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Parties & Openings


May 20 - Pine Plains
Memorial Hall Groundbreaking

May 19 - Pittsfield
Guitar Rocks Berkshire Museum

May 14 - W. Stockbridge
Turn Park Art Space Opening

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Pine Plains Memorial Hall Groundbreaking Community Day

Jamie Larson reports from Pine Plains. The Pine Plains Memorial Hall was once a huge part of the town’s history. On Saturday, May 20, a day full of activities brought the community out to celebrate the groundbreaking of the long awaited restoration of the vacant town icon. The original Memorial Hall was constructed in 1915, but today the big brick building, its tall windows, crown of dormers and the grand theater inside are, admittedly, in rough shape. The mission of the renewal effort is to bring together the community and foster economic development in Northern Dutchess County and surrounding areas. With this restoration, the hall will be a vital part of the town’s future; plans are to make it a regional center for community-based civic and social programs, agriculture and arts education, cultural performances and a starting point for local charitable organizations. Now in its second year of a five-year planning, capital fundraising and construction cycle, there’s enough money to begin the first phase of the project. The man who got the ball rolling, PPMH President Jack Banning, said they’re excited for the innumerable possibilities for the venue. “The trick is that this can be done without taking ourselves too seriously,” Banning said, pictured at left with board secretary Hollis Bart.


The large assembled crowd cheered, “We dig Pine Plains!” as they ceremoniously shoveled out chunks of the Memorial Hall’s front lawn.


PPMH renovation architect Doug Larson and PPMH Executive Director Brian Keeler; Donn Potter, PPMH board member Claire Copley and advisory committee member Alan Eisenberg.


Head event coordinators for the Community Day, Chris Hedges and Jennifer Updike (fresh out of the dunk tank); Joan and Dick Dunham with PPMH volunteer communications representative and principal at VKLarson Communications Victoria Larson.


The atmosphere during the groundbreaking was decidedly jubilant, even after a full day of festivities.


Retired local farmer Barney Chase, attorney Charles M. Napoli with Judy and Tom Allen; Gallatin, New York Town Supervisor John Reilly emerges from the dunk tank.


Andres Vialpando and Anthony Silvia of Anthony Silvia Signs; Ann Simmons of the Little Nine Partners Historical Society with Brett McCormack and Josh Nathanson of Gathering Greens, which opened at the Grange Hall Monday.


The present condition and future vision for theater space in the PPMH.


Volunteer Gully Stanford and Louis Loeb; Ken and Ruth Noskin with their dog Rasa.


The current condition of the side of the hall, surrounded by partygoers; the future of the same view represented in model form.


Debra Bartlett and Gabriela Montenegro behind their booth for doTerra Wellness Advocate; Peter and Brittany Destler representing their family’s shop, A New Leaf Used Books.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 05/22/17 at 07:20 AM • Permalink

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Guests Rock To A New Riff At The Berkshire Museum

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. The guitar is such a ubiquitous instrument that one tends to take it for granted. Until, that is, one takes in the Berkshire Museum’s current exhibition: “Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked the World.” The traveling collection, on loan from the National Guitar Museum, opened on Friday, May 19 with a debut party that featured music by the Berkshire Jazz Collective [at left] and food from Just Kickin’ It Bar-Be-Que. On display are 80 specimens of guitars (and guitar-like instruments) — many of them rare and antique. The exhibit also includes stations examining the science of sound, plenty of hands-on interactive stations, and videos and photographs of famous guitarists in history. The exhibit runs through Sept. 4.


Museum director Van Shields, board member Missy Scarafoni , Jen Hines and Steve Oakes; Maryellen Vincent and David Vincent with David Harrington of Lee Bank.


Jim Wojtaszek of Greylock Federal Credit Union, the exhibit’s sponsor, with Debbie Wojtaszek, who says her husband is “an awesome guitar player.”


Amy Bozek with Leah Thompson of BART Charter Public School; Alison Farkas and Matthew Farkas of October Mountain Financial Advisors.


Veronica Martin and Daniel Underhill.


Taking a special interest in the Fender Stratocaster are luthiers Darren Rahilly and Don Sweener, who own Firepit Guitars in Pittsfield; Ted Burdick, Chloe Geffken and Caroline Tegeler.


Matthew McLain serenades his colleagues from Greylock Federal: Meghan McGrath, Jordyn Mason and Kellie Canino.


Matt Scarafoni, president and founder of Scarafoni Financial Group and Dave Neubert; Ted DiPietro, a musician who works at General Dynamics and Alisa Costa, the initiative director at Working Cities Pittsfield.


The world’s largest guitar, certified by Guinness World Records, is 43.5 feet long and 16 feet wide.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/21/17 at 12:23 PM • Permalink

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Welcome To West Stockbridge: Turn Park Art Space Opens

Amy Krzanik reports from West Stockbridge. Turn Park Art Space, a contemporary sculpture park and community gathering spot, opened to a large and eager crowd on Sunday, May 14. The Park’s architects and founders spoke about the conception of the site, about its construction, and about plans for its future growth and myriad uses. Newly elected West Stockbridge Selectman Bernie Fallon formally welcomed the project’s team to town. In what had been (and continued to be) a very rainy spot of weather for the region, the sun shone brightly down on Turn Park for the length of the opening event, allowing for a true celebratory mood. Both young and old came to walk the paths, as well as to veer off into the fields for pop-up “happenings” – stories, songs and skits from Brooklyn’s Floating Tower. Read RI’s recent article about Turn Park Art Space.



Turn Park architect Alexander Konstantinov with West Stockbridge Selectman Bernie Fallon; Eugene Mamut and Irina Borisova of AniMagic.


George Cox, Iin Puranti and Rya; Turn Park architect Grigori Fateyev and James Culliton, a principal at Allegrone Construction, the Park’s general contractor.


View of the Gatehouse from Brussels Square; Ekaterina “Katya” Brezgunova and sculptor Gene Montez Flores, whose work is featured in the Park.


Colin Harrington, Lisa Harvey, Deborah Balmuth and Jonathan Ginzberg.


Matthew Chester, Catherine Shearn Chester and their daughter, Leah; Turn Park founders Igor Gomberg and Ekaterina Brezgunova address the crowd.


The Dauphine of Brussels Sprouts (a.k.a. Alyona Gomberg.)


Visitors enjoyed complimentary food and drink from local establishments; The Megaphonics (a.k.a. Chris Okawa and Kierna Conner).


Members of Floating Tower parade through Turn Park.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/16/17 at 12:58 PM • Permalink

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CATA Makes The “Everyday” Extraordinary

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Although we may wear different “hats,” we’re all just everyday people who share more similarities than we do differences. The students and teachers of Community Access to the Arts (CATA) explored this theme in their annual performances on Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14 at Shakespeare & Company. At Saturday evening’s gala performance, “Everyday People” included all of the things CATA fans love most about the organization’s shows: creative and colorful juggling routines, a brand-new dance choreographed by the inimitable Dawn Lane, music, skits, and comedy from “stand-up” guy Scott Thomas. The cocktail and dinner portions of the evening, catered by Firefly, gave supporters a chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones. DJ BFG continued the good vibes with an after-dinner dance party. Funds raised from the events, including the gala’s live auction, help CATA foster and celebrate the artistry of people with disabilities in the Berkshires and Columbia County. [Above: Gala committee co-chair Claudia Perles with Natalie Neubert and Robin Slick.]


Jonathan Swartz, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Director Pamela Tatge, Rebecca Newman and her mother, CATA founder Sandra Newman; Mass. State Senator Adam Hinds with Cherri Sanes and Scott Sanes of ExtraSpecialTeas in Great Barrington.


Board and gala committee member Sharon Mozian with Amanda and Daniel Weil; Anne Schnesel, Cindy and Jeff Caminiti, and Lauren Smith.


Illustrator Elwood Smith with author Will Osborne and Janice Kittner.


Steve Bankert and Casey Jones; Anamyn Turowski, who is a member of CATA’s writing faculty, with board member Elaine Radiss and Eddie Allen, a faculty member who teaches improv.


The CATAdirect crew: Kara Smith, Trena Heinrich, Elaine Myers, Jane Johnson and Sandy Van; Jen Salinetti of Woven Roots Farm with author Rachel Urquhart.


Brett Goldberg, CEO of Synqware, with daughter Isa Goldberg, board member John Whalen, and Robin and David Slick.


Ilana Seigal, Andrea Blacklow, Jocelyn McGrath and Ellen Gorman; Marie Erwin, Sarah Burdsall, board member Kate Burdsall, Berkcirque’s Jill Fleming, a faculty member who teaches juggling, and Steve Bankert.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/15/17 at 05:34 PM • Permalink

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Raising Glasses And Funds For The Berkshire Music School

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. There were toasts…and toasts…and toasts to the Berkshire Music School at its wine pairing dinner on Tuesday, May 9 at the Castle Street Café. And although there was a special wine selected for each course, the cheer could be attributed to the purpose of the evening, which was to raise funds to benefit the school’s scholarship fund. Each year, BMS awards $16,000 in merit scholarships for students to take music lessons; no one is ever turned away from lessons if they can’t afford it. The evening began with hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction, and between the main course and dessert, the high-money live auction included tickets to “Hello Dolly”! (now on Broadway starring Bette Midler) and a Tanglewood/Guido’s package. “It’s for the little kids,” repeated board vice president Jeff Bradway (above, with school director Tracy Wilson) as he encouraged guests to up their bids. But the truth is, the school is populated as much with older students as it is with the young ‘uns. In fact, the oldest student is 93, proving you’re never too old to learn new music.


Tommie Hutto-Blake and Andrea Pecor, both from Beckett, Mass.; Sarah Novak and Sam Craig, whose wife, Kate Barton, is president of the Board of Trustees.


Mary Albertson, Dick Lipton and Bianca Wallen; Lynn Edelstein and Betsy Dovydenas, a painter.


David Hall and Marianne Hall, who is secretary of the Board of Trustees.


David Buxton, Lisa Avery, a performing artist, and Sheri James Buxton, cabaret singer who is also the music school’s outreach coordinator and instructor of the cabaret program; BMS registrar Sandy Moderski manages the “pick a number, get a bottle of wine for $20” lottery.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/09/17 at 10:58 PM • Permalink

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The Proprietors Ball Celebrates Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow

Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. We go to a lot of great parties, but rarely does a gala feel like a significant historical event as did the Proprietors Ball at Hudson Hall at the Historic Hudson Opera House on Saturday, April 22. The party, which officially opened the fully restored and renovated hall at the center of Hudson’s cultural life, was a celebration of both the end of a long journey to return the hall to its past glory and the anticipation for all that is to come. There was a ribbon cutting, cocktails, and great food and entertainment sourced from Hudson’s diverse and hyper-talented arts community. Celebrating the work of the Opera Hall’s tireless staff, its board and its throngs of donors, the Proprietors Ball ushered in a new era for the venue and the city. The expectations for Hudson Hall moving forward are unenviably high right now, but it’s not just the gorgeous renovations that have us confident in the Hall’s future, it’s the people in these pictures, who run, support and love this building and all it represents. [Above: Proprietors Ball co-chair Richard McCarthy and Hudson Hall Executive Director Gary Schiro.]


Rick Sharp, Meredith Kane, Frances Spark and Michel Goldberg; President of the Columbia County Historical Society James Guidera, CCHS Executive Director Lori Yarotsky and David Forer.


Designer Harold Streitman, NY1 anchor and reporter Tamani Wooley and artist Gene DeBartolo; Columbia Land Conservancy Executive Director Peter Paden, President of the Olana Partnership Sean Sawyer and Executive Director of the Columbia-Greene Hospital Foundation Betsy Gramkow.


Hudson Hall co-director Tambra Dillon, New York State Assembly Member Didi Barrett and Hudson Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton.


Monique Heeremans and Michiel van Dijk; Maryna Bilak Haughton and Maurice Haughton.


Peter Bevacqua, Mayor Hamilton, Stephen King and Friends of Clermont Board Vice President Mary Ellen Ross; Deidre and Jonathan Meier, Mary Ellen Higbee and Hudson Hall Board Treasurer Jack Higbee with Maureen and Stephen Hansen.


Artist Dan Taulapapa, theater artist Andrew Loren Resto and founder of the Second Ward Foundation Walter Sudol.


Ann Artschwager and Natt Wieland; Director of Dancers Responding to AIDS Denise Roberts Hurlin, Executive Director of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site Betsy Jacks and DRA Development Officer Sarah Cardillo.


Clarinetist Paul Green, Rural Intelligence editor Lisa Green, Gwen Gould and Ed Grossman; The downstairs gallery was wall-to-wall revelry during the Ball’s opening cocktail hour as guests waited to get up into the refurbished Hall.


Thad Thomas and Laura Haspel; Despina Leandrou, Anne Schomaker and Michael Laudati.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 04/23/17 at 08:39 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Country Day School Fulfills Its Promise

Lisa Green reports from Stockbridge. We could all learn a thing or two from Berkshire Country Day School. Such as: how to complete a capital campaign in which you surpass your goal and upgrade facilities without taking on any additional debt. The SRO crowd at the cocktail reception in the school’s new multi-level learning hub on Saturday, April 7 came also to celebrate the life of Kevin Hirt, a former BCD student who died of a rare pediatric cancer at age 10, and who requested that his college fund money be donated to help build a new library. But there’s more: next door to the Kevin Hirt Library and Learning Commons is the Kim and James Taylor Music/Performance Room, a space designed to foster musical creativity and experimentation. Money raised for the project totaled $3,240,202 and not only supported the new building but strengthens the school’s faculty endowment. Speaking to the guests, Kevin’s parents, Paul Hirt and Lynn Campana, talked about Kevin’s legacy, and Head of School Paul Lindenmaier thanked the many supporters. BCD is a 71-year-old independent school in Stockbridge, Mass. for students from preschool through grade 9. [Above, Despite the sadness of Kevin’s death, Lynn Campana and Paul Hirt tells stories about their son that make the teary-eyed crowd laugh.]



Head of School Paul Lindenmaier with Joseph Lewis of Allegrone Construction, the facility’s builder; Paige Orloff and Claire Naylor Pollart, both previous board chairs, flank Robin Slick, whose child attends BCD.


Charlie O’Brien, president of Adams Community Bank, a contributor to the music room (site of the Adams Community Bank Stage) and Lisa O’Brien; Attending the reception were aunts, uncle and grandfather of Kevin: Alberta Hirt, Randy Hirt, Pam Calvert-Hirt and Robert Hirt.


Paul Lindenmaier; sciente teacher Tim Gore, Hilary Dunne Ferrone, campaign committee co-chair; Cara Vermeulen, board president; Lynn Campana and Paul Hirt.


Christopher Ferrone, campaign co-chair and treasurer of the board of directors; Cara Vermeulen and Lance Vermeulen of Lance Vermeulen Real Estate; Claire Naylor Pollart, Alendandra Heddinger, director of admissions, and Jessica Provenz, campaign associate.


Faculty members Katherine Allentuck and Andrea Patel flank Tina Petricca, a BCD alum; Trustee Stephanie Buchanan with David Silver and Marine Penvern, a BCD mom.


Snowflakes were swirling, but it was warm inside Furey Hall, originally built in 1895 as a cow barn. The art studios on the second story have also been renovated.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 04/09/17 at 02:05 PM • Permalink

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Hudson Children’s Book Fest Literacy Fundraiser

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. A great cause deserves a great turnout, so it’s always a pleasure to see a large crowd of supporters congregate at the annual cocktail party fundraiser for the Hudson Children’s Book Festival Literacy Fund. Held at Stair Galleries on Warren Street for the past three years, the party is a way to assure that each Hudson City School District student is able to attend and to purchase a book of his or her choice at the summertime Festival. As the Fund’s co-founders, Chris Jones and Susan Simon, reminded the audience at the April 1 event, 73 percent of Hudson’s children live in poverty. The Fund, which became a certified 501(c)3 this year, has so far given away more than 2,000 books in its quest to instill the love of reading in area students. Along with last year’s creation of the Thumb’s Up book review program, the project has added a Young Writers Program, and the crowd was treated to readings by two of its participants — high school students Karrie-Ann Silvernail and Ingrid Kildiss. In addition to these ventures, the Fund works to bring a diverse array of authors to speak in classrooms, add new books to and replace much-loved classics in the city’s school libraries, and more. This year’s Festival is set for Saturday, May 6. [Above, Book Fest director Jen Clark with Melissa Brown, a board member and Hudson city school teacher.]


Simon Martinez, Susan Simon, Chris Davies and John Mahoney; Rob Bujan and Jeffrey Perry with board member and HCBF co-founder Lisa Dolan.


Kylie Heidenheimer, Jonathan Lerner and John Hunka; Katrina Wilbur and board member Jennifer Merwin-Domkoski.


Stephen King and Peter Bevacqua; Owen Davidson, board member Martha McMaster, Chris Jones and Mark Prezorski, who is now Olana State Historic Site’s senior vice president and creative director.


Darcy and Carolyn from 2 Note Hudson, also on Warren Street, supplied the ambience.


Arthur Baker, board member Agi Clark, Jacqueline Wilder, Martha McMaster and Sheldon Evans; Hudson Area Library volunteer Lucy Nathanson with the Library’s director, Emily Chameides.


Susan Simon and William Stone; Hudson high school students Ingrid Kildiss and Karrie-Ann Silvernail flank their writing teacher, Gail Wheeler.


Liz Nealon, Wendy Schmalz Wilde, Seymour Simon and Greg Powell; Michael Susi and Pamela Salisbury.


Keith and Katherine Kanaga flank a board member of the HCBF Literacy Fund, Virginia Martin; Melissa Brown, Peter Meyer, Ellen Thurston, host of the Thursday Afternoon Show on WGXC, and Janet Kealy.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 04/02/17 at 03:03 PM • Permalink

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Flying Deer Supporters Shake What Mother Nature Gave Them

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. If you were in downtown Lenox this past Saturday night, March 25, and heard thundering drumbeats in the distance, they were coming from The Berkshire Bateria who were performing for a packed house upstairs at the Lenox Community Center. Flying Deer Nature Center had booked the band for its “Shake Your Tail” Dance Party fundraiser, and the crowd needed no extra encouragement to do just that. Supporters took to the floor to shake off the week to Bateria’s samba sounds. Volunteers served up snacks, brews from The Beer Diviner in Troy, New York, and signature Flying Deer cocktails such as The Tom Brown Collins, The Stalking Wolf Swizzle and Berkshire Bateria Sangria. Flying Deer Nature Center, located in New Lebanon, New York, is a nonprofit nature education organization offering summer camps, school and homeschool programs for kids aged 4 to 17, coming-of-age programs for adolescents, adult programs and corporate trainings throughout Berkshire and Columbia counties, as well as in the Albany and New York City regions. Proceeds from the dance party benefit the Center’s Financial Assistance Fund. [Above, Lily, a Bateria drummer, poses with Bella and Beatrice.]


Emily Moraes of Radiance and Yoga GB with Aiden, and her sister, actress Ruby Littman; Willow Stron with Dan Hegerich of Berkshire Bateria.


Sara and Adam Heller; Katherine Simmons, board member Jane Bernstein and Meredith O’Connor.


Board member Malene Waldron and board chair Meg Agnew, with Flying Deer executive director Michelle Apland, program director Devin Franklin and their daughter, Wren.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 03/27/17 at 11:24 AM • Permalink

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Season Celebration: What’s New At WCMA

Amy Krzanik reports from Williamstown. Before studying in London, Los Angeles and New York City, and seeing his paintings hung in galleries around the world, artist Meleko Mokgosi graduated from Williams College in 2007. Therefore, his solo exhibition at the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA), Lex and Love, can be seen as a sort of homecoming. The artist was on hand to speak to admirers at a spring celebration of three new shows at the museum on Thursday, March 16. Along with Mokgosi’s exhibit, which features two new chapters in his Democratic Intuition project, the event feted Robert Rauschenberg: Autobiography, which combines archival documents and original works and focuses on the artist himself; and Accession Number, which highlights pieces WCMA acquired from 1960 to 1962 and questions what the museum was given, why, and what work was prioritized or overlooked. [Above: WCMA director Christina Olsen and Meleko Mokgosi.]


Olivier Meslay, director of The Clark, with Lea Stephenson and Michael Hartman, current Williams College graduate students; Nina Pelaez, assistant curator of public programs at WCMA, with WCMA exhibition manager Kate Barber and Amanda Tobin of MASS MoCA.


Ghana ThinkTank participants Agung Geger, Wisnu Wisdantio and Agus Tri Budiarto of Lifepatch; Williams art history student Alex Jen with Joe Cruz, a philosophy professor at the college.


WCMA director Christina Olsen welcomes the crowd to the opening.


Ashley Drake and Amanda Bell; Lisa Dorin, WCMA’s deputy director of curatorial affairs, with Meleko Mokgosi, Christina Olsen and MASS MoCA curator Denise Markonish.


Marco Antonio Flores, Julie Reiter, Jenna Marvin and Eve Rosekind; Susan and Phil Smith are Mokgosi’s generous hosts while he’s in Williamstown.


Ghana ThinkTank is currently installed in the Rotunda; a piece from the exhibit Robert Rauschenberg: Autobiography.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 03/20/17 at 12:54 PM • Permalink

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Lenox Shows The Love For Sculptor Andrew DeVries

Lisa Green reports from Lenox. “We came to support our friend and fellow merchant,” said many of the guests attending a benefit for master sculptor Andrew DeVries at Ventfort Hall on Saturday evening, March 3. The award-winning bronze artist, who has a gallery on Church Street in Lenox, lost his foundry (in Middlefield, Mass.) in a devastating fire the day after Thanksgiving. His molds and many of his works of art were also lost. But the outpouring of support for DeVries and his wife, Patricia Purdy, has been extraordinary, and the proceeds from this event, spearheaded by the Lenox Chamber, will help fill the coffers so that DeVries can rebuild his foundry. Ventfort Hall donated the space, Nejaime’s provided the beer and wine; others (including James Taylor) offered items for the silent auction. The artist’s drawings that survived the fire — singed around the edges — have been framed by a merchant and were on display (and for sale). Clearly respected and loved by the community, DeVries thanked his friends and supporters. “The artwork comes through my hands, and it’s a gift,” he said, “but all of you are the gift to me.” [Above, Patricia Purdy and Andrew DeVries.]


Natalie Tublitz and Susan Frisch Lehrer, who worked at Chesterwood when DeVries first exhibited there; Fran Fowler, Beth Joppru and Andy Mick.

Dennis Messana and Victoria Ross, real estate agent at Stone House Properties.


Consultant Christine Singer and Ken Singer, CEO of Berkshire County Arc, who own several of DeVries’ pieces, including a bust of Ken Singer’s mother; Jamie Trie, marketing director of the Lenox Chamber of Commerce, and Autumn Ni Dubhghaill, artist and musician.


Chocolate Springs chocolates decorated with DeVries images.


Tracy Hiltpold, Jeff Hiltpold and Marj Hastings; DeVries thanks his supporters.


Nancy Garton and Barry Garton of Adams; Pieter Vanschaick and Suzannah Vanschaick, recently retired from their Lenox business, Second Home.


Chesterwood staffers past and present gathered for sentimental reasons: Chesterwood was DeVries’ first museum collaboration, and also where he met his wife, who managed the gift shop.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/04/17 at 01:13 PM • Permalink

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BAA’s Annual RAP Party Draws A Creative Crowd

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Pittsfield’s 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival, held for 10 days each February, is an ingenious way to bring residents out of hibernation to attend or participate in readings, concerts, plays, dance performances, children’s activities and more all throughout the city’s downtown. One of the most popular events of the Festival is the Berkshire Art Association’s (BAA) Real Art Party (RAP), held this past Thursday evening, Feb. 23 at the Berkshire Museum. Not only a great way to expose the work of local artists to possible fans, it’s also a way for art lovers to take home a painting, photograph, collage or other piece (ceramics, leatherwork, etc.) for only $25. In keeping with the theme, the 137 creations are 10”x10” and are awarded by raffle — ticketholders are allowed to choose an artwork when their name is called. Proceeds from the sold-out event benefit the BAA college fellowships, art field trip grants for Berkshire high schools, and free admission for art students to the Berkshire Museum. [Above, BAA board members Jayme Kurland, Michael Vincent Bushy, Carrie Wright, Danielle Steinmann and Jenn Gomez.]


Ogden Gigli, Kat Whitney and John Ryall; watercolor artist Amanda Harrington and Mary Ellen Devanny, who donated two pieces to the show.


Artist Jacqueline Pelzek with Dan Cohen, who was lucky enough to be picked fifth in the raffle and chose Pelzick’s “Applause;” Regina Burgio, Wren Bernstein, whose work is featured in the show, and Elisa Mishory.


Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer with Dianne DiNicola and Bonnie Hoskeer-Kirchner; Ann and Marty Phillips chose an artwork by Carol Kelly.


Anselm Bradford and Sara Lelyveld; Larry Strauss, Fran Weinberg and Roger Gutwillig, who works in the Communications department at the museum.


Julia Dixon and Gwendolyn Bird both donated artwork to the raffle; Lucie Castaldo’s “Curiosity Cabinet.”


“In the Barn Again” by Sandra A. Rawson; Jared Gelormino’s name came up second in the raffle and he chose Bill Wright’s “Lux et Veritas.”

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/26/17 at 08:43 PM • Permalink

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Happy Feet: The Hudson Charity Sock Auction

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. More than 80 knitters and bidders crowded into Verdigris Tea & Chocolate on Warren Street for the very first Charity Sock Auction on Saturday evening, Feb. 18. The event, sponsored by Countrywool and Neighborhood Knitters of Hudson, was an ingenious way to supply neighbors with warm winter socks, which are a much-needed but rarely donated charity item. The live auction, led by Rupert Fennell, raised more than $3,000, which will be donated to The Salvation Army of Hudson to purchase thermal wool socks. Each of the 34 donated hand-knit sock pairs – which ranged from men’s striped to women’s silk to children’s booties – included a gift certificate stuffed inside, provided by one of 30 local businesses, making this a true community-wide effort and allowing even non-knitters a chance to participate. To add a little drama to the already brisk bidding action, one pair contained a $100 bill generously donated by one of the knitters.  


Lauren Osterhoudt, Elizabeth Schneider, auction knitter Nicky Sacco-Brown and her husband, Roy Brown, wearing a sweater Nicky made; Marlene Marshall and Betsy Miller.


Auctioneer Rupert Fennell with auction assistant and sock knitter Sarah Price; bidder Kitty Mackey and knitters Amanda Henry of Elder Living Strategies and Laura Teague of MELT Body and Skin, a generous auction prize donor.


Never stop knitting: at least seven future clothing items were created during the auction.


Bob Weinman and Carol Doerfer of the Salvation Army Advisory Board; a sample of the 34 warm and colorful lots up for bidding.


Sarah Price displays the current pair up for grabs as Rupert Fennell leads off the bidding at $35; merino and nylon cat socks.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/19/17 at 07:23 PM • Permalink

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TAG’s Annual Erotica Show Titillates In Tivoli

Amy Krzanik reports from Tivoli. Mid-February in the Northeast can be gray, both in spirit and surroundings, but that makes it all the more fitting a time to celebrate love, laughter and lingerie (and the lack thereof). Which is why the Tivoli Artists Gallery (TAG) plans its popular Annual Erotica Show for this time of year and celebrates with an opening reception full of sexy, light-hearted fun. This year’s event was held on Saturday, Feb. 11 and the exhibit featured more than 30 artists working in many formats. Not only paintings and photographs, but works of sculpture, collage and mixed media were shown next to cut-paper night-lights, decorated tiles and sparklingly suggestive art boxes. Cait Johnson and friends created a cabaret performance for the occasion, with live music from Joe Tobin of Acoustic Medicine Show and an appearance by belly-dancer Donna Barrett. Members created and sold erotic edibles – a selection of cookies, chocolates, eclairs and cupcakes in the shape of hearts and other human anatomy. Proceeds from the event benefit the non-for-profit gallery. Above: “Nude No. 3 (Blue Stockings),” one of three exhibited pieces by Oleg Menin.


Ania Aldrich, whose work is featured in the show, with Nikita Minin; Marcia Slatkin and Dan Maciejak stand near Slatkin’s collage, “CEOs Offer Full Disclosure.”


Kathleen Mandeville with a Medusa headpiece and Fre Atlast with an erotic edible; Oleg Minin, whose painting is featured above, and Denise Minin.


Cecilia Hapeman and Anne Blum of Tivoli attended the opening to support Patrick Lazarus, here with fellow artist Paul Sandiford, both of whom have work in the show.


Belly-dancer Donna Barrett mesmerized the crowd.


Mindy Nowik and Niio Vuori; Jason Doino with Mark Bernard.


TAG member Peggy Farrington and TAG treasurer Marie Cole helped serve snacks and refreshments; Cait Johnson penned the evening’s live show and Rebecca Singer performed.


J.P. Ward and Veronica Stork; cut-paper night-lights by Ella Davidson and Mary Untalan.


“Pink and Yellow Nudes” by Karl J. Volk; “Look Inside,” a mixed media piece by Ginger Long.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/13/17 at 01:51 PM • Permalink

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A Race In The Makers’ Space At ‘100 Hours In The Woodshed’

Amy Krzanik reports from North Adams. 100 Hours in the Woodshed, a collage marathon and exhibition co-founded by local artist Danny O, celebrated its fifth year when it kicked off with a reception on Thursday, Jan. 26. The marathon itself followed, beginning at 6 p.m. and lasting 100 hours (hence the name) until Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 10 p.m. During that time, the artists shown below (along with fellow creators Suzi Banks Baum, Gwendolyn Bird, Kathline Carr, Valerie Carrigan, Misa Chappell, Peter Dudek, EkkaLyra, Lilianna Espanola, Laurie Goddard, Victoria Jefferies, David Lachman, Michael McKinley, Mark Mulherrin, Jim Peters, Rich Remsberg, Anne Roecklein and Ann Scott) worked their cut-and-paste magic downtown at The Makers’ Mill and at the Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts, where the opening reception was held on Thursday, Feb. 2. During the marathon, those interested in art could stop by either venue and watch the different ways artists went about the process of creating. See the finished products for yourself at the Eclipse Mill Gallery from now until Feb. 26.


Eclipse Mill Gallery manager Julia Dixon with Woodshed co-founder, artist Danny O; artists Debi Pendell and Zan Klain in front of two of Klain’s collages.


William Archer, an artist in the show, with Silas Sima, an artist from Belfast, Maine; Melanie Mowinski, whose work is seen below, with fellow Woodshed contributor Michelle Daly and her mother, Peg Daly.


Lucie Castaldo‘s 3D Woodshed creation.


Sharon and Ed Carson, who call the Eclipse Mill home, stopped by to support their fellow artists; Bill and Francie Riley, artists and owners of the Real Eyes Gallery on Park Street in Adams, Mass., pose with artist Arthur De Bow.


Open up and take a peek inside Melanie Mowinski’s 3D collage; Lynn Gall poses in front of her collages created for the exhibit.


Collage from Woodshed co-founder Danny O.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/06/17 at 01:27 PM • Permalink

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Spencertown Academy Makes Plans For Its Future

Amy Krzanik reports from Spencertown. “This building has been a treasured fixture of this community for 170 years, and it’s hard to imagine Spencertown without it,” said Nick Van Alstine, board president of the Spencertown Academy Arts Center, at the group’s 28th annual Revels fundraiser on Saturday evening, Jan. 28. The Academy has been around since 1972, but the building in which it is housed has been standing since 1847, and the Greek Revival structure, a former schoolhouse, has seen better days. After guests mingled over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, but before they dispersed to attend a handful of intimate dinners at local homes, Van Alstine addressed the crowd. He listed some urgent repairs needed to keep the building standing, and introduced phase one which focuses on repairing the roof, cornice and bell tower. While discussing the repairs, Van Alstine was upbeat, noting that major donors had already come forward with funds for the initial phase. The Center hosts free and low-cost community events throughout the year, including art exhibitions and its popular Garden Market on the Green in the summertime and Festival of Books each Labor Day weekend. It also supports art in the public schools, and serves as a meeting and performance space for other area nonprofits. [Above, Bill and Sandi Suk flank Michele Chase.]


Major Academy supporters John and Denise Dunne flank dinner hosts Christian Dewailly and Liz Garger; former board member Betsy Howard and current board member David Highfill.


Board member Jill Kalotay poses with Academy supporter Lee Magadini, a teacher at the Berkshire Waldorf High School; dinner hosts Chris Ferrone and Hilary Dunne Ferrone with Rupert Fennell.


Norma Cohen, a curator on the Gallery Committee, with actress Linda Lavin, Steve Bakunas and Allen Cohen.


Artist and dinner host Linda Horn with Revels committee member Cindy Atkins, board member and Revels co-chair Judith Choate and the Academy’s Eve Zatt; George Jahn and Sally Norvell.


Dinner hosts Debby Roth and Alan Kaufman with Revels co-chair Anita Fiorillo; Harry Petchesky with Rae Gilson.


Dr. Tim Chase, Rich Bilotti, Bill Collins and Bill Suk; Jeffrey Rosenthal, president of All American Contracting, and Helaine Ciporen.


Board members Jill Kalotay, Judith Choate, Nick Van Alstine, Madaline Sparks, Jo-Anne Bilotti and David Highfill.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 01/30/17 at 10:45 AM • Permalink

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Culture Rules At 1Berkshire’s Creative Resources Conference

Lisa Green reports from North Adams. The new administration in D.C. may threaten to shut down the NEA, but artists, creative entrepreneurs, arts administrators and non-profit cultural organizations in the Berkshires will always have 1Berkshire. The organization, which focuses on economic development, hosted its second Creative Resources Conference on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at MASS MoCA. Nearly 100 participants braved a slushy, sleety mess to attend panels and workshops geared to artists and creative entrepreneurs, which featured a keynote address by Cathy Edwards, executive director of New England Foundation for the Arts. Since one of the main goals of 1Berkshire is to provide opportunities for Berkshire creatives to network, the full day’s program ended with a reception next door at Bright Ideas Brewing. [Above, Bill Bean, one of the day’s presenters, with Suzy Helme, director of events for the city of North Adams.]


Walter McTeigue of McTeigue & McClelland, David Curtis of 1Berkshire and Seth Nash of Blue Q; Gallerist Natalie Tyler with Jonathan Butler, 1Berkshire’s executive director.


Michael Cohen of catchinteract, Brendan Burns, director of Stepstone Art Resources, and Jamie Odegaard, a freelance business operator.


Jonathan Swartz, Daniel Parkins, who is currently working with Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, and jewelry designer Robin Sills; 1Berkshire’s Laura Wolf Brennan and Milton Ferguson.


Jacob’s Pillow staffers Thasia Giles and Abby Wood flank Randal Fippinger, producing director of the ‘62 Center at Williams College.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/24/17 at 07:31 PM • Permalink

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The Four Freedoms Ring Loud And Strong In Pittsfield, Mass.

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. Those of us who live in or visit the land of Norman Rockwell are intimately familiar with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech through the Rockwell paintings depicting freedom from fear, freedom from want, freedom of speech and freedom of religion (on view at the Norman Rockwell Museum). On a cold Saturday, Jan. 7 — the 76th anniversary of FDR’s famous speech — more than 1,500 people walked the talk in Pittsfield, Mass. at the Four Freedoms March and Rally. The event was spearheaded by the Four Freedoms Coalition, a new, non-partisan, diverse coalition of over 150 community groups, nonprofit organizations, businesses and elected officials. To an over-capacity crowd at First Church of Christ, speeches by U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, U.S. Congressman Richard Neal, Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, James Roosevelt (grandson of FDR), Dennis Powell, president of the Berkshire County Branch of the NAACP, and others emphasized the coalition’s mission: to uphold the American values as stated in the Four Freedoms, reject all forms of bigotry, hate and prejudice, and defend and reclaim the Four Freedoms for all people. Markey urged the diverse audience to remain true to their revolutionary roots by fighting for the values they believe in. “We are not just any state,” he said. “We are the state that begins these revolutions.” Responses to the speeches — and interactions among the participants — were overwhelmingly positive. “This isn’t a rally against anything,” Timothy Mahon, a professor at Williams College, told The Berkshire Eagle. “This is in support of the ideals of the United States.” [Above, inveterate organizer Megan Whilden with Sen. Ed Markey.]


At St. Joseph’s Church, the gathering place for the march, participants were encouraged to create their own signs; Tobi Lanciano and Ellen Lanciano, owners of Tobi’s Limo, flank Jeanet Ingalls and social media consultant Eugenie Sills as they all wait for the march to start.


Pam Rich of Paul Rich and Sons and Sarah Frenkel prepare to march.


Nan Bookless of BookMarc Creative shows off her 4 Freedoms sign; Tina Maffuccio and Joe Maffuccio, a para professional and teacher, respectively, at Reid Middle School, join the crowd.


Marchers head indoors for the rally. Photo: Nan Bookless.


Jason Verschot and Joseph Farnes, both of Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition, flank Peter Marchetti, Pittsfield City Council president (and a speaker at the rally) and Mass. State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier; The packed church. Photo: Nan Bookless.


Coalition partners to set up “action tables” at the church following the rally to encourage community members to “commit to one concrete action;” Rosemary Rahns and Chris Tucci of Railroad Street Youth Project at their action table.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/08/17 at 01:37 PM • Permalink

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Memorable Parties of 2016

There’s nothing we at RI love more than covering the region’s galas; it’s the perfect opportunity to visit with wonderful old friends, meet interesting new ones, and taste the delicious food and drink produced right here at home. That’s why picking only a handful of parties for our year-end wrap-up is always so difficult. We’d like to thank the residents of this region for being so generous with their time, talent and funding of organizations that improve the quality of life in our area and make residing here a joy. Below is a sampling of the galas, gallery openings, fetes and festivals that make our jobs so fun. (Click here to relive all of 2016’s parties.)

Celebrating a Century Huge congratulations were in order this summer as The Columbia County Historical Society blew out the candles on its 100th birthday cake. The centennial celebration made this year’s First Columbians gala that much more significant.

Go BIFF or Go Home The Berkshire International Film Festival knows how to throw a big-time bash to open its annual film festival, and this year’s was another high-style affair in Great Barrington that included special guest Yo-Yo Ma and a 20-foot pagoda. 

HVA All Day A rare daytime event (because who doesn’t love a late brunch?), The Housatonic Valley Association’s annual fundraiser raised an impressive amount of money thanks to auction items that included tickets to Late Night with Seth Meyers and a meet-and-greet with the host himself, a private studio visit with Diane von Furstenberg, and a five-night stay in Tuscany.

Down on the Farm From cocktails in the Field House and tours of the Learning Garden to dinner in the fields, supporters had free reign of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook at the 9th annual Farm-to-Table Dinner.

We’re Wild About Wilderstein Even a gray day couldn’t dampen the spirits (or the stellar views of the Hudson River) at Wilderstein’s Summer Celebration. The Rhinebeck historic site’s main annual fundraiser saw a large turnout and lots of festive party hats.

Naumkeag Cuts the Ribbon Naumkeag’s Chinese Temple Garden received a facelift for its 60th birthday and a garden party for 300+ friends thrown by The Trustees of Reservations. Guests enjoyed Asian-inspired hors d’oeuvres and traditional Chinese performances while reveling in one of the best views in the Berkshires.

The Thrill of the Grill Judging by the successful turnout at the inaugural Grillsdale in Hillsdale, the tasting event will be making a comeback in 2017. When it does, we suggest snagging tickets early to this most delicious of competitions.

Chef Meet Farmer Jaw-dropping views of rolling hills, ponds and mountains? Check. A breakfast spread courtesy of 10 of the finest local restaurants, farms and food vendors? Check. The satisfaction of knowing you helped a great cause? Check. It’s no wonder tickets to this year’s NECC’s Chef & Farmer Brunch sold out.

Welcome to the Jungle Guns ‘n’ Roses would’ve approved of The Wassaic Project’s 2016 summer exhibition, Appetite for Destruction, as it shared the name of the group’s 1987 debut album. We thought pretty highly of it, too, and of the venue’s super fun opening event.

The Curtain Comes Up We love being privy to a good sneak preview of upcoming events, and Powerhouse Theater provided one when it kicked off its 32nd season with an opening party at Canvas in Poughkeepsie.

Famous Faces in Beautiful Places Blythe Danner, Parker Posey, Mary Stuart Masterson, Ally Sheedy, Rocco DiSpirito and many other famous faces showed up at the Fisher Center’s SummerScape Gala at Montgomery Place. And it’s no wonder they did, as guests were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime outdoor performance by ballet star Sergei Polunin. 

A New Home for the Hudson Library Seven years of hard work finally paid off when a joyous crowd got to officially enter and explore its new Hudson Area Library.

The Spirit of 1966 Around 300 people ventured out in the rain to help Olana State Historic Site celebrate its 50th birthday with ‘60s-inspired nibbles, tunes and decorations. Only a late-breaking thunder and lightning storm could break up this swinging soiree.

Everyone Knows Nancy In addition to its annual bash, IS183 Art School of the Berkshires threw its first-ever honoree event, the Fitzpatrick Fandango, this year to celebrate its 25th birthday and to thank philanthropist and IS183 co-founder Nancy Fitzpatrick.

The Spotlight Shines on The Sharon Playhouse The Sharon Playhouse Spotlight Gala paid tribute to the late composer Marvin Hamlisch and awarded his friend Glenn Close an inaugural “Excellence in Musical Theater” honor named after him. 

Black Leather and Feathers Berkshire Museum’s Raven’s Ball was adrift in ebony evening dresses, brocade vests, black leather pants, ascots and sable plumage… until the dinosaur showed up.

No Good Deed Goes Unpartied Berkshire United Way’s annual “Day of Caring” culminated in 50 book houses for children installed throughout the county, and, to celebrate, volunteers and sponsors let loose at Hancock Shaker Village.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/12/16 at 01:25 PM • Permalink

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NEPR Jazz Holiday Party Swings With Frank And Ella

Lisa Green reports from Hadley. Whether it was the opportunity to dress up (vintage style), dance to a traditional big band or meet the faces behind the mics, New England Public Radio listeners showed their support at the radio station’s second annual “Jazz Holiday Party” on Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Hadley Farms Meeting House. Hovering over the party were the spirits of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, who came to life through singers Rob Zappulla and Dawning Holmes, as they covered the tunes of the two jazz legends backed by the 18-piece Jeff Holmes Big Band. All proceeds from the evening will go directly to supporting the programs and services of NEPR. [Above, the station’s CEO and General Manager Martin Miller and Pete Sokolowski, substitute jazz host.]


Meg Reney and Tom Reney, host of the program “Jazz a la Mode”; The Jeff Holmes Big Band.


NEPR listeners apparently love to dance as much as they love jazz; Pam Malumphy, executive director of development and major gifts, with Rosie Caine, an NEPR board member, in their finest vintage attire.


Vanessa Cerillo, executive director of marketing and communications, with her sister, Lauren Cerillo.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/11/16 at 09:52 AM • Permalink

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Even In Its 20th Year, Hudson Winter Walk Never Gets Old

Lisa Green reports from Hudson. Is Hudson’s Winter Walk as delightful as billed? For this newbie, the answer would have to be yes, yes it is. On Saturday, December 3, parking was, as expected, a challenge, but once past that, the stroll on Warren Street (closed off to traffic) was a convivial mix of shopping, snacking, dining and greeting. Many of the shops sponsored festive activities — live music, dancing, art projects for the kids, not to mention food and drink; there was a petting zoo and an appearance by Santa’s reindeer (sporting some rather alarming antlers). This year’s event, presented by the Hudson Opera House on Saturday, Dec. 3, may have been additionally lively in honor of its 20th anniversary. “We love how creative Winter Walk is, and what it means for Hudson and the surrounding communities,” said Xrystya Szyjka (above, left) of Chatham, who attends every year with her sister, Olya Szyjka (right), from Amsterdam, New York. “Be sure to put in how inclusive it is,” she added. “That’s so important right now.”


Three generations of a family at Hudson Wine Merchants: Laurie Kaplan, Judy Kaplan and Rebeccah Bortz, hailing from Westchester, New Mexico and Manhattan, with a place in Taghkanic; Katie Kappes, Molly Darher and Isabel Newlin (wo)man the bar at Hudson Wine Merchants.


Lilly Becker and Samuel David check out the oils and vinegars at Savor the Taste.


The ladies of Lili and Lou: Proprietor Melinda Slover with Betty Lou Towart, Christina Saxton and Fetayo Cobbins; Jeremy Brunaccioni, Tim Grader and Gordon Alexander, all Massachusetts residents, at Talbott & Arding Cheese and Provisions.


Leslie Hughes and Brian Hughes, who have a home in Chatham, visit Casa Urbana.


The Etsy building and exterior emit an arts and craftsy glow; FINCH Hudson owners Michael Hofemann and Andrew Arrick.


Like many of the shops, 2 Note Botanical Perfumery offered live music among the merriment.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/05/16 at 10:48 AM • Permalink

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Bidding For Good At The Holiday Wreath Art Auction

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. What’s green, smells wonderful, helps make your house more festive, and provides food to the community? No, it’s not The Grinch after his heart grows three sizes (spoiler alert), it’s the Holiday Wreath Art Auction. The second annual event took place on Friday, Dec. 2 at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts during the city’s monthly First Fridays Artswalk. Local artists had previously adopted plain evergreen wreaths to decorate however they chose, and the 2016 class of Berkshire Community College’s “40 Under Forty” had created kissing balls. The balls, as well as a selection of “grab and go” wreaths were priced at $25. Ten of the more elaborate art wreaths were chosen for a live auction, where they went for $35 up to $305. The well-attended event, catered by Mission Bar + Tapas, raised over $3,000 for the city’s food pantries.


Jen Glockner, Pittsfield’s Director of Cultural Development, and Shiobbean Lemme; Melissa Bissell, John Bissell and Jen Gokey.


Ali Herrmann, Michael Vincent Bushy and Carrie Jean Converse, all local artists who created wreaths for the show; Colleen Meaney and Karen Choquette.


Tony Dunne and Julia Dixon with Lydia Shulman and Tony D’Angelo of The Beacon Cinema.


Jenn Smith and Bill Laviolette greeted guests, collected proceeds and passed out swag bags; Vincent and Heather McDermott with 1Berkshire’s Laura Brennan.


Participating artist Ann Dobrowolski with Dave and Sheli Turocy; wreath artists Karen Labanaro and Becky Armstrong.


One of the kissing balls, decorated with paper stars; Carrie Jean Converse’s wreath featured colorful birds.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/04/16 at 11:27 AM • Permalink

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Festival of Trees 2016: Berkshire Museum Goes Full Glamour

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. If you roll out the red carpet, the stars will come. All the big names were out on South Street on Friday, Nov. 18 as Berkshire Museum opened its 2016 Festival of Trees with an annual preview party. Now Playing, this year’s movie-themed exhibit, attracted famous faces from the Berkshires and the literal beyond – Charlie Chaplin and Joan Rivers made special appearances. As always, guests were treated to a first look at the trees as they sipped and snacked. And, because a trip to the movie theater isn’t complete without candy and popcorn, both were offered in abundance. The trees are sponsored by businesses, schools and community groups, and proceeds from the exhibition and opening event go toward the Museum’s 20,000-plus education programs each year. Now Playing will be up until Dec. 31.


Berkshire Museum’s executive director Van Shields and wife, artist Peggy Rivers, pose with Charlie Chaplin; Cara Carroll and Laurie Tierney of Dory & Ginger.


Bill and Hinda Bodinger of Berkshire Baby Box pose next to their tree; Judy Fox, Uli Nagel, Anne Legêne and the museum’s development manager Lo Sottile.


The flashbulbs go off for A-listers Kimberly Donoughe, James Campagna, Cassandra Sohn and Alex Sohn as they pose on the step and repeat.


Jen Hines, board member Bill Hines and the Museum’s Nina Garlington; Marc Wrzesinski and Nicolette Cook.


Bernadette Webb, Nicole Lewis and Liz Goclowski; Joan Rivers (Elaine Chez) greeted guests upon their arrival.


Joanne Keefe and her mother, Rosie Keefe, try to never miss a Festival of Trees; Josie Buzzanco and Bob Pothier.


Michael Vincent Bushy and Aliyah Klepetar at her first Festival of Trees; Carly Gaherty, Porter Wincuinas and Jenn Gomez.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/28/16 at 09:47 AM • Permalink

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Multicultural BRIDGE Honors Members Of The Community

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” reads the quote on the button that Berkshire County resident Tommie Hutto-Blake carries in her pocket. The sentiment, attributed to cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, serves as both a reassurance and a call to arms for grassroots organizations seeking change. One such group of citizens is Multicultural BRIDGE, a Lee, Mass. based organization that promotes mutual understanding and acceptance among diverse groups. BRIDGE held its annual awards ceremony at Kripalu on Friday evening, Nov. 17, where it debuted its Peggy McIntosh Equity and Justice Award. McIntosh [pictured left with award recipient Alex Leonard], a feminist and anti-racism activist, gave the evening’s keynote address before her namesake award was given to Reverend Natalie Shiras, Eugenie Sills and Marcia Savage. Additionally, the Cultural Competence Award was given to Wuane Johnstone, Dr. Jennifer Michaels, Marlena Willis and Ty Allan Jackson; the MaryAnn and Bob Norris Community Stewardship Award was given to Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn and John Bissell; the Young Activist Award to Alex Leonard and Elizabeth Orenstein; and the Servant Leadership Award to Hutto-Blake and Nataly Garzon. Senator-elect Adams Hinds read proclamations honoring the recipients from both the Mass. State Senate and Board of Representatives, and the evening concluded with an intimate yet rousing performance from beloved singer Wanda Houston and her band. You can read more about each award recipient on the Multicultural BRIDGE facebook page.


BRIDGE co-founder and executive director Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant with Nataly Garzon; interim vice president Carmen Dockery Perkins, Rev. Natalie Shiras and Marcia Savage.


Wuane Johnstone and Marlena Willis, board president of the Samuel Harrison House; Tommie Hutto-Blake and Elizabeth Orenstein.


Bret Vaks with board members Samantha Herrick and Stephen Glick, and board chairperson Eden-Reneé Hayes.


Adams Hinds and Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant; CATA‘s Margaret Keller and artist Terry Wise.


Casey Jones and Jay Wise, dentists in Lee, Mass. who are BRIDGE sponsors; Alex Leonard with his mother, Luci Leonard, and father, Reginald Leonard, Sr.


Jean Clarke-Mitchell, clinical director at the Elizabeth Freeman Center, and Dennis Powell, president of the Berkshire County branch of the NAACP; JV Hampton-VanSant, BRIDGE’s youth coordinator, with the organization’s Safara Fisher.


Wanda Houston and her band provided the post-ceremony tunes.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/20/16 at 07:51 PM • Permalink

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NWCT Celebrates Excellence In The Arts

Rachel Louchen reports from Torrington. Torrington’s illustrious Warner Theatre welcomed artists, writers, photographers, non-profits, philanthropists and devoted cultural volunteers, all of whom make the Connecticut art scene so rich and vibrant. On Tuesday, Nov. 15 the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council honored members of their community (as well as businesses organizations) that have made huge strides in raising awareness about the arts and culture in the region. The third annual event (there was no regional recognition for those involved in the cultural community in northwest Connecticut prior to 2014) awarded artist Danielle Mailer, historian Ed Kirby, accomplished volunteer Diane Dubreuil, the arts-education organization ASAP, and Litchfield Distillery/Crystal Rock Water, a business that supports numerous cultural organizations. New this year was the surprise lifetime achievement award, which went to Connecticut state representative Roberta Willis [here with NWCT Arts Council executive director Amy Wynn] who also served as the master of ceremonies.


Council board member Jennifer Terzian and Litchfield Jazz Fest executive/artistic director Vita Muir; Connecticut Community Foundation’s John Long and Martha Bernstein with Eileen Marriott, museum director of Kid’s Play.


Maureen Dore and Ali Psomas of After School Arts Program (ASAP) which was one of the night’s honorees; chairman of The Institute For American Indian Studies Edward White, Torrington Historical Society executive director Mark McEachern and curator Gail Kruppa.


Ann Merriam Feinberg, Mattatuck Museum director Robert Burns and Five Points Gallery executive director Judith McElhone, who was honored by the council last year.


SingOut! CT artistic director Alecia Evans and Miles Finch Innovation founder and CEO Anthony Vengrove; Brandon Brownlee and artist Krista Narciso.


Karen Olsen, Barbara Russ and Pam Vogel, assistant superintendent for Region One Schools; artist Michael Quadland, longtime Arts Council board member Pam Baker and Nancy Newton.


Steffen Coleman, director of culture for the state of Connecticut Kristina Newman-Scott and Lynn Gelormino, executive director of the Warner Theatre.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 11/18/16 at 09:27 AM • Permalink

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PS21 Gala Celebrates New Building, Year-Round Programming

Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. It’s an exciting off season for PS21 in Chatham, New York. After 11 summers of performances under a tent, PS21 will offer year-round programing in its brand new theater. The indoor-outdoor structure designed by architect Evan Stoller was a big milestone to celebrate at PS21’s gala on Saturday, Nov. 12. The event was held at Time and Space Limited in Hudson and featured a performance by Monica Bill Barnes & Company. There was something special about having PS21’s President Judy Grunberg and TSL’s Linda Mussmann and Claudia Bruce together. Their influence on, and patronage of, the performing arts in Columbia County is hard to overstate. Now we can’t wait for the opening gala for the new building itself. [Above, Mussmann, Grunberg and Bruce.]


Architect of PS21’s new theater Evan Stoller and Phyllis Stoller. (Stoller has created a building that works as an indoor-outdoor large theater in warm weather and converts into an intimate black box in colder months.) Robert Kettenmann, Marilyn Wiles-Kettenmann and Jim Kelly.


The evening’s performers, Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass, with Monica Bill Barnes & Company’s creative producing directer Robert De Viteri and Jenney Shamash.


Real estate agents Susan B. Anthony and Sarah Sterling, also a Hudson city supervisor; Laura Miller, director of Perfect Ten After School, with Sam Chapin, Gwen Gould and New York State Assemblymember Didi Barrett.


PS21 board member Marcia Fardella, artist Pops Peterson and Jess Fardella.


Meg Cashen and Joanne Del Rossi; PS21 membership and box office manager and education coordinator Melony Spock, John Porritt and Mia Porritt.


Joan Bloomburg and executive directer of the Chatham Film Club Annie Brody; president of The Ghent Playhouse Kelly Mackerer and PS21 operations manager and social media director Sam Reilly.


Executive director of the Francis Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice Cheryl Roberts, with Mussmann and Bruce; Sheldon Evans, John Stein and Margaret Davidson.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 11/14/16 at 12:38 PM • Permalink

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Now Playing: Images Cinema Turns 100 Years Old

Amy Krzanik reports from Williamstown. On November 30, 1916, Walden Theatre on Spring Street in Williamstown screened its very first film, a William S. Hart western called The Patriot. One hundred years later, the oldest movie theater in New England, now known as Images Cinema, is still going strong. To mark this momentous anniversary, guests gathered just a couple of blocks down the street, at The Log, on Friday, Nov. 11 to celebrate with past and present Images board members and staff, film fans and other supporters from the Northern Berkshire community. Attendees were encouraged to dress as their favorite movie characters, pose in the photo booth, and dance to the sounds of DJ Hush. Executive director Doug Jones and board president Sam Crane spoke of highlights from the theater’s distant past (popcorn wasn’t served in the early days of screenings, as that would have been too loud, distracting and seen as “beneath” the theater-going experience), its recent past (in 1989, a group that included actor Christopher Reeve raised funds to save the theater) and its future (Images, now a nonprofit, hopes to raise $100,000 during its 100th birthday year.) [Above: popcorn girl Charlotte Sanford.]


Images former director Daniel Wallace, Erica Schmitz and “Disgust” – characters from the film Inside Out; the cinema’s current executive director, Doug Jones, with former director Sandra Thomas (and her popcorn shawl), and board president Sam Crane.


Monica Mackey, Paul Poulin, Cindy Poulin and Gintare Everett; Anna Moriarty-Lev and Greg Howard as Bonnie and Clyde.


Lucy Rollins with Images staff member Emily Edwards and board vice chair Brent Heeringa; Daniel Beck, former board member Emily Banner and Stellan a.k.a. Harry Potter.


David and Karen Bond pay homage to Fight Club; as do their friends Suzy Helme and Brian Miksic, here with Shawn Rosenheim, a former board member, and Jennifer Z.


Matt Neely and Margo Neely, Amanda Bayliss, Jennifer Bayliss and Janie Strachan; Thelma and Louise, as played by Tiffany Kuzia and Jennifer Lemieux.


Eric Kerns and Molly Kerns; former board chair John Strachan makes a great Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything.


Before becoming a nonprofit, Images was run by longtime owners Donna and Don Fisher, here with David Blair, who has worked at the cinema since 1985; Leslie Paisley, Beth Carlisle and Robin Brickman.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/14/16 at 10:44 AM • Permalink

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Food And Drink Were Flowing At Guido’s Housewarming

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. If ever there was a day to make a Guido’s Fresh Marketplace run, it was Saturday, Nov. 12, when everyone’s favorite marketplace held a housewarming party to celebrate its newly expanded store. But it was almost impossible not to stay awhile, explore the store’s new, more spacious layout and enjoy nibbles from Guido’s kitchen as well as local vendors whose products are sold in store. Companies offering samples included Six Depot Roastery, Tierra Farm, Four Fat Fowl and Chocolate Springs. There were wine and cheese tastings in La Grotta, Guido’s new cheese department, smoothie samplings out of Guido’s Café and consultations with a Jane Iredale makeup artist. So many of us rely on Guido’s to supply us with provisions for our own entertaining, and the store’s owners and employees showed that they are perhaps the best party givers of all. [Above: Three generations of the Masiero family, owners of Guidos, include Chris, Dawn, Anna and Matt, with proud Renie in front, wearing an apron sporting a photo of her late husband, the store’s namesake.]


Kate Burke, cheesemonger at La Grotta, a cheese shop showpiece, with Chris Masiero; Lena Leonardsson, tea section manager and demonstrator at the Great Barrington store, sets out samples of products from Italy.


Lisa Zeleny, the store’s wellness buyer, with Rachel Alves, Guido’s dietician.


Elisa Mason came from New Lebanon to check out the new store, with Sunah Park, a lawyer; Mary Beth Holmes, Sarah Capalbo and Cassidy Lewis are thrilled with the new space in the Bella Flora section of the store.


Clea Fowler, manager of the Chef Shop in Great Barrington, chats with Renie Masiero.


Kim Ostellino, aka Berkshiregirl, with her daughter, Ella Ostellino; Kathryn Benner and Libby Moritz of Sheffield.


Mary DeMaranviolle and Steve O’Malley enjoy the mulled apple cider.


Andrew Bartlett of Tierra Farm can’t get the samples out fast enough; Alicia Aldan, Guido’s human resources manager, serves hot cider and panettone.


Andreea Duta, a member of the Guido’s Kitchen staff and Dawn Masiero take their turn plating the Thanksgiving tasting menu.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/13/16 at 12:28 PM • Permalink

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Made In The Berkshires Honors One Of Our Own

Rachel Louchen reports from Pittsfield. For the sixth year of the Made in the Berkshires festival – a three-day showcase of theater, music, dance, visual arts, filmmaking and the written word – the opening night was preceded by a gala honoring one of the Berkshires’ most notable talents and a fervent supporter of the arts, Karen Allen. At the Colonial Theatre on Friday, Nov. 11, guests arrived for a cocktail hour and a chance to peruse the visual art installation, CROP, before sitting down for a dinner catered by Kate Baldwin. Throughout the meal, select attendees stood to speak about Karen; friends, former costar James Naughton and even her ex-husband all mentioned her kindness, hard work and above all, total devotion and love for living in, and producing creative work in, the Berkshires. Post-dinner, Hilary Somers Deely and Barbara Sims, co-creators of the festival, announced the night’s entertainment, a performance that highlighted the upcoming weekend’s activities. [Above, Karen Allen is flanked by longtime friend Tim Lovett and Barbara Schulman.]


Artist Michael King’s piece appears in the visual art portion of Made in the Berkshires; Rebecca Weinman and Carrie Wright curated the visual artwork for the second year; Jenna Lanpher’s husband’s work appears in the show.


Gretchen Court and Made in the Berkshires co-chair Mary Mott; The Colonial Theatre’s general manager Kait Stinchcomb and fellow staffer Ashlei Perkins.


Gwenn Evitts with Berkshire Theatre Group artistic director and CEO Kate Maguire, and Lydia Mongiardo; Berkshire Theatre Group’s Tara Kalish and event sponsors David and Wende Carver.


Tom Potter, Dan Mathieu, owner of Max Ultimate Food, Frits Abell and Sarah Eustis, CEO of Main Street Hospitality Group.


The pre-performance dinner in the Colonial Theatre’s Garage; Berkshire Film & Media Collaborative executive director Diane Pearlman toasts to the honoree and speaks about their longtime friendship and work on the upcoming Berkshires-based short, A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.


Berkshire Medical Center chief operating officer Diane Kelly and John Kelly; Lou Boxer, Molly Boxer and Dan Mathieu.


Barbara Sims and Hilary Somers Deely begin the show.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 11/11/16 at 10:08 PM • Permalink

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The Housatonic Valley Association Toasts To Clean Water

Rachel Louchen reports from Washington. Protecting our environment and clean water sources has been an ongoing project for The Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) for over 25 years. On Sunday, November 6, the organization’s annual auction fundraiser returned for the 26th year to benefit the Housatonic River and its watershed. Held at the Washington Primary School, the popular event frequently sells out, which may have a little something to do with the event chair, Christine Baranski (above, flanked by HVA executive director Lynn Werner and event organizer Mary Beth Lawlor) and a lot to do with the fervent support from Washington and the surrounding towns. HVA protects rivers and streams from the river’s source in Massachusetts to Long Island Sound by monitoring water quality and flow, preventing pollution, managing the shoreline and buffer planting. Funds were easily raised by the awe-inspiring auction items including tickets to Late Night with Seth Meyers and a meet-and-greet with honorary event co-chair Seth Meyers himself, private studio visit of another honorary co-chair, Diane von Furstenberg’s Manhattan headquarters and a five-night stay in Tuscany. To date, HVA is also responsible for saving 5,000 acres of wetlands, farmlands and forests in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.


Former land protection director Elaine Labella has been involved with HVA since 1994, and her wife, Ann Sherwood has also been volunteering for just as long, with development director Richard Sears.


Jenn Pote and Annie Musso of After School Arts Program (ASAP); Richard and Susan Forrest.


Auction volunteer Darilyn Woods, auctioneers Greg Strahm and Tim Luke and Dermot Woods; Andrew and Annelise Osborne, here with Sunday Fisher, attend the auction every year.


Ali Psomas and Stacey Dillard of After School Arts Program (ASAP) and Molly Peterson.


Auction volunteers Michele Battaglia and Paul Bonanno; Joan Laucius and Sharon Danosky.


Mary Beth Lawlor and honorary co-chair Judy Auchincloss, realtor at Klemm Real Estate; Peter Eckert and Peter Goldman.


John Michael Murphy and honorary co-chair, fashion designer Linda Allard.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 11/06/16 at 04:00 PM • Permalink

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The Art School Behind The Curtain: IS183 Goes To Oz

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. No matter the venue – be it hotel, museum, theater, historic mansion, bed and breakfast or warehouse – IS183 Art School of the Berkshires and event planners Berkshire Shenanigans know how to transform it into whatever they wish. This year’s fundraiser/Halloween extravaganza on Saturday, Oct. 29 began with dinner at Hotel on North, followed by a Wizard of Oz-themed dance party at Shire City Sanctuary. The church-turned-makerspace’s high ceilings lent itself well to flying monkeys and witches, a floating full moon and a swirling, glittery green tornado. Scarecrows, lions, munchkins and witches both good and evil agree: there’s no place like IS183. [Above, an un-cowardly lion with Rebecca Weinmann and IS183’s Carrie Wright and Hope Sullivan.]


Dinner co-hosts Stan and Robin Gerber and their flying monkey; Jess Evans, Keith Emerling, Ben Evans and Josh Needleman.


Munchkin Kendal Phipps and Glinda the Good Witch (Catherine Morris); Bill Wright, and IS183’s Jared Gelormino, Carrie Wright and Lucie Castaldo.


Tony Chojnowski, dinner co-host and Wicked Witch of the West Vicki Bonnington, Claudia Perles, Joe Goodwin and dinner co-host Julia Kaplan.


Nancy Hoffmeier and Minnie Mouse (Regina Burgio); Little Red Riding Hood Elise Abrams and Hillary Clinton (Laurie Norton Moffatt).


Morticia and Gomez Addams (Alaina and Marco); Julia Gallagher, Jeanne Robinson and Colleen Fernbacher.


Partygoers take a break from the dance floor to pose for a photo.


Mark Tiacenti, Beetlejuice (Todd Tiacenti) and Kim Wilson; Tristanne Chalmers and Andy Warhol (Rich Adamczyk).


IS183’s executive director Hope Sullivan with dinner co-hosts Lauren Joy, a board member, and David Schecker; Gillian Gorman Rabin and Johanna Wise.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/31/16 at 06:50 PM • Permalink

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Cocktails With James Ivory At FilmColumbia

Robyn Perry Coe reports from Chatham. FilmColumbia 2016 got underway with a special James Ivory Tribute and Kickoff Celebration on Saturday, Oct. 22, benefitting FilmColumbia and the non-profit Chatham Film Club, which owns and operates the Crandell Theatre and produces the festival. The event began with the screening of a newly restored, 25th-anniversary edition of the classic Merchant-Ivory film “Howards End,” introduced by Mr. Ivory, and followed by a cocktail party and silent auction. An all-star cast served as hosts for the party: Julianna Margulies, Parker Posey, Richard Dreyfuss, Ruth Reichl, Stephen Lang, Patrick Milling Smith, Charles Randolph, Rupert Wyatt, Brian Swardstrom, Samantha Mathis, Lauren Ambrose, Scott Cohen, Anastasia Traina, Peter Riegert, Karen Allen, Courtney Hunt and Gaby Hoffmann. [Above, writer/artist Anastasia Traina, Festival Managing Director Calliope Nicholas and actor Scott Cohen.] All photos by Michael Altobello.


Photographer Jack Shear, James Ivory, actor Stephen Lang and Peter Biskind, FilmColumbia’s executive and artistic director.


Michelle Steckler and Liz Diggs.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/25/16 at 09:45 AM • Permalink

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The Future Is Female: A Lunch For Perfect Ten At Little Ghent Farm

Amy Krzanik reports from Ghent. I can almost see a lightbulb appear, glowing, above Paula Forman’s head as she recalls how the idea for the Perfect Ten After School program came to her. Six years ago, she overheard some very young girls on a Hudson, N.Y. street in front of her home discuss plans to become pregnant. “I jumped up out of my garden when I heard that,” she said to the small crowd gathered at Little Ghent Farm for Sunday, Oct. 23rd’s Perfect Ten fundraising lunch. Starting small, with 10 girls and a tiny office that shared space with a pile of broken furniture, the five-day-a-week (and sometimes Saturday) year-round organization now operates from the third floor of the new Hudson Area Library. Forty to fifty girls currently benefit from the program, beginning in fourth grade as “sprouts” and continuing through their senior year, with the goal of learning life skills and continuing on to college. Perfect Ten is a literal and figurative safe space where girls can get help with their homework, take a class in sewing or cooking, use the computers or the makerspace, or grab a snack and discuss their day. The goal of Sunday’s casual get-together was to raise money for these snacks. The $3,000 raised at the event goes toward the estimated $8,000 needed to buy food for the girls for an entire year. [Above, Shanatia Bygrave on left, with Perfect Ten girls Berlinda, Abigail, Catalina, Nasiyah and Quianna in the middle, and Peter Rice on right.]


Little Ghent Farm owners Mimi and Richard Beaven supplied a meal of their own tasty sausages, local produce and regional beverages; Perfect Ten mentor Christine Callender and mentee Quianna Brown.


Peggy Gearity, Sara Kahn-Gearity and Santiago Suarez of the new Suarez Family Brewery, who brought three of their beers for sipping; Alex Kristofcak, Daniel Bersohn, Lucy Arias and Peter Feniello.


Just some of the ladies of Perfect Ten After School, including founder and executive director Paula Forman [third from left] and director Laura Miller [second from right].


Peter and Charlene Paden provided the tunes; DeWayne Powell and Maura McEvoy.


Betsy Acciani and Joy Bertram; William and Minerva Wong with their daughter, Emilia.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/24/16 at 11:10 AM • Permalink

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Ferrin Contemporary Dishes + Dines With The Presidents

Lisa Green reports from North Adams. Leslie Ferrin of Ferrin Contemporary obviously scheduled the “Know Justice” exhibit to coincide with the presidential election season, but who knew the collection of works by Justin and Brooke Rothshank would be imbued with such significance? On Saturday, Oct. 15, a small group of artists, art collectors and gallery supporters gathered at the gallery space located on the MASS MoCA campus to meet artist Justin Rothshank and “Dish + Dine” with each other. Justin Rothshank’s Presidential Table features decal-printed ceramics depicting the 44 US presidents, and Brooke Rothshank’s finely drawn and carved portraits of the nine justices are displayed on Justin’s hand thrown and decorated platters. Guests were encouraged to choose one of the presidential mugs to use when the coffee came out, and it’s not hard to guess which president(s) got snapped up most quickly. The exhibition runs through November 13, allowing time to complete the table with a setting of the winning candidate. [Above, standing in front of the Supreme Court Justices, gallerist Leslie Ferrin is flanked by Pittsfield native Mark Leach, an arts writer and curator, and Laura Park-Leach, who live in North Carolina.]


Artists Kadri Parnamets and Sergei Isupov with Roosi Isupov; Elenor Wilson, editor of The Studio Potter, moderates a discussion with the exhibiting artist, Justin Rothshank. (Photo courtesy Graeme Sloan.)


Chris Rifkin, a collector and artist from Boston with Sandy Mitchell,  a collector who lives in Washington, D.C.


Portions of the collection on the Presidential Table.

 
Former Berkshire Museum director Stuart Chase, now at the History Miami Museum, with collector Ted Rowland; Place settings in waiting.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/17/16 at 04:17 PM • Permalink

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Nick Cave’s Immersive Exhibition, “Until,” Opens At MASS MoCA

Amy Krzanik reports from North Adams. The word “wow” has likely been heard thousands of times inside MASS MoCA’s galleries during the museum’s 17-year lifespan. The football field-sized Building 5 exhibition space can take some of the credit for this, as its vast proportions have allowed for some truly immersive artistic experiences. The most recent of these, Until by the American artist Nick Cave, opened on Saturday, Oct. 15 to much fanfare. To be honest, the fanfare started months earlier, as Cave fans eagerly awaited what the artist, known mostly for his wearable Soundsuits sculptures, would create in the massive space. The answer is an impressive show that turns everyday objects like beads, afghan quilts, ceramic tchotchkes, holiday decorations and more into wonderlands for the senses. For the ears, the museum offered a special performance inside the exhibit with gospel singer Brenda Wimberly, who stunned the crowd with her powerful soprano. Until will be up for a year, and will incorporate appearances by dancers, singer-songwriters, poets and composers, along with panel discussions, community forums and other events during its tenure, so check the MASS MoCA website often for updates. [Shown left, the artist with the exhibit’s curator, Denise Markonish, and Bob Faust, Cave’s studio/special projects director.


Pamela Tatge, director of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, with museum board member Jim Hunter, his daughter Sarah Hunter, Berkshire Museum executive director Van Shields, Cathy Deely and artist Peggy Rivers; Arjun Koshal and Melissa Jun.


Nate Longcope, who worked on the video component of Until, with Emily Longcope and little Beatrice; Sabrina Wirth with artist Frank Jackson and Guy Hedreen.


Guests are greeted with a sea of colorful hanging metallic ornaments upon entrance to the Building 5 exhibition space.


Elissa Larabee and photographer Kate Miller; IS183‘s Carrie Wright, artist Mike King and photographer Bill Wright.


Williams College German professor Chris Kone with Elliot Krasnopoler and Nina Pelaez, an assistant curator at the Williams College Museum of Art; Lisa Havilah of CarriageWorks in Sydney, Australia, where Until will next be exhibited, with gallerist Jack Shainman.


Christine Costello and Anna Farrington; Denise Markonish with Michael Kusek and Stacey Kors of Take Magazine.


Jacqueline Treloar and Clover Powell have a laugh; Lindsey Whittle, one of Nick Cave’s former grad students, with Clint Basinger.


Christina Stott, Sam Davies of Albany Barn and Kate Dorwaldt; Stephanie Chang and Allen Penniman of Providence, Rhode Island.


Phyllis Criddle and Darcie Sosa; a closeup of what viewers will see upon climbing the stairs.


Beware of crocodiles at the top of the ladder; blue and silver tinsel undulates in the breeze in the upstairs gallery.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/17/16 at 12:47 PM • Permalink

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The Columbia Land Conservancy Is Thrilled To Be Thirty

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. The Columbia Land Conservancy was “Over the Moon,” as supporters packed the barn at Churchtown Dairy, a working biodynamic raw milk farm, on Saturday, Oct. 8 to raise money and to help the nonprofit celebrate its 30th anniversary. The event drew a lively sold-out crowd who enjoyed a feast prepared by Simons Catering, with many of the ingredients coming straight from Columbia County farms with conservation easements. A highlight of the evening was the keynote address by bestselling author and New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell [pictured left with Michael Albin of Hudson Wine Merchants and board member Amy Barr], who himself owns a home near Ancram and has placed the majority of his property under CLC easement. To date, the CLC has conserved more than 30,000 acres of farmland, forests and wildlife habitats for agricultural production, scenic beauty and recreation.


Current and founding trustee Michael Polemis with wife Barbara Polemis, who were event co-chairs; musician Jim Wann, Patricia Miller Wann and Ed Strong.


Board member Will Yandik with Jerry Cosgrove and board vice chair Chris Cashen; Jessica Renda, engineer Travis Tucker and mindfulness meditator Anne Renda.


Gary Katz, Suzette Masters, board member Seth Masters and Leslie Katz.

 
Joan K. Davidson, one of the evening’s honorary co-chairs, with NY State Assemblymember Didi Barrett and Josephine Lea Iselin of the host committee; Andrew Goetz, Paul Cassidy, who is the new board chair at Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon, and Vernon Evenson.


Chris Sansbury and host committee member Dawn Fratangelo, both of Old Chatham; Alex Sierck, Elizabeth Adams and Christina Lowery, CEO of Girl Rising.


Conrad and Claudia Vispo of the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program with Renato Valente and trustee emeritus Tony Cashen; a view of the tables from above.


Mary Jo Gibson and U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson with Tom and Nancy Clark of Old Chatham Sheepherding Company.


Hanging from the rafters, a moon balloon provided ambience. As far as we could tell, no cows were seen jumping over it.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/09/16 at 09:14 PM • Permalink

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Literacy Network of South Berkshire Turns The Page On 25 Years

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. “They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I would say it’s the same for immigrants,” said Dr. Sukhpaul Mann as he accepted the Literacy Network of South Berkshire’s “Founder of America” award on behalf of everyone who has helped him along the way. Mann, an immigrant from India, and his fellow MD at Berkshire Medical Center, Dr. Tony Makdisi [shown left with his family], a Syrian immigrant, received the awards at LitNet’s 2016 gala on Saturday, Oct. 1 in front of a roomful of family, friends, co-workers and LitNet supporters at Berkshire Country Day School. The non-profit, now celebrating its 25th year, began as a free tutoring service for rural English-speaking non-readers. Over time, changing demographics shifted the need to one of mainly ESOL students, including many of the immigrants LitNet has honored with past “Founder” awards for their “strength of character and commitment to service” that has improved the lives of their neighbors. Additionally, a short film screened at each year’s gala takes a look at some of the organization’s students, past and present, and what important skills they bring to us here in the Berkshires. These include businesspeople; educators; philanthropists; doctors and nurses; chefs; and award-winning writers, musicians and innkeepers.


LitNet tutor Joan Yuri with Kripalu chef Robert Undu and Sylvana Proanio, a former LitNet student who was featured in the evening’s short film; Rosy and Sukhpal Mann.


Matt Vrabel and LitNet’s executive director Jennifer Hermanski with Cihan Karayagiz and Esra Dogan, English majors from Turkey who spent the summer in Great Barrington; Carolyn King, board member and gala co-chair Marianne Ellrodt and Carol Diamond.


Honoree Tony Makdisi and his extended family pose for a photo before dinner, catered by Peter Platt of The Old Inn on the Green.


LitNet students Jorge Aguilar, Milagro Diaz, who was featured in the evening’s film, and Julia Antunez; Rick Carpenter, Jennifer Galvagni, Diane DeGiacomo and photographer Jack Poore.


Isabelle Currie, Kristen Currie and Michael McHugh; Hussam Makdisi, Ram Muthavarapu and Kalpana Chilukuri.


Board member and tutor Leslie Murray, Lenox Chamber of Commerce president Rob Murray, tutor Sharon Schafler and Eric Schafler; Dan Stanyon, Ty Allan Jackson and Nichole Calautti.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/04/16 at 12:26 PM • Permalink

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Garden Conservancy Open Day Digs Deeper In Dutchess County

Lisa Green reports from Millbrook. On Saturday, Sept. 24, cars were criss-crossing Dutchess County country roads en route to some magnificent private gardens, courtesy of The Garden Conservancy’s Dutchess County Open Day. After a full day of garden immersion, some of those cars headed to a special Digging Deeper event, “A House in the Country - The Garden of Katie Ridder & Peter Pennoyer.” He is a renowned architect and she a sought-after interior designer, and they hosted a brief reception where they talked about the conception, design, decoration and landscaping of their new country house in Millbrook, New York. The one-of-a-kind Greek Revival home with lush woodland, flower and cutting gardens has been chronicled in a new book, “A House in the Country,” which was for sale in the minimalist pergola, with the couple standing by to autograph copies. [Above, Katie Ridder and Peter Pennoyer answer questions about their house and garden.]


Millbrook’s David Sloan, whose garden has been on the Open Days tour in the past, with Laura Palmer, vice president of the Open Days program; Katie Kerin, director of recruitment for Open Days with jewelry artist Simone Soernsen and Ken Selody of Atlock Farm.


The lush flower garden, a celebration of large-scale flowers and saturated color, as described by Katie Ridder.


Alison Meyer, former owner of Merritt Bookstore, and Kira Wizner, the current owner, selling the book penned by the hosts; Joseph Singer, architect Jim Joseph and composer Scott Frankel.


Design and upholstery professionals Jennifer Morvan and David Henderson.


Three Tozers (William, Katie and Jim) with Lois Mander; Jewelry designer Mish Tworkowski and Katie Kerin.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/29/16 at 10:02 PM • Permalink

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Straight From The Heart: Fairview Hospital’s 2016 Gala

Amy Krzanik reports from Great Barrington. The theme of the Saturday, Sept. 24 Fairview Hospital Gala, “You Gotta Have Heart,” was a nod to the Great Barrington hospital’s top-notch cardiology unit as well as a tribute to its president – and the evening’s honorary chair – Eugene “Gene” Dellea. A short film by Ben Hillman detailed recent advancements made to the cardiac care wing and spotlighted two local patients who benefited from them. Because Dellea declined to be honored, friends and co-workers orchestrated a few surprise guests to appear unbeknownst to him: Massachusetts Congressmen Richard Neal and Joseph Kennedy, III and Mrs. Vicki Kennedy, wife of the late Senator Ted Kennedy. They took the Mahaiwe stage with Dellea and Massachusetts State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli to share stories of Dellea’s long friendships with Ted and Robert Kennedy, to attest to his tireless efforts to help those in need and to congratulate him on his role in making Fairview a “Top Rural Hospital” for the past four years and garnering it a 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. A pre-show reception catered by Marketplace and a performance by comedian and sitcom star Paul Reiser rounded out the evening. Gene Dellea, Maggie Merelle of Rouge Restaurant & Bistro, and Diane Pearlman and Jeff Diamond of Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative.


Mark DeCelle, Sabrina Ruggiero and Tina Chase; Peter Dillon and Diane Dillon.


Gala and Ad Journal committee members Dee Harnish and Fran Pemerlani; Alex Glover, Peter Puciloski and Susan and Jeff Menkes.


Congressman Richard Neal, Congressman Joseph Kennedy, III, Mrs. Vicki Kennedy and Gene Dellea.


Michelle Derr, acupuncturist Marion Bergan Irwin and physician Thomas Irwin; retired judge Rudy Sacco with cardiologist Teresa Menendez, who was featured in the evening’s short film.


David Lazan, Bob Rodowicz, Gene Dellea, Darlene Rodowicz and Laurie and Pete Lamarre; Cindy Duryea, Lia Spiliotes, CEO of Community Health Programs (CHP), and Jodi Rathbun-Briggs, board president of CHP.


Sy Glaser, Bill Perlow and Steve Bernstein; Amy Butterworth of the Berkshire Botanical Garden, with Excelsior’s David Crane and Brian Butterworth of Main Street Hospitality Group.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/26/16 at 02:07 PM • Permalink

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Share The Wealth: BerkShares Celebrates A Decade

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. Tin is traditionally associated with a 10-year anniversary, but for BerkShares, it was all about the paper. Berkshire County’s own local currency celebrated a decade of circulation and success at Prairie Whale on Friday, Sept. 23. In the fall of 2006, local banks began accepting federal currency and exchanging them for BerkShares, which can now be used at 400 participating businesses. The circulation encourages money to be spent in the region, boosting the economy and supporting local enterprises, while nurturing customers’ relationships with the business owners. Remarked Susan Witt, executive director of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, in her toast, “BerkShares speaks to the independent spirit, creativity and character of the Berkshires.” [Above, board member Sierra Watson, with Rachel Moriarty, program assistant at Schumacher Center For New Economics, and BerkShares executive director Alice Maggio.]


Eliza Maggio, Ellen Maggio, arborist Ron Yaple and Will Ketchum; Sheffield residents Jane Nye and Chris Nye, who was an early supporter of BerkShares.


Former board member and current accountant for Berkshares Alan Glackman with Benes Glackman and Mark DeCelle; Anne MacDonald, director at the Schumacher Center, with the center’s librarian, Amelia Holmes.


Adam Hinds, the Democratic nominee for state senate from Western Mass., with BerkShares board member Catherine Chester and Alice Maggio.


Kathleen Larkin, who uses BerkShares, with board member Jon Green and photographer Cheryl Luft, who accepts BerkShares at her business; Chris and Stephanie Graham.


Dan Seitz, president of the Berkshire Co-Op board of directors, with Bill Nappo; ceramicist Dan Bellow is on the board of BerkShares, here with Jo Valens.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 09/23/16 at 10:27 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Grown Keeps The Farmers Farming

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. The Berkshires’ reputation for high-quality farms, food artisans and restaurants has truly been a group effort, though it’s safe to say Berkshire Grown has been a steadfast champion of the farm-to-table movement before that term even entered the lexicon. On Monday, Sept. 19, those farmers, restaurateurs, chefs and food producers, as well as dozens of hungry guests, turned out for the ever-popular Harvest Supper at Ski Butternut. The 18th year hosted 27 food vendors, mixed with some craft beer and spirits makers, to support the nonprofit that has been networking and advocating for farmers and promoting locally grown food for over 20 years. Always held right on the cusp of autumn, the event’s food offerings are inspired by the upcoming harvest, which gives new meaning to Share the Bounty. [Above, a party-goer fills his plate with housemade charcuterie from The Meat Market.]


Six Depot Roastery and Cafe owner’s Flavio Lichtenthal and Lisa Landry served their signature hand-roasted coffee; Mark Sena and architect Chris Blair flank excited first-time attendees Carl and Elise Hartman of Monterey.


Academy Award-winning producer Jerry Hellman, Berkshire Grown executive director Barbara Zheutlin and Elizabeth Hellman sit in front of board president Allison Rachele Bayles, Joan Mentzinger and Jim Mentzinger.


Indian Line Farm’s Elizabeth Keen, Hosta Hill owner Maddie Elling and Nicole Campanale; board member Hester Velmans and Ruth Dinerman.


Richard and Abby Tovell of T Square Design Studio flank Laura Gratz, administrative director at Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative; Steven Poots, sous chef, and cook Max Jodder from Allium Restaurant.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 09/19/16 at 09:04 PM • Permalink

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A Colorful Place: Blue Rider Stables At 25

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. There was plenty of laughter at Chesterwood on Saturday evening, Sept. 17, but also tears as those whose lives were changed for the better by Blue Rider Stables told their stories. Children and adults of all ages and abilities have been positively impacted by the non-profit organization, which is based in South Egremont, Mass. and strives to offer a therapeutic experience for both horses and riders. For its 25th anniversary, the Stables threw its first-ever gala, “A Horse of a Different Color,” to mark the occasion and to raise funds for its holistic horse care and for student scholarships. The Picky B’s performed for the crowd of supporters while they shopped the silent auction, enjoyed a buffet dinner, and were treated to dessert from Chocolate Springs. Read RI’s Fitness from the Field article about the bodywork class at Blue Rider. [Shown above: Blue Rider volunteer Ali Winston with co-founder and executive director Christine Sierau and Harry Conklin.


Charles Massimo and Peter Anastasian of gala underwriter CJM Wealth Managment flank Tracy Fernbacher; barn manager Anna Seagull, Blue Rider board chair Michael Fernbacher, board member Laurie Lindner and riding instructor Rachel Tarnauskas.


Kirstin Morgan and Lisa Reynolds, who is involved with the Stables and works at Chesterwood; Sara Jarvie, Cate Crowley, who spoke at the gala about attending veterinary school because of her experiences as a Blue Rider student and volunteer, and Molly Drennan.


Margaret Lundin, Deb Koffman and Jeanne Bassis.


Robert Hoechster, Marjori Bergman and Erica Mielke; Eliot Stier and Avia Stanton.


Blue Rider’s operations manager Stephanie Bergman with its outreach coordinator Robin Parow; Deirdre Ypma, Jon Caplan and Arwinder Bindra are the stable’s supporters as well as its neighbors.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/19/16 at 02:02 PM • Permalink

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1Berkshire Celebrates What Makes The County Special

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Many of Berkshire County’s most community-minded residents gathered at Tanglewood on Thursday, Sept. 15 as 1Berkshire honored the illustrious music venue and its summertime residents, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for “Putting the Berkshires on the Map.” As acknowledged by the evening’s speakers – 1Berkshire’s Jonathan Butler and Laurie Klefos, Mass. State Senator Ben Downing, and award presenter Laurie Tierney of Hotel on North – the 76-year-old Tanglewood had an enormously successful 2016 season, welcoming more than 353,000 visitors from around the world. Area leaders presented awards to the winners of the seven Trendsetter Awards, as well. In addition to the winners pictured below, the City of North Adams won for best “Comprehensive Marketing Campaign,” Unistress received the prize for “Growing/Advancing the Berkshire Economy” and “Entrepreneur/Visionary of the Year” went to Zogics founder Paul R. LeBlanc. [Shown above: Mark Volpe, managing director of the BSO and Tanglewood, with Kim Notelmy, Larry Oberwager and Jason Lyon, all of the BSO.]


Matt Burno and Barb Green of General Dynamics with 1Berkshire board member Brenda Burdick; Jesse Cook-Dubin, “Entrepreneur/Visionary of the Year” finalist Christian Hanson, Mass. State Senator Ben Downing, Donna Hanson and Giovanna Fessenden Hennessey.


Shela Hidalgo, Ethan Klepetar, 1Berkshire president and CEO Jonathan Butler and Van Shields, executive director of Berkshire Museum; Johnny Burns happily accepted Methuselah’s “Newcomer of the Year” award for his boss, Yuki Cohen, here with Darcie Sosa.


Tyler Fairbank, Betsy Strickland, “Under 40 Change Maker” award winner Christina Barrett, Christine Hoyt and Michael Bullock.


1Berkshire board member Warren Dews, Jr. of The Berkshire Eagle which was a finalist for the “Comprehensive Marketing Campaign” award, with his mother Barbara Dews and Adam Hinds; Ken McInerney and Steve Nelson of WiredWest, a finalist for the “Growing/Advancing the Berkshire Economy” award.


Chris Lipa, Lenny Light, Sean Roberston and Earl Persip III of Berkshire Family YMCA, which won the “Nonprofit Impact” award; Seth Nash and Mitch Nash of Blue Q, the winner of the “Creative Economy Standout” award.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/19/16 at 11:23 AM • Permalink

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For Stakeholders, A Preview Of Building 6 At MASS MoCA

Lisa Green reports from North Adams. As if MASS MoCA wasn’t animated enough on Friday, Sept. 16, just a few hours before the FreshGrass music festival began, a group of North Adams city employees and tenants of the complex gathered for a special tour of Building 6. The museum’s director, Joe Thompson, lead the group through the next phase of the complex’s buildout, which is about two months away from completion of the shell. Plans are to open the finished building in May of 2017. The new wing will include works from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (his own and others’), a production and performance studio for artists Laurie Anderson and Jenny Holzer, and a music/rehearsal room, among other facilities. “We’re taking the building back to the late 19th century,” Thompson explained, pointing out that the renovation will preserve and highlight the original post-and-beam architecture. Thompson thanked the guests for their support; as tenants and city employees, they have a special interest in the $65 million undertaking. Not only did they get a sneak preview of the new wing, however; in making their way to the reception area prior to the tour, guests walked through the upcoming “Nick Cave: Until” installation and glimpsed the artist setting it up. That exhibit opens October 15. [Above, Suzy Helme, of the North Adams Office of Tourism, and Lynette Bond, a grant writer for MCLA.]


Lisa Hiluy, Ray Hiluy, Regina Veazquez and Jason Velazquez of The Greylock Glass (both the women are editors at Storey Publishing, which has its offices in the complex); Chris Jones and photographer Amanda Jones, who also has her studio on the MASS MoCA campus.


Director Joe Thompson shows off the westernmost portion of the building, which features dramatic light and a breathtaking view.


Robyn Moore and Sara Russell-Scholl with Matt Scholl of Christodora, a non-profit organization that has an education center in the Berkshires; Marie McCarron, a fourth-grade teacher at Brayton Elementary School in North Adams, and her student teacher Mary Evelyn Lueler, who attends MCLA.


The atrium is a work in progress.


Graphic designer Ash Austin with the owners of Oh Crêpe!, Emily Schiavoni and Ben Lamb; Steps away, FreshGrass is just getting started.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/17/16 at 10:18 PM • Permalink

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GB Land Conservancy Preserves, Conserves, And Has A Party

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. A hullabaloo can be defined as a frenzy or a ruckus. Both of those definitions work well for the Great Barrington Land Conservancy (GBLC), which has been passionately protecting, advocating and promoting Great Barrington’s natural resources for 24 years. On Sunday, Sept. 11, GBLC held a hullaballoo of its own as the music of the Easy Ridin Papas played and guests enjoy falafel and kebabs provided by Naji’s Mediterranean Cuisine. Proceeds from the event raised money to support future projects as well as notable current ones like the Lake Mansfield Alliance, Great Barrington Trails & Greenways and Pfeiffer Arboretum & Trail. On the lawn behind the Riverbend Cafe, guests enjoyed the view of the Housatonic River and the lush greenery beyond, land well worth preserving. [Above, new member Sandy Van and board president Carol Noble.]


Member Rik Kabel, Jan Kabel and 14-year board member Dale Abrams of Mass Audubon; New consevancy members David Stater and Trena Heinrich.


Board member Tim Geller who is the executive director of the Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire and Greg Ward of Ward’s Nursery & Garden Center; Board member Rachel Fletcher, Michael Symons and Karen Skelton.


Hannah Fries, Mike Leavitt, trails and outreach coordinator at Berkshire Natural Resource Council, Hannah Chamberlain, who works for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and Sari Hoy, co-owner of Native Habitat Restoration.


Adam Morris, forest and park regional coordinator with Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and Erin Morris; Judd Shoval, Susan Shovel, Rabbi Liz Hirsch and Rabbi Neil Hirsch.


Allison Abrams has been involved with GBLC for as many years as her husband, Dale Abrams has been on the board, and Ann Barrett, board member of Sheffield Land Trust; GBLC administrative assistant Kristin Sanzone with her husband, Rob Sanzone.


Yoga teacher Senta Reis donated her classes to the auction, Housatonic River Walk volunteer Peter Barrett and former board president Christine Ward, who now stewards the Lake Mansfield Alliance and GB Trails programs.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 09/11/16 at 07:27 PM • Permalink

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Roxbury Farm, First CSA To Deliver To NYC, Celebrates 25 Years

Lisa Green reports from Kinderhook. Many of us have grown attached to our individual CSAs. But when a CSA membership group in New York City charters a bus to drive them two-plus hours up to the farm itself, you know the connection is something special. On Saturday, Sept. 10, Roxbury Farm in Kinderhook welcomed 300 of its CSA members from New York, Westchester County, the Capital District and Columbia County to its 25th season celebration, potlucking encouraged. Roxbury Farm is exceptional in many ways: it was the first CSA to deliver to Manhattan, starting with 30 members in 1991. The 23-week membership has since grown to 1,100. Recognized not only as one of the earliest CSAs, Roxbury Farm has influenced thousands of farmers throughout the world with its biodynamic practices, which it has freely shared on its website. By putting its farming methods manuals online, Roxbury has served as an “open source farm” for farmers just starting out.

Founded by Jean-Paul Courtens in 1990 and now inhabiting land that was President Martin Van Buren’s farm, the 400-acre Roxbury Farm is still managed by the Courtens family. But clearly, the farm is held close to the hearts of the members who came to celebrate the CSA and express appreciation for the farmers. (Overhead: Discussions among members about their prep plans for the peppers, corn and other items in their CSA shares.) After a proper recounting of the farm’s history by Courtens and others, the guests were invited to take a self-guided farm tour, pick flowers, split garlic for fall planting, and experience a bit of ag activity in the fields. Of its success, Courtens said, “We didn’t do it alone. It’s because of all of you that we are here today.” [Above, the original family: Johannes Courtens, Nick Courtens, xx Courtens, Jean-Paul Courtens and his wife, Jody Bolluyt.]


Roxbury Farm is part of the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, on land the former president farmed.


Guests sprinkled the fields with Biodynamic Preparation 500, then sowed a cover crop mixture of oats and pea seeds.


Roxbury Farm owners Jody Bolluyt and Jean-Paul Courtens lead the way in the application of the Biodynamic Preparation 500, a mix of water with cow manure that’s been placed in a cow’s horn and buried in the earth for the winter; it is used to treat the soil prior to planting.


Members peel and split garlic bulbs for planting in October; It takes a CSA village to raise a child.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/11/16 at 03:29 PM • Permalink

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The 2016 Columbia-Greene Garden Party

Amy Krzanik reports from Germantown. When a well-respected architect/interior decorator couple invite you to their home on the Hudson River, you don’t say “no.” And when the invite doubles as the annual fundraising garden party for Alliance for Positive Health (formerly the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York), you RSVP ASAP, as did around 300 people this past Sunday, Sept. 4. The 2016 Columbia~Greene Garden Party took place at the home of Hermes Mallea and RI’s Wandering Eye columnist Carey Maloney. Fairview Wines & Spirits provided the sipping and Simons Catering covered the snacking as guests basked in the sunlit views of the Hudson River and enjoyed music by longtime Garden Party supporters Kelly Mittleman & Friends. Guests toured the rooms and grounds of the mid-century home, and put their bids in on an expertly curated silent auction, which included a five-night Safari package in South Africa, theater tickets, art, jewelry, furniture, clothing and other items. [Above: Michele McClave, former executive director of the Alliance for Positive Health and current acting commissioner of the Albany County Department of Social Services, who was honored at this year’s event, with board president Mary Jane Bendon Couch and board member Peter Bevacqua.


Former board member William Allen with the garden party fundraiser’s founder, Frances Ingraham Heins, Steven Girvin and Jeffrey Kaufman; Les Rosenzweig, new board member Thomas Walling and host Hermes Mallea.


James M. Gaughan, the mayor of Altamont, N.Y., with Donna Vancavage, the Alliance’s director of development and marketing, and Keith Lee; Albany attorney Barbara Brenner with board member Carolyn Anderson and the Hon. Margaret Walsh.


Kurt Parde and Claire Parde, who is the executive director of the Healthcare Consortium, with Richard Byrne, Brad Lohrenz and Jane Duffstein of Bard College.


Honey Wilde with Anita Nasuto; Doug Weeden and Brett Carlson.


Board members Kelley Winslow, Victor Mendolia and Jeffrey Kaufman flank NY State Assemblymember Didi Barrett [third from left]; Andy Goldsborough and Alex Contreras of The Gilded Owl in Hudson.


Yosuke Chikamoto, Joe Naylor, John Garofalo, Peter O’Hara and Joseph Sniado.


Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, and Mark Prezorski of the Olana State Historic Site; host Carey Maloney with Nancy Ursprung, Charles Rosen and Duke Dang.


George Jordan, Mark Strieter and Agustin Rodriguez; event committee member Patrick Terenchin and Mike Clifford of AFPH.


Rebecca Reiss and Ellen Walker behind the bar.


The cutest thing on four legs, Frankie, at home; hot heels signed by Whoopi Goldberg were up for grabs at the silent auction.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/06/16 at 03:03 PM • Permalink

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Making Hay At The BIFF Haute Hoedown

Lisa Green reports from Canaan. The only person missing from Berkshire International Film Festival’s Haute Hoedown on Saturday, Sept. 3 may have been Agnes DeMille. But other than the famous Rodeo choreographer, pretty much everyone you might expect and all the essential ingredients were accounted for at the film fest’s first-ever house party at the magnificent spread belonging to Dan Mathieu and Tom Potter. Hayrides, check. Mechanical bull ride, check. A country-western influenced band, farm-to-table dinner (catered by Max Ultimate Food), live auction and even a spinning wheel with fine prizes from many of the sponsors — check, check and do it again. Even better, guests were outfitted as cowboys and cowgirls with plenty of denim and diamonds to contemporize the theme. Proceeds from the event will help BIFF continue its mission to bring the best of independent film to the Berkshires as it goes into its twelfth year. [Above: Mark Johnson, Liz Williams, Pops Peterson, Kate Morris and Kelly Vickery, BIFF’s executive director.]


BIFF Board of Advisors member Lisa Newmann of Cookiehead Cookies and Sandy Sanderson; the hoedown begins with cocktails on the lawn.


Host Dan Mathieu, owner of Max Ultimate Food, with Mary Mott, interior designer Karen Beckwith, photographer Scott Barrow and Gordon Simmering of Stockbridge and Idaho, sporting his Idahoan “formal wear.”


Liz Krupp and Nancy Belsky, both of Lenox and Boston; Ann Herbst of Tyringham, with Marica Feuer, a member of the BIFF Board of Advisors, and Wendy Gordon, both of Richmond.


What’s a hoedown without a hayride, haute or not?


Jonathan Coffino, Carla Singer, actor and director Karen Allen, a BIFF board trustee, and film director/producer Kristi Zea; Tracy Foster and Andy Foster, who are board members of IS183.


Donna Hall, Dan LaBonte, Denise D’Amboise and Vince Ambrosini, who picked up these plaid shirts just for the occasion; Lisa Frankel, who recently made Great Barrington her full-time home, bravely rides the mechanical bull.


George Habard and Cynthia Valles hang with the ranch hand, aka host Tom Potter.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/04/16 at 10:54 AM • Permalink

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Take A Bow: Jacob’s Pillow Closes Out Festival 2016

Amy Krzanik reports from Becket. You never know what moves you’ll see on the dance floor at a Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival after-party. There might be a few couples waltzing around the perimeter or salsa-ing in the center of a crowd of onlookers, there very well could be break-dancing, and there will definitely be a conga line. The 2016 Festival Finale, on Saturday, Aug. 27, was no exception. Following a performance by either Pacific Northwest Ballet in the Ted Shawn Theatre or Souleymane Badolo in the Doris Duke, guests were treated to complimentary gourmet desserts, Six Depot coffee, Wandering Star beer and wine in the Bakalar Studio and outside in the Tea Garden. The Pillow’s favorite music maestro, DJ BFG, again turned the Haven tent into the hottest pop-up nightclub in town, as the scent of s’mores wafted over from the firepits on the Great Lawn. We can’t wait to do it all again next year. [Above, Sara Connonlly with Pacific Northwest Ballet artistic director Peter Boal, Melissa Elstein and Hussein Kassim.]


Weston Hicks and Pillow board member Ann L. Hicks; the scene in the dance tent post performance.


Liza Gennari, Claire Gennari, and Pillow alums Anna Rogovoy and Ashley David; Roger Chabot and Michael Parisi.


Chocolatier extraordinaire Joshua Needleman who provided treats for the guests, with Patti Feinberg, Maurice Peterson, Pillow alum Angessa Lynn and hair stylist extraordinaire Mark Johnson.


Sculptors Babette Bloch and Marc Mellon with Pillow board president Chris Jones; Peg and Pete Biasucci, whose daughter Leta was a soloist in the show, with Dave and Sue Fenton.


Kerry Colnan and Austin McKissock; Pamela Tatge, director of Jacob’s Pillow, with board member and RI publisher Mark Williams.


After dessert, a crowd began to trickle into the disco-balled dance tent; DJ BFG knows what the crowd wants to hear.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/30/16 at 12:40 PM • Permalink

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The Thrill of the Grill: Eating And Competing At Grillsdale

Lisa Green reports from Hillsdale. Like moths to a flame, a parade of cars veered off Route 22 to the Roeliff-Jansen Park in Hillsdale, NY on Saturday, Aug. 27. Why? Because there were flames a-plenty at the first-ever Grillsdale produced by Shire 935 Productions and sponsored by many local and regional businesses. The tasting event, which was actually sold out before the first match was lit, featured renowned area chefs and restaurants manning separate booths and different types of grills offering bite-sized grilled items using meat and produce from the Roe-Jan region’s farms. Guests were given scorecards to rate each dish, and guest judges also weighed in on the competition. A portion of the proceeds from the raffle of a brand new road bicycle will support of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. The judges awarded Jack Peele of JACüTERIE the best overall for his bite-size Bánh mì, while most original went to the Hillsdale Fire Company for its “beef sundae.”  “There were winners all around and we were so grateful to all the chefs who participated,” said Joanna Virello of Shire 935 Productions [above, with Meghan McCann; the third partner, Barbara Olsen Pascale, is not shown]. “We’re already planning for Grillsdale 2017.”


Bob McDonald and Robert Scott (chef at The Outlaw BBQ), representing The Mt. Washington House in Hillsdale team up to grill apple and peach-stuffed pork tenderloin, served with a peach chutney.


Waiting for the music to start, , Michelle Gardina, Bruce Haight, Ralph Platt and Donna Platt relax on the settee provided by C. Herrington Home + Design.


Jerry Peele of Herondale Farm and Roberto Luna; Susan Bauer, who works at Castle Street Cafe, pours wine in front of the neon sign.


Dick Hermans, owner of Oblong Books, and Rory Chase, cheesemaker from Chaseholm Farm.


Three bands performed on the truck bed, provided by Herrington’s; Marlene Graella of Copake Falls is flanked by her friends from the city, Jackie Gomes and Maureen Lehman.


The capacity crowd ate, strolled, and ate some more.


Fabric designer Patrick McBride and the very popular Bodi; Weekenders Nadia Boulejiouch and Curtis Rhine.


Carrie Herrington and Wendy Hare.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/28/16 at 01:13 PM • Permalink

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Shaker-Style Summer Soiree

Rachel Louchen reports from New Lebanon. Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon’s Great Stone Barn was the focal point of the annual benefit dinner, Visualizing the Museum’s Future, on Saturday, August 27.  This year’s benefit honored museum supporters Martha Clarke and Alfred Uhry, creators of the off-Broadway hit, Angel Reapers, inspired by the life of Ann Lee, founder of the Shaker movement. The evening also included a performance of Shaker songs, remarks from executive director Lacy Schutz (at left with trustee Paul Cassidy), a live auction and of course, a multi-course farm-to-table feast. But whatever was occurring during the evening, from drinks out front, hors d’oeuvre inside and dinner taking place just below, the Great Stone Barn was always in sight, providing a Shaker backdrop on a perfect late-summer night.


Albany residents Jo and George Burdeau; Steven McCarthy and Gary Delemeester, whose spouses are involved with the museum.


Trustee John Dax and Amy Butler; George Eager does woodwork for the museum, specficially restoring the windows in the barn, here with his wife, librarian Donna Eager.


The great stone barn in all its glory; Ian Bickford, husband of executive director Lacey Schutz, with Rebecca Barth.


Stephen Mcnabb and Toby Bilanow attend the gala yearly; Marita Glodt, president of the board of directors at Barrington Stage, with her husband, David Glodt.


John Lillis, whose spouse is a trustee with his niece, Taber Bailey; Craftsman Adam Nudd-Homeyer of Tappen Chairs donated a circa-1820 chair for the auction, and Anna Thompson, curator of collections and exhibitions at Columbia County Historical Society.


Vernon Evenson and The Darrow School’s Craig Wescott; Sharon Koomler, Nina Weber-Worth, Don Worth and Jerry Grant, museum director of collections and research.


Jim Panichella, Natalie Faubert, Donald Blair and Jeff Daly, chairman of the museum’s board of directors.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 08/28/16 at 12:06 PM • Permalink

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Bowling For Berkshire Baby Box In Great Barrington

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. Back in the day, there was a TV show called Bowling For Dollars, but on Monday, August 22, a group of people gathered at the Cove Bowling Alley to bowl for Berkshire Baby Box. A new nonprofit engineered by South Egremont resident Hinda Bodinger, the organization provides expectant moms in the Berkshires with a baby shower in a box and a safe sleeping space for their newborns. Berkshire Baby Box is also partnering with local agencies to distribute the filled boxes during monthly parenting workshops in Berkshire County. At the event, teams of bowlers took time out between their turns to place their raffle tickets into a plethora of donated items, services and silent auction offerings. “I love this project and am moved beyond words by the community support and how many services there are out there for those in need,” said Bodinger, president of Berkshire Baby Box. [Above, Bodinger with State Representative Smitty Pignatelli.]


Bruce Moore and Michael Alper, co-founders of Red House Design and Architecture;
the tiniest bowler, Isabella, with her mom Danielle Melino, a teacher at Mount Everett High School.


Sue Weintraub, a board member of the Literacy Network of South Berkshire, and Jay Weintraub of Backyard Bounty of the Berkshires.


Team spirit: Katrina Curtiss, Tina Chase, Rich Chase and Todd DiMario, a personal trainer at Soules Sports & Fitness and Berkshire South; Trena Heinrich, David State, Sandy Van and Carol Noble.


Hinda Bodinger beside a Berkshire Baby Box filled with what new mothers will find inside: a waterproof mattress, fitted sheets, books, bath toys and more.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/22/16 at 09:07 PM • Permalink

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A Bevy Of Exquisite Boxes Appears At McTeigue & McClelland

Amy Krzanik reports from Great Barrington. The Saturday, Aug. 20 opening reception for