Fourth 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival Is Collaborative And Creative
Eli Merritt Sculpture for Ten Spot.
By Lisa Green
If you’ve watched Pittsfield’s 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival develop since its 2012 inception, you’ve witnessed the ideal of community collaboration in action. Returning for its fourth year February 12-22, the wintertime festival, which was created to get people out of hibernation, give artists a mid-winter creative boost and stimulate activity for Pittsfield businesses, continues to expand. This year, more organizations than ever wanted to participate (in fact, you’d be hard pressed to find an arts organization in the area that isn’t involved). The result: more events and originality magnified.
Jen Glockner, director of Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development, says it was almost fluky how the newer events came together.
“We wanted to include The Berkshire Historical Society, because it’s so important to Pittsfield, and it turns out they were going to be opening their historical lingerie exhibit the same week,” she says. Crispina ffrench at Shire City Sanctuary was planning to do something for Valentine’s Day — and voilà, the two organizations collaborated. The Valentine’s Day dinner and dance party begins with the Historical Society’s Undergarment Fashion Show featuring ten models (some of whom you might know) wearing the lingerie — such as it was — from ten eras. (The three events have separate admission prices, so you came come to one or all). IS183, based in Stockbridge, was looking to bring a one-day painting workshop to Pittsfield’s Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, and was happy to fold that event into the festival.
And more serendipities: The Berkshire International Film Festival, which has participated every year, is celebrating its own special anniversary — it’s tenth, as it happens — so in celebration, will present the Best of Fest Shorts, 10 of some of the best short films selected from the past nine years of the film festival.
The coincidences continue: the Academy Awards show airs on — wait for it — the last day of the Pittsfield festivities. So BIFF is wrapping up the 10x10 with an Academy Awards party at The Beacon Cinema, complete with red carpet, a photo booth, drinks and buffet, and a big-screen simulcast of the awards ceremony.
Other new events include the 10 Minutes of Fireworks (on the Common on First Street), accompanied by a bonfire as well as sweet treats and warm drinks provided by Dottie’s Coffee Lounge. The Whitney Center for the Arts is hosting (among several other events) 10 Mini Trios by 10 Composers — a chamber music concert — and WAM Theatre returns to Pittsfield with a one-night-only staged reading of the critically acclaimed 2013 production of “Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight.”
Festival regulars such as Gypsy Layne Cabaret and the Real Art Party are on the schedule. And one of the highlights, of course, is the 10x10 New Play Festival at Barrington Stage Company, which originated the 10x10 idea four years ago. With the 10x10 occurring as it does during the February school break, there is, as always, a lengthy lineup of kid-friendly events.
“This is just a great collaborative event,” says Kelley Vickery, director of BIFF. “Jen has taken what Megan Whilden [former director of the Office of Cultural Development] built and pumped it up.”
Next year, it might be more like 14x14.
The schedule is exciting and extensive, so your best bet is to check out the website. You’ll want to plan for it.
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