony Simotes and the Company’s new Executive Director, Rick Dildine.

Phil Heller, a pro bono lawyer for Shakespeare & Co., Anita Heller and attorney Lori Robbins; Actors Ariel Bock and Tori Hines, cast members of this summer’s Henry IV, Parts I & II.

Caroline Calkins and Kaileela Hobby, stars of Romeo & Juliet playing at the Mount this month; Gordon Hyatt, Sarah Hancock, Rick Dildine, Director of Marketing and Playbill Advertising Elizabeth Aspenlieder and board member Helga S. Orthofer.

Tony Simotes, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Sarah Hancock and Rick Dildine.

George Klemp, Lynne Sebastian and Tom Hoadley; Board member Susan Grausman, Richard Grausman and their daughter, actor Deborah Grausman.

Esther and Robert Rosenthal with Shelley and Steve Rubin; Reed Ryan and Mea Lewis of Black Thumb Farms.

Elizabeth Aspenlieder and Molly Clancy, the Company’s playbill and publicity director; Reba Evanchik, trustee Sol Schwartz and Harriet Vine.

Actor Stephanie Hedges, Barby Cardillo, Josephine Wilson and Alexandra Lincoln; Ann Rothenberg, board member Carole Hyatt and the Company’s Director of Training Dennis Krausnick.

Sophie gets a helping hand from Jennie Jadow; Audrey Pugh, a stitcher in the Company’s costume shop, Lori Evans, the Company’s school program manager, and costume designer for Midsummer, Deborah Brothers.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/30/14 at 09:59 AM • Permalink

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Red Hook Education Foundation Throws A “First Choice” Party

Amy Krzanik reports from Annandale-on-Hudson. In only its fourth year, the Red Hook Education Foundation has amassed the support of local parents, teachers, government officials, community members and other volunteers to become a powerhouse fundraising body, augmenting area school budgets by over $170,000. This year’s well-attended benefit dinner and dance party, on June 22 at Bard College’s Spiegeltent, shows the group is poised for even more success in the future. Guests enjoyed sangria in the sun outside the stunning Spiegeltent, and a cheese tasting inside, followed by dinner and dancing to the sounds of JTD Productions. A few Red Hook teachers were honored for their dedicated service as they retire this year, and a surprise award was bestowed on Frank Knobloch for his important role in the founding and continued success of the Foundation. One-hundred percent of the evening’s ticket price goes toward funding programs for district students, which helps make Red Hook schools a “district of choice” in the area. Above: Kate Laing, Ruth Oxenberg and RHEF’s Board President, Bonnie Goad enjoy the sunshine outside the Spiegeltent.

The surprise honoree, Frank Knobloch; Red Hook parents Melissa and Brian McNeese with school superintendent Paul Finch and Trisha Finch.

Proud Red Hook parents Patricia Cadley, Mike Bloxham and Colleen Bloxham; Michelle Donner and Senator Terry Gipson.

Vincent Rossetti, legislative assistant and Red Hook schools alum, and Senator Kevin Cahill; Chris Gorczynski and Carol Gorczynski with Brian and Nicole Boyd.

Ana San Juan, Tivoli Mercantile‘s Jill TerMolen-Cornillon, Arno Cornillon, and Matt Kurlander; Ben Hoen and Shawn Fischer.

Caitlin Millard, owner of Zephyr in Rhinebeck, with Break Point Tennis owner Shawn Holzmann; Ivan Carlson and Debra Blalock.

Raina Kattelson and Bard’s Gillian Brundrett; Zia Morter and Erica Topple of The Fisher Center at Bard, with Marla Walker, board member Erin Cannan, and Christine Kurlander.

Kathy Rafferty, Lorna Brundrett, and Greg Rafferty, one of the night’s honored Red Hook school retirees; Elizabeth Avello, Erina O’Neill, and Templeton Kay serve up delectable cheeses from Farmer’s Door and fresh-picked Greig Farm strawberries.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/23/14 at 10:16 AM • Permalink

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A Utopian Evening At Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon

Lisa Green reports from New Lebanon. “It’s a flowering season for all things Shaker,” declared David Stocks, president of the Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon at the opening of Francis Cape’s Utopian Benches exhibition on Saturday, June 21. Due to a death in his family, the artist was unable to be present, but Jeff Bailey, trustee and gallerist, spoke about the exhibition as guests sat on the 20 poplar benches, meticulous copies of Shaker benches and symbols of sharing and community in both an historic and contemporary context. Guests learned that the museum has recently closed on the purchase of 61 adjacent acres of historic Shaker property, and that an “Adopt A Lintel” fundraising campaign is in place to reconstruct and repair the Great Stone Barn — the largest stone barn in America — which was ravaged in a fire in 1972. After aperitifs outdoors on what may have been the most glorious summer solstice ever, guests dispersed to dinners in the homes of museum trustees. Shown left: Jeff Daly, board chairman and museum design consultant, David Stocks, museum president, and Mark Schaming, director of the New York State Museum.

Guests get the communal experience as Jeff Bailey talks about Utopian Benches; Toby Bilanow, a science editor at The New York Times, and Tim McHenry, programming director at the Rubin Museum of Art.

Board member Lauree Hickok and Corinna Ripps Schaming, curator at the University at Albany Art Museum.

Stephanie Aeder and Paul Cassidy, a trustee, walk back from a closer look at the Great Stone Barn; Robert Kent and Greg Hickok enjoy the perfect solstice evening.

Nick Van Alstine, Vernon Evenson and Steve McCarthy stroll the pristine grounds; Rae Gilson, Pamela Paul and Doug Paul, a trustee.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/22/14 at 10:38 AM • Permalink

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Butterflies Take Flight At Berkshire Museum’s Summer Gala

Rachel Louchen reports from Pittsfield. On the first day of summer, the Berkshire Museum unveiled its latest (quite seasonally appropriate) exhibit, Butterflies and had a massive party to celebrate the bright-winged beauties, as well as the solstice. On Saturday, June 21, the museum was filled with jazz music and delicious hors d’oeuvres as guests viewed the new exhibit, which features the unique creatures in every shape, size and color. The highlight is the live Butterfly Pavilion, which allows visitors to view first-hand the butterflies in their habitats. Later in the evening, after the lively auction, DJ BFG was on hand to spin dance music late into the night. Above, Sasha Klimchuk and Brittany Benahm, who assisted with development and Kendra Knisley, curatorial assistant, greeted guests to the party.

Trustees as well as gala committee members Stacey and Jeffery Weber with Maria Mingalone, curator of the exhibition.

Lynn Mazzeo and Mike Mazzeo; Bob Maxwell, Julianne Maxwell and Museum trustee Jeff Noble.

Butterfly pavilion hostess Adrianna Fox and Austin Johnson; Former Museum board president Betsy Selkowitz and consultant Rena Zurofsky.

The Museum’s Executive Director Van Shields with Leo Quiles and gallerist Sienna Patti.

Barrington Stage’s Board Chairperson Mary Ann Quinson with its Board President Marita O’Dea Glodt; Gala committee members Stephen Bayne and Bernadette Patyski.

Trustee Wendy Gordon and Tony Chojnowski, proprietor of Casablanca in Lenox; Dr. Lydia Resner, Alan Needleman and Martin Shimmel.

Dan Summers with Gina Puc, Director of Admission at MCLA; Committee members Renee Erenburg and Marcia Feuer

Lawyer Mark Gold, President of Berkshire Community College Ellen Kennedy, lawyer Virginia Stanton Smith and Berkshire Theatre Group Managing Director Craig Smith.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 06/21/14 at 09:03 PM • Permalink

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Party In The Hamlet For Wassaic Project

Rachel Louchen reports from Wassaic. A trip to the bucolic hamlet of Wassaic is always worth it when the Wassaic Project is having a party. On Saturday, June 14, the Project celebrated the start of its upcoming summer-long programming, which features exhibits by resident artists, along with programs and events held the last Saturday of each month. Guests were treated to food from local businesses, uniquely crafted cocktails and a lively DJ set. The event also served as the unveiling of Seeing the Sky, the Wassaic Project’s seventh annual summer exhibition. Housed in the old Maxon Mills Grain Elevator, the exhibit covers seven floors with paintings, sculpture, videos, photographs and pretty much every other form of art possible. The very top of the exhibit housed Based on a True Story (a story of storm-chasing), which was projected onto the walls, where glimpses of the mountains and valleys could also be seen through the windows. The effect perfectly summed up what makes the Wassaic Project so special: incredible, one-of-a-kind art from respected artists set amongst the beautiful backdrop of Dutchess County. Seeing The Sky is on display until September 1. Above, educational intern Leann Bescript with Bowie Zunino, founder and co-executive director of the Wassaic Project.

Robert Wiegmann with festival and exhibit director Shannon Finnegan; Residency director Charlotte Caldwell with artists Tyler Caruso and Laura Stinger.

Exhibition artists Mark Andres and Amy Masters; Raul Hott with Robin Juam.

Visual artist and board member Carl D’Alvia with Co-Executive Director Eve Biddle; Chairman of Wassaic Project’s board, Janet Offensend, with MASS MoCA’s director Joe Thompson, who spoke at the event.

Tara Kelly came out to support artist Mandy Lamb, (who had her photographs on display) along with their good friends Erin Perkins and Sarah Rose Lamport.

Natalie Fasano with artist Zebadiah Keneally; The Amazing Real Live Food Company’s Justin Friendman and founder Rory Chase.

Back In The Kitchen’s Cassie Carello supplied awesome cupcakes for the event, here with artist Tara Pelletier; exhibition artist Marcie Revens with her boyfriend, Dennis Delgado.

Xavier Jaglin, former Wassaic Project resident artist Guillaume Legare, and artists Joshua Frankel and Jonathan Campo.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 06/16/14 at 11:29 AM • Permalink

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Close Encounters With Father’s Day Dvořák

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. It was a memorable afternoon for many reasons on Sunday, June 15, as Close Encounters with Music (CEWM) held a very special all-Dvořák concert at Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall. The Father’s Day event was dedicated to the memory of Jack Fontaine, a great supporter of the arts, including Close Encounters of which he was a dear friend. Mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor made her Berkshire debut singing Dvořák’s Biblical Songs, Gypsy Songs and “Song to the Moon” from Rusalka. Dvořák wrote Biblical Songs following the deaths of two of his close friends and the added news of his father’s terminal illness. The composer sought comfort in his faith and out of that came some of his most spiritual music. Gateways Inn held a post-concert dinner for CEWM supporters and the afternoon’s musicians, including O’Connor, pianist Roman Rabinovich, violinist David McCarroll, violist Xiao-Dong Wang and CEWM founder and artistic director, cellist Yehuda Hanani, shown above with Marcie Setlow, Close Encounters’ board president.

Helene Berger with the afternoon’s featured performer, mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, and Christian Campos; Jack Fontaine’s daughters, Amy Fontaine and Lizanne Fontaine, with Mete Kok and Robert Buckholz.

Betsy and Jonas Dovydenas with Leslie Gold; Monica Sinclair and Brian Hailes, music lovers from Lenox.

Mark Cannon and Marcia Levy; Pianist Roman Rabinovich, Blaise Dejardin and violinist David McCarroll.

Johanna Janssen, Yehuda Hanani and Betty Fontaine, wife of the late Jack Fontaine.

CEWM’s Director of Marketing and PR Pamela Dreyfus Smith with marketing assistant Lauren Sottile; Benjamin Hanani and Aaron Charney.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/15/14 at 08:01 PM • Permalink

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Jacob’s Pillow Opening Night Delights

Amy Krzanik reports from Becket. The big night had finally arrived, and the sold-out Jacob’s Pillow crowd couldn’t have been more pleased. Well, it could have been a few degrees warmer, but the Festival’s leafy grounds are beautiful in any weather. The June 14 gala welcomed dance fans to the 2014 season with a performance by Pillow School dancers, choreographed by Jessica Lang in only four days. The Hong Kong Ballet followed, with a performance of The Frog Prince - A Ballet Chinois (complete with human frog). This year’s Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award went to John Heginbotham, who performed a one-minute piece he choreographed especially for the occasion. A short live auction led by Board chairman Mark Leavitt raised funds for dance school scholarships and the many free performances and talks the Pillow puts on throughout the season. The soon-to-be-retiring Trey McIntyre Project gave an athletic performance of Bad Winter that included a heart-wrenching duet which left the silent crowd in awe. Dance legend Carmen de Lavallade closed the show with an excerpt from The Creation, set against lush foliage seen through the open doors of the Ted Shawn Theatre. Guests made their way toward the tent, which was the scene of much mingling of old friends and new, as well as a gourmet meal from The Old Inn on The Green, and celebratory dancing to DJ BFG to end the night. Shown above: Board President Chris Jones, board member Hunter Runnette and Mimi Bradley, director of development.

Charles Mirotznik, Esq. and dancer Carmen De Lavallade; Ray Despres, the Pillow’s General Manager Connie Chin, Steve Glick and Diana Felber.

Marge Champion, who’s celebrating her 95th birthday this year, with Jim Bouton and Nancy Kalodner; Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Eric Kerns and Molly Kerns.

Tony Chojnowski and Joe Goodwin with Margaret Lively Frazzini and Al Frazzini; Jeanie Heginbotham, proud mom, and her son, 2014 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award winner John Heginbotham.

Gala co-chairs Jim and Joan Hunter with Tracy and Joe Finnegan.

Clifton Brown, choreographer Jessica Lang and board member Carole Burack; Dennis Lee and Peggy Tong, CEO of the San Diego Chinese Tribune.

The always impeccably dressed Liz Richards and RI’s green thumb, Brian Cruey; Gallerist Sienna Patti, Vicki Bonnington and David Schecker.

Alan Chartock and Roselle Chartock with Claudio Pincus and Penny Pincus; Mark Vanden Bosch and Alison Hart, the Pillow’s senior manager of individual gifts.

Matt Mandel, Catherine Mandel, Weston Hicks, Ann Hicks and Arnold Cohen.

Allison Salke, Michael Salke and Joan Salke; Paul Cheung, Andrea Winter, Daniel Mintz and Clement C.M. Leung.

Carole and Gordon Hyatt with Charles Mirotznik, Esq. and board member Ranny Cooper; Hilary Somers Deely and Philip Deely.

Mike Kaplan, whose poster collection is on display in Blake’s Barn, and Norton Owen, the Pillow’s director of preservation; Charmaine Jefferson, executive V.P. of the California African American Museum, Bobbi Paley and Garrett Johnson.

Matt and Missy Scarafoni, Sienna Patti, Joe Kotelnicki, and animator Leo Quiles; Donald Barron and fibre artist Barbara Barron.

The scene inside the tent.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/15/14 at 11:02 AM • Permalink

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Artists Abound At OMI Cocktail Party And Preview

Lisa Green reports from Ghent. “Is this not a gorgeous room?” Omi International Arts Center Director Ruth Adams asked the sizable crowd standing amid the larger-than-life geometric wall paintings by artist Stephen Westfall. Applauding in agreement, the locals and weekenders who came to the Center for the Fields Sculpture Park & Architecture OMI season opening cocktail party and preview on Friday, June 13 admired the artist’s work and raved about the “local bites” prepared by Chefs Rita Soares-Kern and Robin McKay. It was an evening when creatives of all kinds came out of their studios, galleries and workshops to reconnect (“the person standing next to you is probably an artist,” Westfall said in a brief talk), and for the center to introduce this year’s group of resident artists. [Above, Stephen Westfall and Ruth Adams.]

Alan Pruzniak and Erika Hickle, who live in Brooklyn, worked with Westfall on painting the walls; Wolfgang Stockmeier, Sheridan Booker, the center’s development director, and Kathy Cooke, an OMI member.

Lisa Sanditz and Kim Beck, creator of NOTICE: A Field of Signs sculptures in the Clover Meadow; Dan Franck and Mary Anne Davis, a ceramic artist.

Elena Sisto, a painter from Milan, and Bill Maynes, director of the Fields Sculpture Park.

New Jersey-ites Steve and Diane Eizman, who have a home in North Chatham; Mike and Kathy Zdeb, members from Albany.

Painter Isabel Bigelow and Robert Ayers, arts writer who recently moved to the region; Dyte and Bruce Garrison, collectors of Stephen Westfall’s work, flank Mary Benyo from Lennon, Weinber, Inc. in Chelsea, the gallery that represents Westfall.

Dalia Eilat, Merrill Greene and Veronica Fuentes gather under the tent.

Amy Barr, Michael Schrom, a filmmaker, and Hugh Biber, a product designer; Anna d’Onofrio, an interior designer turned painter, and Ken Kraus, an architect and artist.

Nancy Kohler, a multimedia artist and Dominique DeVito, co-owner of the Hudson-Chatham Winery; Linda Cross and John Cross, a trustee, with the exhibiting artist, Stephen Westfall.

Weekenders Greg Deligdisch and Tom Cohn celebrate OMI’s season opener.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/14/14 at 06:19 PM • Permalink

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Norman Rockwell Museum Toasts To Two Masters

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. From the vintage “Model A” Ford parked on the grass outside its main entrance, to the live jazz on the back terrace, the Norman Rockwell Museum transformed itself into early 1900s New York City for its 45th anniversary bash. The June 7th party doubled as opening night for the museum’s latest exhibit, The Unknown Hopper, a comprehensive study of the little-known 20-year illustration career of renowned painter Edward Hopper. Guests, in their finest Turn-of-the-Century attire, previewed the new exhibit with its curator, Stephanie Plunkett, and leading Hopper historian Gail Levin. A gourmet dinner buffet from Red Apple Butchers was served on the terrace as the sun went down, and the evening wrapped up with an auction of Rockwell memorabilia, including a Rockwell-themed tour of Stockbridge in the aforementioned immaculate 1930 “Woodie” station wagon. Pictured above: Sarah Clowe and Jeremy Clowe, the museum’s manager of media services.

Nancy Kalodner, NRM’s Director Laurie Norton Moffatt, Susan Laidlaw and NRM National Council member Lucy Holland; Jackie and Haley Palmore flank the show’s curator, NRM’s Deputy Director and Chief Curator Stephanie Plunkett.

NRM trustee Stephen Boyd and wife Ellen Boyd; Suzanne Klausmeyer and former NRM trustee David Klausmeyer with Rick Donovan and MCLA professor Lisa Donovan.

The Stockbridge Library showed its support in force with guests Barbara Allen, Lynn Edelstein, Michael Pulitzer, Jr., Stewart Edelstein and the library’s director, Katie O’Neil; Christine Condaris and former Pittsfield mayor Jimmy Ruberto.

Jill Gellert, the museum’s new C.O.O., and Bill Gellert with Marlene Eichholz and her mother, Helene Eichholz.

Professors of design at Washington University in St. Louis, Jeff Pike and Douglas Dowd, representing the school’s Modern Graphic History Library; Martin Mahoney, the museum’s director of collections and exhibitions, with NRM’s Ellen Mazzer and Amy Butterworth of IS183.

George Recine, Sarah Atwood, Melyssa Taylor and Rob Taylor dressed to impress; Monica Celli-de Movellan and Pedro de Movellan.

Debbie Hanson Greene and Alison Atlas strike a pose.

Jed and Lee Schwartz; Harrison Ungar and Aine Ungar of the Ungar Foundation show their support for illustration and education.

Burt Stern and Ron Walter, a member of the museum’s National Council; Ralph and Linda Zagaria from NYC and Ghent, NY.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/07/14 at 10:16 PM • Permalink

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Volunteers In Medicine Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary In Style

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. This year’s Volunteers In Medicine chef’s dinner on Monday, June 2 served not only as a fund-raising event, but a celebration of the group’s impressive 10th anniversary. The stunning Wheatleigh Hotel provided a beautiful backdrop as guests were treated to canapes and wines selected especially for the occasion by Domaney’s Liquors. After cocktails, attendees enjoyed a four-course meal in the Wheatleigh dining room, prepared under the direction of Chef Jeffrey Thompson. Proceeds from the evening go toward supporting VIM’s mission of providing healthcare for uninsured and underinsured Berkshire County residents. Pictured above: Board member Marion Simon and VIM’s Vice Chair and Co-Medical Director Matt Mandel.

The event’s co-chairs, Catherine Mandel and Lauren Spitz; VIM Board Chairman Art Peisner and Susan Peisner.

Realtor Nancy Kalodner, VIM board member Robin McGraw, and Helice Picheny; Event chair Vicki Bonnington and David Schecker.

Rob Trask and Veronica Martin; Cipora Brown, board chair of the Chester Theatre Company, with Roberta Haas and architect Steven Haas.

Nancy Kalodner, photographer Jonas Dovydenas and painter Betsy Dovydenas, Doug Trumbull and Julia Trumbull.

Denyse Adler, editor of VIM’s newsletter, and Harold Adler; Volunteer Rita Kasky and board member Jane Salamon.

Artist Joe Goodwin, Diana Richter, and Tony Chojnowski; Christine Ludwiszewski and board member Michael Richman.

Nancy and Hoby van Deusen with Salley Haver and Walter Scott; Carol Smokler and Efrem Sigel, VIM volunteer and author.

Dr. Justin Werick and Helen Frank; Guests enjoying the late-afternoon sun and spectacular view from Wheatleigh’s back terrace.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/03/14 at 12:24 PM • Permalink

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Roe-Jan Community Parties For The Public Library

Lisa Green reports from West Copake. The Roeliff Jansen Community Library is clearly a cherished institution, and on Saturday, May 31, about 250 library enthusiasts found their way to Camp Pontiac for the Fifth Annual Celebration. There was a lot to celebrate, according to Board of Trustees President Pat Placona (in photo left, flanked by board members Ann Marie Farrell and Jen Jamieson). Since 2009, when the library moved to its new building, library programs have increased by 998 percent, library visits are up 279 percent, and website visits up 314 percent. To keep the library thriving and accessible to all who need it, guests bid on an extraordinarily large collection of silent and live auction items and enjoyed food generously supplied by more than 30 area food and beverage vendors, all while being serenaded by the Mike Schiffer Trio.

Jim Lapenn and Dick Barton man the soft drinks and wine table; Cathy Redlich and Marjorie Corbett were members of the auction committee.

Cecele Karaus with Dona Kahn, a board member and attorney who specializes in family mediation; Ron Bixby, a member of the Board of Trustees, with Alanne Baerson and Sandy Reisman.

Dennis Adamson and Ben Boyd, Copake weekenders from the Upper West Side.

Chef Michael Chesloff serves shao mai; Vicki Sander, a singer, and Cheryl Jones, a trustee, discuss music programs at the library.

Linda Levitt worked on decorations for the event, with Barbara Smith; Roger Mooney, who was chair of the celebration committee, with Katherine Martucci of Ancram.

Julie Cohen, a member of the celebration committee, and Scot Cohen of Scot Cohen Realty.

Peter Krane and Christine Parker; Phyllis Fink and Barbara Lewis, both of whom were on the food committee.

Donald Steele and Rob Horwitz of Ancramdale; Shirley Bresler, who worked on the auctions, and Barbara Greenberg, who sold raffle tickets.

John Cady, who is vice president of the Board of Trustees, and Claudia Catania, producer and host of public radio’s Playing on Air.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/01/14 at 10:03 AM • Permalink

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BIFF Returns With 75 Films (And A Really Fun Party)

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. On Thursday, May 29, a huge crowd turned out to screen the appropriately-titled film May In The Summer by Cherien Dabis (about a New York-based woman who returns to her homeland of Jordan for her wedding) and to celebrate the opening of the the ninth annual Berkshire International Film Festival. The mood was excited and upbeat as the park across from The Mahaiwe was transformed into a party plaza by a large white tent, huge food spread and the band, City Rhythm, who got all guests dancing. The four-day festival showcases 75 diverse works of independent feature, documentary, family films and shorts over multiple venues in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, with filmmakers and cast members on hand for discussion panels for many of the screenings. In less than a decade, the festival has become widely recognized, no doubt from its mission to showcase filmmakers from all over the world, and this year brings films from 18 different countries. Cherien Dabis joined the guests underneath the tent following her screening, where numerous filmmakers were also in attendance, mingling with all the Berkshire film buffs. (Above, BIFF Founder and Director Kelley Vickery with Hunter Runette of Jacob’s Pillow).

BIFF Board Chair Al Togut, who was underwriter of the party along with his wife, Jacqueline Togut.

Berkshire Mountain Distiller’s Tyler Weld with her mother, Shawn De Gunzburg; Roger Goldman and Tom Potter.

IS183’s Amy Butterworth, Kate Baldwin and Anne McLaughlin; Carolyn Lancaster with BIFF Executive Assistant Lauren Ferrin.

Ethan James with Academy Award-winning visual effects master Doug Trumbull; Andy Clayman, board member Mary Mott and Casey Mott.

Emilie Spiegel, photographer and director Thierry Van Biesen, May In The Summer director Cherien Dabis, Kelley Vickery, producer Daniel Battsek and Luce Battsek.

Studio designer Amanda Bettis and Matt Hill; Dogs on the Inside directors Brean Cunningham and Doug Seirub.

Realtor Frosty Montgomery and actor Matt Penn; Morgan Whitehead with her mother, BIFF programmer Lillian Lenox.

Reflection producer Hazuki Aikawa with Ken Murphy, director of Reaching Home; Beth Eckert and Mike Boland, one of the stars of If I Tell You.

Shelly Friedman with board members Elissa Myer, Mary Mott and Nancy Clayman.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 05/31/14 at 08:45 PM • Permalink

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Curtains Up For Sharon TriArts’ 25th Season

Rachel Louchen reports from Sharon. The TriArts Sharon Playhouse opened its season on Saturday, May 24 with its annual gala and largest fundraising event of the year. The hotly anticipated event always serves as an opening of the summer season but this year, in honor of the 25th season, added dinner, dancing and very special performances to celebrate the milestone year. Despite the overcast and slightly ominous sky, the 170 attendees happily enjoyed cocktails and bid on the silent auction, no doubt influenced by Broadway hits like “Put On A Happy Face” that played in the background. The performances, which featured Broadway vets Lindsay MendezJay Armstrong Johnson and Kyle Barisich was an exciting taste of what’s to come for the jam-packed season. Above, board member Johanna Hahn with husband Bruce Hahn.

Julia DiMarzo, one of the actors in the playhouse’s upcoming production of Spring Awakening with her parents, Jackie DiMarzo and Dean DiMarzo; Volunteers Chris Abeel and Libby Hall greeted guests to the gala.

Board member Alexandra Lange with Spring Awakening directors Fiona Santos and Jason Brantman; Sharon’s Pam Wilson and David Offensend of Wassaic.

Artistic Director John Simpkins and Justin Ball, Managing Director.

Melinda Fanning and performer David Fanning; Board Vice President Carol Kalikow and Alexandra Lange.

Resident costume designer Michelle Eden Humphrey with resident sound designer Brad Berridge; Board of directors’ secretary Emily Soell with longtime TriArts supporter Annette Clooney.

Board members Mimi Estes and John Champion with President Bobbie Olsen.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 05/26/14 at 07:10 PM • Permalink

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MASS MoCA’s Big Day (And Night)

Lisa Green reports from North Adams. It’s not unusual for MASS MoCA to be the Grand Central of the Berkshires’ north county, but on Saturday, May 24, the reason for the extreme hustle bustle was twofold. In the late afternoon, there was the opening and reception for a new exhibit, “Teresita Fernandez: As Above So Below,” a scale-shifting work in which Fernandez combines graphite and gold to create a series of interconnected installations. The artist (shown left, with Denise Markonish, curator of exhibitions), greeted guests while they looked up, down and over to the various works. As afternoon shifted to evening, people of all ages joined the existing crowd to help celebrate MASS MoCA’s 15 years of extraordinary programming. The party got started with popup performers followed by a dance party to the music of Red Baraat and DJ Rekha.

Drew Moody, Keith Helman and Elisabeth Bernstein of Lehmann Maupin, the artist’s gallery, came from New York to view the exhibit; Jennifer Trainer Thompson, MASS MoCA’s director of special events and membership and Joe Thompson, director of MASS MoCA, stand in front of just a small portion of the artist’s work, “Sfumato.”

“Black Sun,” an installation of polycarbonate tubes, “as seen from above.”

Rose Escobar and Tony Dube, a photographer; Jo Laird, Michael Danoff, Tony Meier, an art dealer from San Francisco, and Kathy Meadowcroft of Marin County.

Teresita Fernandez and Alexandre Arrechea, a contemporary artist whose large-scale exhibition was placed along Park Avenue last year.

Carol Kiendl and Alice Cande; Benoit Gabriel of New York and Stephanie Smith from Lehmann Maupin.

“Lunar” shimmers with a virtual sea of more than 1,500 pounds of small glass beads.

Derek Parker, fabrication shop manager and Kathryn Tufano, manager of foundation and corporate giving at MASS MoCA, with Laura Steward; Red Baraat performs later in the evening in the Hunter Center.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/26/14 at 10:53 AM • Permalink

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A New Face For An Inspiring Space At Chesterwood

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. It doesn’t take much convincing when you’re invited to enjoy a cocktail on the piazza of Daniel Chester French’s studio, overlooking the lush gardens of his former summer estate. As Chesterwood celebrated the reopening of French’s refurbished studio at a gala on Friday, May 23, guests jovially enjoyed the views while bidding on silent auction items that included three framed photographs shot at Chesterwood by Annie Leibovitz for her book Pilgrimage. The studio, closed since 2012, has undergone a painstakingly, historically accurate renovation, with special detail paid to its facade. Berkshire Pulse dancers, dressed in all white, performed a piece inspired by their research on Daniel Chester French’s only child, Margaret French Cresson, also a sculptor, who ceded Chesterwood and its collections to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Dinner was held in French’s studio and Michael Ballon of Castle Street Café prepared the evening’s menu using dinner notes from Mrs. Mary French as a guide. The menu included Taft Farms asparagus aspic, tournedos of beef with Madeira sauce, and mixed berry trifle with crème anglaise and raspberry sauce. Read the related RI article about the restoration project: The Rock Star of Stockbridge: Daniel Chester French. Above, sculptors Laura and Rick Brown with the Executive Director at Massachusetts Cultural Council, Anita Walker, and Chesterwood Director Donna Hassler.

Richard and Carol Seltzer with Sheila Thunfors, Chair of the Advisory Committee; Kate and Andrew Wilsey.

Kim and Rich Bradway; Terry and Jane Shea with David McCarthy, George Manley and Chesterwood board member Maureen Raab.

Philip Heller, Judith and Jeffrey Cook, and Barbara and Peter Seideman.

Lou Allegrone, Susan Allegrone, Sarah Voisin and Anthony Allegrone; Nancy Fitzpatrick and Anastasia Stanmeyer.

Katie Soules Cornellier and Dave Cornellier; Architect Ashley Wilson, Gerry Blache, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds at Chesterwood, and the lovely Colleen Blache.

The refurbished studio, meticulously set for dinner.

Louis Allegrone, Stacy Allegrone and Mike Sadlow; Event planner Amy Rudnick and Bettina Montano, founder of Berkshire Pulse.

Cindi Malinick, Rena Zurofsky, Estevan Rael-Galvez, Cinda Jones and Maureen Raab.

Dr. Jay Wise and Terry Wise; Hans and Kate Morris with Terry and Jane Shea.

Berkshire Pulse dancers perform on the Chesterwood lawn before dancing around the fountain.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/25/14 at 06:59 PM • Permalink

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CATAtude Brings Attitude To Gratitude

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. CATAtude – this year’s Community Access To The Arts’ performance and gala – took over Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse on Saturday evening, May 17. The organization’s supporters enjoyed cocktail hour in the lobby, but as soon as the lights flickered, they eagerly found their seats inside the crowded theater. Many of these guests had been to CATA performances before and knew what they were in for – a creative, heartfelt and humorous show from the organization’s students and faculty. This year’s performance included a peek into some of what CATA does best: Singing, juggling, tap dancing, an inventive play set in a newsroom, the consistently beautiful and emotionally charged work of Dawn Lane and her modern dance troupe, and a set from comedian Scott Thomas that left the audience in stitches. A standing ovation brought the crowd to its feet, then out the door in time to see that a rainbow had painted itself across the gray clouds as if in support. In the tent below the theater, a buffet-style meal catered by Firefly gave attendees a chance to munch and relax, as vibrant paintings from CATA artists and scenes from the night’s festivities were projected onto the ceiling of the tent. Massachusetts State Senator Ben Downing presented CATA founder Sandy Newman with a proclamation from Governor Deval Patrick, citing her for the amazing work she’s done with the organization, and the Senator backed it up with a resolution from the statehouse he signed along with State Representative Smitty Pignatelli. After much cheering, folks young and old made their way to the dance floor, possibly inspired by the night’s performances, to move to the tunes of DJ BFG. Shown above: Barry Karson, CATA founder Sandy Newman, and her childhood friend Kathy Karson.

Gala committee member Vicki Bonnington and David Schecker; Board members Maria Cleary and Elaine Radiss flank Trisha Killeen.

MA Senator Ben Downing, gala committee co-chair Reggie Cooper, Madeline Phelps, David Phelps, CATA’s Executive Director Margaret Keller, and VIM Berkshires founder Matt Mandel.

CATA’s board president John Whalan with Kate Whalan, board vice president Emily Rechnitz and her daughter Flora Paladino; CATA faculty artist Pat Hogan with Dennis Hogan and Clara Londoner.

Betsy Andrus, SBCC executive director, with Ed Arnold, Bob Seward and Pat Seward, SBCC board vice president; CATA yoga instructor Paula Boyajian and Bobbie Fachini, CATA’s program coordinator.

Ken Gogel, CATA actor and dancer Sam Gogel, and Travis Daly pose in front of a rainbow outside of the Tina Packer Playhouse.

Jonathan Swartz and Megan Whilden; Matt Mandel, Nancy Kalodner and Paul Lindenmaier.

Stephen Buck, Deborah Bush, Christopher Lane, who supplied some of the costumes for the show, and Dawn Kramer; Neel Webber, Mira Webber, Judith Pomerantz and Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant.

Hillery Maxymillian, Neal Maxymillian, gala committee co-chair Linda Cooper, Tony and Carolann Patterson and gala committee member and Country Curtains CFO Matt Heim.

CATA actor Jessica Hampton, Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant, Kristen van Ginhoven, Dave Barrett and Joan Hunter; An artsy CATA welcome.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/18/14 at 11:34 AM • Permalink

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Trade Secrets: It’s A Good Thing For Gardeners And WSS

Lisa Green reports from Sharon. “Has anyone seen Martha?” called out a portly matron in canvas sunhat to no one in particular early on at Trade Secrets. No one answered her, but everyone knew who she meant, because everyone knows Trade Secrets, the rare plants and antiques extravaganza in the Litchfield Hills, is Martha Stewart’s preferred plant sale of the year. And, indeed, she was there, but so were legions of gardeners who come to Elaine La Roche’s Lion Rock Farm each year to gild their gardens with items proffered by vendors that come from near and far. (At left, Kent Hunter of Hunter Bee, who was on the planning committee, and Vicki Kirkpatrick, the event coordinator.) Most important, they shop and engage in plant talk for a vital organization, Women’s Support Services (WSS), which focuses on domestic violence intervention and prevention in northwest Connecticut and surrounding towns in New York and Massachusetts.  Now in its 14th year, Trade Secrets is a well-oiled machine and the foremost fundraiser for WSS, but there’s always something new to see. Antique pig troughs, anyone?

MC Roberts and Alexis Small; Brooklyn Plant Studio owner Tara Douglass from Brooklyn, and Sascha Greenberg from Katonah.

Martha Stewart inspects the merchandise.

From Women’s Support Services, the beneficiary of Trade Secrets: Liz Davis, a counselor advocate, and Jamel Bonello, a volunteer with WSS; Italian Terrace‘s Liz Goodrich partnered with Roy Mattson of Tectona Garden Furniture for the event.

Rhonda Cayea, general manager of Hammertown, makes a new friend in Amy Dragoo, a blogger from Sharon and New York.

John Thomas and Richard Yurko from Sharon didn’t have far to travel; Christine Owen, who chaired the sign committee, with artist Beck Oakley, who creates bronze figures.

Barbara Beringer traveled from New York City and Robin Robbins from Scarsdale; Mark VandenBosch and Hunter Runnette from the Berkshires.

Libby Horn comes from Chicago each year to go to Trade Secrets with her daughter, Brittany Horn Bromley, who lives in Westchester.

Makristo Farm’s Christa Stosiek enjoys the sunshine; Pom Schillingford takes a break with Heidi Hendricks, who co-chaired the antiques committee.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/18/14 at 09:27 AM • Permalink

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Wining And Dining For The Berkshire Music School

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. Several anniversaries were noted at the Berkshire Music School’s wine-pairing dinner at Café Adam on Thursday, May 15: the school’s 75th and Tracy Wilson’s 10th as executive director (Tracy, at left, flanked by realtor Nancy Kalodner and Malinka Johnson). But the school’s trustees, faculty, former students and others really were there to support the scholarship program offered by the community’s cherished institution. It’s unlikely there’s ever been such a low-key live auction; once the call was opened for bids funding scholarships for music lessons, hands raised and guests freely gave with very little prompting. The school, which gives out about $16,000 in scholarships each year, is clearly beloved. Many attendees remarked how all of their children — or they themselves — had been through its programs, and more than a few scholarship students have gone on to professional careers in music.

Paul Finnety, Board President Kate Barton, who was co-chair of the event committee, Anne Mercure, a former board president, and Sam Craig; BMS staffers Kathy Manship and Sandy Moderski were the first to greet guests.

Hannah Cohen, who was a violin student at the school, with her grandmother, Sue Cohen; The Talbott-Suters Trio provided music for the cocktail hour.

Lisa Loring and Curtis Brasseur of Richmond; Ellen Weiden and Laura Rosenthal, devoted students of the adult cabaret class.

Jazz and cabaret singer Sherri James Buxton, who directs the popular cabaret workshops, with bassist Roger Souters; Maureen and Bob Monteleone, whose children have been students at BMS.

Lenore Sundberg, and Linda Russell; Clarinetist Paul Green with Sue and Arnold Cohen.

Sylwia Orczykowska and Chef Adam Zieminski of Cafe Adam; Ken Green, a member of the board of trustees and owner of Museum Facsimiles, and Tracy Wilson run the live auction.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/16/14 at 02:33 PM • Permalink

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It’s Never Too Soon to Celebrate ASAP

Sarah Ellen Rindsberg reports from Washington, CT. Not even the torrential downpour on the evening of Saturday, May 10 could dampen the spirits at the After School Arts Program’s (ASAP) 9th annual Celebration of Young Writers. Partygoers gathered under a tent in front of the First Congregational Church in Washington to enjoy hors d’oeuvres from Anne Gallagher Catering and sip libations from County Wine and Spirits. Items in the silent auction included a teen party with Chef Gallagher, a Marcel Breuer and John Johansen house tour and a vintage 1954 Fender Stratocaster guitar. As a rainbow appeared in the sky, attendees proceeded to enter the church for the evening’s program hosted by internationally known author and broadcaster Frank Delaney. The works of 13 young writers were read by local luminaries including Ellen McCourt, an ASAP devotee who attended many previous events with her late husband, the Pulitzer Prize winning author (for Angela’s Ashes) Frank McCourt. But it wasn’t only young writers who were being celebrated at the event; teachers Anthony Weymouth of Washington Primary School and Mark Truini of Westover School in Middlebury received the Frank McCourt Prize for Excellence in Teaching. ASAP, founded in 1999, brings in arts professionals to conduct workshops in schools in Washington, Bridgewater, Roxbury, Woodbury, Litchfield, New Milford, Torrington and Waterbury. Above, Ellen McCourt, ASAP Executive Director JoAnne Torti and Angie Silverstein gather under the tent.

Rati Madan, who is in the jewelry business, and Suzanne Day, a board member of the Washington Scholarship Fund; Brian Lancaster, William L. Fuchs, Steven Fuchs and Anna L. Fuchs. (William and Anna are ASAP camp alumni.)

Author Frank Delaney presenting the evening’s program in honor of Hugh Rawson, longtime friend and ASAP board member; Chris Smith, ASAP board member, with Emelie Samuelson.

Randy Lehrer, Wendy Louers, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Kathleen Bakewell and Jane Whitney.

ASAP Board President Jill Faherty Lloyd and Carol Lenz, grandmother of ASAP camp participants; Visko Hatfield, an ASAP board member and freelance photographer, with Sophie Guillemette and ASAP volunteer Sarah Guillemette, and the rainbow in the background.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/12/14 at 09:57 AM • Permalink

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Hudson Opera House Sets Up The Season With Spring Fling

4Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. It’s such a wonder that the eclectic beauty of the Hudson Opera House is still a bit of a secret to the region. The HOH’s comeliness, however, and its packed calendar of performances, talks, classes and good works is no secret to the throngs of generous supporters at the Spring Fling gala fundraiser on Saturday, May 3. The sprawling upstairs theater was elegantly set for dinner and music and downstairs, the gallery rooms of the Opera House were warmed with pleasant company, a high quality auction and excellent libations. The Hudson Opera House is worth giving to generously and Saturday the opera house gave back a fabulous night in return (Pictured at left; party goers, interior designer Timothy VanDam and landscape designers Joël Losier and Philippe Soule.

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Danusia Jarecka, owner of Skalar Antiques with Peggy Anderson and Andrew Goetz; Doug Wingo and Tim Leg from Wingo Inc. with Mark Prezorski, landscape architect at Olana.

Allison Whiting, Patricia Falk and Fred Schroeder; John Jones IV, Ramzi Abufaraj and Keith Nuss.

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The Hudson Opera House set beautifully for dinner.

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Al Scott, Jean Hamilton, Christine Benson, Martha McMaster and Shermon Evans; James Brookens and Steve Symonds.

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Hosts of the Thursday Afternoon Show on WGXC Tom DePietro and Hudson Supervisor Ellen Thurston with designer Mitchell Motsinger.

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Photographers Allison Clements and James Autery with Conor Backman.

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Despina Leandrou, Micheal Laudati and Alexandra Anderson; Geri and Glen Livi, Marissa Celli and Laura Corsun.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 05/04/14 at 05:47 PM • Permalink

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The Community Shows Its Smarts At The BART Trivia Fundraiser

Amy Krzanik reports from Adams. A combination of light drinking and heavy thinking occurred at the Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School (BART) on Saturday night, May 3 as the school held its 7th annual “Get BART Smart” team trivia fundraiser. The school’s atrium held a crowd of supporters as they snacked on food from Mezze Catering and refreshments provided by Spirited, and browsed silent auction items, which included signed Red Sox memorabilia, a private tour of the High Line in New York City, passes to Disney World and other items. Kate Drew Miller Photography took “class photos” in between the 20-minute rounds, which saw teams traveling between classrooms answering questions in the categories of citizenship, technology, SAT and pop culture. BART, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this fall, has a current enrollment of 320 students in grades 6-12 and boasts an amazing 100 percent college acceptance rate. Proceeds from the event go to fund the award-winning, tuition-free school’s academic programming. Shown above left: North Adams City Councilor Ben Lamb and BART’s Executive Director Julia Bowen.

Courtney Shapiro, Carrie Richards, Katie Bodnar and Amy Van Dusen; BART Development Coordinator Leah Thompson with BART’s newest trustee, Marnie Sommer.

Joe Bergeron and trustee Geraldine Shen; Marisa Daley, Eric Nottke, BART staff member Monique Nottke, Hugh Daley, Beth Ellingwood and Kevin Ellingwood.

Trustee Fred Puddester with Susan Puddester, Sarah Bolton, Audrey Thier, Ari Solomon, Peter Murphy and BART’s Co-founder and Board Chair Pam Johnson.

Cindy Brown, Vice President of Academic Affairs at MCLA and a BART trustee, Maura Delaney, Liberal Arts Program Advisor at BCC, and Joan Mayes and Maureen Sullivan of Syracuse, NY; North Adams City Councilor Kate Merrigan with Christian Tenczar.

Teams show their stuff in one of the BART classrooms.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/04/14 at 03:57 PM • Permalink

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BerkChique! Fun And Funding With Fashion

Lisa Green reports from Stockbridge. Did the shoes at left get your attention? Never fails; they also called out to plenty of guests at the third annual BerkChique! Preview Night Party on Friday, May 2 at the Stockbridge Town Offices. After waiting in line to enter the gym-turned-fashion emporium, many of the shoppers made a beeline for the rows of shoes, boots, slippers and bags, while others started at Vicki Bonnington’s personal boutique items priced from $10 to “priceless” (over $200). The pop-up shop and gently used clothing sale (with donated items coming from some of the best closets in the area) is for the benefit of Berkshire Creative, a nonprofit that sparks collaborations between artists, cultural institutions and businesses. The sale is supported by The Red Lion Inn, Berkshire Money Management and a hardworking BerkChicque! Committee. Guests shopped to the music provided by DJ RothFitz, and tore themselves away from the hunt for the fashion show featuring models courtesy of Berkshire Beauty, a model agency. They sported a variety of looks from the boutique, curated by Lisa Betkoski, a personal shopper and stylist in the Berkshires. The sale continued through the weekend, and many of the leftover items were donated to local nonprofit organizations and agencies.

Vicki Bonnington, the clothing collector and fashionista extraordinaire in front of her personal boutique (racks of designer wear from her own collection); Lucy Holland and Kelly Dolan snag some good deals.

Jenny Benson, Val Whaling and Berkshire Creative Board Member Cathy Deely inspect the merchandise; Lisa Nappo of Housatonic and Carol Reife of Otis.

Brittany Carlo, a model in the fashion show.

Brittany Bochette and Elizabeth Bocchino pause from some intense shopping for a quick photo; Fred Eustis, Sarah Eustis, BerkChique! committee chair, Rural Intelligence owner Mark Williams and Alison Larkin, comedienne, audiobook narrator and author.

The BerkChique! models line up for the grand finale; Danielle Steinmann of the Trustees of Reservations with Elena Fernandez.

Lisa Betkoski of Rock Star Shopping, who curated the fashion show, with Tereza Hubkova, a physician at Canyon Ranch who modeled at the event.

Yuki Cohen, a Berkshire Bank vice president, was a model for the event, with Janet Crawford, an equine portrait artist; Veronica Martin of Great Barrington.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/03/14 at 06:56 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Grown Kicks Off The Season With Brunch

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. What better way to to start off our local growing season (and bid good riddance to a painfully long winter) than a brunch sourced from many of our area’s farms? Fresh eggs and bacon, crisp greens and even local coffee (courtesy of Barrington Coffee Roasting Co.) were served on Sunday, April 27 at Prairie Whale as Berkshire Grown celebrated the beginning of the growing season. The brunch was an opportunity for the Berkshire Grown team and area farmers to discuss ways the community can help support the growth and sustainability of our farms, all while enjoying a feast expertly prepared by Prairie Whale staff. The meal, featuring greens from The Berry Patch and other area farms, gave a foretaste of a fresh and colorful season. Above left, Executive Director Barbara Zheultin with Jessica Camp of MX Morningstar Farm in Copake, and Berkshire Grown Board President Allison Rachele Bayles.

Cathy Aldrich with husband Rich Aldrich of Salisbury Bank; Berkshire Co-Op’s Merchandising Manager Ted Moy and Emily Bronson, program coordinator at Berkshire Taconic Foundation.

Dale-Ila Riggs and Don Miles of The Berry Patch Farm with Brandon and Sandy Pantorno; Prairie Whale’s proprietors Mark Firth and Bettina Schwartz with staffer Joe Scully, who also works at their farm, Chestnut Hill in Monterey. 

Peter Zheutlin came out to support his cousin, Barbara, here with Bettina Schwartz and author Judy Gelman.

Farmers Scottie Mills and Scott Mckenzie; Heidi Frye and Max Frye, who live in Miami and have a home in Lenox.

Mark Firth with R. Allen Cockerline and Robin Cockerline of Whippoorwill Farm in Lakeville; Norman Rockwell Museum’s Patricia Hubbard with Cailin Rocco.

Jacob Robbins, Berkshire Grown’s Board Vice President Laurily Epstein, Allison Rachele Bayles and board member Ariel Bock.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 04/27/14 at 02:58 PM • Permalink

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Wilderstein Celebrates Its White House Connections

Lisa Green reports from Rhinebeck. “Labor of love” was the refrain most often heard at the preview party for “Wilderstein and the White House” on Saturday, April 26. The historic site, originally built in 1852 as an Italianate villa and then transformed in 1888 into a Victorian mansion, was home to three generations of the Suckley family. (If you saw Hyde Park on Hudson, you’re familiar with Margaret “Daisy” Suckley, the last family member whose extraordinary friendship with Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been well chronicled.) The preservation labor has been lovingly supplied by volunteers and a small staff who have raised funds, preserved, archived and in general cared for the mansion as if it were their own homes. The current exhibit uses objects from Wilderstein’s collections to explore the connection between the estate and the Suckley family to U.S. presidents and historical events in Washington. And there are a lot of objects in the site’s trove to choose from. “We’ve been pulling things out of the attic and archives and our exhibits can go on and on,” said Board President Brian Lange (show above, left, with Tess Casey and Matthew Carnicelli). The enthusiasm generated by Wilderstein’s caretakers and the event guests assures that they will.

Gina Palmer, who does the illustrations for the Wilderstein’s promotional materials, with Gregory Sokaris, executive director of the historic site; Board member Paul Hallenbeck and Sally Hallenbeck flank Linda Stanley, a Wilderstein volunteer.

The dining room exhibit illustrates the Suckley family’s ties to the Revolutionary War and George Washington.

Valerie Dampeer, self-described “slave” to Wilderstein (her husband is treasurer of the board) made all of the food for the reception; Lorraine Murphy of Milan, a docent, and Christine Foreacre, a Wilderstein house supervisor from Red Hook.

Chelsea Relyea, Wilderstein’s administrative assistant; the exquisite Queen Anne mansion, regarded as the Hudson Valley’s most important example of Victorian architecture.

View of the Hudson River from Wilderstein’s wraparound porch.


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Posted by Lisa Green on 04/27/14 at 01:04 PM • Permalink

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BIFF Previews Its Ninth Showing

Lisa Green reports from Lenox. The 9th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) got off to a rousing start at Haven Café on Thursday, April 24, where BIFF supporters, board members and others gathered as the festival’s founder and director, Kelley Vickery, announced the lineup. The festival, May 29—June 1, will feature 29 documentaries, 28 narrative features and 16 short films from 18 countries; a record 41 filmmakers will be in attendance with their films. For the first time, BIFF will open with a feature film, May in the Summer (the opening film at Sundance a year ago), directed and written by Cherien Dabis, who will be in attendance. Since the film takes place in Jordan, the Opening Night Gala in Great Barrington will be themed as a Middle Eastern party with a band and plenty of dancing under the tent. In Pittsfield, the opening night will feature The Trip to Italy, a continuation of the Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon culinary and cultural road trip movies. BIFF wouldn’t be complete without its auxiliary elements: the “Next Great Filmmaker Award” presentation, the Third Annual Jury headed up by Karen Allen, a French film retrospective screening, a filmmakers summit and, of course, the closing night party at Castle Street Café. “I did over program,” Vickery admitted. But no one seemed to mind. (Above, Doone Marshall with Lauren Ferin, BIFF’s executive assistant.)

John Valente, general manager of the Triplex and Beacon cinemas, and Lydia Shulman, The Beacon Cinema’s assistant manager and projectionist; Amanda Bettis (aka BIFF’s “Design Diva”) of Studio Two and Lindsey Schmid, director of marketing services for the Berkshire Visitors Bureau.

Heather Rose, design director at Studio Two, Dan Shaw, Rural Intelligence co-founder, Kathleen Drohan, instrument drive director at WQXR Radio, and Elizabeth Aspenlieder of Shakespeare & Company.

Karen Allen and David Rasche; BIFF Founder and Director Kelley Vickery with Paul Johansen, who coordinates the festival’s program distribution.

Haven Cafe’s Alba Sanchez and owner Shelley Williams, who hosts the BIFF Preview Party every year.

Kelley Vickery announces the 2014 lineup; Katie Whalan and John Whalan, a filmmaker.

Hunter Runnette with advisory board members Suky and Tom Werman.

Corliss and Charles Rosenberg of Otis and New York; Steve Johnson, assistant manager at The Triplex Cinema.

Haven’s Jane Ciepiela, who is also a yoga instructor, and Diane Pearlman, executive director of the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative of Western Massachusetts.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 04/25/14 at 03:46 PM • Permalink

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Spring Fling At Sandisfield Arts Center

Lisa Green reports from Sandisfield. From a Baptist meeting house to an Orthodox synagogue to the Sandisfield Arts Center, a building tucked away in Sandisfield has served the needs of its community since 1839. On Saturday, April 12, Sandisfieldians celebrated the rehabilitated building’s 175th birthday with the Spring Fling Dinner and Benefit Auction. “We’re proud of where we have come and are committed to the future,” said the Sandisfield Arts Center’s current Co-President Susie Crofut (shown, near right, with friend Kathryn Clarke). Sandisfield is an isolated town with no town center, she continued, but it now buzzes with jazz, folk and classical concerts, literary events and children’s activities. Indeed, many guests seemed proud of the fact that their performing arts center is a hidden gem. A recent improvement—the removal of the rather uncomfortable Baptist benches—allowed for tables to be set up in the performing arts space. After a springlike vegetarian dinner prepared by guest chef Adam Manacher and a heavenly dessert of meringue with strawberries and whipped cream made by Co-President Alice Boyd, the benefit auction began. The many-voiced actor and author Alison Larkin provided laughs as she auctioned off the items, many on offer from the supremely gifted Sandisfield residents, including author Simon Winchester’s English Sherry-Grand Marnier Trifle delivered to one’s home, a voice lesson with international baritone and actor Benjamin Luxon, and jewelry items donated by designers Margo Morrison and Anni Crofut.

Jewelry designer Margo Morrison and Liana Toscanini, a former president of the arts center and development and marketing director at Community Access To The Arts; Erica Fay, who was instrumental in initiating the center’s rehabilitative efforts, and Marcella Smith, a board member.

Sheila Liberman and Allen Liberman of Tolland and Boston, with Connie Canty.

Visiting from Brooklyn, Rennie Alba, New York District Manager for Opici Wine Company, and Nicole Orth; Robert McMahon and Jeanne Randorf of Otis.

June Wink, a board member, with Tansy Chapman from Mendocino, CA; John Grammer and Mary Anne Grammer.

Liana Toscanini and Benjamin Luxon.


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Posted by Lisa Green on 04/19/14 at 01:43 PM • Permalink

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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

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Free Legal Clinic Of South Berkshire County Dances For Justice

Rachel Louchen reports from Sheffield. The Berkshires has no shortage of charitable organizations; some target education, others provide food and, since 2006, the Free Legal Clinic of South Berkshire County has provided legal counsel to area residents. Twenty-four attorneys, two accountants and two mediators volunteer pro bono, as well as offer reduced-fee professional services and, as the demand for their service grows monthly, the support of the community is as important as ever. On Saturday, March 8, FLC hosted the Dance For Justice fundraiser at Dewey Hall and served up dinner, live music from the Wanda Houston Band and a silent auction to a packed room of supporters. All of the attendees praised the tireless work of Founder and Executive Director Eve Schatz and the FLC for its valuable role in the community. In addition to legal services, the FLC also addresses social issues, helping their clients with community services that prevent hunger and homelessness while their legal troubles are being addressed. Justice for all, indeed. Above, board members Phyllis Weiss and Cecile Snow.

Terrance Cooney is a retired attorney who volunteers with the FLC, here with his wife, Joanne; One of the night’s speakers, Marilyn Kalish and her husband, Alan Kalish.

Stephanie Copeland and Carol McGlinchey, who donated to the silent auction; Stephen Dietemann and Lois Lenehan.

Board member Cecile Snow, Founder and Executive Director Eve Schatz, Susan Solovay who does the Clinic’s marketing, Board members Dr. Marcia Savage, Phyllis Weiss and Diana Felber (in front).

Board member Karen Andrews, Alianne Schatz, daughter of the Clinic’s founder, and her friend Emma Grants; Volunteer Amelia Sydlosky and patron Jeanine Coleman.

Supporters Mark Cohen, Adrienne Cohen and Steve Glick; Gregory Cherin and his wife Margaret Cherin came out to support their friend Eve Schatz’s organization.

Gail Shaw, volunteer Robin Zeamer and Joanne Cooney.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 03/08/14 at 10:45 PM • Permalink

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Speed Sisters Race To Lime Rock Park And The Falls Village Inn

Lisa Green reports from Falls Village. It would seem that women who drive race cars need no excuse to show up at a track, but on Monday, March 3, there was a very good reason, indeed, to gather at Lime Rock Park. Marah Zahalka, the “fastest woman in Palestine,” was at the motor sports facility with Canadian filmmaker Amber Fares, who was filming the 22-year-old Zahalka (driving for the first time in snow) for some extended footage of a feature-length documentary. The film, Speed Sisters, features the first all-women motor racing team in Palestine and documents the five women competing against men and one another in monthly autocross races in the West Bank city of Jericho. The event was spearheaded by Stephanie Economu, (shown, left, with Amber Fares), founder of Gearhead Girls Racing. The spectators later made their way to the Falls Village Inn, which hosted a reception for the crowd, many of whom were members of Lime Rock Park’s Drivers Club. Fares, who recently gave a presentation about the documentary at TedX in Barcelona, said Speed Sisters received a development grant from Sundance. She is hopeful the film will be presented at the Sundance Festival next year.

Jill Raney, whose company, Brim Light Caps, made the headwear for the occasion, Susan Sweetapple, The Falls Village Inn’s co-owner/innkeeper, and Walter Irvine, who handles sales and business development at Lime Rock Park. Driving enthusiasts included Jeanette Veitenheimer, executive administrator for The Drivers Club, Carole Halvorsen, who received the most improved driver award after just a year on the course, and Lindsay Carroll.

Walter Hergt, a freelance photographer, and Colin Chambers, the inn’s co-owner.

Stephanie Economu auctions off the caps, which have LED lights concealed under the brim (helpful for seeing up close); Mike Briskie of Paddockscene, a motor racing website which helped publicize this event, and Clara Lubansky.

Marah Zahalka gives a thumbs up at the tee shirt given to her by event organizers. Zahalka was a featured presenter at TedX Teen in New York just days before.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/03/14 at 09:53 PM • Permalink

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The Community Noshes For Berkshire South

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. The community came out to support a great cause on Thursday, February 27, at the fourth annual Taste of Community hosted by Berkshire South. The event raised funds for the Community Supper Program, which serves a free weekly meal to members of the community, providing a helpful service to low-income families, senior citizens unable to cook for themselves and others. Guests at the event had their choice of treats from some of the best food purveyors in the Berkshires, including Haven Cafe and Bakery, Castle Street Cafe and Big Elm Brewery. The program (established in 2009), as well as the evening’s event, are successful due in no small part to the tireless efforts of board members, volunteers and local restaurants, who donate food and their time. The free Community Dinner is held on Mondays from 5 to 6 p.m. At left, Berkshire South Executive Director Jenise Lucey with member and ambassador Aimee Raifstanger.

Luke and Anna Masiero were celebrating Guido’s 35th anniversary; Prairie Whale’s Pastry Chef Megan McDiarmid with owner Mark Firth.

Alta’s Executive Chef Ben Daire with Co-owner and General Manager Aurelien Telle; Jaime and Jason Higgins came out to support Berkshire South.

Lisa Marchi, Director of Development and Communications at Berkshire South, and Barbara Manring with husband Roger Manring.

Stephanie Higgins with her mother, board Co-Vice Chairman Melissa Higgins; Mary Maguire and Kyleigh Lengen made the trip from Craryville to represent The Greens at Copake Country Club.

Pat Konecky and Bob Putz of Egremont; Great Barrington residents Troy Murtagh, Jess Tomich, Dylan Blackwell and Lauren Scanlon came out to eat.

Chairman of the Board Ethel Patterson,  Co-Vice Chairman. Robert Harrison and volunteer Hannah Moriarty who personally was responsible for selling a large portion of tickets.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 02/28/14 at 01:45 PM • Permalink

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Jacob’s Pillow Community And Business Partners Mix And Mingle

Rachel Louchen reports from Stockbridge. It was as if every business in the Berkshires (and beyond) was represented on Tuesday, February 25 for Jacob’s Pillow’s Community and Business Partner Event, hosted by the Red Lion Inn. Business owners, local area real estate professionals and Jacob’s Pillow Board of Directors members filled the room, proving once again what an important and venerable organization Jacob’s Pillow truly is. Addressing the crowd, General Manager Connie Chin spoke of how the festival helped local businesses such as lodging and restaurants bring in more than 90,000 attendees for last year’s festival, with the upcoming season on track to break the previous years’ records. Last night’s packed party is an indication of the community support for the Pillow and offered assurance that the festival will long dance on. Above, Berkshire Money Management President Allen Harris with Connie Chin.

President and Manager at Patisserie Lenox Yulia Bougouin and Jacob’s Pillow Senior Manager of Individual Gifts Alison Hart; Creator and chocolatier of Chocolate Springs Café Joshua Needleman, The Pillow’s Development Manager Arwen Lowbridge and Lisa Landry of No. Six Depot Roastery and Cafe.

Community Access to the Arts was fully represented that evening with Development and Marketing Director Liana Toscanini, Founder Sandy Newman and new Executive Director Maragret Keller; Jacob’s Pillow Business Assistant/Store Manager Ariana Brawley with photographer Christopher Duggan.

Director of Marketing and Communications Mariclare Hulbert and Board member Hunter Runnette, with Sandy Newman.

Senior Grant Writer for Jacob’s Pillow Estelle Woodward, Advertising and Publicity Coordinator at Ward’s Nursery & Garden Center Jodi Cahillane and Pillow Ticket Service Assistant Gina Gioiello; Kimberly Ciola and WAM Theatre’s Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven.

Kris and Josh Kanter of JK Custom Furniture & Design; Arwen Lowbridge, Designer Erica Fay and Pillow Director of Preservation Norton Owen.

The Dream Away Lodge’s owner Daniel Osman, Benchmark Real Estate’s Nancy Kaloder and Berkshire Botanical Garden and RI’s guru of all things garden, Brian Cruey.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 02/26/14 at 08:51 AM • Permalink

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Millay’s Steepletop Comes to Hudson

millay 1Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. The Edna St. Vincent Millay Society at Steepletop offered a rare and welcomed opportunity to see the famed poet’s intimate belongings, art and some never-before-seen photographs at the McDaris Fine Art gallery on Saturday, February 22. Many Millay admirers came out for the opening of the exhibit, entitled Beyond the Poetry, which doubled as a silent auction fundraiser for Steepletop. The pieces, which have been brought down from Millay’s estate in Austerlitz, will only be on display in Hudson through March 2, but Millay Society Director of Development Allison Marchese hopes the intimate glimpse into the writer’s life will entice visitors to come see the continuing legacy of Millay on display at Steepletop. (Pictured at left; Allison Marchese, Millay Society Literary Executor Holly Peppe and Board of Trustees Vice President Mark O’Berski.)

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Tierney Risley, Michael Minchak, Jeff Risley owner of Park Row Art Gallery, and Wendy McDaris owner of McDaris Fine Art; Composer Sheila Silver and photographer Lindsay Brice

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Smarty Pants Graphic Design owners and designers Billy Kimmel and Doug Trapp; The scene Saturday during the elegant reception.

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Scott Evans, Millay Society Trustee Megan Morgans Ainsworth, David Ainsworth and Michael Minchak.

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Painting of Millay, artist unknown; Attorney Charles Ferris and Allison Marchese.