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RI Archives: Parties

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Parties & Openings

July 23 - Kinderhook
Katchkie Farm-to-Table Dinner

July 23 - Sharon
Habitat for Humanity of NW CT

July 23 - Stockbridge
Naumkeag Garden Party

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Naumkeag Cuts The Ribbon On Its Renovated Chinese Temple Garden

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. Long considered to possess one of the most astounding views in the Berkshires — or, some would argue, in the world — Naumkeag has undergone a revitalization of its gardens and grounds during the last three years that supporters have been lucky enough to witness stage by stage. This summer’s afternoon garden party fundraiser, held on Saturday, July 23, featured honorary co-chairs Jill Hornor and Yo-Yo Ma, who cut the ribbon and welcomed guests into the newly renovated Chinese Temple Garden. Managed by the Trustees of Reservations, the Gilded Age cottage once owned by the Choate family features the most well known of the 700 gardens designed by landscape architect Fletcher Steele during his lifetime. To celebrate the Chinese Garden’s 60th birthday (and the Trustees’ 125th), more than 300 guests enjoyed Asian-inspired hors d’oeuvres served by Mezze Catering & Events, a Thai basil lemonade signature cocktail, live music by the Limbshakers Jazz Band, and traditional Chinese performances and calligraphy. Naumkeag is open for house and garden tours, workshops, yoga, live music and more through late fall, so you can experience the landscape transformations for yourself. [Above, guests exit the Chinese Temple Garden through the Moon Door.]

Gala co-chair Hilary Somers Deely with honorary co-chairs Yo-Yo Ma and Jill Hornor; Trustees stewardship manager Jake Chase and Rebecca Neher.

Severn Goodwin and Debbie Schehr; board member Nathan Hayward with Bonita Wilson and Mark Wilson of The Trustees.

The dragon winds its way from the main tent to the Evergreen Garden and into the Chinese Temple Garden.

Cindy Brockway of the Trustees with John Gibson and Andrea Selley of the National Trust; Matthew King and Deirdre Kelly.

Pat and Philip Kennedy-Grant of Kennedy-Grant Architecture; Guests enjoy the gardens prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Dr. Claudia Cooke, Christina Strong and Benjamin Strong; Lauren LeBlanc and board member Paul LeBlanc.

Trustees president and CEO Barbara Erickson and board chair David Croll hold the ribbon as Yo-Yo Ma does the honors.

Robert and Kathleen Shure of Skylight Studios, whose work can be seen throughout the Chinese Garden as well as in the reproduction pillars in the Afternoon Garden; Santhea Ogden with Celia Kittredge, gala co-chair and Choate family descendant.

Dana and Joe Robbat, board members of Friends of Modern Architecture in Lincoln, Mass.; Jonathan Stone and Tom Flanigan, who consider Naumkeag to be one of their favorite places in the world, see it as a good investment, and have been supporting it for 30 years.

Traditional Chinese dances were performed every half hour for the guests.

Two Asian-inspired dishes that were on the party menu.

Goldfish used as centerpieces.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/26/16 at 08:18 AM • Permalink

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Habitat For Humanity Of Northwest Connecticut Turns 25

Jamie Larson reports from Sharon. Atop the rolling hills of Sharon, Conn. on Saturday, July 23, LionRock Farm played host to a party for a great cause: Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Connecticut turned 25 years old. For a quarter century, the affiliate has been supporting the community by building 12 homes for families in need. The event was an elegant way to honor the organization’s history of good work and some special members who have gone above and beyond, and to raise more money for their ongoing $100,000 capital campaign. We know what a wonderful place to live our area is, and Habitat makes it possible for families to live here, in the homes they deserve. And, it must be said, this group throws a heck of a party. Above, the evening’s honorees. Affiliate founding member John Pogue received the Founder Recognition, Judi Moore  received the Volunteer Recognition for 25 years of hard work (back to the very first tag sale), and Chris Hewat accepted the Donor Recognition on behalf of Don and Diane Hewat, who have been exceedingly generous.

Lucinda Ross, ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross, who provided the evening’s opening remarks, and Maureen Tesoro; Habitat of NW Connecticut President Tracy Atwood, board member Wilhelmina Eaken, Webb Eaken and Lincoln Center producer Kristy Geslain.

Heather Kahler and board member Michael Kahler welcomed party-goers at the door with infectious smiles; Joanne and Kenny Dahill, Shelley and John Fecteau.

Scott Whalen, Habitat Executive Director Dawn Whalen, Megan and Jeremy Sokolnicki, and Seth Mittag and India Mittag, the last four representing the Kent School. Ms. Mittag was the founding member of the Kent School’s Habitat chapter.

Volunteer Ceely Ackerman, Bert Schmitz, and Mary and Alex Taylor; Bill Fordyce, Terry Holm of Geer Senior Living and Chris Holm.

The host’s beautiful habitat; board member Michael Halloran, Mark Burke and Liane Burke, and Susan MacEachron.

Steve Graziano, board member Mike Shopp, Heather Shopp and Ben Shopp, Julia Graziano, Mike Shopp, Jr., Madeline Tomich and Colleen O’Reilly and Liam O’Reilly.

Board member Bill Conclan with board secretary Judy Becker; longtime volunteers Peggy Magyar, Sara Becker and Jane Pinckney.

Always supporters and often volunteers, Nancy Moskowitz and Lary Moskowitz, and True Anderson and Bob Anderson.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 07/24/16 at 09:34 PM • Permalink

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At Katchkie Farm, All Eat Well To Support The Sylvia Center

Lisa Green reports from Kinderhook. The party in the fields of Katchkie Farm on Saturday, July 23 began with guests encountering The Sylvia Center’s mission of inspiring children to eat well. On the path down to the gardens, students from the Perfect 10 After School organization in Hudson — participants of the center’s programs — handed out pieces of lemon balm, encouraging guests to taste and smell the herb, just as they do when they’re learning at the farm. The ninth annual Farm-to-Table Dinner, which benefits The Sylvia Center, raises funds to help introduce thousands of young people to the farm as well as expand the Seed to Plate program, which brings healthy cooking courses to schools, youth groups and after-school programs throughout Columbia County. Cocktails in the Field House, passed hors d’oeuvres and tours of the Learning Garden kept guests happily occupied until the main event, dinner at long tables under the tent. All of the food was provided by Great Performances, whose owner, Liz Neumark, established Katchkie Farm (where much of the dinner’s ingredients came from) as well as The Sylvia Center. Volunteers from Great Performances and Sylvia Center students prepared and served the entire menu. [Above, Sam Wachsberger with his mom, the woman who started it all, Liz Neumark.]

Despina Leandrou and Michael Laudati of Stockport and New York City; Era Hanspal from the Albany area and Erin Reese, from the city.

The pond beside the farm provides a peaceful respite from the crowd.

Carol Schneider and Don Schneider with their daughter, Suzannah Schneider, the sustainability connector at Great Performances; Nardyne Cattani and Richard Cattani with Anna Hammond, The Sylvia Center’s executive director.

Charles Biblowit, Myra Bilblowit, who is the president of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, with their daughter Rachel Snyder, son-in-law Matt Snyder, and grandchildren Grace and William.

Julie Cerny, farm education director and garden manager, with Katherine Mok, marketing and public relations manager for Great Performances; The drink station set up and ready for customers.

Teresa Meza, Pamela Badila and Paula Forman, all from Perfect 10.

Julie Cerny explains how she introduces students to food on the farm that may be new to them.“Don’t yuck my yum” helps them to respect everyone’s unique tastebuds; Perfect 10 students perform a song they wrote about The Sylvia Center.

Food writer Anna Kovel and architect Greg Merryweather, new Kinderhook residents, with Debbie Gardner, a member of the board of directors.

Heather Kowalski and Curtis Gobrecht of Lover’s Leap Farm donated a whole heritage pig to the silent auction; After a few clouds and sprinkles, the sun returns to deliver a golden glow at dinnertime.

Mark Blumkin and Amy Blumkin of New Jersey and Great Barrington; Samara Antolini and Michael Antolini, visiting from NYC.

After dinner, guests make pledges to The Sylvia Center.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/24/16 at 11:43 AM • Permalink

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The 2016 SummerScape Gala: The Spirit Of Montgomery Place

Amy Krzanik reports from Red Hook. The evening of Saturday, July 16 was, by turns, exhilarating, hilarious, touching, peaceful and joyous. The 2016 SummerScape Gala, a benefit for Bard College’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, took advantage of the newest addition to the school’s campus, and held the event on the grounds of Montgomery Place. Amid breathtaking Hudson River views, notable names from the page, the stage, the screen, the canvas and the runway mingled over “Mott & Mulberry” and “Orchard Fix” cocktails created by New York City mixologist Leo Robitschek. Bard alum Blythe Danner and fellow actors Parker Posey, Mary Stuart Masterson and Mx. Justin Vivian Bond performed a whimsical skit to honor the past matriarchs of the mansion, its gardens and its orchards. A true highlight of the evening followed, as ballet star Sergei Polunin, making a rare stateside appearance, gave a world premiere live performance of his 2015 internet video hit. Directed by David La Chapelle and set to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church,” the video has been viewed more than 15 million times on YouTube and is credited with renewing Polonin’s passion for dance. After giving a round of thunderous applause, guests made their way to a tent strung with lanterns, to enjoy dinner designed by chef Rocco DiSpirito, a James Beard Award winner and best-selling author. The gala is the Fisher Center’s largest annual fundraising event, and supports the College’s commitment to the performing arts, which it sees as a cultural and educational necessity. 

Bard College president Leon Botstein with Matthew Davidson, Joan K. Davidson and Amy Davidson; Fisher Center advisory board member Felicitas Thorne and chef Rocco DiSpirito.

Nathan Milikowsky, Rebecca Gold and writer/actress Joan Juliet Buck; Paulo and board member Denise Simon with Helena and Christopher Gibbs.

Designer Bibhu Mohapatra, Lopa Mohanty, artist Ramon Lascano, artist Bobby Beard, gala co-chair Carolyn Marks Blackwood, Benjamin Krevolin, Heather Croner and gala co-chair Greg Quinn.

Conductor/composer Johan de Meij and journalist Dyan Machan; playwright Moises Kaufman, actress/director Mary Stuart Masterson and writer/producer Jeffrey LaHoste.

Betsy Ely, Steve Dawson, Leonard Steinberg and Thom Coughlin; Catherine Michaelson with Bob and Joan Costa.

Sergei Polunin sits on stage at the beginning of his performance.

Gideon Lester, Jack Ferver and Alicia Davis; Ginny and Sandy Friedman.

Caroline Kronqvist, Foster Reed and Michele Platt; a string trio entertains the crowd during cocktail hour.

Parker Posey, Mx. Justin Vivian Bond and Blythe Danner perform a skit, with choreographer Jack Ferver looking on.

The breathtaking views from the back and front of the mansion.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/17/16 at 09:42 PM • Permalink

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Kids4Harmony Benefit Strikes A Chord For 400-Plus Supporters

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. Kids 4 Harmony, the free after-school music program established by Berkshire Children and Families, has become one of the city’s most beloved causes to champion. In fact, so many supporters wanted to attend the benefit reception and concert on Monday, July 11 at the Country Club of Pittsfield, that organizers had to cut off reservations. Now in its fifth year, the Kids 4 Harmony program unites families and communities in a quest for musical excellence and social and economic success. It’s obviously working: from the beginning string players to the accomplished students who were the first to join the program, the young musicians exhibited poise, confidence and musicality. After they performed, renowned pianist Emanuel Ax joined them in a movement of a piano quintet, then Ax performed a solo piece as a finale. The “Concert 4 Harmony” was dedicated in memory of violinist/conductor Joseph Silverstein, who was a friend, mentor and supporter of the program. [Above, Artistic Director Alicia Stevenson poses with some of the “Kids.”]

Betsy Selkowitz, who is on the Kids 4 Harmony advisory committee, and Marilyn Kirby; Berkshire Children and Families President and CEO Carolyn Mower Burns and harpist Elizabeth Morse.

Lesley Oransky and Tracy Wilson, director of the Berkshire Music School and a member of the advisory committee.

Corrigan Wright and Brenda Hart, mother and grandmother of one of the musical Kids; Erik Holmgren and Rodrigo Guerrero, representing the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Advisory committee member Dottie Weber, Stephen Weber, Eli Newberger, co-chair of the advisory committee, and Carolyn Newberger, a member of the board of directors; Tatiana Cruz and Raul Castillo, “family members” who have children in Kids 4 Harmony.

Pianist Emanuel Ax with the Pittsfield Kids 4 Harmony group and teaching artists at rehearsal. Photo: Sean Eligers.

Conductor and cellist Ron Feldman with Adrienne Silverstein; clarinetist Paul Green, Hilary Respass, executive director of The Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and David Krauss, principal trumpet of the MET Orchestra.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/17/16 at 05:30 PM • Permalink

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The Stars Come Out For WAM Theatre

Rachel Louchen reports from Richmond. The forecast may have predicted severe thunderstorms but from the enthusiastic turnout, it was clear that WAM Theatre’s benefit cocktail party would have gotten a draw regardless of the weather. Under bright blue skies, Stars in the Orchard returned for a second year on Thursday, July 14, again at Hilltop Orchards. The event featured a raffle, silent auction, and live auction. A major fundraiser for the philanthropic theater company, it was also an opportunity for founder and artistic director Kristin van Ginhoven [left, with Hilltop Orchards owner John Vittori] to announce that Berkshire Immigrant Center and Suzi Banks Baum (for her Armenian female empowerment project) will be the 2016 beneficiaries of WAM’s production of “The Bakelite Masterpiece” in the fall. In true WAM fashion, the evening included performances by Girls Inc. and festive music provided by the Expandable Brass Band. And apple cider doughnuts, of course.

Alyssa Wright, a WAM development comittee member, with William Wright; Siena Gamberoni and Iris Courchaine performed with the Girls Inc. ensemble.

Philanthropy and Outreach Coordinator Gwendolyn Tunnicliffe and board member Vicky May with Greylock Federal Credit Union sponsors Jaime Moncecchi and Kent Hudson; WAM volunteers Shiffra Perlmutter and Karen Richards.

Peter Jeffrey and Carla Weiss; Richard and Abby Tovell of T Square Design Studio.

Jessica Provenz , who helped coordinate last year’s event, with strategic planning committee member Bruce Garlow and his brother, Tamarack Garlow.

Yuki Cohen and Lauren Ferin; Brooke Mead, Brian Harrison and Joni Thomas.

Longtime WAM supporter Susie Roeder and Hope Fitzgerald; Tereza Hubkova, Chris Buono and Alexandra Heddinger.

Lawyer Ethan Klepetar, Jayme Kurland, Julia Dixon and Todd Trebour; WAM’s artistic associate Molly Clancy and Rebecka McDougall, who volunteered at the event.

Bill and Sue Lyon with Freda Grim, associate producer.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/15/16 at 09:35 AM • Permalink

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The Spirit Of ‘66 Enchants Olana On Its 50th Birthday

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. Cloudy skies and a little drizzle of a rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the 300 or so attendees of Olana State Historic Site’s 50th birthday gala on Saturday, July 9. When not under tents, guests popped umbrellas to protect their duds, many of them harkening back to the fashions of the year Olana was saved from destruction. Adorable 1960s-inspired nibbles from Gaskins, Panzer, Wm. Farmer & Sons, Café Le Perche, The Corner at Hotel Tivoli and other Hudson Valley eateries were a big hit, along with freshly shucked oysters from Other Brother Darryl’s and libations courtesy of Fairview Wine & Spirits. DJ Javier Peral hand-picked (literally, all music was “of the times” from LPs played on turntables) the best tunes from the decade to keep the crowd swinging. Proceeds from the summer soiree support the site and its wide-ranging, year-round programming for students, visitors, artists and scholars. [Above, Trixie Starr, Michael Susi, Olana president Sean Sawyer and trustee Janet Schnitzer.]

Trustee Kay Toll with David Diamond, trustee Karen Zukowski and Maynard Toll, a trustee of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site; Janett Pabon and Chef Devon Gilroy of The Corner at Hotel Tivoli.

Architect Thomas Krizmanic, David Melgar and Olana’s landscape curator Mark Prezorski; Rickey Shaum with Catherine Lark and Ricky Lark, who are related to Sally Church, the last family member to inhabit the estate at Olana.

Annie Digiovanna and Taylor Schultz; Jack Pickering, Joan K. Davidson, Elaine Koss and artist Gene Debartolo.

Soon-to-be newlyweds Keven Brunk and Jessyka Neitzel.

Board treasurer Rick McCarthy with Eileen and Jay Wallace, Jean Hamilton and Lisa Fox Martin, the board chair of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site; Matt McGhee and Ronald Kopnicki.

DeWayne Powell, Tim Legg and Doug Wingo; Rebecca Wagner, Steven Levine and Emily McLaughlin.

Olana’s interim director of collections and research, Valerie Balint, with its education coordinator Elizabeth Schanz and volunteer Barbara Stevens; DJ Javier Peral spins tunes (on real vinyl!) for the crowd.

Joseph Garry and Olana National Advisory Committee member Barry Harwood; Trixie Starr and Sean Sawyer strike a pose in front of the gorgeous vista.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/11/16 at 10:29 AM • Permalink

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Opening Night A Gala Event At Shakespeare & Company

Lisa Green reports from Lenox. “We don’t normally have a gala on opening night,” admitted Tina Packer, Shakespeare & Company’s founding artistic director on Sunday, July 10.  But The Merchant of Venice, with its controversial mix of bigotry and humor, gave the gala attendees plenty to discuss at the cocktail hour, intermission and the dinner that followed. This is the company’s 39th performance season (and the Bard’s 400th anniversary), and The Merchant of Venice is the first production presented in-the-round at the Tina Packer Playhouse. (“Very Elizabethan,” said Packer, who directed it). Following the performance, guests raised their glasses — filled with Portia’s Potion, the drink of the night — and toasted to the cast and team. Proceeds raised from the evening help fund Shakespeare & Company’s internationally recognized Fall Festival program, in which high school students mount productions of Shakespeare’s plays. Above, artistic directors Ariel Bock and Jonathan Croy look on as Tina Packer thanks the donors for their support. 

Bella Merlin, who plays Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice, and Londoner Miles Anderson; Eda Sorokoff and Stephen Sorokoff of Broadway World.

Rhea Werner and Ken Werner, chair of the board of trustees; Kevin Coleman, S&Co.‘s director of education; Marjorie Shapiro and Barry Shapiro, vice chair of the board.

Govane Lohbauer, costume director; Mary Abbruzzese, Bob Lohbauer, weapons master; and Dan Abbruzzese; Kate Millonzi and Ariel Bock.

Katherine Barton, Hugo Malpeyre, a director in France; Elizabeth Aspenlieder, who served as associate director for this production; and Kris Stone, the set designer.

Fiber and mixed-media artist Wendy Rabinowitz and The Berkshire Eagle’s Jeffrey Borak, who was there to review the production; Kenneth Rainey, costume design assistant, with Noa Egozi, assistant director.

Betsy Lee Workman, who owns La Pace, now in Lenox; drama critic and playwright Terry Teachout and Hilary Teachout; and Arthur Oliver, who is a costume designer; New Yorkers Peter Smith and Gillian Smith.

Alice Anne Schwab, executive director of the Susquehanna Art Museum, Bob Garrett, Mim Warden, Asia Berger and Ted Berger.

Freelance journalist Ryan Leeds, Tina Packer and Pete Sanders; Guests enjoyed Portia’s Potion (named for the character in The Merchant of Venice), an elixir of Berkshire Mountain Distillers Premium Vodka, triple sec and cranberry juice, rimmed with golden sugar dust.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/11/16 at 10:11 AM • Permalink

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A Fandango For Nancy Fitzpatrick Courtesy Of IS183

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Red Lion Inn owner and Berkshire County philanthropist Nancy Fitzpatrick dispensed a bit of advice to the crowd gathered in her honor at Stonover Farm on Thursday evening, July 7. “You don’t have to do it all at once,” she said. “All you have to do is a little bit each year, and it adds up to a lot.” She was talking mainly about her involvement in starting IS183 Art School of the Berkshires, who threw the gala to honor her and to celebrate its 25th anniversary, but she just as likely could’ve been alluding to her goal of walking across the entire United States, or to life itself. IS18, a nonprofit community art school offering classes for children and adults, has been known to throw some of the most creative and visually lavish parties in the county—and this one didn’t disappoint—but Thursday’s “Fitzpatrick Fandango” was the first to acknowledge the work of one person. But Nancy isn’t just any person, as the packed house of friends, family and fellow board members attested. Guests gladly raised their paddles to bid in the live auction and to give dollar amounts so the school can continue to offer art-making classes to help improve the lives of over 1,000 local schoolchildren each year. In true Berkshire County farm-to-table style, a wonderful dinner of local meats, cheeses, vegetables and fruits was prepared on site by Chef Brian Alberg of Main Street Catering. Here’s three cheers – or, heck, 25 cheers – to Nancy. (Stay tuned for IS183’s big birthday bash in October.)

IS183 board chairman Andy Foster with the guest of honor, and the school’s executive director Hope Sullivan; the animated Yo-Yo Ma with Stonover Farm co-owner Tom Werman.

Former First Lady of Massachusetts Diane Patrick with Kripalu trustees Marcia Feuer and Joan Kopperl; Melissa Bigarel, Jane Iredale and Judy Ney.

Bruno Quinson, Daniel Osman, Hope Sullivan and artist Peggy Rivers; Joyce Bernstein and Larry Rosenthal.

Nancy and her husband, photographer Lincoln Russell [seated], pose with family on the lawn before the festivities.

IS183’s Carrie Wright and her husband, photographer Bill Wright, who wore a safety vest in homage to the one Nancy wears when she “takes a hike”; the school’s ceramics studio manager, Jared Gelormino, with trustee Adrienne Miesmer.

Trustee Tracy Foster, Jonathan Swartz, Sarah Eustis, Anne-Juliette Maurice and Stonover co-owner Suky Werman; Marilyn Hayward, Oliver Curme and Kim Noltemy.

Yuna Asriyan and Deanna McGrath; Roshni Rama and John Snyder pose with the guest of honor.

William Caligari, board vice chair Jennifer Trainer Thompson, Hope Sullivan and Pascale Delfosse.

Carolina Palermo Schulze and Spencer Zahn; painter Stephen Hannock, Nancy and Joan Hunter.

Magician Adam Cardone entertains the crowd; as the sun went down, the cones began to glow inside the barn.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/10/16 at 10:35 PM • Permalink

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Wilderstein’s Community Spirit Soars On The Hudson

Rachel Louchen reports from Rhinebeck. A rare gray summer day still provided stellar views of the Hudson River from Wilderstein Historic Site. On Saturday, July 9, the former home of the Suckley family — famously Margaret “Daisy” Suckley, a cousin of Franklin D. Roosevelt — held its annual Summer Celebration fundraiser for the 15th consecutive year. More impressive than the long-range views of the water is the historic home itself, built in 1852 and majorly renovated to an elaborate Queen Anne mansion in 1888. While the exterior is grand, the interior still evokes the comfortable feeling of a home (albeit a stately one), which no doubt is due to the constant care and genuine devotion it receives from the board and volunteers. “This isn’t federally funded. Or state. It’s all us, it’s the people,” explained Valerie Dampeer, a longtime supporter and wife of the current board president, summing up what is truly special about Rhinebeck’s beloved institution. The restoration project of the circa-1890 potting shed, to be completed at the end of this year, was dedicated to the memory of two of those special citizens, Martha and Frank Reardon, who were instrumental over the years—Martha served as docent, board member and landscape volunteer, and Frank as the chief volunteer groundsman. The main fundraiser of the year saw a large turnout complete with live music, croquet matches, house tours, a silent auction and lots of garden party hats. [Above, Alex Sherwin, grandson of Martha and Frank Reardon, and Michael Reardon, their son, flank Linda Watson, wife of Wilderstein’s head curator.]

Mark Fitzgerald, Valerie Dampeer and Geoff Dampeer; Karen Silverman and Nick Jones.

Jack Dean and Jim Calimano; Isobel Usawicz and Daniel Baxter.

Wilderstein’s curator Duane Watson, Mike Brewer, Marion Mathison and Sue Cornwall.

Martha Toomey and Renata Frommert, who serves as a docent at Wilderstein; string players Helena Baillie, Reina Murooka and Shai Lev.

Elizabeth and Matthew Bradford; current Wilderstein board president Lyell Dampeer with former board president Steven Connell.

Yvonne Paulin and realtor Arielle Curtin enjoy the river views from the best spot on the lawn.

Vicki Haak and Dede McKibbin; Lois Winston with Wilderstein docent Amy Scorca.

Melissa Macaluso, Julie Hardinger and Adam Hardinger pose in front of a classic Packard; Allison Sokarisand Michael Amsden.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/09/16 at 10:49 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Theatre Group Toasts To Billy’s 111th Birthday

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. If you were anywhere near Main Street in Stockbridge on Saturday evening, July 2, you may have heard the tooting of party horns and a chorus of voices singing “Happy Birthday.” The birthday boy was former Berkshire Theatre Group artistic director Billy Miles and it was his 111th, although he wasn’t there — under a tent outside of the Fitzpatrick Main Stage — to celebrate. But don’t worry, there were plenty of theatre fans there and his birthday cake did not go to waste. Before an evening performance of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, supporters gathered at a reception featuring a Southern-inspired menu that included cornbread topped with pulled pork and slaw, among other snacks created for the occasion by Chef Brian Alberg. The evening’s signature drink was the mint julep. Miles’ daughters, Mary Ann Miles and Elizabeth Miles Montgomery, were not only present at the event, but shared some fascinating background information about their father’s career and even blew out the candles on his birthday cake at the post-show festivities. Miles, who served as artistic director from 1935-1958, oversaw productions starring Ethel Barrymore, Tallulah Bankhead, Lillian Gish, Thornton Wilder, Gloria Swanson, Buster Keaton and many other huge names. Proceeds will benefit Berkshire Theatre Group’s Festival Archives. [Above, one of the play’s stars, Rebecca Brooksher, with BTG’s artistic director and CEO, Kate Maguire.

Joseph Melillo, Ashlei Perkins, the assistant to the artistic director, and Kathy Jo Grover, the front of house manager; Hans Morris with Bridget Fawcett.

Event committee and board member Hilary Deely, Phil Deely, photojournalist Lionel Delevingne and Judith Wilkinson; Barbara Alibozek, Gene Dellea and BTG board president Ruth Blodgett.

RI publisher Mark Williams with Kate Morris; BTG staff offered champagne toasts to the crowd post show.

Carrie Wright, Hilary Deely and Rebecca Weinman; designer Carl Sprague, Elizabeth Miles Montgomery [seated], artist Anne Auberjonois, professor Sebastian Bonner and Robin Montgomery.

Billy’s 111th birthday cake; the scene inside the tent after the performance was festive, indeed.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/03/16 at 11:12 PM • Permalink

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The Nature of Glass: Chesterwood’s 2016 Gala And Exhibit

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. You couldn’t have wished for a more perfect summer day for an outdoor event than Friday, June 24, as Chesterwood’s 38th annual sculpture exhibition, The Nature of Glass, opened with a reception, followed by a fundraising dinner. Many of the 12 internationally recognized glass artists were on hand to discuss their work during a walking tour of the 24 pieces, led by the exhibition’s curator, Jim Schantz of Schantz Galleries in Stockbridge. Creations by locals such as gala co-chair Tom Patti join art by a handful of Seattle residents and even a sculptor from the Netherlands for this year’s exhibit, and some are the culmination of glassblowers creating outdoor pieces for the very first time. In addition to the artists listed above and shown below, The Nature of Glass includes pieces by Martin Blank, Daniel Clayman, Sidney Hutter, John Kiley, Kait Rhoads, Thomas Scoon and William Carlson, who was awarded this year’s Lillian Heller Curator’s Award. The 2016 sculpture show will be on view daily until Sept. 18. [Above, Elise Abrams, Alexander Sohn and Chesterwood’s executive director Donna Hassler.]

Sara Koffman and her daughter, Deb Koffman; Janet Hargus, exhibiting sculptor Peter Bremers and Chris Magee.

Ute Stebich, Bob Schenkel, gala co-chair Marilyn Patti and Suzanne Nash take in the views; Gallerist Leslie Ferrin and artist Marko Remec pose in front of Remec’s Remember What (Field Totem).

Margaret Moulton, Matthew King and Brian Cruey; Maureen Hickey, Ed.D., Laurie Norton Moffatt, director and CEO of the Norman Rockwell Museum, and Carole Hyatt.

Richard Squalia, Erika Sautman, exhibiting artist Nancy Callan, Steve Sautman and Donna Rainone.

Gallerist Natalie Tyler with exhibiting sculptor Richard Royal and Dena Lowenbach; musician Joe Rose and realtor Lori Rose.

KK Zutter and artist Terry Wise, whose work is currently on exhibit at Great Barrington’s Castle Street Cafe; printmaker Karl Dastoli, Susan Calkins, contractor Dennis Messana and Victoria Ross.

Exhibiting glass artist Richard Jolley and Julia Ricketts; hot air balloons seen through the frame of William Carlson’s Vitro Muralis.

Richard Royal’s Optic Lens.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/26/16 at 09:41 PM • Permalink

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One Night Only With Barrington Stage Company

Rachel Louchen reports from Pittsfield. For the 21st year, Barrington Stage Company celebrated its season-opening gala with a show, party, and excitement for the summer ahead. On Saturday, June 25, the evening started fittingly with BSC founder/artistic director Julianne Boyd and board chair Mary Ann Quinson addressing the crowd of “longtime, faithful supporters” from the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage. They then introduced Tony Yazbeck, current star of Broadway’s Finding Neverland for a hour-long performance, The Floor Above Me, which traced his career, life and loves through song and tap dancing. Yazbeck, who starred in BSC’s 2012 production of On The Town, spoke of his time at the company, zeroing in the expert crew and strong community spirit. Post song and dance, guests crossed North Street en mass to the Boys & Girls Club of Berkshires for cocktails and a chance to bid on auction items before a sit-down dinner. [Above, associate artist Brian Prather and Erin Keller. ]

Gala committee member Cynthia Welch and Glenna Gerard; Jerry and Donna Weiss.

Veverly James and Andrew James; Al Jaffee and Kathleen Jaffee.

Theater student Amara Brady, Eva Blachere and JP Blachere; Charles Stuzin, sponsor of American Son, and George Whaling.

Managing director Tristan Wilson, his wife Peggy Pharr Wilson, Jeff Dreisbach and artistic assistant Pat McCorkle.

Don Morrison and Ann Morrison; Gala committee member Linda Febles and Mass. State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier.

Nina Jung and Brad Aspel; Judith Jacobs and Rita Sperling.

Alex Skarmeas, Director of Education Tim Paré, Colin Nelson and Daniel Garrity.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 06/25/16 at 08:59 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Playwrights Gala Enacts A Lively Scene

Jamie Larson reports from Great Barrington. For almost a decade now, the Berkshire Playwrights Lab has been both a sanctuary for artists and an intimate outlet for patrons to support exciting new stage works. At their gala last Friday at the picturesque Wyantenuck Country Club, party-goers were treated to a lively scene, a fabulous silent auction and the excellent company of writers, directors and actors associated with the Lab. The BPL has given writers invaluable resources and guidance to help make sure that the spark of inspiration turns into the next great theatrical work. Dozens of pieces have now come to life thanks to the Berkshire Playwrights Lab. [Pictured above, the three BPL co-artistic directors and the organization’s board chair: Matthew Penn, president Jim Frangione, VP Joe Cacaci and chair Stacey Gillis Weber.]

BPL treasurer and Saint James Place’s Fred Harris, Martha Fick and BPL Advisory Board member Malcolm Fick; Howard Arkans, Sue Arkans and Carol Kuller.

Stewert Lippe, Linda Saul-Sena, Mark Sena and Marja Tepper.

Louise Hillman, Eric Beauchesne and Alice Funke; Aurther Hillman, Jim Frangione, Anne O’Dwyer and Steve Moritz.

Ken Werner, Jennie Jadow and David Jadow; Guests mingle on the terrace.

Steven Froot, Heidi Heidispiegel, Mary Anne Doyle, Harris Weber and Harry Manin.

Hope Holiner, Ruth Carlin, Claudia Ryan, Anita Keal Wolkowitz and Morton Wolkowitz; Rich Solor, Jeff Weber and Stephanie Solor.

BPL Secretary Chris Blair, Amy Rudnick and Ben Hillman; A beautiful evening for a gala.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 06/20/16 at 10:33 AM • Permalink

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Roe Jan Library Barnstorms For Books

Rachel Louchen reports from Hillsdale. Stacks of books were replaced by fields as far as the eye could see on Saturday, June 18 for the seventh annual Party in the Park for The Roeliff Jansen Community Library. Held in the Harvest Barn at Roe Jan Park directly across the street from the library, the annual event outsold all previous years. The decorating committee made good use of the barn’s exposed beams for stringing lights while hay bales held the large food spread donated by local restaurants. The silent auction included items such as lunch with former New York Times food writer and best-selling author Mark Bittman, house seats to Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway, and a catered dinner with wine pairings. A regular theme of the gala is recognizing dedicated patrons for their service, and this year, longtime philanthropists Pat and Jack Shakshober were honored for their over 40 years of support for multiple local organizations, including the library. The event funds the library all year and the significant turnout is unsurprising; the attendees at the event are actively and passionately involved in the library through their donations, volunteer work or just visiting regularly to take out books. [Above, Pat Placona, president of the library’s board of trustees and event chair Chris Atkins.]

Library volunteers Adrienne Orbach, Regina Colangelo and Lauren Lettelier.

Hillsdale residents Beth Gordon and Elliot Sobel; Attorney Jeanne Mettler with Sara Kahn.

Dave Pells and library trustee Meg Wormly; Shelly Barnham, trustee Marilyn Goldman, who was a major volunteer for the event and Susan Krim

Elayne Dix, Debby Goldberg and her neice, Molly Goldberg.

Eve Schatz, Anita Podrid and Bill Podrid; Howard Blue, Maj Kalfus and Lonny Kalfus, head of the arts committee for the gala.

Ellen Winner, Cathy Redlich and David Lewis; New Hillsdale residents Steve and Kathy Bluestone.

Father-daughter volunteers Steven and Aelxandra Smith manned the cocktail station.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 06/20/16 at 10:15 AM • Permalink

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It Never Gets Old: Jacob’s Pillow Gala Welcomes Its New Director

Lisa Green reports from Becket. There is always a certain frisson at the Jacob’s Pillow Opening Gala, but this year, on Saturday, June 18, it was particularly heightened as the festival welcomed its new director, Pamela Tatge. Stepping up to the podium as self-possessed as if she’d been doing it for years, Tatge thanked the board of directors for the “opportunity of a lifetime” and told the more than 450 Pillow patrons that as much as she was thrilled to take on her new role, she was just as excited to be attending her first Jacob’s Pillow gala. The cocktail reception coincided with a preview of the exhibition “Lois Greenfield: Moving Still,” celebrating the recent work of the artist who has defined dance photography for decades. The gala performance featured a variety of artists and choreographers, and Tatge awarded the 10th anniversary Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award to Camille A. Brown, who performed an excerpt from her award-winning work, “Mr. TOL E. RAncE.” Dinner, silent and not-so-silent auctions and — what else? — dancing followed.  [Above, board member Stephen Weiner and Pamela Tatge.]

Jacob’s Pillow board member Claudia Perles, namesake of the future new dance studio, which will be built as part of next year’s 85th anniversary capital campaign, and Charles Adelman, a member of the Gala host committee; Monty Blanchard and Leslie Tcheyan, a jewelry designer.

Gala co-chairs Joan Hunter and Sienna Patti, whose studio is a venue for contemporary studio jewelry.

Family bonding at Jacob’s Pillow: Ann, Francesca and Joe Gallo of Tyringham; Attorney David Schecker with Vicki Bonnington, sporting a magnificent glass-and-nylon bird sculpture neck piece by Philadelphia artist Emily Cobb, with WAM Theatre’s artistic director Kristen van Ginhoven.

Realtor Gladys Montgomery and PR maven Susan Lewin; Jerry Zinser, husband of new artistic director Pam Tatge, with Michael Roth, president of Wesleyan University and Kari Weil, Professor of Letters at Wesleyan, who has a house in Monterey.

Sara Pasternak, a psychologist, and Madeline Hooper, who is on the board of the Berkshire Botanical Gardens.

RI publisher Mark Williams with Anita Shapiro and Harvey Shapiro; Choreographer Michelle Dorrance, winner of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award in 2013, tells the guests how vital the Pillow has been to the development of her company.

Internationally renowned glass artist Tom Patti, designer of the the actual Jacob’s Pillow Dance award, and Marilyn Patti; Leslie Norville, who produced A Ballerina’s Tale documentary and Oskar Landi, a photographer.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/19/16 at 08:49 PM • Permalink

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Close Encounters Shakes Things Up At Gala Concert

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. Close Encounters With Music closed out its season with its annual gala concert on Saturday, June 11 at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. This year’s theme was “Music That Shook The World!” and its multi-media approach, complete with vintage film and narration, rather shook up the regular concert experience as well. Following the concert, patrons regathered at the rustic Wyantenuck Country Club to enjoy a food-filled reception. Close Encounters With Music is in its 24th year presenting thematic concerts of chamber music accompanied by the always-enlightening commentary of artistic director and cellist Yehuda Hanani. [Above, author/commedienne/audiobook narrator Alison Larkin, who at the concert read passages from the memoirs of George Anthiel, aka the early 20th-century’s “bad boy of music;” pianist Michael Chertock, Annette Miller, an actor who will play a featured role this year at Shakespeare & Co., and cellist and artistic director Yehuda Hanani.]

Connie Culley and Richard Culley; Penny Pincus, Claudio Pincus and Rabbi Max Roth.

Carole Hyatt, author and founder and CEO of MISSION: GETTING TO NEXT, and Michael Miller, former trustee chairman and current member of Shakespeare & Company’s board; John Spain and Leslie Gold.

Pavel Hillel, Susan Hillel, ceramicist Paul Chaleff, Carrie Chen and Stanley Cohen.

Bobbie Paley, Marcie Setlow, president of CEWM’s board of directors, and Hannah Hanani; Gisa Botbol, Rene Schnetzler and Ruth Ketay.

CEWM board members Purcell Palmer and Michael Wise along with Susan Pettee enjoy the lovely evening from the terrace; Elaine Cohen, Zvi Cohen and Beatrice Cohen, owners of Our Daily Bread in Chatham, surround the inimitable Judy Grunberg.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/12/16 at 11:15 AM • Permalink

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First Columbians Celebrates 100 Years Of Preservation

Jamie Larson reports from Kinderhook. The Columbia County Historical Society’s yearly First Columbians gala is always a stylish and enjoyable happening, but this year took on special significance: it’s the organization’s centennial, and the historical society has in itself become historic. The storm clouds parted just in time for a lovely event held behind the James Vanderpoel House. The celebration was also timed to coincide with the completion of renovations and new exhibits in the building that is the flagship of the historical society’s properties. Earlier this year, we wrote about all the CCHS has in store for the centennial summer and First Columbians was a great way to get things rolling. [Above: CCHS Executive Director Lori Yarotsky and Trustee John Carroll.]

The House of History; Robert Bluman, Heath Jacobs, Ilona Weisman, Kevin Lee Jacobs and David Deutsch.

Jorge Munos, Jason Money of Barlis Wedlick Architects, Christine Berdahl and Katelyn Sinon.

Graham Farrel and Dr. Norman Posner; Kristian Rathbone and Andrea Leung.

Katie Desano, Joe Geller and Jon Varese; Bob Woods, Stephany Lally, Loyita Woods and Tina Lang.

Peter Kindler and Dotty Battle.

Barry Herbold, Saylor and Herminio Ramerez; inside the tent at First Columbians.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 06/11/16 at 11:37 PM • Permalink

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The Wassaic Project Welcomes You To The Jungle

Rachel Louchen reports from Wassaic. There’s a good reason The Wassaic Project needs an entire summer to display its main exhibition: because there’s so much to see, touch and experience. On Saturday, June 11, preview party guests got a glimpse of what’s in store for the Project’s 9th summer. Appetite for Destruction features the work of 56 artists, 45 of whom have lived and made art in the hamlet within the past 18 months. Named after a Robert Williams painting as well as a pretty famous rock-n-roll album, the exhibit is housed in an old grain elevator that’s been transformed into a tower of art, with all seven floors featuring works ranging from visual interpretations of the untamed natural world to man-made environments to virtual reality. While a seven-floor walkup seems daunting, there are so many sights and sounds to gawk at, that before you know it, you’re at the installation of Polarized Landscapes by artist David Grainger on the top level. The preview party also touched on the lineup for the Summer Festival in August, a three-day multidisciplinary celebration of art, music, film and dance featuring over 60 artists, 15 bands, film screenings and dance performances. It sounds like a cliche to say it, but The Wassaic Project gets better (and more fun) every year. [Above, Bowie Zunino and Jeff Barnett-Winsby, founders and co-executive directors of the Wassaic Project.]

Program directors Scott Anderson, Charmaine Warren, Tim Love Lee and Liliana Greenfield-Sanders.

Michael Masterson and financial advisor Matt Lynn; Carlene Avalone, a former intern returning to participate in this year’s festival, and Dani Silva, a first-year intern.

Lily Wong and exhibition intern Abby Cosinuke; landscape designer Ben Young and painter Brendan O’Connor

Brooke Rogers, writer Jillian Dunham, Mike Welt and Will Welt became part of #NiagaraFiles by artist Rebekah Flake.

Artist Daniel Carello, whose work is exhibited on the fifth floor, with educational intern Sonja John; former intern Alyson Carpenter with Toni Reid, visiting from NYC.

Kate and Dana Rapisard participated in the exhibition; designer John Truex of Shinola with Matt Jordan.

Party committee member Bridget Potter and writer Cami Delavigne.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 06/11/16 at 09:50 PM • Permalink

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Finding Raven: Berkshire Museum Parties With Leather And Feathers

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Once upon a midnight dreary, a Gothic vibe pervaded the normally vivid and cheery Berkshire Museum on Friday, June 10. (The weather was actually mild and it started at 5:30 p.m., not midnight, but I digress…) Guests embraced this year’s “Raven’s Ball” gala theme by donning ebony evening dresses, brocade vests, black leather pants, ascots ala Edgar Allan Poe and, of course, an abundance of dramatic feathers. Peacock plumage sticking out of hats and pockets, feather-fringed belts and shoes, black feather boas and even some, ahem, downy décolletage made appearances. The inspiration for this year’s affair came from the Museum’s current exhibit, Finding Raven: Art and Stories from the Northwest Coast, which gala-goers were able to explore throughout the night. Cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres in the Spark!Lab preceded a live auction led by gala co-chair Robin McGraw, which raised over $75,000 for the Museum and its programs. The reward for all that good will was a generous spread from Main Street Catering and Events, an open bar that included a signature Dark and Stormy cocktail, formal portrait sittings with photographer Bill Wright, a dance party with DJ BFG (a.k.a. Gabriel Squailia, who also read to and wrote poems for the crowd) and more. Will we soon see a bash like this one that just passed? “Doubtless,” say I, “Nevermore.” [Above: David Schecker, Rosemary Harnett, Vicki Bonnington and Larry Harnett.]

Maureen and Michael Hinkley pose with the Museum’s Executive Director Van Shields; Michelle and Perri Petricca with Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer and former Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto.

Andi McGraw, Museum benefactor Claudia Perles and gala committee co-chair Buzz McGraw; Veronica Martin and James Moore.

Gala committee members Louis and Mary Ann Yarmosky; John Krol, Micaelah Morrill, Allison Krol and Mass. State Senator Ben Downing.

Lauren and Paul Raphael LeBlanc

Vicky May and Peter Alvarez; Ellen Kelly, Brenda Noble and Sharon Huban show off their henna tattoos.

Lynessa Moses, Chelsea Tyer and Denise Talabach; Darcie Sosa and gala committee member Caitlin Pemble.

Marcia Mitchell, poet Sarah Trudgeon and Tessa Kelly; photographer Ogden Gigli with Keith Emerling.

Kimberly Donoughe and Johanna Batman of the Berkshire Museum; Michael Vincent Bushy, artist Benigna Chilla and Kristen van Ginhoven.

Shela Hidalgo, Museum board member Ethan Klepetar and Mackenzie Greer; gala committee member Micaelah Morrill sits for a henna tattoo.

Your party isn’t complete until the dancing T-Rex shows up.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/11/16 at 09:03 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire International Film Festival Opens On The Silk Road

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. It’s impossible to miss The Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) when it comes to Great Barrington — the entire town is buzzing. This year, it was even more visible because the annual white tent across the street from The Mahaiwe included a 20-foot pagoda. On Thursday, June 2, BIFF opened its 11th season with a very Instagram-worthy party inspired by the documentary, The Music of Strangers, which follows Berkshire County’s Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road ensemble, screened immediately after the bash. The hotly anticipated four-day festival showcases independent features, documentaries, full-length fare and shorts over multiple venues in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, with filmmakers and cast members participating in post-screening discussion panels. A highlight of the festival was the presence of veteran actor Bruce Dern, who attended The Mahaiwe on Saturday night in conversation with Douglas Trumbull, followed by the screening of his Academy-Award nominated film, Nebraska. Above, BIFF Founder and Director Kelley Vickery and Pine Cone Hill creator Annie Selke.

Jefferey and Amy Mann with Karen and Robert Youdelman.

Lottie Graham and Charlotte Selke; Lana Young, star of The Big T, with Paul Gnaidek, a “jack of all trades” for BIFF.

Catherine Mandel, Matt Mandel and artist Helga S. Orthofer; Volunteer Coordinator Kalyn Burke and BIFF Executive Assistant Lauren Ferin.

Courtney Hatch of Annie Selke arranged the flowers for the giant display, designed by carpenter Keith Wilson, here with his wife, Emily Wilson.

Realtor Mandy Victor-Pieczarka with her husband, Ray Pieczarka; Vicki May of Greylock Federal Credit Union, Nina Garlington and Vicki Bonnington.

Robin Bardolia and David Dabill; Bill and Cheryl Casper attending their third consecutive BIFF.

Gary Levante and Shela Hidalgo.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 06/03/16 at 10:33 AM • Permalink

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A Sharon Audubon Hoot-enanny

Rachel Louchen reports from Sharon. The Sharon Audubon holds a fundraising event every spring, but this year’s festivities, Raptors & Riesling, was held on site for the first time ever, to allow guests to observe the birds and view the facilities and vast grounds. On Sunday, May 29, nearly 350 guests came out to support the bird sanctuary and get a look at the brand new 60-foot flight aviary which allows wounded birds to practice flying in safety. Proceeds raised will go to rehabilitation efforts for Audubon, which has cared for over 10,000 birds in its 40 years of service. The wildly successful turnout “shows how the Northwest Corner of Connecticut is connected to wildlife,” says center director Sean Grace (above, with Ann Leiberman), thanks to longtime supporters, passionate board members and nearly 100 volunteers. The party included the standard fare of drinks, hors d’oeuvres and music, with appearances by broad-winged hawks, great horned owls and the occasional hooting.

Board members Susan Allen and Kathleen Fuhr; Kit Nieslon, Jeff Yates and Noelle Chiafari.

Members Cynthia Steele and Joseph Dwyer from Kent; Bruce and Kathryn Taylor.

Wildlife rehabilitator and outreach specialist Sunny Bettley and Dr. Erica Giles, veterinarian; Alicia and Matthew Winter.

Supporters Elaine and Lou Hecht flank Beth Isler.

Karin Crawford and Jack Isler; Board member Charlie Wright with Mavis Wright.

Adlai Hardin and Margaret Douglas-Hamilton; Sunny Bettley lets guests get up close to an owl.

Thao Matlock and Scott Mattlock from Salisbury.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 05/29/16 at 08:59 PM • Permalink

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Montessori Turns Ten At The Mount

Rachel Louchen reports from Lenox. On Thursday, May 26, The Montessori School of the Berkshires commemorated its tenth anniversary with a gala at The Mount to raise proceeds for the school’s financial aid fund. The beautiful grounds of Edith Wharton’s former home created the perfect backdrop for the evening, which featured moving and hilarious narratives performed by parents and Montessori faculty members during a standup storytelling performance. Storytelling was the theme of the gala, and “story stations” scattered around the property encouraged guests to interview each other and to create prose. Post literary fun, there were tasting stations by Kate Baldwin, cocktails from Berkshire Mountain Distillery and party tunes from DJ BFG. [Above, Sarah Ober director of advancement and communications with Todd Covert, co-founder and head of school.]

Former parents Lisa Nelson and Stephen Alsdorf with Andy Boino and Zach Talmadge, both of Dana Bixby Architecture.

Montessori children’s house guides Rose Bohmann and Patricia Pent with former teacher Leigh Minor; Pete and Jen Salinetti of Woven Roots Farm in Tyringham.

Elementary program guide Gussie Greer with Peter Greer; Montessori parents Dan Neilson and John Coyle.

Parents Fran Arienti, Nick Arienti, Adrian Elliot and and Ailsa Colbert.

Randy Paul with Montessori’s office manager, Avie Maloney; Lisa Ciejek and Alex Ciejek are parents of a Montessori toddler.

Gabriel Squailia a.k.a. DJ BFG (a future Montessori parent) spun at the event, here with Sara Mugridge, admission coordinator and art specialist; Jennifer Knodler and Leia Bibiloni-Nelson, afterschool coordinator.

Teacher Joey Chernila, Alana Chernila, Lori Nadig and David Nadig.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 05/27/16 at 12:09 PM • Permalink

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A Lot To Celebrate At The Volunteers In Medicine Chef’s Dinner

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. This year’s popular Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Berkshires benefit Chef’s Dinner was again held at the gorgeous Wheatleigh estate, on Monday evening, May 23. Supporters enjoyed champagne and appetizers in the lobby and on the terrace, followed by dinner with a view in the glass-walled dining room. The meal was prepared by the Wheatleigh chefs and accompanied by wine from Ed Domaney’s private cellar. VIM has supported free healthcare services to uninsured and underinsured individuals from throughout Berkshire County for over a decade. Its clinic, on Main Street in Great Barrington (across from Guido’s Fresh Marketplace), has recently undergone a renovation and expansion with help from Allegrone Construction. The public is invited to join VIM for a reception in the revamped space on Thursday, June 16. Above, Bernie and Elaine Roberts with VIM Berkshires board president Arthur Peisner.

David Schecker and gala dinner chairwoman Vicki Bonnington; Good friends Elise Richman, Julia Trumbull and Shirley Mueller.

Sheri and Bruce Rubin with Malinka and Ken Jackson; VIM Berkshires’ director of development Jeff Bliss with gala committee member and past gala chair Nancy Bernstein.

Hillery Maxymillian, Nancy Kalodner, Robin and Buzz McGraw, and Neal Maxymillian.

Elisa Henderson and board member Rev. Liz Goodman model the Eliza J skirts purchased at the recent Berkchique! fashion fundraiser; Martha and Ed Weisel.

Berkshire United Way president and CEO Kris Hazzard and Larry Hazzard; Denyse Adler, a board member and editor of the VIM Berkshires newsletter, with Tricia Bevan and board vice chair Ellen Rowntree.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/24/16 at 10:04 AM • Permalink

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A Day Of Caring, A Night Of Dancing, For Berkshire United Way

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Berkshire United Way’s annual “Day of Caring” is something of a misnomer given that the time put in by volunteers throughout the community extends far beyond a day’s work. This year’s project, taken on with the help of donated materials, expertise and volunteer hours from SABIC, Jack Geary Builders, JRL Construction and LP Adams, was to build 50 book houses and fill them with children’s reading material. Each book house can hold up to 100 books, and, placed in 24 high-traffic areas throughout Berkshire County, will encourage literacy and learning through the summer and beyond. (As of 2014, only 54 percent of Berkshire County third graders were reading proficiently.) The houses were installed on Friday, May 20 and a celebratory “Movers + Shakers” dance party was held that evening at Hancock Shaker Village. Plentiful hors d’oeuvres from Savory Harvest, and milkshakes and ice cream cones from The Scoop provided sustenance so the many revelers could dance all night to tunes from DJ BFG and enjoy pop-up performances throughout the evening.

Gala co-chairs Pittsfield Police Chief Mike Wynn and Christina Barrett; Brenda Petell, vice president of SABIC’s volunteer board, with Brenda Burdick.

Nicole Eigbrett, Arsema Abegaz and Lindsay Christie; Julia Erickson and Andy Potter enjoy ice cream courtesy of The Scoop in Lenox.

Tim Weisman, Howie Marshall and Alex Reczkowski; Leslie and Matt Cormier with Kim Robertson.

Many of the staff members and supporters that make Berkshire United Way an integral part of the community.

Emily Sadlowski and her mother, Ann Marie Sadlowski; Melissa and John Bissell with Vannessa Slaughter, Adam Hinds and Manfred Slaughter. The Slaughters are the director and coordinator of the Pittsfield YMCA’s Marilyn Hamilton Literacy-Sports Program.

Tim Kiely, Jen Glockner and Lori Gazzillo; Lori Kays and Mass. State Rep. Tricia Farley Bouvier.

Brooks Sherman and Katherine O’Neil; Liz Newton, coordinator of the book house installation, with co-workers Jonah Sykes, Erin Breen and Jennifer Kerwood.

Norah Bresnahan, John Bresnahan and Casey DiCicco; one of the beautiful book houses that have gone up throughout the county.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/23/16 at 10:54 AM • Permalink

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Sharon Playhouse Spotlights Marvin Hamlisch And Glenn Close

Lisa Green reports from Sharon.“What I Did For Love” is one of the late composer Marvin Hamlisch’s best-known tunes, and at the Sharon Playhouse Spotlight Gala on Saturday, May 21, it was clear that it is love that keeps thIS vital institution alive. The evening was a tribute to Hamlisch, who, with his wife Terre Blair Hamlisch, had a home in the area. It also gave the theater the opportunity to award actor Glenn Close (a friend of the Hamlisches) with the inaugural Sharon Playhouse Marvin Hamlisch Award for Excellence in Musical Theater. After cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, guests filed into the theater where artists from past shows performed some of Hamlisch’s best-loved songs, concluding with Close singing “The Way We Were.” As a bonus, there was a brief Q&A with the actress (who admitted that Robert Redford was a good kisser). Proceeds from the evening, which included silent and not-so-silent auctions, will help fund the nonprofit’s many education programs, including the summer youth theater program and internships. The season begins on June 16 with a production of Gypsy featuring Broadway star Karen Ziemba. [Above, board president Bobbie Olsen with former board member Alexandra Lange and Leon Graham.]

Graham Klemm and Mark Schearer; Justin Ball, Sharon Playhouse managing director, and his wife, Anna Ulrich.

Sharon Playhouse supporters (and Rural Intelligence fans) Greg Pierson, Rick Aronstein and John Willey, an interior designer.

Finance professionals Scott Frost and Judith Frost; actor David Fanning, who will be performing in three shows at the Playhouse this summer, and Michelle Humphrey, the costume designer.

Christopher Evans, Lloyd Barody, Zeina Mehio, a chef, and Joshua Garner.

Terre Blair Hamlisch and Glenn Close make their way to the cocktail portion of the evening; Jim Larkin and Bucky Keady, head of talent for Time, Inc.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/22/16 at 10:57 AM • Permalink

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Construct’s Mayfest Ushers In Spring

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. Monday, May 16 started off with a rare, spring snowfall in the early morning but come evening, it was Mayfest for Construct. The annual fundraising event held at Crissy Farm featured 26 vendors, restaurants, caterers, bakers and liquor specialty shops uniting for a buffet feast. All proceeds raised benefit Construct, Inc., which provides homelessness prevention and supportive housing services for people with low to moderate incomes in the southern Berkshires. In addition to the huge and diverse food spread, another trademark of the event is the honoring of longtime volunteers or supporters. This year, Bob and Mary Ann Norris (above) of Great Barrington were recognized. Honorary Chair Paul Moritz of Sheffield was also honored in conjunction with his six years on the Construct board and three years as a MayFest chairperson. Repeating last year’s Mayfest theme, “The House That Ernie Built,” this year’s event will aid Construct in its mission to create affordable housing, focusing on the newest housing project planned for 316 State Road in Great Barrington.

Hester Velmans and Construct board member Suzanne Crerar; board member Elaine Silberstein and longtime supporter Toby Levine.

Franck Tessier and Rachel Portnoy of Chez Nous; Construct board secretary Marcia Lawrence Soltes and board vice president Mark Rosengren.

Sam VanSant, Bob Norris and Gwendolyn Hampton-VanSant co-founder and executive director of Multicultural BRIDGE.

Deborah Levinson and Barbara Schulman of Berkshire Property Agents with Ananda Timpane, executive director of the Railroad Street Youth Project; Gedney Farm’s Rob Burnell.

Construct board president Elizabeth Rosenberg with Robert Nussbaum; Peter Taylor, president of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and Ethel Patterson, board chairman of Berkshire South.

Audrey Woodger and Steve Browning from Prairie Whale; Construct board treasurer John Katz and Nick Arienti.

Church Davis, Diana Ubertini and Tom Farley partake in the feast.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 05/16/16 at 09:02 PM • Permalink

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CATA’s ‘Wallflowers’ Stand Out From The Crowd

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. How do you make a friend? Well, you walk up to someone and tell them your name, and then you ask for theirs. You express yourself, and say how you feel, but also listen when they want to talk. It seems simple enough, but we often forget to do these small things that can mean the world to someone else, and can also improve our own happiness. The students and teachers at Community Access to the Arts, an organization that fosters and celebrates the artistry of people with disabilities, practice these things daily. And they were happy to teach us how at their annual performance and fundraiser, which brought a packed house to Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse on Saturday, May 14. This year’s theme, “Wallflowers,” explored what it means to be seen, and how wonderful it feels to be recognized for something we do well. Above, gala committee member Hannah Piretti Keator poses with gala co-chairs Sharon and Matthew Mozian, and CATA’s executive director Margaret Keller.

CATA’s development and marketing director Emily Bronson with board president Steve Shatz and volunteer Leslie Shatz; Dan Lipson and Sue Lipson flank Colin Mathews.

Sally and Fred Harris, who are renovating Great Barrington’s Saint James Place; Artist and Shakespeare & Co. board member Helga S. Orthofer with Eric Tucker and Susannah Millonzi.

Adam Hinds, executive director of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, with Jennifer Galvagni, Yuki Cohen, Jen Glockner and Ted Glockner.

Board member Sharon Mozian with fellow gala committee members Tracy Mack, Michael Citrin and Eugene Cleary; CATA founder Sandy Newman and daughter Rebecca Newman.

Shela Hidalgo and Gary Levante; gala committee members Eve Goldberg and Brett Goldberg with Liana Toscanini and Jonathan Swartz.

Guests enjoyed a post-performance dinner catered by Firefly; Hank and Susan Ferlauto.

Margaret Keller addresses the packed house prior to the performance.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/15/16 at 05:59 PM • Permalink

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Berkchique Dresses The Women Of The RI Region

Lisa Green reports from Dalton. For some, the now-annual Berkchique! charity clothing sale is the biggest shopping opportunity of the year, and this year’s, held at the former Crane Stationery factory, was no different. With perhaps one exception: the rack of Jean Paul Gaultier (new, with tags) that Berkshires fashion icon and event chair Vicki Bonnington snapped up on eBay with the sale in mind. While the event runs the weekend, the Friday, May 6 evening First Dibs Party and Sale brought in a stream of shoppers at $25 a pop who, regardless of what they bought, snagged a deal and took their purchases away in a totebag donated by Pittsfield’s own Blue Q with a surprise inside courtesy of Jane Iredale. The beneficiaries of the event include 1Berkshire, IS183 Art School, WAM Theatre and CATA (which had its own rack of dresses for sale). And if raising funds for these nonprofits wasn’t enough, Berkchique! also raised the style quotient of the ladies and men of the region. Above, Laura Wolf, director of member services for the Berkshire Visitors Bureau, and Berkchique! event organizer Rebecca Weinman stand ready to fortify shoppers with wine and beer.

Volunteer Debbie Wiswesser consults with Lisa Peltier of Berkshire Homes and Condos; Linda Briggs, an art teacher, with Gail Briggs and Diane Arduini.

Amy Krzanik, Rural Intelligence’s assistant editor, with her sister, Dina Krzanik; Glass artist Garrett Sadler and Sue White.

Fashionista Vicki Bonnington poses with a mannequin displaying a skirt made from men’s shirts, created by one of her favorite designers, aimee g.

Elizabeth Neale and volunteer Kate Hill, who works at the Outlet at Pine Cone Hill; Benchmark Real Estate owner/broker Nancy Kalodner and Lynne Sebastian, an executive recruiter for Fairfield Partners.

Two from Mountain One: Linda Febles, who chairs the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, and Diana Wojcik; Katy Beach and Stephen Wixsom.

Krystle Gallo and Elizabeth Bocchino caught among the racks.

Sparkly shoes and collections organized by price in the Vicki Bonnington gallery.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/08/16 at 10:34 AM • Permalink

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Edna St. Vincent Millay In Words And Song

Amy Krzanik reports from Spencertown. Tomorrow, Friday, May 6, marks the 2016 opening day of Steepletop, the former home and gardens of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. But The Millay Society threw a pre-opening benefit celebration at Spencertown Academy Arts Center on Saturday, April 30. Held on the last day of National Poetry Month, the event doubled as a celebration of the publication of two new tomes: Selected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay: An Annotated Edition, which includes an introduction by Millay literary executor Holly Peppe; and A Girl Called Vincent, a Millay biography for young readers by Krystyna Poray Goddu. Both Poray Goddu and Peppe, who is also a Millay Society trustee, read from their work and signed copies of their books. The centerpiece of the evening was a concert featuring Millay’s poems set to music by The Edna Project. Written by husband and wife team Liz Queler and Seth Farber, the songs were performed by the duo and their son. Proceeds from the event will help fund the ongoing restoration of Steepletop, which Millay and her husband, Eugen Boissevain, purchased in 1925 and Millay lived in until her death in 1950. The Auserlitz property, which opened to the public in 2010, offers tours of the house and grounds (which include Millay’s gravesite), bird walks, access to trails and picnicking spots, and an herb sale coming up on May 21 and 22. Above, The Millay Society trustees, Greg Vogler, Eileen Fusco, Holly Peppe and Mark O’Berski, pose in front of a portrait of the author.

Cono Fusco, Patrick Town and Cathy Town, a docent at Steepletop; Mary Alice Bird and John Bird of Rockland, Maine flank Steepletop volunteer Carol Derfner. The Birds attended as representatives of the Rockland Historical Society, which recently purchased Millay’s birthplace in order to preserve it and eventually open it to the public.

Spencertown Academy board member Jill Kalotay with Mark O’Berski and Spencertown board vice president Madaline Sparks (a.k.a. RI’s garden columnist); authors Krystyna Poray Goddu and Holly Peppe with their books.

The Edna Project, composed of the three members of the Queler-Farber family, entertain the crowd.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/02/16 at 02:08 PM • Permalink

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Kent Historical Society Goes Authentic At A Tea and Musicale

Jamie Larson reports from Kent. The Kent Historical Society’s 19th Century Musicale and Spirited Tea Party on Sunday, April 17 gave today’s high society a taste of the best their cultural predecessors enjoyed in the 1800s. Replicating the time’s food, beverage and musical entertainment, the dandy affair featured a presentation on period customs by author and former BBC broadcaster Frank Delaney and a performance by Barbara Hopkins and Judy Handler of the Rosewood Chamber Ensemble, who played era-authentic tunes on antique flute and guitar, respectively. Also on display were historical ladies’ garments that were worn on such occasions. The event, held at the Kent Community House, raised funds for the historical society’s ongoing restoration projects.  [Above: Leslie Levy, Rudy Molho, Susan Forbes and Rick Levy.]

Wendy Murphy, Irwin Choyne and Leslie Choyne, Alan Tikotsky, Judith Pinkerton; Hiram Williams, Susan Lopardo, Veralyn Davee and Kathleen Lindenmayer.

Frank Delaney, Barbara Hopkins, Judy Handler, event co-chair, Bruce Whipple, KHS secretary Melissa Cherniske, and co-chair Zanne Charity.

Nancy Evans, Ann Lozman and Willow Plumb; KHS director Brian Thomas, Anna Johnson-Chase and Dave Wolf.

Martin Levine and Isreal Cruz; Georgianne Ensign-Kent and Roz Molho.

Bill Case, Patti Case and Gail Tobin; Ilene Leff and Howie Silverman.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 04/18/16 at 07:52 PM • Permalink

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Two Firsts For Two Artists At MASS MoCA

Amy Krzanik reports from North Adams. Another month, another chance to experience exceptional new art at MASS MoCA as the museum ramps up for its summer season. On Saturday, April 16, two exhibits shared an opening reception. Alex Da Corte’s Free Roses, comprised of sculptures, paintings and video installations, is the first museum survey for the Philadelphia-based artist. The neon-heavy exhibit features a selection of the artist’s work made over the last 10 years, as well as a large installation, “Lightning,” created for the museum’s 100-foot-long, 30-foot-tall upstairs gallery. It’ll take a minute for your eyes to adjust to the dark gallery, where light comes only from neon squares hanging above skewered domestic vignettes set atop a rainbow of plush carpet squares. You’ll find plenty to ponder here, just don’t step on the rugs or pet the fake dog. You probably shouldn’t feed the fake swans, either. On the third floor, Sarah Crowner’s Beetle in the Leaves (her first solo exhibition in a U.S. museum), features the artist’s paintings, along with major tile works designed and fabricated for the show. Visitors are encouraged to step onto the raised tile floor — or dance floor, as one toddler imagined it to be — to get a closer look at the paintings that were made by sewing together pieces of canvas or linen. Both exhibits are up through the end of the year. Shown above, a partial view of “Lightning.”

Current artists-in-residence at the museum: Jess Leo, Jessica Bell and Amanda Marchand; William Pym and the artist, Alex Da Corte.

David Schoerner and Caroline Schoerner, a ballet dancer who will be performing in the galleries on Oct. 15; Diane Parsons, Mass. State Rep. Gailanne Cariddi and Debora Coombs.

Through a doorway lies a room within a room, created to show one of Da Corte’s films, in the exhibit Free Roses.

Hans Morris, John Arthur Peetz, Kate Morris, Al Bedell and Elaine Weir; Cara Yarmolowicz and Nina Ruelle.

Gregor Wynnyczuk, artist-in-residence Carly Glovinski and Denise Markonish; Jade Roy, Michael Rousseau and Adam Hinds.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 04/18/16 at 09:44 AM • Permalink

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One More Round: BART Holds Its 9th Annual Fundraising Trivia Competition

Amy Krzanik reports from Adams. All of Northern Berkshire County’s biggest brains were at BART Charter Public School on Saturday, April 9 for the annual “Get BART Smart” trivia night. Now in its 9th year, the school’s largest annual fundraising event supports its college preparatory program. And it must be working, because, to date, 100% of BART graduates have been accepted into college prior to graduation, and, last year, US News & World Report ranked BART the 7th best high school in the entire state. Teams of supporters toured the school, including its new makerspace, gymnasium and backstage area, while competing in the categories of STEAM, BARThropology, SAT, and general quizziness. A double tie-breaker was held at the end of the evening to crown the winning team. Shown left, North Adams city councilor and BART’s college readiness coordinator Kate Merrigan, BART’s executive director Julia Bowen, whose broken leg didn’t slow her down one bit, and the school’s administrative assistant Amy Shapiro-Van Dusen.

Former trustee Emily Eakin, Brian Renaud and trustee Geraldine Shen; Jared Martin, Nichole Calautti, Erica Girgenti and Aaron Girgenti.

Michele Butler, Jonathan Butler, proud BART parent Kelli Kozak, Brian Cerubini and Tim Cherubini; Darcie Sosa and BART development coordinator Leah Thompson.

The Solomon’s Furniture team, who made custom t-shirts for the occasion, won “Best Dressed.” Team members included Jim Solomon, Emily Maher, Joe Solomon, Michael Rolleigh and Syed Ashuar.

Lauren Foss Goodman, Colin Sykes and Jonah Sykes; Lori and Phil Guy with Patrick Brannan, Richard Egan and Darcie Sosa.

The Mezze Catering + Events menu received rave reviews from guests; Kevin Thomas, BJ Johnson, Julie Zhu, Karen Anderson, Chris Sink and BART co-founder Pam Johnson.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 04/11/16 at 09:46 AM • Permalink

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The Hudson Area Library, Chapter 1: A New Beginning

Lisa Green reports from Hudson. It takes a village to support (and use) a public library, so it wasn’t surprising to see a sizable crowd turn out for the ribbon cutting of the new Hudson Area Library on Saturday, April 9. The move to the former Hudson Armory (built in 1896 for $6,000) was seven years in the making. “Our metaphorical journey of a thousand miles led us two blocks from where we began,” said the library’s past board president Theresa Parsons. Now the grand building has been repurposed as a welcoming home base not just for the library but also for the Perfect 10 After School program and the Hudson Senior Center. The open-plan first floor is equipped with excellent wi-fi, tables topped with computers, comfy seating areas, a community/performance room, and a history room. “This is an anchor for community life,” said David Kent of the Galvan Foundation, which took on the task and expenses of renovating the building. Following remarks by Parsons, Hudson Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton, Assemblywoman Didi Barrett and Congressman Chris Gibson, the crowd recited the pledge of allegiance and applauded as the honor guard marched. The children in the crowed helped hold onto the official ribbon that was cut by the board of trustees president David Murphy, and Emily Chameides, library director. It wasn’t but a few minutes until the computers were in use, the kids section had a crowd of little ones looking at books, and librarians were busy issuing library cards. Just a day in the life of a well-used, well-loved library. [Above, Chris Gibson and Theresa Parsons look on as Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton addresses the community.]

Hudson Post 184 American Legion honor guard added pomp to the circumstance; board of trustees president David Murphy and Emily Chameides, library director, share the scissors at the ribbon cutting.

The crowd files in; Lisa Durfee, owner of Five & Diamond Vintage Clothing and Lucy Nathanson, owner of Chapeaux de Lulu, admire the new library.

Omkar Lewis, Louise Kieraldo, Marissa Ryan, Nicole LoBue of Kite’s Nest, and Jason Marlow check out the community room.

David Murphy with Ellen Henderson, a retired library employee and now a volunteer; Peg Patterson of Dish Hudson and Marc Robins.

One of several computer areas; Maria Suttmeier, superintendent of the Hudson City School District, with Carolyn Lawrence, owner of Hudson B&B, and Marie Rasner, who is on the board of trustees.

Erica Kane, Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton, Zoe Hamilton, and Lisa Walsh.

Real estate broker Peggy Polenberg and antiques dealer Claude M. Cherry; guardian of the gate.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 04/09/16 at 05:05 PM • Permalink

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Curtain Comes Up On Powerhouse Theater’s New Season

Lisa Green reports from Poughkeepsie. Actually, there was no curtain, but there was a buzz (aided, no doubt, by the Dutch’s Spirits being sampled) as the Powerhouse Theater kicked off its 32nd season at Canvas on Tuesday, March 29. A collaboration of Vassar College and New York Stage & Film since 1985, the Powerhouse Theater Season has served as an incubator for artists and their work (for example, a little production called Hamilton was developed on its stages). This summer, close to 300 artists — professionals and apprentices — will bring to life more than 25 new theater pieces. “Powerhouse supports productions in all stages of development,” said Johanna Pfaelzer, artistic director of New York Stage & Film. After she announced some of the Mainstage productions, musical workshops, readings and other events this season, Powerhouse artists treated guests to a sneak preview of some of those events. Above, Ed Cheetham, producing director of Powerhouse at Vassar, with Johanna Pfaelzer.

Playwrights Darrah Cloud and David Simpatico are on the faculty of the School of the Arts at Half Moon Theatre; Ari Graynor with musicians Alex Grubbs and Eloise Eonnet of the band The Lobbyists, who performed songs from the 2014 Powerhouse Musical Workshop, SeaWife.

Kim Collier, who works in human resources at Vassar, and Dana Kleinhaus, the college’s dean of strategic planning and academic resources; Thomas Pearson, executive director of New York Stage & Film, with Jeff Kosmacher, Vassar’s director of media relations and public affairs.

Catharine Hill, president of Vassar, with Johanna Pfaelzer; Luis Roddi Adrian and Kevin Douchkoff.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/31/16 at 05:27 PM • Permalink

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United Cerebral Palsy of Berkshire County Celebrates Life Without Limits

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Guests sipped on complimentary champagne and snacked from the impressive delectables that Mazzeo’s Catering had expertly laid out in the “Garage” of The Colonial Theatre on Saturday evening, March 26. After holding annual fundraising telethons since its inception in 1961, United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) Association of Berkshire County had organized something new and exciting for the community. The organization, which offers support and advocacy for individuals with any type of physical or mental disability (not only cerebral palsy) tapped the band Kansas to perform a concert for its inaugural “Life Without Limits” benefit. Special guests enjoyed a cocktail party before set time, where board president Maren Jacobs, UCP client and role model Brittany Dorwin, and executive director Sal Garozzo addressed the crowd. Proceeds from the concert go to UCP programs and services that support over 2,400 individuals in the community.

UCP’s 3rd vice president Howie Marshall and 2nd vice president Dan Proskin flank Kids 4 Harmony director Alicia Stevenson; Kristen Baker, UCP’s director of marketing and development, with marketing intern Noelle Dumont.

Lisa Stoddard and board member Mike Stoddard, who works at one of the evening’s major sponsors, Greylock Federal Credit Union; UCP executive director Sal Garozzo, Donna Roberts, Walter Kupis, Samantha Dorwin and board president Maren Jacobs.

Pam and Dan Dorwin flank their daughter, Massachusetts Miss Amazing Junior Miss 2016 winner Brittany Dorwin; former UCP president Dr. Charles Ross, former board member Jane Ross and Howie Marshall.

Ken and Rosanne Berry with Laurel Carsell and Patrick Carsell, DDS; Ron Wojcik, Diane Wojcik of major sponsor MountainOne, and Cindy Fuller.

Mazzeo’s provided a wonderful and plentiful spread, as always, for the evening’s guests.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 03/28/16 at 10:41 AM • Permalink

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It’s Maple Season For Berkshire Grown

Rachel Louchen reports from Lenox. It’s that time of year again: the days are getting longer, the trees are tapped and Berkshire Grown is back with its March Maple dinner. On Monday, March 21, the second day of spring, the annual dinner at Cranwell was filled with local foodies, chefs and farmers enjoying the best of the bounty. New developments for the farmers’ advocacy network included an expanded board, more workshops for farmers and a new project, Berkshire Agriculture Ventures (BAV). Hosted by Adam Zieminski of Cafe Adam, the meal featured chefs from Alta, The Marketplace Cafe, Chocolate Springs, The Southfield Store and Wheatleigh. Before the multi-course sit-down dinner, guest mingled and snacked on appetizers prepared by Cranwell’s own Chef David Jordon, fresh oysters and cocktails. Above, event planner for the business Amy Rudnick, Berkshire Grown Executive Director Barbara Zheutlin and Berkshire Grown board president Allison Rachele Bayles.

Shane Clark, Nick Shapiro and Brittany Clark of Clark’s Garden Center.

Owner Yuki Cohen and bartender John Burns of Methuselah Bar and Lounge poured some finely crafted drinks; Berkshire Grown board member Julie Michaels and Jill Cancellieri, director of philanthropic services at Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.

BerkShore fresh oysters, shucked by Austin Banach and owner Wes Malzone, brought a taste of summertime to the March event; Berkshire Botanical Garden executive director Mike Beck and designer Lainie Grant.

Seeds & Co. owner Robin Ban, writer Hester Velmans and jewelry designer Dai Ban, who are all members of Berkshire Grown.

Sarah Eustis, chief executive officer of the Main Street Hospitality Group, and Tim Eustis of The Chef’s Shop; Brattle Farm’s Ryan Chandler and Ryan Popp.

Farmers Molly Comstock and Ruby Duke of Raven & Boar Farm; members Lee Backer and Joan Elmer with Martha Bryan, program manager for the new Berkshire Grown program, the Berkshire Agriculture Venture.

Nick Martinelli, owner of Marty’s Local and his wife, Sarah.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 03/22/16 at 02:13 PM • Permalink

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Hudson Children’s Book Festival Cocktail Party

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. Most of us know what it’s like to get lost in a book, having spent many childhood hours escaping into, learning from and being befriended by stories both real and imagined. The large crowd of teachers, authors and community members who gathered in support of the Hudson Children’s Book Festival Literacy Fund on Saturday, March 19 at Stair Galleries also have experienced this feeling and seen it first hand in the city’s schoolchildren. Created by Lisa Dolan and Susan Simon in 2009, the Festival (this year occurring on Saturday, May 7) is the largest book festival in NY State, and the festival’s Literacy Fund helps some of the state’s neediest students. Proceeds from this 4th annual cocktail party will allow Hudson City School District students (70 percent of whom live at poverty level) to attend the Festival and purchase a book of their choice directly from an author, all free of charge. At the event, board members announced a new feature of the Fest. In addition to the free book vouchers (300 given away last year), scholarship money for the textbook purchases of graduating high school seniors, and financial support for summer reading books, the organization recently launched the “Thumb’s Up” award, which has students reading, reviewing and voting on their favorite books by authors coming to the summertime event. The winning author will be presented with an award from the children at the Festival. Above, Rachel Kappel, Rob Bujan, Literacy Fund co-founders Susan Simon and Chris Jones, Lisa Dolan and Hudson Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton.

Lisa Dolan and Pooky Amsterdam; Wendy Schmalz, author Seymour Simon and Liz Nealon.

Bob Lucke, Chuck Parmentier and Rich Koweek; author Torrey Maldonado with Dan Udell.

Teresa Meza, landscape designer Jeffrey Perry and Ed Csukas; Major sponsors Paula and Charles Millar with Lisa Dolan.

Laurence Paverd, board member Brigitte Gfeller and Valerie Gross, Esq.; author Hudson Talbott and Miranda Barry.

Stair Galleries saw a packed house of community members there to support the children of Hudson.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 03/20/16 at 01:26 PM • Permalink

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Norman Rockwell Museum Goes Mad For Artist Mac Conner

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. The hors d’oeuvres alone — ants on a log, deviled eggs and pigs in a blanket — telegraphed that this cocktail party was channeling an earlier era. And, indeed, it was a Mad Men-influenced event at Hotel on North on Wednesday, Mar. 16, when patrons and members kicked off the upcoming exhibit at The Norman Rockwell Museum. As part of its distinguished illustrators series, the museum has mounted “Mac Conner: A New York Life.” Conner, who was one of the original Mad Men, was an illustrator from the 40s to the 60s whose subjects portrayed societal aspirations in the post World War II years. The exhibition includes the artist’s hand-painted illustrations for ad campaigns and women’s magazines. On Saturday, March 19, from 6-8 p.m., the exhibit officially opens to the public with a special appearance by the 102-year-old Mac Conner himself. [Above, Tim Eustis and Laurie Norton Moffatti, the museum’s director and CEO.]

Jeremy Clowe, manager of media services and Jesse Kowalski, curator of exhibitions; Ravishingly retro, Sarah Goethe-Jones, who works in visitor services.

Sophia Romeu and Roberta McCulloch-Dews, director of administrative services for Pittsfield’s mayor, Linda Tyer; Gwen Davis of TD Bank, a sponsor, with Mark Ouillette.

The museum’s Deborah Hanson-Greene, director of institutional giving; Margit Hotchkiss, deputy director for audience and business development; and Ellen Mazzer, sales and marketing coordinator.

Lynne Horvath, Robert Horvath, chairman of the board of trustees, Liz Paris and Stephanie Plunkett, who curated the exhibit; Ellen Boyd and her father-in-law Bronly Boyd, an exhibit sponsor.

Illustration for “Let’s Take a Trip Up the Nile” in This Week Magazine, November 5, 1950. Gouache and graphite on illustration board.

Illustration for “How Do You Love Me” in Woman’s Home Companion, August 1950. Gouache on illustration board. © Mac Conner. Courtesy of the artist.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/16/16 at 07:53 PM • Permalink

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The Olga Dunn Dance Company Dances Into Its 40th Season

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. On the evening of Saturday, March 5, the Olga Dunn Dance Company marked 40 years of plies with seven dances that celebrated and represented past and future seasons. Choreographed by Artistic Director Olga Dunn and some members of the faculty, the recital opened with the welcoming “Hello,” followed by “Daughters Leaving Home,” part of the Train Collection, in reference to the company’s location in the former Great Barringotn train depot. After the recital, dancers and guests (many of whom have been longtime members of the company) enjoyed champagne and cake as they toasted to many more seasons. [Above, dancer and teacher Julie Webster and Olga Dunn.]

“Clap, Snap, Brush,” performed by the Olga Dunn Dance Company.

Rob Kend, a father of one of the evening’s dancers, Winter Hardcastle, Tom Sirois and Michele Sirois also parents of a dancer; Katie Burkle, who has been dancing with Olga Dunn since she was seven, performed during the evening, with her daughter, Willow and board member and dancer parent Ani Shaker.

Dancers Mabel Muller, Bea Higgins, Olivia Higgins and Olivia McCartney; dance parents Jennifer Tabakin and Shawn McCartney, who performed with his daughter Olivia in “Daughters Leaving Home.”

Company member Hope St. Jock has been dancing with Olga Dunn for 15 years, here with her mother, Denise St. Jock and Mary Theresa Valleri; “Time,” featuring Olivia McCarthy, Hope St. Jock and Katie Burkle.

The Olga Dunn Dance Company, post-performance, holding clocks to represent the passing of 40 seasons.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 03/06/16 at 08:13 PM • Permalink

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Olana’s 50th Birthday Year Celebration Begins At Stair Galleries

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. Olana State Historic Site board members, staff and other generous supporters gathered together at Stair Galleries on Saturday, Feb. 27 for cocktails and a sneak preview of The Saving of Olana: An American Treasure. The short film, created by WMHT and funded by the Marks Family Foundation, tells the story of how Olana was rescued from destruction, redevelopment and the auctioning off of its contents (which included all of painter Frederic Church’s art). In 1966, the property was saved thanks to the work of art historian David Huntington, what is now known as The Olana Partnership, and a prescient article in Life Magazine titled “Must this Mansion be Destroyed?” This is only the first event of the 50th anniversary celebration and will be followed by many more, including a longer film by WMHT due later this spring. Above, WMHT senior producer/director Joanne Durfee, Olana president Sean Sawyer and WMHT president Robert Altman.

Hudson’s mayor, Tiffany Martin Hamilton, with Christine Kane, Olana’s vice president for development; David Sharpe, event host Colin Stair and gallerist Carrie Haddad.

Kay Toll, co-chair of Olana’s 50th anniversary task force, with Greg Quinn and Carolyn Marks Blackwood, whose Marks Family Foundation funded the film; Theodora Simons, co-chair of Olana’s 50th anniversary task force, and Mark Prezorski, Olana’s landscape curator.

Olana board member Chris Jones with Martha McMaster, Olana’s librarian/archivist Ida Brier, Isabel Church Livingston, a descendant of Frederic Church, and Fayal Greene.

Gary Delemeester, Carol Smillie, Walter Kisly and Jeff Daly; Albert Simons, board member Margaret Davidson and John Stein.

Owen Davidson with Jane Smith; former Olana tour guide Gary Mazzacano, Dana Campion, Columbia-Greene Community College president James Campion and Alane Mazzacano.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/29/16 at 01:23 PM • Permalink

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L’Atelier Berkshires Joins The Art Community In GB

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. It will please many to learn that the jewelbox building on Main Street that formerly housed McTeigue and McClelland’s showroom has been inhabited by another artistic venture. Bronze and glass sculpturist Natalie Tyler has opened L’Atelier Berkshires, a contemporary art gallery and working sculpture studio in the iconic yellow house. On Saturday, Feb. 20, Tyler held an opening for Diapause, a mid-winter interactive art event, which features her installation of human-sized cocoons that create an environment of introspection through illumination. The cocoons brighten and dim in response to the movement of the viewers. Also exhibiting were works by artists John Ratajkowski, Sarah Logan and Eva Connell. Diapause will be on view through March. Above, Wayne Eline and Mary Jane Eline, owners of Les Trois Emme Winery in New Marlborough, Mass., flank galleriest Natalie Tyler and Barnbrook Realty owner Mary White.

Emily Kirschen, Ken Labresh and Donna Jacobs; Cocoons from the Diapause installation.

Ignacio Vieto, Hunter Washburn and Mischa, the dog; Antoine Alston, owner of Berkshire Functional Fitness, and Hannah Van Sickle.

Natalie Tyler with cabinet maker David Goldfarb and artist and and Norman Rockwell Museum grantwriter Deborah Greene.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 02/22/16 at 10:15 AM • Permalink

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The BAA Real Art Party: A Raffle Where Everyone Wins

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Normally, whenever there’s a raffle, there’s a winner and, therefore, many losers. That’s simply not the case at Berkshire Art Association’s (BAA) annual Real Art Party (RAP). Launched in 2013 as part of the 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival, the RAP relies on 10” by 10” donated artworks from local creatives, be they photographs, paintings, drawings, collages or 3D creations. The party, held at the Berkshire Museum, is free, but supporters who purchase a $25 ARTix are guaranteed to go home with a piece of original art. But in what order your ticket number is called is up to fate, so attendees compiled a list of possible choices from the more than 160 pieces hung around the museum’s Crane Room. 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, participating artists Autumn Doyle, BAA board member Jayme Kurland and BAA vice president Michael Vincent Bushy pose with BAA president Danielle Steinmann.

Jen Hines and Bill Hines flank Jen Glockner; Nathan Hanford with participating artist, leatherworker Mike King.

Contributing artists Colleen Surprise Jones and Sara Clement with Monica Bliss, president of Town Players of Pittsfield; city councilor at-large Pete White, Melanie Moran, Adam Hinds, a Democratic candidate for State Senate, and Marilyn Moran.

Heather Lane, John McLean and Barbara Patton, a participating artist and BAA board member; Dave O’Neil and Laurieann Quiry both contributed photographs to the show.

Miriam Ross, a participating artist, with Tim Pare of Barrington Stage; a very small fraction of the art in the show, including leatherwork by Mike King.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/21/16 at 12:13 PM • Permalink

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MASS MoCA Gives Sculptor Richard Nonas His Space

Amy Krzanik reports from North Adams. The motto that begins “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…” most often is quoted when alluding to our intrepid U.S. Mail carriers. But the same could be said for art lovers this past Saturday, Feb. 13. Attendees of the opening reception for Richard Nonas: The Man in the Empty Space at MASS MoCA braved record-breaking temperatures of -15 to -20 to be among the first to congratulate the artist and view his first large-scale East Coast museum show in 30 years. The exhibit is a survey of past works, but also includes a new site-specific horizontal sculpture spanning the entirety of the museum’s largest building. Above, Lisa Panzera, senior director of the Fergus McCaffrey Gallery, which represents Nonas in NYC; curator of the show, Susan Cross; Vivien Greene, senior curator at the Guggenheim; and David Johnson, professor of musicology at Hunter College.

Caitlin Link, a visual arts intern at the museum, with communications intern John Tibbetts; Alexandra Jelleberg and Leslie Ferrin of Ferrin Contemporary at Independent Art Projects flank the gallery’s newest exhibit co-curators, Paul Scott and Andrew Baseman.

Richard DeMaat, artist Kim Faler, MASS MoCA curator Denise Markonish, Derek Parker and Tim Lebestky; Kris Holloway and Jeanne Barron.

The artist himself, Richard Nonas [second from right], catches up with friends at the opening.

Lindsay Brandow and Oz Alfonso; art fabricator Richard Criddle with David DeForest and Karen DeForest and MASS MoCA director Joe Thompson.

Len and Meg Melnick flank their daughter, Julia Melnick, the museum’s communications coordinator; Alanna Heiss, a curator and a friend of the artist, with husband Fred Sherman.

MASS MoCA’s Emily Edwards and Nina Ruelle, a member of the art fab team for the exhibit; Dan and Judy Segal with Sue and Gene Flores, friends of the artist.

Two views of the large-scale sculpture Single Artificer in the room titled, as a whole, No Water In.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/15/16 at 04:10 PM • Permalink

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Words And Wisdom From Columbia County’s Own Deborah Roberts and Al Roker

Rachel Louchen reports from Chatham. It was quite appropriate to meet America’s most famous weatherman on the coldest night of the year. As the Polar Vortex knocked temperatures down to eight below, Al Roker and his wife, Deborah Roberts happily greeted residents and signed copies of their new book Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom For Modern Times on Saturday, Feb. 13 at The Chatham Bookstore. Married 20 years, parents of three and news correspondents on NBC and ABC respectively, Roker and Roberts live nearby in what Roker calls “the anti-Hamptons.” He has written nine books on his own, but this is Deborah’s first, and although they were hesitant to put their marriage and family out into public view, they soon relished the opportunity to spend so much time together. The book is a compilation of what they’ve learned over the years in their personal and professional lives, with chapters about their different childhoods, Deborah’s in the segregated South and Al’s in Queens, N.Y., the strong influence of their parents, and the importance of listing to their children. The attendance was so strong and the room was so packed that the gregarious authors were slightly surprised, since their own son had quipped that maybe no one would show up because of the cold. Roberts and Roker showed their appreciation, speaking with the crowd and answering questions for an hour, telling hilarious stories and charming attendees with their rapport.

Despite their jobs on rival networks (“our children have a special coming out on Fox,” deadpanned Roker), the authors enjoyed working on a shared project together.

The line was out the door to meet Roberts and Roker; a young fan gets her book personalized by the authors.

Latham residents Bob and Rosemarie Rizzo; Mark Twentyman, Diane Barber and Tom Barber in line.

The Chatham Bookstore owner and moderator Thomas Chulak with Peter Hogan of Kinderhook.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 02/14/16 at 05:54 PM • Permalink

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Columbia Memorial Health’s Winter Blast

Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. Club Helsinki was a hot ticket on the cold night of Saturday, Feb. 6. The club sheltered the sixth annual Winter Blast, a fundraiser to support Columbia Memorial Health. This year’s Winter Blast was held in honor of Board of Trustees Chairwoman Mary Gail Biebel. The evening, which is expected to have raised more than $100,000 for CMH, featured a silent auction and a live performance celebrating the music of the classic rock band Steely Dan. “The annual Winter Blast supports our fast-growing healthcare system,” CMH President and CEO Jay P. Cahalan said, pictured at left, flanked by Susan Cole and Dr. Carlos Medina. “The money raised at the event will contribute to important renovation projects in both Columbia and Greene Counties and will truly make a difference in the lives of the patients, families and communities we serve.”

Frank Orlando, Jamie Leigh Overton, Amanda Fowler Al Burgazoli, Christine Altamer and Mary Gerlach; Don Gibson, Peter Hogan, Dian Hogan and Patricia Gibson, representing the Bank of Green County.

Michael Agerbak, Katie Biebel, the evening’s honoree Mary Gail Biebel; Elizabeth, Cindy and Paul Bartoli, and Dr. Sal Restivo.

Denise and Phillip Concoran from CDPHP; Chris Pasin, Craig and Kim Keil, David Black and Barbra Weisberg.

Joe Alteri, Lisa Hodes, Lisa Alteri and Joel Hodes; New York 19th District Democratic congressional candidate Willi Yandik with Mallory and Karen Mort.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 02/08/16 at 11:41 AM • Permalink

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Community Access To The Arts Kicks Off 2016

Amy Krzanik reports from Lee. Over the past two years, the Community Access to the Arts (CATA) “Art on Tour” program has made stops at The Clark, No. Six Depot and Berkshire Museum, among other county venues. To kick off 2016, its newest exhibit, Selected Works by CATA Artists 40 x 30 x 8, has made a temporary home for itself at College Internship Program’s Good Purpose Gallery. “40 x 30” refers to the size of the paintings and “8” refers to the number of artists in the show, many of whom were on hand at the opening reception on Friday, Jan. 15. All of the artwork in the show was created in Artistic Realization Technologies (A.R.T.) classes, offered as one of CATA’s many programs. A.R.T, an adaptive painting system developed by Tim Lefens, provides people with severe physical disabilities the opportunity to paint with the assistance of laser pointers and trained trackers acting as the hands of the artist. Fans of the CATA art program will be able to recognize the distinctive work of their favorite students in this show, which will up until February 16. All of the art is for sale, with proceeds going to the artists and CATA’s A.R.T. programs. Above, CATA founder Sandra Newman, with exhibit co-sponsors Rita Kasky and Bill Cohn.

CATA executive director Margaret Keller with her daughter and Stan and Jan Spencer; Terri and Steve Tosk pose with their son, Myles, in front of his artwork.

Artist David Gardner, CATA’s program and artistic director Dawn Lane and Cindy Keiderling; Rebecca Kelly, Molly Hudlin and Liz Bartini of Berkshire County Arc.

Artists Cathy Crofut and Brian Bernacki (seated) with Jean Bede and Jim Bernardo.

CIP’s creative arts coordinator Kara Demler, Stephen Tournas-Hardt and Good Purpose gallery manager Patricia Boissevain; artist Carol Neahaus and board member Debbie Caiola.

Liana Toscanini, CATA’s development and marketing director, and Dawn Lane; CATA volunteers Leslie Shatz and Elaine Radiss, who is also a board member.

The Blue Light Trio performs live in the gallery.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 01/17/16 at 12:09 PM • Permalink

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Blue Plate Party for Chatham Animal Haven

Jamie Larson reports from Chatham. Early every January for the past decade, the staff at The Blue Plate throws a great party that proves the area didn’t expend all its festive energy or charitable spirit over the holidays. On Saturday, Jan. 9, staffers threw another door-busting fundraiser for the development of the new Chatham Animal Haven. Created by Blue Plate employees Marsha Cary and Colleen Carpenter-Rice, the nonprofit’s mission is to “rescue and care for abused, neglected and surrendered farm animals…provide safe shelter and food, and arrange for any veterinary care (so) animals can live out their lives in our peaceful and loving environment.” Saturday’s fundraiser and silent auction not only supported the realization of CAH but also provided guests with good food, drink, live music and excellent company. Above, CAH vice president Marsha Cary and presiden Colleen Carpenter-Rice flank board member Sam Reilly.

Steve Reilly, Michelle Reilly and Ryan Jackson; Adam Fields, Barbara Henry, Mary Dooley and Katie Lavigne.

John Fishman, Jeanne Lunin and Blue Plate owner Judy Grunberg.

Gail Chamberlain, Mitchell and Elaine Khosrova with Mary Curran; Sue Tanner, Fran Heaney and Francine.

Carbonated rocks the downstairs bar; Beth Rinzler with Nancy Hulahan and Robert Houlihan.

Marilyn Cohen, Gail Chamberlain, Judith Warren and Bob Clark; The party and fundraiser upstairs at the Blue Plate.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 01/11/16 at 09:16 AM • Permalink

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Greylock Works’ Mill Renovation Makes An Entrance On NYE

Lisa Green reports from North Adams. For some of the 600 partiers at the Greylock Works UNLOCK New Year’s Eve Party, it was the chance to be among the first to see the inception of an ambitious revitalization of the former Cariddi Mill. For others, it was the lure of a communal table dinner presented by Mezze Catering + Events. And for the rest (a younger crowd, to be sure), the draw was the promise of a dance party featuring two DJs and a “massive and immersive environment of music and video projection” produced by Springboard Design. UNLOCK was the inaugural event of a space that is on track to become a nexus of thriving food-based entrepreneurs crafting regional and local products under one very, very long roof. With Berkshire Farm & Table working in tandem with Latent Productions, headed by architects and building owners Karla Rothstein and Salvatore Perry, the New Year’s Eve bash offered everything a partier could ask for besides the music and light show: cash bars with local spirits (Berkshire Mountain Distillers) and beers (Bright Ideas Brewing), a raw oyster bar (BerkShore Oyster Company) and high-level munchies (Cricket Creek Farm and Mezze Catering). If the project’s expansion rolls out like its debut effort, Greylock Works promises to be a most remarkable venture indeed. Above, Latent Productions’ Salvatore Perry and Karla Rothstein, and their daughter, Skye.

Kyle George and Andrew Trinchitella with David Dunn and Kelly Dunn of; Photographer Lincoln Russell, Main Street Hospitality Group owner Nancy Fitzpatrick, Joe Finnegan and Main Street Hospitality Group CEO Sarah Eustis.

Superstar bread baker Kamel Saci, who hopes to install a bakery at Greylock Mills, and his fiancee, Merrie Edelmann.

Massachusetts State Representative Gail Cariddi, whose father owned the mill prior to the recent purchase, and Marya LaRoche, whose company, Amenitek, did the electrical work on the building; general contractor Steve Burnham with Jim Hunter and Joan Hunter.

Wind-Up Film Fest’s managing director and manager of Destination Williamstown Sandra Thomas and Don Juedes; Filmmaker Holly Hardman and Irving Slavid, art restorer and conservator.

Suzy Konecky and Matthew Ball of Cricket Creek Farm offered grilled cheese sandwiches to hungry dancers.

Around 100 people came early to enjoy dinner presented by Mezze Catering + Events and prepared by Chef Daire Rooney; Six Depot’s Steven Amash and Theresa Speziale served up Chemex coffee for diners.

Hairstylist Karen Brown and Jennifer Trainer-Thompson, author and director of special events and membership at MASS MoCA; Steve Millard of Murray’s Cheese and Liz Stretch, food programming director for Latent Productions.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/02/16 at 12:07 PM • Permalink

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Food Chain Links Supporters Of The Hudson Area Library

Lisa Green reports from Hudson. “The end — which is the beginning, really — is actually in sight,” proclaimed Mark Orton, president of the Board of The Hudson Area Library, which (in case you haven’t taken your nose out of a book in while) is almost ready to move into its new home. As the final touches on the historic building — the former Hudson Armory — are being prepped for library patrons, the fundraising efforts continue apace, and on Sunday, Dec. 11, a group of supporters kicked off a new funding effort, the Hudson Area Library Food Chain. Bob and Marie Rasner, owners and innkeepers of The Inn at 240, along with Jack Simpson and David Murphy hosted the first dinner party in which the guests pay for the meal, with proceeds going to the Library fund. The Rasners cooked up an Indian feast at their bed and breakfast, but it could just as well have been burgers and fries or even a pancake breakfast. Hosts are encouraged to charge $20 to $100 per person and consider some library-related entertainment (book groups take note). Whether you’re a host or a guest, it’s a “novel” way to chase away the winter blahs and help put the finishing touches on the vastly new-and-improved library. Above, Ed Grossman and Mark Orton.

Joan Castle, First Ward alderman Rick Rector and Anna Rachminov, a library board member and owner of Stone Bridge Cider; Gallerist Tom Swope, Lucy Swope, Theresa Parson and Carolyn Lawrence, innkeeper of Hudson Bed and Breakfast.

Party hosts Jack Simpson, Marie Rasner, Bob Rasner and David Murphy.

The crowd gathers around the Indian buffet; David Voorhees, director of the Jacob Leisler Institute, and Gwen Gould, who until recently served as treasurer for the Library’s board.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/28/15 at 03:09 PM • Permalink

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The BCD Fundraiser Gets Help From A Famous Friend

Photo: Jake Borden

Rachel Louchen reports from Stockbridge. As Berkshire Country Day School approaches its 70th anniversary, the independent school for students in preschool through ninth grade celebrated its first formal capital campaign in almost two decades on Friday, Dec. 11. Guests—250 of them—crowded the Fitzpatrick Hall to snack on hors d’oeuvres and dessert by Mezze Catering and enjoy the musical chops of BCD faculty members. The event raised $2,838,548 towards a $3,000,000 goal for the capital campaign that is raising funds for new facilities and the School’s endowment (including professional development for teachers). One of the facilities is the Kim and James Taylor Music & Performance Room, a state-of-the-art instructional music classroom and performance space for students and community members to hold events. On hand to celebrate the success of the campaign were The Taylors (above), who have been BCD parents for 11 years and are the campaign’s honorary co-chairs. James spoke to the crowd of parents, faculty and alums, noting that both he and his wife are the product of independent school educations and BCD was the single most important factor in deciding to move to the Berkshires with his family.

Lucie is the Director of Admission, Joanne DelCarpine is the Development Office Coordinator.

Director of Admission Lucie Stites with Joanne DelCarpine BCD’s Development Office Coordinator and school nurse Emily Daigneault.

Committee member David Hosokawa and campaign committee co-chair Chris Ferrone; Jim Kenefick and Marianna Morrison.

Theresa Sonsini and BCD alum Joe Sonsini own and operate 528 Cafe and Main Street Cafe; Buzz McGraw, faculty member Gail Heady and Robin McGraw.

Andrea Maret, alum Mackenzie Hirt, Pamela Calvert-Hirt, Lynn Campana and Mary Hirt

BCD parents Sarah and Dan Bourla; Second Home proprietor and alum Suzannah Van Schaick , Colin Mathews and jewelry designer Stephanie Iverson.

Robert and Wendy Akroyd flank BCD teacher Ned Douglas; Event co-chairs Hilary Somers Deely and Nancy Kalodner.

Pittsfield Director of Cultural Development Jen Glockner with her husband, BCD alum Ted Glockner; BCD trustee Stephen Boyd and State Representative Smitty Pignatelli.

Jennifer Teich, Patricia Whitehead, David Slick and BCD parent Robin Seeley.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 12/14/15 at 01:53 PM • Permalink

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RSYP Dinner Gives Teenagers A Taste Of The Culinary Life

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. Crissey Farm was decked out in full holiday decor at the 2015 Culinary Arts Celebration for the Railroad Street Youth Project on Monday, Dec. 8. The event celebrated the completion of a food-based work apprent