RI_Olana_Lampman,_Cassidy.JPG" } The annual farm-to-table dinner for The Sylvia Center was held on July 15 in the fields of Katchkie Farm. | Rural Intelligence The Berkshire HorseWorks Derby Wins The Blue Ribbon | Rural Intelligence WAM Theatre raised funds on July 12 with its Stars in the Orchard gala at Hilltop Orchards in Richmond. | Rural Intelligence Supporters Are The First To Meet “The Founders Of Kent” | Rural Intelligence Wilderstein Historic Site celebrated summer with contemporary sculpture and an exhibit of its historic ties to World War I. | Rural Intelligence Shakespeare & Company’s Ruby Gala | Rural Intelligence Food, Farm, School…Hawthorne Valley Association Does It All | Rural Intelligence Summer School: Jack Shainman’s Kinderhook Gallery Opens New Exhibit | Rural Intelligence Jacob's Pillow kicked off its 85th season with a gala on Saturday, June 17 in Becket, Mass. | Rural Intelligence A Twilight in the Garden cocktail party kicked off Spencertown Academy Arts Center's Hidden Gardens events. | Rural Intelligence Close Encounters With Music celebrated women composers at a gala concert and reception on June 10, 2017. | Rural Intelligence The Wassaic Project's 2017 summer exhibit, Vagabond Time Killers, opened with a fundraising party on June 10. | Rural Intelligence Guests wore their finest '60s and '70s duds to the Norman Rockwell Museum's 'Legends' gala on June 10, 2017. | Rural Intelligence MASS MoCA's Building 6 opened to a huge crowd of visitors on Sunday, May 28, 2017. | Rural Intelligence At The Factory, After Hours, With IS183 | Rural Intelligence Pine Plains Memorial Hall restoration kicked off with help from townspeople and their shovels. | Rural Intelligence Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked the World opened at Berkshire Museum on Friday, May 19. | Rural Intelligence Turn Park Art Space opened to a large crowd of visitors in West Stockbridge, Mass. on Sunday, May 14. | Rural Intelligence Community Access to the Arts (CATA) held its annual gala and performances on May 13 and 14 in Lenox, Mass. | Rural Intelligence Berkshire Music School's wine dinner benefit at Castle Street Cafe raised funds for its student scholarships. | Rural Intelligence The Proprietors Ball signaled the official opening of the refurbished Henry Hudson Hall at the Hudson Opera House. | Rural Intelligence Berkshire Country Day School in Stockbridge capped a successful capital campaign with a reception and tour of the new facility. | Rural Intelligence The Hudson Children’s Book Festival Literacy Fund cocktail party at Stair Galleries on April 1 drew an enthusiastic crowd. | Rural Intelligence Berkshire Bateria helped supporters of Flying Deer Nature Center shake it on the dance floor on Sat., March 25. | Rural Intelligence The Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) celebrated three new exhibits, including Meleko Mokgosi and Robert Rauschenberg. | Rural Intelligence Lenox Shows The Love For Sculptor Andrew DeVries | Rural Intelligence As part of Pittsfield’s 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival, the Real Art Party was again held by the Berkshire Art Association. | Rural Intelligence A Night of Socks charity sock auction at Verdigris in Hudson, NY raised $3000 to buy warm socks for those in need. | Rural Intelligence TAG’s Annual Erotica Show Titillates In Tivoli | Rural Intelligence A Race In The Makers’ Space At ‘100 Hours In The Woodshed’ | Rural Intelligence Spencertown Academy Arts Center celebrate its 28th annual Revels while looking to the future. | Rural Intelligence The 1Berkshire Creative Resources Conference ended with a networking social at Bright Ideas Brewing in North Adams, Mass. | Rural Intelligence Close to 2,000 people participated in Pittsfield's first 4 Freedoms March & Rally on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017. | Rural Intelligence Did we see you at any of the parties we covered in 2016? | Rural Intelligence The NEPR Holiday Jazz Party in Hadley, MA featured vintage wear and a big band. | Rural Intelligence The Hudson Winter Walk celebrated 20 years on Saturday, Dec. 3. | Rural Intelligence The Holiday Wreath Art Auction at the Lichtenstein raised over $3000 for Pittsfield food pantries. | Rural Intelligence Berkshire Museum's Festival of Trees 2016 celebrated film and movie stars turned out for the preview party on Nov. 18. | Rural Intelligence Multicultural BRIDGE Honors Members Of The Community | Rural Intelligence Northwest Connecticut Arts Council honored members of their community on Tuesday, Nov. 15. | Rural Intelligence PS21 celebrated the completion of its new year-round theater in Chatham, NY with a gala at TSL in Hudson. | Rural Intelligence Images Cinema in Williamstown, Mass. celebrated its 100th anniversary on Nov. 11, 2016. | Rural Intelligence Guido's Fresh Marketplace celebrated its Pittsfield store's expansion with a housewarming party on Sat., Nov. 12. | Rural Intelligence Made in the Berkshires 2016 kicked off with a dinner honoring the area's own Karen Allen. | Rural Intelligence Housatonic Valley Association held an auction for the environment fundraiser party on Sunday, November 6. | Rural Intelligence The Art School Behind The Curtain: IS183 Goes To Oz | Rural Intelligence Cocktails With James Ivory At FilmColumbia | Rural Intelligence Little Ghent Farm hosted a fundraiser for Hudson, N.Y.'s Perfect Ten After School program for girls. | Rural Intelligence Ferrin Contemporary Dishes + Dines With The Presidents | Rural Intelligence 'Until,' the new large-scale exhibit by artist Nick Cave, opened on Saturday at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass. | Rural Intelligence The Columbia Land Conservancy celebrated 30 years at Churchtown Dairy in Hudson, NY on Oct. 8. | Rural Intelligence LitNet celebrated 25 years of literacy in the community at its annual gala on Saturday, Oct. 1. | Rural Intelligence
Rural Intelligence: The Online Magazine for Eastern New York, Western Connecticut and the Southern Berkshires
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
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Parties & Openings

April 14 – Pittsfield
Susan Merrill Exhibit Opening

April 7 – Ghent
Ghent Playhouse Gala

March 31 – Hudson
Lil' Deb's Commitment Ceremony

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Hancock Shaker Village Celebrates Susan Merrill’s Life And Art

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. For the past 12 years, spring at Hancock Shaker Village has signaled not only the Baby Animals on the Farm weeks, but also a new exhibit of farm animal paintings by the Berkshires’ beloved artist Susan Merrill. Although Merrill passed away last year, Hancock Shaker Village elected to keep the tradition by honoring the artist, and on Saturday, April 14, held a reception to open “Susan Merrill: A Celebration” in the Poultry House Gallery. Merrill’s legacy lives on in her extraordinary collection of barnyard scenes that help us see her subjects in new ways. “Susan captured familiar faces for us, so we could remember our connection to nature,” states the exhibition’s signage. “This year, we celebrate her art and remember her with love.” As do all of her many longtime admirers. [Above, Jennifer Trainer Thompson, HSV’s president and CEO, with Richard Seltzer, president of the board; both were thrilled with the record attendance on opening day prior to the reception.]

Susan Merrill’s family members in attendance included her niece Kristin Johnson, daughter Daisy Rockwell and sister Pepper Crofoot; Sarah Hatch and David Nolan.

Sculptor Tom Fahsbender and Jennifer Almquist, a photographer; Musician David Edwards and dancer Ruslan Sprague (Merrill’s son); the two collaborated on music for one of Sprague’s dances.

Olivia Cavanagh, Lara Ryan, Peter Cavanagh, Jane Ryan and Sarah Horne.

Robin Lamb and David Lamb; production designer Carl Sprague greets guests at his late wife’s exhibition.

After viewing Susan Merrill’s vibrant animal paintings and drawings, attendees got to take an after-hours peek at the live baby animals in the Round Stone Barn.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 04/15/18 at 03:01 PM • Permalink

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Ghent Playhouse Toasts Annual Benefit With “The Gin Game”

Jamie Larson reports from Ghent. On Saturday, April 7, The Ghent Playhouse held its annual benefit to support and herald the theater’s impressive 43rd season. The event featured a staged reading of “The Gin Game” starring Monk and Cathy Schane-Lydon, who turned in riveting and nuanced performances even at this preproduction phase. The small playhouse gets a lot of support from its community but a surprising number of fundraiser attendees from farther afield were happy to support the local theater community that’s alive and well in the center of Ghent. [Above: The Playhouse’s longest involved member, Cathy Lee-Visscher, and its senior member, Bernie Handler.]

Cathy and Monk Schane-Lydon on stage in “The Gin Game” (photo by Cindy Smith); Father George Fleming, from St. James Church, in a handsome suit he purchased from Rewraps, which supports PS21, and PS21 Board President Judy Grunberg.

Playhouse board members and staffers Vivian Wachsberger, Artistic Director Cathy Lee-Visscher, Vice President Sam Reilly, Linda Murawski, Joe Sicotte, President Kelly Mackerer, Dylan Wijiono and Mark Wilson.

Former Olana chairman Rick Sharp and his fifth-grade sweetheart Joan Ershler, with Lucy and Bill Jackson, who’ve known each other since they were 11; Chase and Paula Pugliese from East Greenbush.

Loyal patrons and volunteers Tom and Kathy Rector from Ellenville (Kathy can often be found in the box office); Spencertown Academy board member Jill Kalotay, former theater director for the NYS Council on the Arts Robert Zukerman, artist Jen Moseman and Chatham Education Foundation president Judy Staber.

Playhouse photographer Cindy Smith and Joan Fuess; Albert and Diana Wellington from Lee, Mass. said they encourage anyone from the Berkshires to come to the Ghent Playhouse — it’s well worth the trip.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 04/08/18 at 11:32 PM • Permalink

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Lil’ Deb’s Oasis Commits To The Future

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. Raucous laughter, heartfelt embraces and happy tears were seen and heard throughout the Hudson Elks Lodge during Lil’ Deb’s Oasis Fundraising Gala on Saturday, March 31… and that was before the main event — the owners’ professional commitment ceremony — had even begun. Carla Perez-Gallardo and Hannah Black, the owners of Lil’ Deb’s Oasis — a friendly, funky “tropical comfort food” restaurant on Hudson’s Columbia Street — threw the party to celebrate their creative partnership and to invest in its future. Top donors were treated to a cocktail hour with drinks by Arley Marks, and dinner by Lil’ Deb’s and New York City chefs Angela Dimayuga, Gerardo Gonzalez and DeVonn Francis. The ceremony, and a dance party with performances, followed. A silent auction featuring artwork, fashion, experiences and more included more than 70 contributors from near and far. The restaurant, launched two years ago, is sporting a redesigned website and has opened a private dining room adjacent to its main seating area. We can’t wait to see what else they’ve got planned for the future. [Above: Carla Perez-Gallardo and Hannah Black (with co-worker Wheeler, who gave the wedding sermon) address the crowd pre-ceremony. Both brides were brought to tears discussing how their chance meeting and partnership have changed their lives.]

Three members of the Gallardo Family: Julian, Carla’s mother Ines, and Juan; Grace Caiazza and Tomm Roeschlein.

Danielle Levitine and Ted Levitine of event sponsor Critical Mass Selections; Peter Frank, Mona Talbott and Adam Weinert.

Davon Rainey, one of the evening’s performers, with R.B. Schlather, Jesse Hart and Tom Taylor.

Monica Byrne and Leisah Swenson of Home/Made Hudson; journalist Zane Anthony, conceptual artist Zia Anger, designer Elise McMahon and filmmaker Theo Anthony.

Todd Pavlisko, Layla Kalin of Kasuri and Shana of Little Bee Apiary; Yiyi and Adam from event sponsor Yesfolk Tonics.

Frances Sultan and John McCulloch of Half Moon Hudson; Ezra Glenn, Dalia Fakhouri and Pedro Ventura.

Dan Kirk, an artist who donated a piece to the silent auction, with Tami Loeffler; Ashley and Andrew Carter with Phoebe Tran and Adam Demartino.

Creating the “‘Til Deb’s Do Us Part,” a martini with Yola Mezcal, Amaro Angeleno and floating flowers.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 04/02/18 at 04:59 PM • Permalink

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The HCBF Literacy Fund Toasts To Ten Years

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. This year, the Hudson Children’s Book Festival (HCBF) is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and the Fest’s Literacy Fund is marking its sixth year helping the city’s kids attend and purchase a book of their choice at the event. The group’s annual cocktail party fundraiser again was held at Stair Galleries this past Saturday, March 24. To show how the Fund has grown, its co-founder Susan Simon related to the crowd how the first year’s party raised enough to give away around 300-400 book vouchers, while last year The Fund gave away vouchers for 1,850 books. The HCBF Literacy Fund also works to help Hudson’s school libraries stock their shelves, an ongoing project that was able to donate 700 books just this past year alone. This year’s big Festival will occur on Saturday, May 5, with featured author Kwame Alexander. [Above: Festival co-founder Susan Simon, Colin Stair and Literacy Fund co-founder Chris Jones.]

Maria Suttmeier, Hudson City School District superintendent and HCBF co-founder, with Hudson gallerist Carrie Haddad; Bridget Smith, a Literacy Fund board member, with the Fest’s co-founder and co-director Lisa Dolan and art dealer Tom Swope.

Tony Jones, Pooky Amsterdam, board member Martha McMaster, Mark Prezorski, senior vice president at The Olana Partnership, Chris Jones and Agi Clark.

Hudson Area Library director Emily Chameides with Danette Gorman; Karen Davis and Mark Orton of the Davis Orton Gallery flank artist Margaret Saliske, whose work will be on exhibit there this year.

Lisa Dolan, Tessy Keller, Gene Stone, Chris Hays and Jay Neuschatz.

Cynthia Lathrop with designer Marlene Marshall; Edgar Acevedo, Mary Daly and Sarah Berney.

Susan Simon, Hudson mayor Rick Rector, Chris Jones and Carole Osterink; teachers and Literacy Fund board members Deirdre McCarthy and Melissa Brown.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 03/25/18 at 12:55 PM • Permalink

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The Heartbeats For Autism Raises Funds And Awareness

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Before the Berkshire Autism Initiative and its partners “light it up blue” for Autism Awareness Month in April, they lit it up green for a St. Patrick’s Day dinner-dance at Berkshire Hills Country Club on Friday, March 16. “Heartbeats for Autism” featured a buffet dinner, a silent auction and the evening’s entertainment, The Heartbeats, an 11-piece dance band from Philadelphia who donated their time for the cause. Proceeds from the event benefit Autism Connections’ programs and support for people with autism and their families in Berkshire County. As autism rates rise — from approximately 1 in 150 children in 2000 to 1 in 68 children in 2012 — Autism Connections helps families, schools, professionals and organizations understand autism and fosters inclusion in the community. [Above, Chris Tracy with Berkshire Autism Initiative chairperson Robin MacPherson.]

From Autism Connections: Katie Drumm, director Karen Serra, Liz Flaherty and Joanne Lucey; from Hillcrest Educational Centers: Roxanne Malloy, Tom Leonardo, Yvette Stoddard and Jon Kellogg.

Margo and Tom Mazzeo, Jen Astore, Glenn Sime, and Kellie and Glenn Houle.

Robyn and Brian Staubach; Elizabeth Deegan, Carol Kondel and Sarah and Taylor Williams.

Tony Cutillo, Sarah Voisin, Erin Mucci and Mike Mucci.

Volunteers from the Berkshire Autism Initiative: Pam Sandler, Megan Sherman, chairperson Robin MacPherson, Sharon Chapman and Nancy Salvatore.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 03/18/18 at 08:56 PM • Permalink

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Pittsfield Education Foundation Gives Lessons In Wine Tasting

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. Rarely do we cover an occasion where guests arrive…and keep streaming in right through the event. On Friday, March 9, the number of supporters at a wine tasting benefitting the Pittsfield Education Foundation at the Berkshire Hills County Club exceeded the organizers’ expectations. But it validated the community’s support of the new organization’s mission: to improve the achievement and success of the children and teachers in the Pittsfield Public Schools. Local educators, their families and friends, as well as several city officials, roamed the room, wine glasses in hand, where representatives from George’s Liquor Store offered tastings of wines and craft beers. Silent auction tables provided further evidence of support from Pittsfield businesses. “We want to ignite the passion for teaching and learning,” Kimberlee Chappell one of the founding members, remarked to the guests. [Above, Chappell, flanked by fellow founders Julie Pellerin and Elizabeth Trapani.]

Morningside Community School’s Kim Pemble and Crosby’s Dayle Bowler; Katherine Yon, chair of the Pittsfield School Committee, and John Pariseau.

PEF supporters Laura Farkas, Noel Henebury from Hotel on North, and Jesse Tobin McCauley, graphic designer for Main Street Hospitality.

Heidi Riello and Tony Riello, who works at Herberg Middle School; Mauricio Herrera and Christine Pellerin.

Teachers Erin Bassi from Capeless Elementary School and Karen Pearce from Conte Community School.

Michelle Curletti, who is a manager at the Department of Children & Families, with Michael DiCicco, who works at General Dynamics; Flying Cloud Institute’s Ruth Dinerman and Maria Rundle.

Mayra Hayes and Paula Furlano; Lauren Clark and Karen O’Neill, both of Capeless Elementary.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/13/18 at 10:21 AM • Permalink

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New Lebanon’s Bicentennial Kicks Off With A Cookbook

Lisa Green reports from New Lebanon. A few years ago, we offered 10 Things To Love About New Lebanon, New York, and this year, all those things will be included in the “greatest hits” during the town’s bicentennial celebration. The celebratory events launched on Saturday, March 3 with a reception at the Town Hall, followed by a “tea” at the New Lebanon library to introduce the town’s official cookbook, “Culinary Crossroads.” The book contains vintage photographs from Steve Hawkins, a local photographer who worked for The Berkshire Eagle for many years, as well as stories and recipes from the diverse population of New Lebanon. It was as if the cookbook came to life at the tea, with its contributors bringing in some of the featured recipes. Cakes, cookies and other foods were displayed beside Hawkins’ (and others’) photos reflecting what life was like in New Lebanon’s past. The town’s anniversary celebration, known as NL200, will span eight months. [Above: Helen Burton, a library board member, with Gregg Carroll, who worked on the book’s graphics, and Sharon Koomler, a recipe contributor.]

“Culinary Crossroads” is based not only on recipes from New Lebanon residents but on their neighborly conversations and activities; Joanne Amlaw and Hugh Black.

Shawna Fitzsimmons, operations manager at Shaker Museum|Mount Lebanon, with Rae Gilson, a board member of the Shaker organization.

Pat Macias, who was on the cookbook committee, stands ready to sell cookbooks; A cake, whose recipe is included in the book, sits in front of an historical photo of Tilden Pharmaceuticals employees.

Linda Hursa, owner of Angel’s Trumpet Flowers & Gifts, with Deb Gordon and Mike Hursa; Ted Salem, who writes press releases for the New Lebanon library, Paul Rix and Gary Millett.

The “Culinary Crossroads” committee.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/05/18 at 09:50 AM • Permalink

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The Junior Leagues Gives Us A Taste Of The Berkshires

Amy Krzanik reports from Dalton. A fine crowd turned out to The Stationery Factory on Thursday, Feb. 22 to help the Junior League of Berkshire County (JLBC) celebrate its 10th Annual Taste of the Berkshires and its 85th anniversary. Guests enjoyed everything from soups, stews and salads to eggplant parmigiana, with plenty of dessert items to round out the meal. Local restaurateurs and catering companies included Gala Steakhouse, KJ Nosh Catering, Mazzeo’s Ristorante, Patrick’s Pub, Flavours of Malaysia, Ye Olde Forge, Cafe Namaste, Simply Sweet, Starbucks, Sarah’s Cheesecakes, Big Elm Brewing, Ayelada, and two businesses making their Taste debut: The Pita Bite and Tyler and Pine. All proceeds from the event benefit the Junior League’s community programs. Past projects have focused on literacy, women and children’s safety, substance abuse issues, mentoring, ending sex-trafficking and more. The next JLBC event is a screening of Half the Sky at the Berkshire Athenaeum on Monday, March 5. 

The Junior League’s fundraising chair, Shela Hidalgo, with its president, Mia Albano, and vice president, Rebecca Beron; Junior League sustaining members Susan Frisch Lehrer and Abbie von Schlegell flank member Leah Reed.

Hugh Koh, Sabrina Tan and Lee Tan from Flavours of Malaysia; Mark Ouillette and Gwen Davis.

Melissa and Brian Rathbun with Bryan and Megan Patton

Phil Kampe and Maria Kampe; Amie Birch, Barbara Larocque and Tracey Green.

Dan Shandor and Jes Shandor, a Junior League member and past president, with Candace Wall and Michael Wall; Andrea Hartcorn and Stef Quetti represented Tyler and Pine, a bakery opening soon in Pittsfield.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/25/18 at 11:15 AM • Permalink

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With ‘BlkQueer Romantics,’ The Tenth Magazine Makes Its Hudson Debut

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. Hudson Hall’s first exhibition of its 2018 season, The BlkQueer Romantics, is a collaboration with the creative team behind the magazine The Tenth, which recently relocated to Hudson. The biannual publication, which takes its name from the W.E.B DuBois essay “The Talented Tenth,” documents the history, culture, ideas and aesthetics of the black LGBTQ community.” The exhibition, The BlkQueer Romantics, takes its name from the most recent edition of the magazine (its fifth since launching in 2015) and both celebrate the landscape and architecture of the Hudson River Valley, featuring photo spreads taken at Hudson’s Dr. Oliver Bronson House and The Vanderbilt Mansion at Hyde Park, “places where many African American artists and entertainers escaped to at the turn of the 19th century.” The exhibit’s opening reception, on Saturday, Feb. 10, was attended by many of the issue’s featured writers and models. The BlkQueer Romantics is on view until March 18.  [Pictured above: Steven Lowe, Bruce Robinson, a model featured in The Tenth’s most recent issue, and the magazine’s co-founder Khary Septh]

Aaliyah Barnes, Jaleel Green and Salim Chagui-Sanchez; musician Katie Harkin with The Tenth’s managing editor, Kyle Banks, and Basil the puppy.

Writer Jonathan Lerner and Tambra Dillon, Hudson Hall’s executive director; DeWayne Powell and artist Reggie Madison.

Jamie Hollins and artist Simeon Amstutz; Nathan Ha Levy with Gary Linnen.

Clarence Klugh, Cameron Leel and Khary Septh; Shanae Johnson and Marcus Brock.

Kate Hewett with Ricardo Johnson; Anthony Wash Rosado and Oscar Diaz.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/11/18 at 06:37 PM • Permalink

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It Was An Honor At Winter Blast 2018

Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. The Columbia-Greene Hospital Foundation of Columbia Memorial Health held its annual Winter Blast Saturday, Feb. 3 at Club Helsinki. And a blast it was. Always a crowded “who’s who” of the region’s leaders in business and philanthropy, the event routinely raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for the foundation. Last year the event also included presenting the Clara Kellner Award for Public Service. This year’s award went to two well-deserving familiar faces, Sheldon Evans and Martha McMaster. Their decades of philanthropy and ongoing commitment to local organizations is almost legendary. Supporting and sitting on the boards of many arts and civic organizations over the years, their names have become synonymous with selfless community investment and care. Happy to present them their honor were President and CEO of Columbia Memorial Health Jay P. Cahalan and Columbia-Greene Hospital Foundation Chairwoman Patti Matheney (shown above).

NY 19th District Congressional Candidate Gareth Rhodes, Shaker Museum Board Chairman Paul Cassidy and Hudson Mayor Rick Rector; Optimus Architecture’s architect Dan Gallagher and Courtney Gallagher with Linda Souers and Optimus Principal David Souers.

Event honorees Sheldon Evans and Martha McMaster, John and Denise Dunne, and Aven Kerr.

From the event’s presenting sponsor, Clark Patterson Lee, Scott Cottingham and Bill Vanslike, flanking CMH’s John Hall; Perfect Ten Hudson Founder and Chairwoman Paula Forman, Ed Beaty and Tommy Ngo.

Anne Brusie, Ginsberg’s Foods VP of Operations John Brusie, Hudson Area Library Director Emily Chameides, Hudson 3rd Ward Supervisor Michael Chameides, MetzWood Insurance Manager Derick LaTorre and Heather LaTorre.

Dan and Bryanne Scali, Rhonda Makoske and John Roberts; First Fuel and Propane’s Rich Coon, Pine Haven’s Elizabeth Groat and Bowers & Del Peral’s Morgan Bowers.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 02/06/18 at 09:17 AM • Permalink

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Mail With A Message: ‘The 50 Card Project’

Amy Krzanik reports from North Adams. “While sometimes I want to separate my art from my politics, the impossibility of that grows every day,” states MCLA visual arts professor Melanie Mowinski. Her 50 Card Project, which opened with a reception at MCLA’s Gallery 51 on Thursday, Jan. 25, began on inauguration day of last year. Every week for 50 weeks, Mowinski has printed a new postcard in a limited edition of 100, using vintage letterpress type, linoleum blocks and other printing forms. She’s sent each new card to 15–20 Washington D.C. officials, including the president and vice president, the attorney general, the Senate and House majority and minority leaders, and others. Each week’s quotation was inspired by events happening at the time, as well as by Mowinski’s goal of keeping herself and others energized for the long road ahead. During week five, Scott Pruitt was confirmed as the head of the EPA and she printed a card with the Native American proverb “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.” Mowinski says the project is “about being positive, yet at the same time a little subversive.”

Melanie Mowinski and Gallery 51 curator Arthur De Bow; Mowinski’s husband, Doug Molin, with one of her former students, Isaac Wood.

Adazae Shepherd-Edwards, Erica Barreto and Chris Handschuh; Michelle Daly, director of the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, with MCLA music professor Christine Condaris.

Amanda Romanelli, an intern who helped print pieces for the show, with MCLA student Zach Benjamin; writer Seth Brown with artists Sara Farrell Okamura and Hideyo Okamura.

William Archer, Alvin Ouellet and Jose Duran; Kristen Parker and the reception’s youngest (and sleepiest) attendee.

MCLA professors Anne Goodwin and Anna Jaysane-Darr; The complete set of cards is available for purchase.

Quote from basketball coach John Wooden and actress and activist Laverne Cox.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 01/28/18 at 08:08 PM • Permalink

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New Art, Old Building At Berkshire Money Management

Amy Krzanik reports from Dalton. With more than 80 arresting works of art displayed throughout a stunning c.1898 mansion, it’s no wonder hundreds of people attended Berkshire Money Management’s one-night-only exhibition, “New Art in an Old Building,” on Friday, Jan. 19. To celebrate its new home at the former Crane & Co. Model Farm, BMM had chosen works by 22 local, living artists, many of whom attended the reception, to be featured in an exhibit that doubled as a housewarming party. The company’s new offices (former bedrooms), meeting room and wood-paneled music room played host to paintings, photographs and sculpture, as well as living art, acrobats and string music from The Rosamund Trio. Above, BMM founder and owner Allen Harris poses with artist Joe Goodwin in front of one of his paintings.

Artist Scott Taylor with BMM Vice President Scott Little and his wife Julie Little; sculptor William Casper and Cheryl Casper.

Noah Kimball, artist Edward Pelkey, Mia Pelkey (in front), Jennifer Kimball and Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer.

Ken Singer, president and CEO of Berkshire County Arc, with sculptor Andrew DeVries in front of his sculpture, The Juggler; artist Grier Horner and Susan Phillips pose with one of his paintings.

Artists Sandra Houseman and John Houseman; Zack Marcotte, a financial advisor at BMM, with Donna Quallen.

BMM founder and owner Allen Harris with Kate Teutsch, John Krol and Hans Teutsch.

Stan Spencer and Jan Charbonneau; an interesting creature silently greeted guests upon their arrival.

Living artworks mingled with guests throughout the evening.

William Casper’s Here I Come; Edward Pelkey’s Science 8/11.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 01/21/18 at 04:11 PM • Permalink

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Into The Woods With The Ghostlit Repertory Theatre Company

Rachel Louchen reports from Egremont. The GhostLit Repertory Theatre Company is new in name but not experience, returning to the Barn at the Egremont Village Inn for its second production after a roaring success last summer. On Saturday, Jan. 13, the theater company hosted a winter gala with drinks followed by a production of the Sondheim favorite “Into the Woods.” It was produced by [above left] Caitlin Teeley, Harrison Lang (both of whom directed) and Gigi Teeley, who also starred as Jack’s Mother, Cinderella’s Mother and Granny. This was the original team behind last summer’s production of “Spring Awakening,” the company’s first. “Spring Awakening” sold out nine times, as did “Into the Woods.” A production of “Cabaret” is being planned for this spring, also at the Egremont Village Inn.

Kelsea Beck stars as the Baker’s Wife, Mary Ellen Devanny and Mandy Harrington; Leslie Shatz, Steve Shatz and Rich Petrino.

Elizabeth Cadorette and Samantha Burdick; Jordan Cahill, Rachel Cahill and Zoe Cahill.

House manager Matthieu Boudreau, lighting designer Izzy Philkins and Jackson Teeley, who has three parts in the production including Cinderella’s Prince; house manager Elinor Cherin, Brianna Nicola as Little Red Riding Hood and Julia Murphy.

John Monteverde and Krysten St. John are both drama teachers with students in the production; Julia Ray and Maya Falconi.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 01/14/18 at 02:43 PM • Permalink

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Martini Tasting Party Boosts Torrington FISH And Five Points Gallery

CB Wismar reports from Torrington. Billed as “festive and very merry,” the Dec. 6 “Deck The Halls” Martini Tasting Party hosted by Five Points Gallery certainly lived up to its promotion. Revelers bought tickets for the opportunity to sample, mix and mingle with fellow partygoers amid the stunning artwork at the gallery. Five Points’ mission, beyond being an active gallery presenting professional artists, is to nurture artists and empower a diverse community. FISH NWCT (Friends in Service to Humanity of Northwestern Connecticut, Inc.), the other gala beneficiary, provides the most basic human needs — food, shelter and hope — by supplying a safe and secure haven for families, individuals and veterans. A silent auction table enticed guests to add to the evening’s festivities, and an exhaustive display of cocktail shakers collected by Tim Bouthillier inspired many nostalgic and appreciative comments. The big draw, however, was the amply stocked martini bar where guests could sample from a wide range of styles and flavors, all the while benefiting the local community. [Above: Judith McElhone, founding executive director of Five Points Gallery; Deirdre Houlihan DiCara, executive director of FISH NWCT, and Cara Houlihan Blazier, a volunteer with FISH.]

Rit O’Donald, owner of the Ritz Crystal Room in Torrington, Carol O’Donald and George Craig; Sharyn Nickelson, Aaron Kovalchik, Tim Bouthillier, cocktail shaker collector, and Mike Kovalchik.

“Let’s Talk Torrington” editor Ed Cannata, Pennie Steinberg and Stacey Caren.

Kathy Corsetti, Anne Marchand, Jeff Geddes and Sheila L’Vain; Guests enjoy a well-stocked martini bar.

Just part of the collection from Tim Bouthillier’s “The Art of the Cocktail” display of martini shakers.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/01/18 at 10:58 AM • Permalink

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The Most Memorable Parties of 2017

There’s nothing we at RI love more than covering the region’s galas; it’s the perfect opportunity to visit with wonderful old friends, meet interesting new ones, and taste the delicious food and drink produced right here at home. That’s why picking only a handful of parties for our year-end wrap-up is always so difficult. We’d like to thank the residents of this region for being so generous with their time, talent and funding of organizations that improve the quality of life in our area and make residing here a joy. Below is a sampling of the galas, gallery openings, fetes and festivals that make our jobs so fun. (Click here to relive all of 2017’s parties.)

Studio 54 Disco Redux
The Norman Rockwell Museum’s “Legends” gala attracted one of the best-dressed crowds of the season. Dressed to the nines in ‘60s and ‘70s glam, attendees celebrated NRM’s summer exhibit, “Inventing America: Rockwell & Warhol” with family members of both artists and a Studio 54 dance party.

A Fete To Honor Farmers
Hopkins Vineyards in Warren hosted this year’s Farmer’s Table event, where the tables are turned and it’s the farmers who are the guests. Ingredients from many of the 200-plus farms in Litchfield County are used by local chefs who donate their time to prepare a dinner that allows residents and farmers to get to know one another. 

Horses Lend A Helping Hoof
This year, RI covered a handful of people and organizations who are using their love and knowledge of horses to help others. One of them was The Equus Effect, a Sharon, Conn. nonprofit that empowers veterans to rebuild healthy relationships through engagement with horses. The organization got help from actor, playwright and veteran Stephan Wolfert and his one-man tour de force “Cry Havoc” during its fundraiser at Lakeville’s Quarry Hill Farm. 

All That Glitters Is Glass
Did you know that work by some of the best glass artists in the world can be seen right here in Stockbridge at Schantz Galleries? An October opening reception with collectors and artists was followed by dinner at the Red Lion Inn, right around the corner from this top-tier gallery. 

Rooms With A View
The Alliance for Positive Health’s annual Columbia–Greene Garden Party is always well-attended and the cause is one that many hold close to their hearts. An added draw is the venue — each year, the fundraiser is held at a different magical private property. This summer, more than 400 guests were able to tour the historic Claverack home and grounds of famed film director James Ivory. 

Fancy Feasting
Who would turn down the opportunity to enjoy lunch (and a Bloody Mary bar) on the lawn at Tanglewood? Not the crowd who attended Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative (BFMC)s 4th annual Posh Picnic. This year’s honoree was Carl Sprague, a local whose work can been seen in the films “Twelve Years a Slave,” “The Royal Tenenbaums” and” La La Land.” The designer and art director is used to working behind the scenes, but was the center of attention at this year’s fundraiser. 

Haute On The Hudson
Twinkling lights, lush foliage, green lawns that seemingly go on forever, magical Hudson River views, a mansion in the background: it’s easy to see why Bard College held its SummerScape Gala on the fairy tale-esque grounds of Montgomery Place for the second year in a row. This year’s fundraiser for The Fisher Center featured a one-night-only set by Tony and Grammy Award-winning actor and singer Billy Porter and an after-party at the Spiegeltent hosted by Susanne Bartsch. 

Here We Grow
Hancock Shaker Village’s 2017 gala, the most well-attended in the non-profit’s history, began with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the gardens, followed by a three-course dinner in the 1910 Barn. An after-party transformed the Round Stone Barn and surrounding lawn into a tropical paradise, complete with tiki torches, colorful cocktails, and food from Lucia’s Latin Kitchen.

The Pillow Is The Place
A sold out crowed helped Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival celebrate its 85th season with choreographer Liz Lerman, Miami City Ballet, dancer Sara Mearns, Company Wang Ramirez, dinner, a dance party and more surprises.

Building 6 Is A Big Deal
You’ve read about it in the NY Times,  Boston Globe, WSJ and in RI. It’s Building 6 at MASS MoCA and we were there, among thousands of others, at its grand opening. Here’ a look at new exhibits by Laurie Anderson, Jenny Holzer, James Turrell, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Rauschenberg and others, plus pop-up performances and a concert by the band CAKE.

The Sylvia Center Turns 10
You’ll recognize The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm as one of RI’s recipe contributors, so you won’t be surprised to find out that its annual farm-to-table dinner in Kinderhook featured wonderfully unique foods such as smoked trout zucchini cups, forest mushroom mousse cornets and fermented grape leaves with goat cheese.

A New Place To “Park” It
This May, Turn Park Art Space, West Stockbridge’s new contemporary sculpture park and community gathering spot, opened to a large and eager crowd who came to walk the paths, take in the sites (both natural and man-made) and enjoy stories, songs and skits from Brooklyn’s Floating Tower.

Top Hat And Tales
April 22nd’s Proprietors Ball at Hudson Hall at the Historic Hudson Opera House ushered in a new era for the venue and the city. The party, which officially opened the fully restored and renovated hall at the center of the city’s cultural life, included a ribbon cutting, cocktails, and great food and entertainment sourced from Hudson’s diverse and talented arts community.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/10/17 at 06:50 PM • Permalink

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BBG’s Newly Renovated Center House Makes Its Debut

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. In advance of its 27th annual Holiday Marketplace and Gallery of Wreaths, the Berkshire Botanical Garden welcomed donors to a very special reception on Friday, Dec. 1. The event, in addition to being a chance to preview this year’s handmade wreaths and swags, doubled as a first look at the completed Center House renovation. The restoration and expansion of the late 18th century building (one of the oldest in Stockbridge) was a year-long process which made room for three art galleries, a teaching kitchen, a botanical library, and classroom and office space. The historic elements of the building were preserved, while state-of-the-art features like a living plant wall and technological upgrades were added. The extra space and functionality will allow the Garden to have more of a year-round presence in the Berkshires.

Mass. State Senator Adam Hinds with BBG Chairman of the Board and Center House designer Matt Larkin in front of the living wall; Diane Saunders with Lauretta Harris, president of the BBG’s volunteer association, and Louis Cohen.

Trustee Ian Hooper and board vice president Madeline Hooper flank Lainie Grant; the project’s builder Greg Schnopp and its Architect of Record Mark Smith.

Trustee Jeannene Booher and volunteer Sally Soluri; BBG’s education coordinator Bridgette Stone with trustee Kip Towl and Margot Towl.

Two examples of handmade wreaths available at this year’s auction.

Liz Murray, Michael Pulitzer and trustees Ramelle Pulitzer and Mary Copeland; William and Mari Binne.

Dorthe Hviid, BBG’s director of horticulture, with John Zutter; donors Marcia Feuer, Matt Larkin and Kate Morris.

Trustee Mark Walker, Tania Walker and the Garden’s director, Michael Beck; Jock and Jytte Brooks with trustee KK Zutter.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/03/17 at 08:27 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Film And Media Collaborative Encourages Shop Talk

Lisa Green reports from North Adams. It almost felt like a behind-the-scenes Hollywood on the Housatonic at the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative networking event on Wednesday, Nov. 29. There are a large number of film and media professionals in our part of the world, and a substantial group of them showed up at Bright Ideas Brewing in North Adams, Mass. to engage in trade talk and, of course, craft beer. Many of them were first-time attendees at a BFMC event, validating the collaborative’s assertion that there’s a new momentum building in a growing local industry. “We want to keep more people in western Mass,” said executive director Diane Pearlman, and to that end, the organization creates educational, workforce and production opportunities for those in the film industry who want to live and work in the region. [Above, Board of Advisor members Joe Finnegan and John Whalan flank Diane Pearlman, executive director of the BFMC.]

Emily Jawadekar, who has recently moved to Amherst, and Jesse Freidin, who specializes in photographing the human-animal bond; Freelance writer/editor Robin Catalano, Nannina Gilder and costume designer Sarah Goethe-Jones.

Paige Carter, who works in set dressing and decoration, and Laura Gratz, the BFMC’s administrative director.

Film industry professionals Ramona Fabregas, Poppy Wanamaker and Jeremiah Murray.

Joe Aidonidis, a documentary filmmaker, and Doug Jones, executive director of Images Cinema; Networking group in an E.F. Hutton huddle.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/03/17 at 12:38 PM • Permalink

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An Evening Of Whimsy: Berkshire Museum’s 2017 Festival Of Trees

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Whether you’re 5 years old or 85 years young, Berkshire Museum’s annual Festival of Trees exhibition elicits true holiday joy in all who experience it. This year’s show, entitled Whimsical, Wonderful Festival of Trees, opened with its signature reception on Friday, Nov. 17. Guests enjoyed oodles of noodles and other snacks from Chef Laura Shack of Firefly in Lenox, surreal live music from Hudson, New York’s C. Ryder Cooley, signature cocktails, colorful masks and balloon creations from Bowey the Clown. Tree sponsors were asked to conceal an item in their creations so guests can search them out in a game inspired by the I-SPY books. Criterion hid an orange eyeball, Canyon Ranch hid dragon eggs, Cross Insurance hid sleepy dust, and exhibit sponsor Hill Engineers hid Tinkerbell. This year’s Festival of Trees will be up until Jan. 7, 2018.

Cindy Perrea, of exhibit sponsor Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, with Sandi Sakowski; Stockbridge Library director Katherine O’Neil and her son Leo.

Eric Mabee, Jen Hines of exhibit sponsor Berkshire Magazine, board president Buzz McGraw and Rachel Melendez Mabee; Eric and Tess Barriere.

Graphic designer Sara Paul, Mike Dowling, Joe McCauley, Jesse Tobin McCauley, Noel Henebury and Mika Saarela.

Cassey Santos-China and Sharon Smith of Kimball Farms make the opening party an annual event; Berkshire County Arc staff pose in front of their tree: Jose Taveras, Morgan Jasewicz, Crossroads Center director Donna Williams and her husband Michael Williams.

Leah Thompson, Jayme Kurland and Aliyah; Josie Buzzanco and Bob Pothier.

Stephanie Merwin, Jen Kerwood, Olivia Kinne, Pat Davis and Kim Kinne.

Ryan Keegan and Rebecca Wehry; Maris Nichols [center] with her aunt, Dorothy Demick, and her father, Art Nichols.

Josh Pisano, Aimee Lescarbeau-Knysh, Harry Potter and Chris Knysh; Bowey the Clown twists up a good time.

Penelope Mitchell, Sarah Mitchell, Bridjet Cebula, Michela Juras and Mila Juras, all with NBT Bank.

Laurie Tierney checks on Dory & Ginger‘s tree; Guests search for clues hidden among the trees.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/20/17 at 10:23 AM • Permalink

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With Help From Our Community, Indwe Soars Higher

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. Rural Intelligence focuses on a four-county region, but the philanthropic nature of our residents often brings other parts of the world into our own universe. Case in point: Susie Weekes-Roeder, a dynamo who runs a Berkshire-based staging business and serves as a Construct board member, decided to start a Montessori-based school adjacent to an orphanage in South Africa…and did it. Now a 501 (c) 3 organization, the Indwe Learning Center (named for the national bird) in Illovo, South Africa sits on the border of the Mother of Peace orphanage, which cares for children who have been impacted by the AIDS crisis. On Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Marketplace in Great Barrington, Mass., Weekes-Roeder introduced the school’s head, Iris Canham, who was in town for a week to help raise funds for the Center. Both women spoke about the Center’s mission: a commitment to educate, empower and engage the children, many of whom come from “child-headed households.” It was hard to hold back tears upon learning about the children, and invitations to visit the Center in South Africa suddenly seemed tempting. “Once you meet these kids, there’s no turning back,” said one board member who has spent time at Indwe. [Above, Iris Canham, head of the school, with actor local resident and Indwe supporter Jayne Atkinson.]

Sue Schwarz, an Indwe supporter, and Hope Fitzgerald, who serves on Indwe’s board of governors; Heather Flemming, a website consultant, and Chris Ryan, treasurer of Indwe’s board of governors.

Lisa Frankel, Jayne Atkinson, realtor Deborah Levinson, Elaine Silberstein and photographer Larry Frankel, all fervent supporters of Indwe’s mission.

Susie Weekes-Roeder with Shirley Blanchard and Steve Blanchard; Indwe Learning Center’s brochure illustrates its work, “From Tragedy to Triumph.”

Writer Monica Bossinger and Charlie Weekes, son of Susie Weekes; Diane Gentry from New Jersey and Elizabeth Olenbush from Mill River.

Don Roeder, retired professor of Botany and Environmental Studies at Bard Colleges and member of Indwe’s board, with Kerry Millikin and Suzi Peel, vice chair, who spearheaded the first World AIDS Conference.

The slide show opened a window into the life and children at Indwe Learning Center in South Africa; Susie Weekes-Roeder delivers a passionate and moving plea for support.

Karen Mercer and Diane Dillon stand beside a display of beaded jewelry and other artwork created by the children at Indwe.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/18/17 at 01:20 PM • Permalink

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PS21 Invites A Crowd To Help Celebrate Its New Home

Amy Krzanik reports from Chatham. At long last, Performance Spaces for the 21st Century (PS21) was able to hold a fundraising gala inside its very own building. On Saturday, Nov. 11, supporters flocked to tour the brand-new black box theater and to help PS21 and its director Judy Grunberg celebrate its completion. Two years in the making, the theater stands near the site where a saddle-span tent welcomed visitors every summer for the past 12 years. Unlike the tent, which was erected and torn down each season, the theater offers both a permanent indoor and an outdoor performance space. A packed house was treated to Kind of Blue by members of PS21 favorite Parsons Dance that was tweaked especially for the occasion. Jeff Loshinsky Catering impressed with passed appetizers, a ramen noodle bar, a grilling station, a dessert bar and more. Lincoln Mayorga bookended the evening with piano improvisations, and singer-guitarist Rory Block performed as a surprise treat.

Jack Shear, Rebecca Josue and Fabrizio Caputo; Annie Brody, executive director the Chatham Film Club, with Tamarack Garlow, Gary Bernstein and Dale Bernstein.

Author Emily McCully, writer Elizabeth Hess, Peter Biskind of FilmColumbia and Evan Stoller, the architect behind PS21’s new theater; Shawn Lesniak, Zoey Anderson and Geena Pacareu of Parsons Dance.

Judy Grunberg [far right] poses with those responsible for bringing the new theater to life.

Linda Sugin, Anthony Calnek, Jess Fardella and gala co-chair Marcia Fardella; NY Assemblymember Didi Barrett is flanked by Derek Grout and Ashley Hartka of Harvest Spirits Distillery, who offered tastes to the crowd.

Abby Laufer, Ed Grossman and Gwen Gould were there to show their love for Judy Grunberg; Live music was performed by pianist Lincoln Mayorga, here with his son Juan Carlos.

Singer-guitarist Rory Block stopped for a surprise performance.

Larry Salzman, Bob Blechman and Trudi Roth; Judy Grunberg and David Parsons raise their glasses.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/13/17 at 06:17 PM • Permalink

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Celebration, Renewed Commitment At Berkshires NAACP Dinner

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Some people would have you believe that we are living through the worst time in America’s history. The present, however, is best viewed through the lens of the past. Anti-racism activist and writer Tim Wise discussed this topic and others during his keynote speech at the NAACP Berkshire County Branch’s annual Freedom Fund Awards Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Itam Lodge. The United States has always had a racism problem, and through worse times than these, people have banded together to fight against it. There’s no reason to stop now. To that end, the NAACP honored three local leaders who show us how that can be done. Wray Gunn, Sr. received the Paul Robeson Freedom Award for his lifetime commitment to the Berkshires and his work with the African-American Heritage Trail, Clinton Church Restoration, Friends of DuBois committee and the Sheffield Historical Society. Shirley Edgerton received the Mary McLeod Bethune Freedom Award for co-founding the Rites of Passage and Empowerment (R.O.P.E.) program for girls, being an active member of the local Women of Color Giving Circle and the Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival, and for her work as a cultural competency coach for the Pittsfield Public Schools. The Chaney, Goodman, Schwerner Freedom Award was given to John Bissell, president and CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union, to honor his work as a true community partner instrumental in making sure opportunities are available to all. Proceeds from the dinner benefit area students through college scholarships and an upcoming trip to the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C. [Shown left, Tim Wise and Berkshires NAACP president Dennis Powell.]

Wray Gunn with Carol Stroll and Lenny Kates; Shirley Edgerton and her daughter, Jernee Edgerton.

Erin Sullivan, Churchill Cotton and Pittsfield city councilor Melissa Mazzeo; John Bissell with his parents, Nancy and George Bissell.

AJ Enchill, a district aide for Mass. State Senator Adam Hinds, with Catherine Van Bramer, an executive assistant to Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, and city councilor Pete White; Brett Westbrook and Roberta McCullough-Dews.

Gisselle and Tariq Pinkston; Roberta Russell, Carolyn Oppenheim, Bonnie MacCracken and Mass. State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier.

Laurie Norton Moffatt, Wayne Gunn and Amy Diamond; Bill Wright, Darcie Sosa and Kathie Penna.

Mass. State Representative Smitty Pignatelli with Allyce Najimy, and Pittsfield city councilors Melissa Mazzeo and Tony Simonelli; Luci Leonard, an advisor for Multicultural BRIDGE and attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/06/17 at 01:54 PM • Permalink

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Costumes, Cocktails, Caviar…And Art…At L’Atelier Gallery

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. You can’t expect Halloween in the Berkshires to be anything less than artful, and that was fully expressed at L’Atelier Berkshires Art Gallery on Sunday, Oct. 29. Gallerist Natalie Tyler took advantage of the Halloween spirit by combining a come-as-you-please party with an art salon and made it work. Amidst hors d’oeuvres (including caviar and pâté “stations” arranged by Torrey Oates of Amuse Culinary Events) and cocktails, glass artists Iva Kalikow and Debora Coombs spoke about their work, describing their inspiration and techniques, as did painter Michael Allen Lowe. Every couple of minutes, the door creaked open and, from the pouring rain outside, an alter ego of some sort or another stepped into the gallery to be admired by the guests. And if you don’t think it’s a little disconcerting having a conversation with a big toad head, you ought to try it some time. [Above, gallery owner Natalie Tyler and Adam Zamberletti, a.k.a. The Big Lebowski.]

Krysia Kurzyca, an artist and farmer who founded Medicine Buddha Gardens, and Alex Brink, a culinary artist; Misha Gomberg, who is on the staff of Turn Park, and Eric Smith of Eric’s Great Gardens.

The featured artists: glass artists Iva Kalikow and Debora Coombs, with painter Michael Allen Lowe.

Lenny Kalikow as Mr. Toad, in a head he had made 30 years ago (which he used to try to get on the David Letterman show); creepy eyeballs swimming in a blood-red punch.

Live Brazilian jazz provided by Vita Kay and Michael Junkins.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/30/17 at 02:39 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Humane Society’s 25th Birthday Bash

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. The biggest change the Berkshire Humane Society (BHS) has seen in its 25 years might be the huge decrease in its clientele. But that’s great news! The clients in this case are dogs, cats, birds, goats and other animals in need, and the work BHS has done since 1992 has more than halved the amount of homeless pets in our region. To celebrate this milestone and its 25th birthday, the organization threw a party on Sunday, October 22 at The Colonial Theatre. News10 meteorologist and Pet Connection host Steve Caporizzo helped BHS honor its veterinary partners and raise funds for its programming with a live segment of Pet Connection and an onstage auction. The money raised will support the BHS satellite shelter, Purradise, in Great Barrington; humane education for children and adults; the Ken Freeburg Fund, which pays for treatment for animals who enter the shelter with health problems; and the SafePet Program, which provides temporary care for the pets of people in crisis.

Mark Heyer and Mary Shogry-Heyer with Steve Caporizzo; Stacey Carver, director of Berkshire Animal D.R.E.A.M.S., with Allen Harris of major sponsor Berkshire Money Management and BHS adoption counselor Lindsay Hermanski.

BHS executive director John Perreault with board president Cindy Bartlett and Marsha Weiner, co-founder of Catwalk; volunteer Sandy Haywood poses with Dakota, a dog she fostered and then adopted.

Barry Clairmont, Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, Allison Johnson Krol and Pittsfield city councilor John Krol.

Lisa Ressler, Camille Nugai and BHS board member Sheila Labarbera all represented major sponsor Greylock Federal Credit Union; Cindy and Jeff Caminiti and Catwalk volunteer Melissa Bye take a moment to pet Gabby.

Julie Macdonald, Valerie Ross and Monique and James Blake of sponsor Allegrone; board member Tracy DiSilva with board vice president Fred Pomerantz.

Guests were treated to a live Pet Connection with BHS adoption counselor Lindsay Hermanski and host Steve Caporizzo.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/23/17 at 11:05 AM • Permalink

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Keeping The American Dream Alive With LitNet

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. Is “the American dream” still achievable in 2017? The Literacy Network of South Berkshire (LitNet), its staff, board members and dedicated tutors would answer that question with a resounding “yes.” In fact, the non-profit’s annual gala — held on Saturday, Oct. 14 at Berkshire Country Day School — was the culmination of its American Dream Campaign. Since 2016, the number of new LitNet students has increased by 30 percent, and the fundraising effort began as a way to guarantee that tutoring will remain free for any local adult who needs it. As an added incentive, The Gilson Family Foundation agreed to match any money raised by up to $30,000. Going into the evening, the campaign had amassed $20,000. During a speedy live auction, author-performer Alison Larkin easily was able to raise more than double the $10,000 still needed to receive the full amount of funding offered. A balloon drop marked the happy occasion. The gala, which honored the organization’s tutors, was again catered by The Old Inn on the Green.

LitNet President Lucy Prashker with Michael Ury and board member Sue Weintraub; LitNet’s Mary Spina with her son-in-law, Brian Schmidt, and her daughter, Michelle Schmidt of the Gilson Family Foundation.

Catherine Shearn Chester and board member Matthew Chester with Shela Hidalgo and Gary Levante of gala sponsor Berkshire Bank; Francis Spina, Loretta Scheel and Robert Bujalski.

Tutor Lee Glazerman with Maria de Melendez, Marcelo Melendez, who is a student of Glazerman’s, and Young Kim and her tutor Fran Wolk.

Tutor Justin Burke, Ellen Boyd and Kevin Allan; Roy Kozupsky and LitNet tutor Leslie Kozupsky with Wendy Federer, a gala benefactor.

Tutor Sue Arkans, Howard Arkans, Erick Schafler and tutor Sharon Schafler; Cathy Deely with board member Marianne Deignan Ellrodt.

LitNet Executive Director Jennifer Vrabel and husband Matthew Vrabel [center] are flanked by guests from Greylock Federal Credit Union, a major gala sponsor, including Christhian Cabrera and Katherine Phillips [left] and Meghan McGrath and Dan Dillon [right].

Major gala sponsor Jane Iredale with board members Merle Kailas and Bob Montgomery; Stephen Boyd poses with Eleanore Velez.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/16/17 at 01:15 PM • Permalink

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Artist Liz Glynn Uncovers The Future At MASS MoCA

Amy Krzanik reports from North Adams. “Build something out of nothing” reads the wall text on the second floor of Liz Glynn’s exhibit, The Archaeology of Another Possible Future, now on view in MASS MoCA’s Building 5 gallery space. Piles of single-page newspapers make other succinct statements, also in black handwriting on a white background: “all that is solid melts into air;” “repair, refashion, reimagine;” “in ten thousand years ____________.” Glynn, in her largest-ever exhibit, which opened with an artist’s reception on Saturday, Oct. 7, ponders the past, present and future of human experience through its daily materials. Record players, wooden pallets, scrap metal, cement and soft felt mix with 3D printers and their output, delicate metal tumbleweeds, a series of catwalks, and hospital gurneys placed under tanning lamps. The goal? “Liz Glynn asks us to consider perhaps the biggest question,” says MASS MoCA Director Joseph Thompson, “What’s next for us humans?”

Liz Glynn with outgoing museum board president Hans Morris; Bridget Rigas, MASS MoCA’s director of development, with the exhibit’s curator, Susan Cross, and Richard de Maat.

Curator Denise Markonish with David R. Harper and Karen Patterson; Clay Hensley and Joyce Shu.

Photographers Brianna Rettig and Chris Janaro; MASS MoCA exhibition manager Caitlin Tucker-Melvin, Pint Locke and artist Joanna Klain.

Guests venture into the third cave, SMELL.

Elie Miodownik, Alli Dillenbeck and Makayla McGeeney; Lisa Reile and Jodi Joseph, the museum’s director of communications.

Denise Ottina and Paul Glynn, the artist’s father; Xavier, Lisa Dorin, Williams College Museum of Art interim director, and MASS MoCA’s deputy director Larry Smallwood.

The outside of the “analog” caves; children play inside the TOUCH cave.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/09/17 at 01:37 PM • Permalink

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Peering Through Glass At The Schantz Gallery Reception

Lisa Green reports from Stockbridge. It would not be an overstatement to say that I was gobsmacked by the virtuosity of the glass artists represented at the Schantz Galleries, but even the collectors among the crowd expressed wonderment for the pieces on display. Jim Schantz and his team invited a select audience to a reception to view “Cast, Cut and Cold” on Saturday, Oct. 7, at which several of the exhibiting artists were present. “Come help us celebrate the art, the artists, and the beautiful autumn colors of New England,” read the invitation, but clearly, the works by these internationally recognized glass artists, some of the best known in the world, were the real stars of the weekend. Following the reception, guests strolled around the block to the Red Lion Inn, where Jim Schantz and Kim Saul hosted a dinner for the art glass community — of which I now proudly call myself one. Above, a piece by Dale Chihuly hovers over the main floor exhibition area.

Hana Rosol, whose husband’s work is in the gallery, with glass artist Robin Grebe, whose work is also on display; Stanley Wooley of Schantz Gallery, with Susan Baker of Art New England, and her sister, Gail Baker.

Nick Minglis and Erica Minglis traveled from their home near Woodstock to enjoy the gallery reception.

Eric Federer and Wendy Federer with gallery owner Jim Schantz; Robert Shaloff and Michelle Shaloff of West Stockbridge and New Jersey.

Glass artist Eric Hilton and Ed Yasuna; Sidney Hutterer stands by one of his magnificent pieces.

Kim Saul and Jim Schantz, gallery owners and gracious hosts of the reception and dinner.

Janet Kawada and glass artist Dan Clayman; Gallery artists William Carlson and Martin Rosol with Pedro Alexander.

Steven Baum and Dorothy Baum of Newton, Penn. are avid glass collectors.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/09/17 at 01:03 PM • Permalink

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A Movable Feast: Berkshire Grown’s Annual Harvest Supper

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. At Berkshire Grown’s Harvest Supper, it’s definitely helpful if you can eat and walk at the same time: you’ve got to keep moving to get a taste of all of the dishes provided by member chefs. The 19th annual food feast on Monday, Sept. 25, held again at the Ski Butternut lodge, offered a showcase for restaurants, markets and beverage purveyors who outdo themselves every year with ingredients from producers in our area. It’s an evening where chefs, farmers and enthusiastic eaters can help Berkshire Grown further its mission: to celebrate and support local food and farms. [Above: Tom Curtin, Berkshire Grown board treasurer, with Executive Director Barbara Zheutlin, Molly Comstock of Colfax Farm, Schuyler Gail of Climbing Tree Farm and Allison Bayles, board president.]

From Kripalu, Steve Sherman and Shelby Drosehn; Doria Polinger of H.R. Zeppelin Chocolates prepares her display.

The mother-daughter team of eaters, Ava and Margaret Lindenmaier, get set to do a round of feasting.

Sue Arkans and Sharon Schafler; Fabien Riviere, director of food and beverage at The Red Lion Inn, with Anne-Juliette Maurice, vice president of operations for Main Street Hospitality.

Good news for those who miss the former Cafe Reva in Pittsfield: Its owner, Aura Whitman, is bringing her company, nAtURAlly, to Berkshire Mountain Bakery.

Castle Street Cafe’s new chef, Luis Zambrano; Williams College Dining chefs Mike Militello and Jerry Byers.

David Rothstein, owner of Race Brook Lodge, with Laura Werntz.

Shakespeare & Company’s Ariel Bock, Ruth Dinerman, Barbara Zheutlin, Allison Bayles, and Lianna Toscanini, executive director of the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires; Ryan Chandler and Ashley Chandler of Brattle Farm.

Richard Tovell and Abby Tovell, who run T Square Design Studio, with Sam Ernst and Jovanina Pagano.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/25/17 at 10:15 PM • Permalink

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New Milford Barn Quilt Trail Kicks Off At The Silo

Lisa Green reports from New Milford. One of the things we most love about covering events is bearing witness to (and yes, being embraced by) the warmth and enthusiasm of the communities in the RI region. On Sunday, Sept. 24, that “we’re all in this together” spirit filled The Silo’s handsome, restored barn at Hunt Hill Farm. The brunch, catered by Bonni Manning, honored the farmers, artists, volunteers, boards and commissions who banded together to make Connecticut’s first barn quilt trail a reality. Now, eight giant painted quilt panels adorn eight barns, with each design reflecting the history of the farm and the town’s agricultural past. New Milford Mayor Dave Gronbach presented certificates of appreciation to the many participants, praising the project as the perfect intersection of art, landscape and community. In a fitting cap to the event, Rachel Carley, an expert on barns in Connecticut, spoke about the styles of the eight host barns on the New Milford Barn Quilt Trail. [Above, the Quilt Trail committee: Suzanne Von Holt, chair, with Julie Bailey and Susan Bailey (no relation), whose barn bears the first of the quilts to be hung.]

Elizabeth Schrang of the Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust, which sponsored a quilt at Smirsky Farm, with her mother, Maridith Schrang; Rob Burkhart, president of the New Milford Trust for Historic Preservation, and Lorraine Ryan, an artist who is creating a series of paintings of the barns.

Sharon Kaufman, executive director, and Jayson Roberts, studio director of the Village Center for the Arts, which played a leading role in painting the eight-foot-square quilt panels.

Sarah Carberry and her mother Janet Harris of Harris Hill Farm (the first to hang one of the quilts); Mayor Dave Gronbach hands out certificates to farmers who lent their barns to the project.

The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm created a quilt pattern that reflects its agricultural and cultural history: Skitch Henderson, founder of the New York Pops orchestra, long-time musical director of the NBC Orchestra and radio and television personality, and his wife Ruth, a writer, chef and entrepreneur, fell in love with the property and purchased it in 1968. Building by building, they converted the two farms into a much-beloved cooking school, art gallery, museum and kitchen store.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/25/17 at 10:10 AM • Permalink

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Litchfield Historical Society’s Pig Roast Furthers Initiatives

Elyse Sadtler reports from Morris. The Litchfield Historical Society held its annual fall fundraiser on Sunday, Sept. 17 at South Farms in Morris, Conn. This year’s event took the form of a pig roast, featuring barbeque from When Pigs Fly South of Sharon, Conn. as the main fare. As guests began to arrive, they were greeted by music from the band Switch Factory, which provided live music for the evening. Jack Baker from the Litchfield Distillery served up cocktails and mixed drinks featuring their bourbon and vodka, including their new cinnamon bourbon. Proceeds from the event go toward funding the historical society’s educational initiatives, which include offering programs to students at Litchfield Schools — at no cost to the school system. On display at a side table were the plans for the Tapping Reeve House and Litchfield Law School grand landscaping project. [Above, Dave Hunt and Curator of Education Kate Zullo.]

Tom Curran and Laura Lasker; Switch Factory, the band for the evening.

LHS President Jane Hinkel, Executive Director Catherine Fields and Vice President John LaGattuta in front a rustic gate locally crafted by Christopher Hawver. (The historical society is also raising money for the purchase of two gates by Hawver for the landscaping project.)

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/18/17 at 02:43 PM • Permalink

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Equus Effect Event Tackles Trauma On Stage With “Cry Havoc”

Lisa Green reports from Lakeville. By the end of actor, playwright and veteran Stephan Wolfert’s one-man tour de force, “Cry Havoc,” the “why” of The Equus Effect became clear to anyone who may have doubted the need to help veterans successfully reenter civilian life. On Sunday, Sept. 16, The Equus Effect’s fundraising event at Quarry Hill Farm allowed supporters to bear witness to Wolfert as he performed his experience of trying to come home and re-connect with society. The Equus Effect, which began in 2013 working with 21 veterans, has grown to service 200 veterans in 2017 alone. The nonprofit organization in Sharon, Conn. empowers veterans to rebuild healthy relationships through purposeful engagement with horses. The horses help veterans focus on rebuilding trust, restoring healthy boundaries and both leading without force and relaxing without losing awareness. [Above, David Sonatore, co-founder of The Equus Effect, with Robert Caffrey, president of its board of directors.]

Wassaic residents Robyn Cutler Rosenberg, a board member, and David Rosenberg; Riley David-Gagnon, Aimee Davis, Bridget Ford Hughes, owner of of Body Lab GB and sculptor Jon Prince.

Co-founder Jane Strong with actor, playwright and veteran Stephan Wolfert.

Cecelia Morris, Carr Ferguson and Mary Oppenheimer; Ann Marie Belli and Jeffrey Earls.

Juliet Hubbard, Tony Robinson, writer Roxana Robinson, and physical therapist Bente Busby; Rene Milo, with Cynthia Walsh and Kathleen Fuhr, both on the Audubon Sharon board of directors.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/18/17 at 11:04 AM • Permalink

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1Berkshire Celebrates North Adams And More

Amy Krzanik reports from Williamstown. More than 300 community members — from bankers, builders and politicians, to artists, educators and medical professionals — found their way to the new Bloom Meadows event space on Thursday evening, Sept. 14. 1Berkshire, the region’s economic development organization, had invited them there to once again “Celebrate the Berkshires.” The annual event recognizes individuals and organizations who strengthen the local economy and help the Berkshires grow. The 2017 Berkshire Trendsetter winners were announced and are as follows: Comprehensive Marketing Campaign – Shakespeare & Company; Entrepreneur/Visionary of the Year – Tad Ames of Berkshire Natural Resources Council; Growing/Advancing the Berkshire Economy – Allegrone; Under 40 Change Maker – Jessica Vecchia [shown left with her mother, Patti Bilodeau]; Nonprofit Impact – McCann Technical High School; Creative Economy Standout – Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival; and Newcomer of the Year – Adam Hinds. The award for Putting the Berkshires on the Map, whose winners were the only ones previously announced, was presented to the Community of North Adams. And what a community it is. MASS MoCA’s Executive Director Joe Thompson perhaps said it best when he introduced the recipients. “Not to diminish the natural beauty and history of North Adams,” he said, “but the people are our greatest assests.”

1Berkshire board member and award presenter Peter Stasiowski of Interprint with “Newcomer of the Year” Mass. State Senator Adam Hinds; Noel Henebury, Devin Shea and Andrea Sholler, managing director of “Creative Economy Standout” winner Jacob’s Pillow Dance.

Brad Felix of event underwriter Greylock Federal Credit Union, Pittsfield City Councilor Pete White, Lo Sottile, and Craig Kahn of All Seasons Realty; Glenn Diehl of nominee Berkshire Scenic Railroad with 1Berkshire president and C.E.O. Jonathan Butler and Michelle Butler.

Sam Russo of event underwriter General Dynamics, Tim Burke, Carrie Holland also of GD, and Maggie Barry and Cody Gavin of the LakeHouse Inn in Lee.

Adam Klepetar and Charles Stephens, both of Berkshire Community College; Tim Kiely, 1Berkshire board member Lori Gazzillo of underwriter Berkshire Bank, James Culliton, a principal of Allegrone who received the award for “Growing/Advancing the Berkshire Economy,” and Mary Verdi.

Siddhi Mehta, Katielynn Hoffman, Brandon Wong, Jessica Clayborn and Dr. Mahek Mehta of nominee Hillcrest Dental Care; Tony Dunne, Julia Dixon and North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright.

Stephanie Bosley, Meghan Stetson, Brent Bette, Ally Holmes, and JD Chesloff of nominee MCLA.

Chris Smith, Cheryl Richards, Michele Morin and Mark Placido of Hillcrest Educational Centers; Change Maker nominee and North Adams City Council president Ben Lamb with Otto, and Alexandra Mitchell with Kya.

Denise Marshall, Molly Fannon Williams, and Michelle Daly of nominee MCLA; Emily Bronson and Shela Hidalgo of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Gary Levante of underwriter Berkshire Bank and Sarah Tucker.

Berkshire Community College came out in force to celebrate the Berkshires: Christina Wynn, Adam Klepetar, Adams Select Board member Christine Hoyt, Linda Morelli and Jonah Sykes.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/18/17 at 10:36 AM • Permalink

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Community Celebrates BNRC’s Half Century Of Landkeeping

Lisa Green reports from Dalton. “Landkeeping is for all of us.” So says the Berkshire Natural Resources Council’s website, and for 50 years, this organization has valiantly worked with landowners who want to donate land, it has scouted for new acquisitions, and planned, built and maintained trails — all so that we have easy access to the Berkshires’ natural world. On Saturday, Sept. 9, Tim Crane opened up his Holiday Brook Farm for a day of hayrides, guided walks, presentations, archery lessons, fishing clinics, food and music to celebrate and honor the work of the last 50 years. BNRC has big plans going forward as it embarks on the High Road project, which will create a system of linked trails that covers the entirety of Berkshire County. [Above, Sarah Hudson, whose brother Barclay Hudson donated Steadman Pond in Monterey, Mass. to the BNRC, with Tad Ames, BNRC’s outgoing president.]

Holiday Brook Farm’s pond was the perfect spot for a fishing clinic and fishing derby.

Jim Lamme, Wendy Linscott, a Council board member and Narain Schroeder, who is the director of land conservation at the BNRC; Roxanne Gawthrop, who runs development and donor relations, with Tom Curtin, a Council board member.

Mackenzie Greer, conservation and stewardship associate, chats with George Wislocki, who was founding president of the Council 50 years ago.

Joel Lerner, who was director of the Massachusetts Division of Conservation Services, and Gige Darey, former chair of the Massachusetts Fish & Wildlife Board, and “one of the nation’s great conservationsts,” said Lerner; David McGowan, executive director of the Williamstown Rural Land Foundation, and Nicole Pyser, stewardship coordinator at the BNRC.

Tad Ames and Holiday Farm owner and BNRC board chair Tim Crane with Jonas and Betsy Dovydenas.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/10/17 at 06:50 PM • Permalink

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James Ivory Hosts The 2017 Columbia-Greene Garden Party

Amy Krzanik reports from Claverack. The Alliance for Positive Health’s annual Columbia–Greene Garden Party is always a well-attended event and the cause is one that many hold close to their hearts. An added draw is that the APH (formerly the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York) holds the fundraiser at a different, magical property each year. This year, more than 400 guests were able to tour the home and grounds of famed film director James Ivory on Saturday, Sept. 2. Simons Catering created fanciful hors d’oeuvres, Kelly Mittleman & Friends played their hearts out, and the silent auction, another of the event’s big draws, featured hand-chosen pieces of art, furniture, fashion, personal care packages, dinners and overnight stays.

Brian Flynn, New York State Assemblymember Didi Barrett and Kris Kohler; Lindsay Pennington, Anthony Slayter-Ralph and Priscilla Woolworth.

Keith Lee with Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan and former mayor of Altamount James Gaughan; Robin Horowitz and Dale Stewart of Halstead Property with Cricket Coleman.

Artist Stephen King, host James Ivory and gala committee member Peter Bevacqua.

Mary Jane Bendon Couch, APH president, with Bill Faragon, APH executive director; Dave King, Frank Tartaglione, Maria Manhattan and Merry DePhillips.

Stephen Sipperly, board members Dominic Carota and Victor Mendolia, and Matt Lynch; Elizabeth Homitzky, Kurt Parde and Claire Parde, executive director of the Columbia County Community Healthcare Consortium.

Craig Chorney, John Boone and Chris Lockwood.

Alex Contreras, Lisa Briscoe and Andy Goldsborough; Christine Boeke, Suzanne Frye of NYC and Barbara Challan of Hudson.

Charles Rosen with Joseph Sniado and Michael Moy of Joe’s Garage in Catskill, and Duke Dang; Jane Duffstein, Charles Edwards and Michael Myers.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/04/17 at 09:54 PM • Permalink

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Drinks At the Waterfront With Historic Hudson

Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. An empty lot beside an abandoned warehouse, surrounded by barbed wire and next to railroad tracks, might seem like a strange locale for a posh party. But this is Hudson, New York, and that’s exactly what took place on Friday, Sept. 1. Historic Hudson held its Drinks on the Waterfront event at the old Dunn Warehouse to benefit the organization and to think big about the future of the highly visible historic site on the Hudson River. There was additional reason to celebrate; the city recently won a $10 million economic development grant for the riverfront district, which means plans to revitalize the building could become a reality sooner than later. The weather was perfect, as was the food provided by Talbott & Arding and the unique Eastern European wines from Hudson Wine Merchants. The party, produced by Katharine Millonzi, also was used to promote the equally unique upcoming Historic Hudson chamber music series. [Above, executive director of the Columbia County Historical Society Lori Yarotsky and executive director of Historic Hudson Lisa Weilbacker.)

Lacy Clarke, Historic Hudson intern Lucie Huston and realtor Dina Palin of Houlihan Lawrence, Scenic Hudson land project manager Abdiel Lopez Torres and Isabel Ramirez.

Photographer Annie Leibovitz with daughters Susan and Samuelle. Photo by Kelly Thompson.

Principal at Hudson Praxis Damara Rose (she is currently undertaking a feasibility study about turning Dunn into a Hudson River museum and science center), Chandra Glick, and photographer Antony Nagelmann holding Indigo Nagelmann; NY State Assemblymember Didi Barrett, Historic Hudson vice president Dorthy Heyl, candidate for Hudson 1st Ward Alderman Rob Bujan and Kathy Bujan.

President and executive producer at Hoff Productions Michael Hoff, Julia Ritchie, Shari Brink, Judy Kramer, Win Jackson and principal broker at Historic Hudson Homes Paul Trantanella; Kathryn and Bernadette Fitzgerald with Laurie Fenlason.

Linda and Bill Livanos, Glenda Ruby, author of the new book A Murderous Summer at Bard, and Ros Delay.

Morag Hann, Michael Arkin and Colin Stair of Stair Galleries, who sponsored the event; Historic Hudson president Alan Neumann invites attendees to dream big about the future of the site. 

Olana landscape curator Mark Prezorski, Hudson 3rd Ward Alderman and candidate for 3rd Ward Supervisor John Friedman, and designer Mitchell Motsinger; Eric Tucker and Susannah Millonzi wearing Francis Tucker.

Zachary Hill, Rhodes Adler, Annick de Bellefeuille and Historic Hudson president Alan Neumann.

Historic Hudson volunteer photographers Jackie O’Neill and Kelly Thompson; Suzanne Frye, Nancy Westbrook and Barbara Challan.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 09/03/17 at 05:02 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Grown Eats (And Contemplates) Farm-To-Table

Lisa Green reports from Sheffield. Barbara Zheutlin, executive director of Berkshire Grown, leads me to the menu posted at the entrance of the brunch on Sunday, Aug. 27, catered by The Old Inn on the Green and The Southfield Store. “Read, and prioritize,” she advises. “Peter Platt has outdone himself.” And indeed he has, providing a home-grown feast under the shade trees at the home of Hester Velmans and Peter Cherneff, with food and drink supplied by local farmers and beverage makers. It all just underscored the purpose of the event: Berkshire Grown’s championing of the local food economy in the Berkshires, and whetted the guests’ appetites for the after-brunch conversation, “Food, Farming and our Future.” Although one of the speakers, columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman was unable to make the event due to a family emergency, Dan Barber held the audience’s attention with his views on where the farm-to-table movement is heading. “We’re just beginning,” said the author, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill New York and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. “For farm-to-table 2.0 we need to look beyond what is passive or easy, and develop hyper-regional cuisines.” While his talk left guests wanting more, each was rewarded on the way out with a copy of Letters to a Young Farmer: On Food, Farming and Our Future, compiled by the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. [Above: The two men of the hour(s): Chef Peter Platt and Dan Barber.]

Ellen House, who is assistant to cosmetics company owner Jane Iredale, and Geoffrey House; Doug McTavish and Linda Saul-Sena.

Steve Sagarin of the Berkshire Waldorf High School, Janis Martinson, advancement director at The Mahaiwe, Chris Weld, owner of Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Berkshire Grown’s Barbara Zheutlin, and Tyler Weld.

The farmers and other vendors who contributed to the brunch; Anna Oliver, Stephan Klein, Bonnie Rosenberg and Susan Bubenas.

Blue Q graphic designer Silka Glanzman, Susan Engel, a professor at Williams College, and Emily Bronson of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.

Jewelry designer Dai Ban, Robin Ban, Jessica Velmans and artist Jorge Silveira.

Restaurateur Mark Firth, owner of Prairie Whale, joins the sausage-grilling team Hope Millham, Jake Levin  of Jacuterie, Brian Heck, and Sean Stanton of Blue Hill Farm.

Guests head to the barn to hear Dan Barber’s talk.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/28/17 at 09:47 AM • Permalink

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Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon Gala 2017

Amy Krzanik reports from New Lebanon. Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon’s annual summer benefit gala, held this year on Saturday, Aug. 19, began with a cocktail hour in and around the Vault of the impressive Great Stone Barn. Guests moved to the tent for dinner, which was prepared by The Farmer’s Wife located in Ancramdale and Millbrook, New York. The evening’s highlight was a performance by the gala’s guests of honor, actress Frances McDormand and actress/singer Suzzy Roche [shown left]. The two performed an excerpt from The Wooster Group’s Early Shaker Spirituals: A Record Album Interpretation, which was introduced by The Wooster Group’s current and founding member Kate Valk. Dolores Meissner of Meissner’s Auctions led a live auction, where supporters participated in a friendly battle for trips, nights out on the town, finely made Shaker reproduction side tables and other items. Coffee, camaraderie and desserts from Manhattan’s Magnolia Bakery rounded out the evening’s events. Early Shaker Spirituals will return to The Performing Garage in SoHo for a limited engagement this December. [Above photo of Frances McDormand and Suzzy Roche by John Mulligan.]

Chair of the board Paul Cassidy with Lisa Malone Jackson, the site’s director of advancement, and her husband Jeffrey Jackson; Patricia Crown and Tracy Kelly.

Jed Englund and Alyce Englund, a curator at The Met; architect John James, Jill and Rufus Jones of the James Weldon Johnson Foundation, and board member Rae Gilson.

Daniel Schmeder, Zoe McFarland and Gavin McFarland; chair emeritus Jeff Daly with Dennis Corrado.

Julia Todoli, Roni Horn and Vernon Evenson; Chris Thompson and David Landauer.

Jeffrey Peabody, Jennifer Dowly and Guy Walker of The Re Institute; Arlin Wasserman with Dan and Nina Worth.

Auctioneer Dolores Meissner and Lacy Schutz, the site’s executive director; Nancy Kyle, Michael Hursa, Max Gitter and Linda Hursa, who created bouquets for the dinner tables.

Jerry Grant, the Museum’s director of collections and research, with Toby Bilanow and Stephen McNabb; Shaker scholar Sharon Koomler, Stephanie Aeder and Rae Gilson.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/21/17 at 04:24 PM • Permalink

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The National Committee Keeps The Mount Close To Its Heart

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. After a visit to The Mount, you’d be forgiven for thinking that summer evenings were created specifically for sipping cocktails on the mansion’s terrace, which overlooks former owner Edith Wharton’s breathtaking gardens. On Tuesday, Aug. 15, on just such an evening, members of The National Committee gathered on the terrace of the mansion for a Summer Soirée. The Committee, The Mount’s annual giving society, is comprised of individuals who make a gift of $1,000 or more. Established in 2012, the group includes board members as well as fans of The Mount who live too far away to serve on the board but want to show their appreciation for the site and the work the non-profit does to preserve it. Most of the guests pictured below are members of the Committee and The Mount holds a special place in their hearts.

Editor Pat Peters, retired U.S. district judge Jose Gonzalez and trustee Mary Copeland; Susan Wissler, executive director of The Mount, with photographer Jonas Dovydenas.

Judith Joyce and Linda Zukowski; Roger and Naomi Gordon, a trustee, with Jane Roy.

Carron Haight, Tom Thaler and Sarah Tyler.

Don Temples, The Mount’s director of development, with writers Natalie Pope Boyce and Mary Pope Osborne; Alan Price and Irene Goldman-Price, who is the board’s vice chair.

Hermine Drezner with Carol and Richard Seltzer, a board member; Enid Michelman, Jonas Dovydenas, trustee Cris Raymond and George Raymond.

Trustees Virginia Giddens and Lila Berle with James Giddens and Mary Copeland, also a trustee.

Judith Katz, Betsy Dovydenas and Alice Wislocki; Leslie and Tim Curtis, National Committee members from Connecticut.

Stephen Peters, trustee Kate Wharton and Alan Price; Sherry Kasper, Dan Kasper, chair of The Mount’s board, and Linda Fawley, a National Committee member from Boston.

Susan Wissler and board members past and present thank the National Committee members for all that they do to support and promote The Mount.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/15/17 at 08:40 PM • Permalink

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IS183 Sends Director Hope Sullivan Off On Her Next Adventure

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. If you’ve ever taken a class at IS183 Art School of the Berkshires, visited its home base at Citizens’ Hall in Stockbridge, Mass. or attended one of the non-profit’s over-the-top (in the very best way) galas, you’ve met Hope Sullivan. The organization’s longtime director was most likely there to greet you with a smile and make you feel welcome. But Sullivan is now moving on, ready to begin a new job as the executive director at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center Foundation in Stowe, VT. Friends, colleagues, IS183 instructors and board members, and others in the community gathered at Citizens’ Hall on Sunday, Aug. 6 to send her off and wish her well on her next artistic adventure. Nancy Kalodner, an IS183 founding board member, read a statement expressing the gratitude many feel toward Sullivan, who has been at the helm of the 25-year-old organization for the last 12 years, and has expanded its programming and led the non-profit out of debt. Sullivan herself thanked the school’s board members and other supporters for their dedication and generosity throughout the years. Good luck, Hope, and we’ll miss you.

Program director Lucie Castaldo, who will serve as interim executive director, with Hope Sullivan; board chairman Andy Foster with ceramics student Nadine Atalla of Cafe Lucia and board member Aine Ungar.

Noel Henebury of Hotel on North with Vicki Bonnington, Andrea Sholler and Berkshire Athenaeum director Alex Reczkowski.

Gallerist Leslie Ferrin, artist Rebecca Weinman and Danielle Steinmann; Mary Nash with David Schecker.

Shirley Shapiro and former board member Jana Purdy; Diane Firtell and Marilyn Orner Cromwell, who both teach at IS183, with Cecilia Hirsch, the school’s student programs coordinator.

Partygoers raise their glasses in a “cheers” to Hope.

IS183’s marketing coordinator Carrie Wright and photographer Bill Wright flank Pilot; Peter Long, IS183’s registrar and office manager, with Leigh Rosenfeld.

Ceramics studio manager Jared Gelormino with Leslie Ferrin; artist Keith Emerling with potter and teacher Margie Skaggs and ceramicist Marcie Kammel.

This cheesecake, which was as delicious as it was beautiful, was created by Chocolate Springs in Lenox, Mass.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/14/17 at 11:33 AM • Permalink

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Tea For 200 Celebrates Its China Anniversary

Rachel Louchen reports from Washington Depot. On Saturday, August 12, Tea for 200 reached a huge milestone, commemorating its 20th annual year, which might mean it’s been tea for 4,000 at this point. Held for the last two decades in the gardens of Gary Goodwin and Gael Hammer’s home, the party is a favorite among locals of Litchfield County and sees a huge turnout summer after summer. Tea for 200 has raised nearly a million dollars for local organizations since its inception, with proceeds from this year benefiting the Interfaith AIDS Ministry of Greater Danbury and Gunn Historical Museum. The honored nonprofits may change, but a constant remains the all-white dress code, extravagant hat contest, silent auction, live music by “The Beehive Queen” Christine Ohlman, and the surrounding beauty of Washington Depot. [Above, Gary Goodwin, Evie Hammer, Gael Hammer and Jason Moskowitz].

Andrew Clementi, Lucy Clementi, executive director of Interfaith AIDS Ministry of Greater Danbury, Janet Olsen Ryan, pantry coordinator and board member Dolores Grygog.

Travis Lipinski and Tom Gilbert; Marise Jung, Chad Dutcher and Susan Benedetti from Stickley Audi & Co, one of the event’s sponsors.

Milliner Laura Daly, writer/activist and Connecticut resident Larry Kramer and Tim Daly; part-time Washington residents Pablo Vallecilla and Doug Doucette.

Darcie Congrove and Patti Orzano flank event sponsor Rick Distel and Kevin Comer.

Faithful Tea for 200 attendees Eileen Smyth, Gary Smith and Marilyn Matern-Bratz; Lynne Dedo and realtor Victoria Elliot show off their submissions for the hat contest.

Neighbors Roberta Connolly and Steven Fuchs, a trustee at Gunn Memorial as well as an event sponsor; Cathy Denult and Sandy Brink attend every year.

Niles Bryant, Janet Bryant and Sarah Bryant.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 08/13/17 at 06:11 PM • Permalink

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The Friends Of Clermont Honor Mary Kay Vrba

Amy Krzanik reports from Germantown. Straddling the line that separates Columbia and Dutchess counties, Clermont State Historic Site is considered a gem in the crown of each area. Some of its popularity can be traced back directly to the efforts of Mary Kay Vrba, the executive director of Dutchess County Tourism. The Hudson Valley advocate was honored for her tireless support of the region by the Friends of Clermont on the mansion’s grounds this past Saturday, Aug. 5. The event doubled as the nonprofit’s summer fundraiser, and guests soaked in the Hudson River views while enjoying cocktails, hors d’oeuvres from Simply Gourmet catering, and the sounds of Moonshine Holler. After being honored by Clermont board president Richard McKeon and John Midwood from the office of NYS assembly member Didi Barrett, Vrba spoke about how the beauty of the region makes her job easy. She cited local attractions that can only be found here, such as Clermont and the other Livingston mansions, Val-Kill (the only National Historic Site dedicated to a first lady), and Millbrook School (the only high school in the country with a zoo). But it’s the friendly faces of the people who live here, said Vrba, that really make a visit to the region an unforgettable experience.

Clermont’s executive director Jennifer Hemmerlein with board president Richard McKeon; Vern Bergelin, Adelia Geiger and Ron Wagner.

Clermont board member and Hudson Hall co-director Tambra Dillon, former honoree Joan Davidson and Mary Kay Vrba.

Adrienne Westmore, board member Patricia Falk, and Robin Berrington of Washington, D.C.; board members Mary Ellen Ross and Judith Keefer.

John Midwood, a representative for Didi Barrett, and Emily Midwood with Brenda Bassett and Gary Bassett, the mayor of the Village of Rhinebeck.

Leigh Bahnatka and Ed Bergstraesser; Glenda Law, Jim and Noell Sottile, and Alison Lankenau.

Richard McKeon, board member Hermes Mallea, Norah Burden and Joe Macgillis; Mike and Michele Zagorski.

Moonshine Holler performs for the crowd; board president Richard McKeon presents Mary Kay Vrba with a plaque and accolades

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/07/17 at 12:32 PM • Permalink

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The Farmer’s Table: An Opportunity To Thank The Farmer

Lisa Green reports from Warren. At the annual Farmer’s Table event, the tables are turned, because it’s the farmers who are the guests of the attendees. Now in its seventh year (located at a different Litchfield County farm each time), the event was held on Saturday, Aug. 5 at Hopkins Vineyard, on land that has been farmed by the same family for 230 years. With ingredients from many of the 200-plus farms in the county and prepared by local chefs who donated their time for the cause, the dinner allows residents and farmers to get to know one another and celebrate the bounty of the farms. The Farmer’s Table also raises funds to actively partner with Litchfield County farmers to continue sustainable farming practices. Now affiliated with the nonprofit Partners for Sustainable Health Communities, Inc., The Farmer’s Table hosts business workshops for farmers, funds grants for students to work at a local farm and stipends for farmers to attend agricultural conferences, and purchases CSA shares for area social service agencies. During dessert, guests watched a film produced by Palomo Criollo, one of the youngest generation of the Hopkins family, about the farm’s history and family business. “It’s a story about commitments to farmers and community,” she narrates. Well said. [Above, two generations of the vineyard’s owners: Judy Hopkins and Bill Hopkins, and Hilary Hopkins Criollo and George Criollo.]

Farmer’s Table committee member Cynthia Oneglia with Chris Giftos, who for many years was the master florist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Committee members Helen Bartlett, a movie producer, and Ronnie Maddalena; Committee member Pucci McGill and Michael McGill.

Donna Bascom and Paul Biddelman flank Richard Blumenthal, United States Senator for Connecticut, who makes a visit to The Farmer’s Table event every year.

Martha Bernstein, board chair of the Connecticut Community Foundation, an event sponsor, and Robert Bernstein; Abe Sylvia and Steve Roche of Warren.

Alexis Barbalinardo and Enya Cunningham, farm managers at Back 40 Farm in Washington, which supplied the florals for the event.

Elizabeth Dickey and Rosemary Ripley, who are both deeply involved with the Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy, with Peter Grubstein and Angus Grubstein; Lynn Printy and Karin Pitt.

Aaward-winning artist Wendell Minor and writer Florence Minor with Dede Keteyian and Armen Keteyian.

Litchfield Distillery‘s Pam Baker and Jack Baker were on hand to serve their products; The farmer’s tables ready for guests.

Bill Finnegan and Amy Finnegan of Finnegan’s Farm West, a family-run, permaculture farm in New Milford, Conn.

Our sentiments exactly: Support your local farmers, and the hand-painted tablecloths celebrating all that farmers do for the rest of us.

Tammy Tecklenburg, Tricia McTague, a decorative painter, and Susie Urubua of Bantam Bread, which supplied the bread for the table.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/07/17 at 11:10 AM • Permalink

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At Sharon’s Summer Book Signing, Real Books Still Rule

Lisa Green reports from Sharon. Kindles and iPads be damned: People are still buying hard-cover books, and when they receive the books right from the hands of the authors themselves (and autographed to boot), so much the better. Now in its 21st year, the Hotchkiss Library of Sharon’s Summer Book Signing still reels in the authors and readers under the tent on the edge of the town green. On Friday, Aug. 4, more than 30 mostly local but nationally renowned authors manned their tables and met with readers at the library’s primary annual fundraiser. The event is staffed by a large crew of dedicated volunteers and the proceeds will help the library promote literacy throughout the community. The book-themed activities continued with the annual used book sale on Saturday and Sunday. [Above: J. Barclay Collins, II, president of the board of directors, with board member and event chairperson Gretchen Hachmeister.]

Martha Zimilez and author Laurie Lisle, who ran the this event for six years; Meg Szalewicz, a volunteer, and Susan Hassler, vice-president of the library’s board of directors.

Socializing among the book buyers: Tara Cafiero of Pink Cloud (those dog and cat clocks with the wagging tails, made in Sharon), Dick Gottlieb and Jessica Fowler, a selectman in Sharon.

At the authors’ tables: Courtney Maum and David Leite; Hammertown‘s Joan Osofsky and co-author Abby Adams.

Caught with their purchases: Melissa Walker, Sarah Curtis and Anita Tiburzi-Johnson, an event volunteer.

From Salisbury, Jim Gillespie and Athena Fliakos of The Good Hood Company; Sheila Nevins, Emmy winner and president of HBO Documentary Films, signs her book, You Don’t Look Your Age…and Other Fairy Tales.

Authors Min Jin Lee and Dani Shapiro; Trustee Vicky Ross and Lorraine Kerr Faison, co-director of the library.

Bookseller Kira Wizner and family: Cecily Wizner and Jake Wizner.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/06/17 at 10:59 AM • Permalink

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Mahaiwe Gala Brings Jazz At Lincoln Center To GB

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. In past years, the Mahaiwe Performing Art Center’s annual gala has put the focus on some special honoree, but this year, it was the community that received the accolades. This year marks 15 years since the dream was born to make the vintage theater a year-round, world-class performing arts venue, and the gala on Sunday, July 30, was a celebration of the past and a look toward the future. After cocktails and dinner, guests filed into the Mahaiwe for a sold-out concert by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. In remarks preceding the concert, Maggie Buchwald, the chair of the board of directors, expressed her appreciation to the donors, staff and ticket buyers of the Mahaiwe, who have made it possible to bring live performances, films, HD broadcasts and many special events to the Berkshires. “We honor all of you,” Buchwald said. [Above: Don Buchwald, Maggie Buchwald, board member Stephen Berenson and Margaret Deutsch, board treasurer.]

Ron Walter and Marilyn Walter; Scott Pezza and Melanie Najarian.

Holly Feirstein and Barry Feirstein; BJ Johnson and Pam Johnson.

Karin Watkins, Mahaiwe’s director of finance and administration, Jeff Weber, Stacey Weber of Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Realtor Barbara Schulman, and Aine Ungar.

Sandy Fisher, Beryl Jolly, Mahaiwe’s executive director, Alan Jaffee, vice-chair of the board of directors, and Liz Jaffe; Brigittte McDonald, John Miller, a board member, and Lyssa Miller.

Richard Barzily, Diana Barzilay and Louise Barzilay; Sari Scheer and Sam Kopel.

Board member Stephen Berenson with Sue Lipson, Hilary Ferrone, Chris Ferrone, and Dan Lipson, also a board member.

Patricia Ellis, Vicki Tashjian and Marilyn Hayward; Beth Sackler, Jeff Cohen, and Jennifer Tabakin, Great Barrington town manager.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/31/17 at 12:59 PM • Permalink

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Here We Grow: The 2017 Hancock Shaker Village Gala

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. The theme of Hancock Shaker Village’s 2017 gala, “Here We Grow,” turned out to be wonderfully appropriate, as it was the most well-attended in the non-profit’s history. Held on Saturday, July 29, the event commenced with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the gardens, followed by a three-course dinner prepared on-site by Chef Brian Alberg and his crew using ingredients from HSV and neighboring farms. A short live auction conducted by the ever-charming Robin McGraw featured trips, tours and one-of-a-kind items. Last year’s gala co-host, Darin Johnson, led the evening’s Cause within the Cause auction, which this year will support restoration of the iconic 1826 Round Stone Barn. To say guests were generous would be an understatement, as paddles were enthusiastically raised for each dollar amount announced. Following dessert, supporters filtered down into the Round Stone Barn for an after-party already in progress. Berkshire Shenanigans had transformed the barn and surrounding lawn into a tropical paradise, complete with tiki torches, colorful cocktails, and food from Lucia’s Latin Kitchen, with 2-person sandboxes, ping-pong tables and other games sprinkled throughout. Entertainment came in the form of samba rhythms from Berkshire Bateria drummers, tunes from DJ J-Wolf and belly dancing by the ladies of Heart-Shaped Box. [Shown left, Hancock Shaker Village Executive Director Jennifer Trainer Thompson with Peggy Rivers and Cheryl Zaccaro.]

Lauren Piotrowski, manager of HSV’s gardens and CSA, with Mass. State Rep. Tricia Farley Bouvier, HSV farm employee Chloe Geffken and Billy Mangiardi, director of the Village’s farm and facilities; former Mass. governor Deval Patrick, Diane B. Patrick and Annie Selke.

Harriet Orol of Manhattan, with Jeanne Kangas, trustee Robin Lazarow and Richard Seltzer, HSV board president; Tim Eustis and Joe Finnegan.

Artists David Teeple and Don Gummer [far right], who both have pieces in the Village’s current exhibit, Making: Then and Now, pose with trustee Maureen Jerome and her husband, John Jerome.

Gallerist Sienna Patti and Leo Quiles; Matt Larkin, Lainie Grant, Kelley Vickery and Sarah Patrick.

Donald Fawcett of Tyringham with Renny Gleeson and Pam Lloyd of West Stockbridge and Portland, Oregon; Bruce Evanchick, Mass. State Senator Adam Hinds and Cheryl and Michael Zaccaro, a trustee.

Sarah Eustis, Michelle Petricca, Tessa Kelly and Chris Parkinson of The Mastheads project, and Perri Petricca.

Joy and Chet Douglass with Wayne Prouty, whose father is an HSV trustee; Vicki and Ron Weiner.

Guests converse over cocktails before the sit-down dinner; Tucker and Cindy Welch with Chris Magee of Richmond, Mass.

Chris Weld, a gala committee member, with the evening’s auctioneer, Robin McGraw; The 1910 Barn hosted dinner.

Laure Meslay, Janette Kessler, Nancy Meier, Lisa and Orion Howard of Bright Ideas Brewing (an event sponsor), and Olivier Meslay, director of The Clark.

John and Danielle Mullen and Dennis and Susie Gibbons of Berkshire Roots; Berkshire Shenanigans outdid themselves again, this time with a tiki-themed after-party complete with light-up bar.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/31/17 at 12:32 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Botanical Garden Celebrates The Berkshire Eagle

Lisa Green reports from Stockbridge. The Berkshire Botanical Gardens’ annual Fête Des Fleurs stepped it up this year with a sit-down dinner and a tribute to the new and improved local newspaper. To honor The Berkshire Eagle’s support of the area’s cultural institutions, The BBG asked those organizations to be part of the party on Friday, July 28 at the home of Chris and Ellen Greendale. Representatives of institutions such as The Mount, the Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon, the Clark Art Institute, Jacob’s Pillow Dance, and Barrington Stage Company as well as community-minded businesses including A.J. Schnopp, Jr. Construction Inc. and Main Street Hospitality were among the guests attending “The Best View of the Berkshires: Celebrating our New Eagle.” And while we must gently insist that Rural Intelligence offers an equally fine “view of the Berkshires,” the landscape vistas afforded by the Greendales’ property were quite spectacular. To complement the newspaper theme, guests were provided press passes as nametags, topiary eagles designed by Board Chair Matt Larkin hovered over the tables, and a “newspaper” program shared the latest BBG news. [Above, Executive Director Michael Beck at the reception, with Julia Schwartz.]

Claudia Perles, quilt artist Pam Johnson and Maria Carls; Susan Wissler, executive director of The Mount, with Christopher Magee, MIT professor emeritus.

Happy gathering of the Garden’s professionals and stalwart supporters: Madeline Hooper, vice-chair of the board of trustees, Anthony Archer-Wills, Pauline Archer-Wills, Ian Hooper, a board member, Dorthe Hviid, director of horticulture, and Page Dickey, garden designer and writer.

The event’s hosts, Chris Greendale and Ellen Greendale; Trustees Martha Piper and Mary Copeland flank Linda O’Connell and Palma Fleck.

Kevin Moran, editor of The Berkshire Eagle, and Melanie Moran; Max Aflalo and John Spellman.

Robin Parow, director of marketing communications, holds up The Garden Bug, a specially produced edition for and about the Fête des Fleurs; Topiaries in the shape of eagles deliver The Garden Bug to each table.

William Binnie and Mari Binnie with Matt Larkin, chair of the board of trustees.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/29/17 at 09:06 PM • Permalink

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BFMC’s Posh Picnic Honors Carl Sprague

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. The Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative (BFMC)‘s 4th annual Posh Picnic, held on Sunday, July 23 on the lawn at Tanglewood, honored a local resident whose work has been seen worldwide in feature films such as The Royal Tenenbaums, Twelve Years a Slave and La La Land. Production designer and art director Carl Sprague [shown left with his wife, artist Susan Merrill] is used to working behind the scenes, but was the center of attention as BFMC’s Diane Pearlman and Laura Gratz read statements from Wes Anderson, Gregory Crewdson and a few of Sprague’s other famous local friends, as well as a citation from the Mass. House of Representatives. New this year, a screenwriting contest judged by experts from the area — including Jayne Atkinson, Maria Nation and contest organizer Stephen Glantz — saw three finalists awarded cash prizes. Guests were treated to sandwiches, salads, fruits, veggies and cheeses from Tanglewood catering, along with a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar, before the festivities wrapped up with a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert in the Shed. BFMC is a non-profit that serves as an economic engine for the film and media industry in western Massachusetts by creating educational, workforce and production opportunities in the area.

Dawn Creighton, Olivia Saxer and first-prize winner Victoria Lucia; Laura Gratz and Diane Pearlman.

Actor Wendy Farley and radio show host Patricia Baker; finalist Andrew Rinkavage and Jude Rojas.

Fred and Sally Harris of Saint James Place flank Tjasa Sprague, Carl Sprague’s mother; Freda Grim and Dan Courchaine, friends of Carl.

Liana Toscanini, filmmaker Holly Hardman and director Cynthia Wade.

BFMC board member Lorraine McNulty-Strassler, Michael Thomas, Elizabeth Levy and Alan Strassler; finalist Seth Newton and Megan Newton.

Event organizer Nanci McConnell with event designer Holly Hunter of Joyce Event Design; Ruslan Sprague, Eva Sheridan and Kat Whitney.

John Whalan of BFMC’s advisory committee, with chair of the board Bill Beautyman, and Kate Gleason; Raf Anzovin, Deirdre Corcoran Foote and Ray Foote.

Honoree Carl Sprague addresses the crowd.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/24/17 at 10:54 PM • Permalink

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Billy Porter Shakes Up Bard’s SummerScape Gala

Amy Krzanik reports from Annandale-on-Hudson. Twinkling lights, lush foliage, green lawns that seemingly go on forever, magical Hudson River views, a mansion in the background: it’s easy to see why Bard College held its SummerScape Gala on the fairy tale-esque grounds of Montgomery Place for the second year in a row. On Saturday evening, July 22, the 19th century estate, which is now part of the Bard campus, played host to around 300 supporters of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. Cocktails were created by James Beard Award-winning mixologist Leo Robitschek; dinner was prepared, using locally sourced ingredients, by Chef Ira Lee and Brenda Black of Twisted Soul in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. And what would a fundraiser for a performing arts center be without a performance? This year’s gala featured a one-night-only set by Tony and Grammy Award-winning actor and singer Billy Porter, a.k.a. “Lola” from Broadway’s Kinky Boots. This year’s gala concluded with an after-party at the Spiegeltent hosted by nightclub impresario Susanne Bartsch. Pop-up performers included Joey Arias, Amanda Lepore, and many other fabulous faces. [At left, gala co-chairs Carolyn Marks Blackwood and Gregory Quinn.]

Filmmaker Lacey Schwartz Delgado with actors Jeremy Davidson and Mary Stuart Masterson of Storyhorse Documentary Theater; The Fisher Center’s senior producer Caleb Hammons and Justin Vivian Bond, an artist and performer who also hosts each year’s Spiegeltent Cabaret.

Fisher Center board member Felicitas Thorne with Bard supporters Christopher Scholz, Merida Welles and Ines Elskop; Elizabeth Spinzia, supervisor of the town of Rhinebeck and an ‘84 Bard alum, with Amy Husten, managing director of Montgomery Place.

Chris and Carol Gorczynski and Effie and Joshua Strauss take in the Hudson River views from the back portico.

Jamie Albright and Steven Hart flank Bob Bursey, executive director of The Fisher Center; Mette and Ira Coleman pose with singer Lisa Fischer.

Nancy Donovan, Amy Sneider and Steve Mandel of Aspire Design & Home magazine; Joe Vaccarino and Alison Vaccarino with Bard professors Tanya Marcuse (photography) and James Romm (classics).

Manny Urquiza, Adam Porter-Smith, Helen and Paul Taylor, and Frank McConville.

Tim McKelvey with attorney Mitchell Klein; Nejla Liias, Tricia Reed, Dwayne Resnick and Brian Walker.

Gabriel and Gina Stulman with Bruno Vergeynst and Ruben Perez; Meg Hartigan, Eunice Irby, Mark McIntyre and Howard Irby.

Billy Porter reenergized the post-cocktail-hour crowd.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/24/17 at 04:31 PM • Permalink

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Olana Celebrates A Half Century As A Public Work Of Art

Lisa Green reports from Hudson. Fifty years ago, Olana State Historic Site opened as a public work of art, so this year’s summer party at the historic site on Saturday, July 22 honored 1967 in food, music and, among some of the guests, wardrobe. During the host committee reception, attendees also paid tribute to Maria B. Livingston, Frederic Church’s great-granddaughter and Dick Slavin, Olana’s first historic site manager, who were instrumental in transitioning Olana from private to public ownership. The main cocktail event followed, and in the tent outside of the main house, the spirit of 1967 reigned, as area restaurants and spirits makers provided hors d’oeuvres, wine and cocktails, and DJ Javier Peral spun tunes from the decade. Outside, a photo booth set within a vintage VW bus memorialized the event for many. And even though the evening was a bit drizzly and cloudy, the focus was on the view, which, in any weather condition, is breathtaking and timeless. [Above, Mark Prezorski, Olana’s, senior vice -president and creative director, Kristin Gamble, chair of Scenic Hudson‘s board of directors, Kimberly Flook, historic site manager, and Owen Davidson.]

Victoria Anstead with Pamela Salisbury, executive assistant to the president of Olana; Realtor Peggy Lampman and Paul Cassidy of the Shaker Museum|Mount Lebanon.

Olana president Sean Sawyer introduces Isabel Livingston, who tells the story of how her mother, Maria B. Livingston, met her husband on the grounds of Olana when she was 16.

Renee Ortega and Brian Dykeman, co-owners of Governor’s Tavern in Hudson, provided guests with their special Flower Power Punch made with Peony Vodka; Danielle Oliva and Shelby Johnson, who are teachers in Poughkeepsie.

Hailing from Kingston are Jess Edelman, a licensed massage therapist at Birch Body Care, Peter Martin of Luminary Media, an event sponsor, and Lindita Dushaj, an esthetician and massage therapist; Hosts Christine Jones, a trustee, and Christabel Gough.

The host committee reception preceded the main cocktail event and offered a prime spot to view Olana’s viewshed.

Susan Livingston with her daughters Cornelia Livingston and Julia Livingston (Frederic Church’s great, great, great graddaughters) and friend Margot Becker, a fiber artist; Barry Harwood, who is on the national advisory committee, and psychotherapist Joseph Garry.

Danielle Michielini, Michael Michielini, Pat Scalera and Charles Millar of Janney Montgomery Scott, an event sponsor; Chris Centracchi of Photobooth Planet with his 60s-inspired Photobus.

Hannah Anderson and Seth Anderson with psychoanalysts and oil painters Mary Sussillo and Elliot Zeisel from Hillsdale.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/23/17 at 12:15 PM • Permalink

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The Sylvia Center Celebrates 10 Farm-To-Table Years

Lisa Green reports from Kinderhook. Attendees of the annual farm-to-table dinner in the fields of Katchkie Farm always know there will be a tsunami of new, wonderfully unique foods served at the event that benefits The Sylvia Center’s programs for children in Columbia County. On Saturday, July 15, around 300 guests celebrated The Sylvia Center’s 10th anniversary with hors d’oeuvres that included smoked trout zucchini cups and forest mushroom mousse cornets; table “snacks” such as yellow beet hummus and fermented grape leaves with goat cheese; and a dinner buffet including leg of lamb, wild hives and spelt berry salad, and spinach and roast garlic pomme puree. And while the food (prepared and served by Great Performances, owned by The Sylvia Center’s and farm’s Liz Neumark) may have been the most interactive part of the evening, the mission of The Sylvia Center — to engage Columbia County’s youth in every step of the story of food from seed to plate — was front and center. Girls in the program charmed guests into smelling and tasting herbs from the teaching garden; within minutes, donations offered met the auction goal of $30,000; and the field that supplies produce for the program spread out before the tented tables in all its glory. [Above, New York State Representative Didi Barrett presents founder Liz Neumark with a citation in appreciation of The Sylvia Center’s decade of service.]

Madeleine Fischer, program coordinator, and Kristen Jovanelly, garden educator and manager, with Joey Ramos, a pulmonary and critical care physician; Elvira Tapler, Michael Tapler and Judy Fishman, a dinner co-chair.

Krystle Watler, who finds The Sylvia Center to be a “meaingful program,” and Ronald Davis, attend their second farm-to-table event.

Despina Leandrou, Michael Laudati and Geoffrey Firth; Mitchell Khosrova and Elaine Khosrova with dinner co-chairs Tanu Kumar and Jacob Israelow.

Joey Ramos, Howard Pulchin of APCO Worldwide and a new board member, and board member and dinner co-chair Debbie Gardner.

Students of The Sylvia Center show their berry-picking skills to a guest; Brandon Grossof FOODMatch, a supporter of The Sylvia Center, and Laura Gross.

Interior designer Amie Weitzman, a sponsor, and Betsy Jacobs, a dinner co-chair.

Nico Miller, board members Dodi Meyer and Chaim Wachsberger, and Fred Buell; board member Courtney Archer and Minkie English.

Gail Cannold, Charles Biblowit, Julie Biblowit, Michael Biblowit, Robert Siegel and Corinne Epstein.

Kyle Schanzer and Lucy Schanzer, an artist, who live in Brooklyn; mother-daughter attendees Leigh Ollman and Joanne Ollman, who have a home in Ghent.

Epitome of pastoral: a field at Katchkie Farm.

Dinner committee members and Chatham homeowners Bill Schreiber and Dara Schreiber; a dinner scene at sundown.

David Adler, Liz Neumark, Max Gomez and Wendy Dessy.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/17/17 at 02:19 PM • Permalink

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The Berkshire HorseWorks Derby Wins The Blue Ribbon

Amy Krzanik reports from Richmond. Hats off to the folks who planned a fun summer gala where, as you can see below, most guests had their hats on. Berkshire HorseWorks, located at the Berkshire Equestrian Center, threw a fundraising derby-themed shindig on Saturday, July 15, complete with mint juleps, cucumber dill tea sandwiches, chocolate pecan pie and other Kentucky-fried favorites. Only In My Dreams Events, Soma Catering and music duo Hotshot Hillbillies helped to pull it off. Funds raised in a fast-paced live auction will go to fund the nonprofit’s equine-assisted psychotherapy and life skill development programs for those facing mental health and behavioral challenges. Some of the more than 400 Berkshire County neighbors HorseWorks has helped in its 3-plus years of existence include veterans, those on the autism spectrum, soon-to-be-released inmates, young girls recovering from trauma, and many others. [Above, a peek into the barn where dinner was served.]

Liana Toscanini of Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires and Barbara Schulman of Berkshire Property Agents; Berkshire HorseWorks founder Hayley Sumner with Alex Hodge, Isabelle Hodge and Carole Schulze.

Board member Barbara Newman, Kathleen Triem, Cindy and Jeff Caminiti and Peter Franck; Richard Wise and Rebekah Wise.

Jason Cuyler, Chelsey Ciolkowski, Cynthia Segui and Mark Massaro.

Jan Healey, Emily Mure and floral designer Evelyn Garstang; Mike Zippel and Oskar Hallig of Only In My Dreams Events flank the auction’s “Vanna White,” Aaron Johnson.

Barbara Schulman, Carrie Herrington and Keira Ritter; Mark Farrell and Terri See, creator of Mighty No Bitey.

Guests were invited to create, or add plumage to, their sun hats; table settings included fresh flower bouquets, blue ribbons and toy horses.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/17/17 at 09:48 AM • Permalink

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WAM Benefits Soldier On Women’s Program Under The Stars

Rachel Louchen reports from Richmond. Despite a stormy sky, WAM Theatre’s benefit cocktail party, Stars In The Orchard, was a successful (and sold out) event that not only served as a major fundraiser for the organization but provided a sneak peek of WAM’s upcoming fall production. Held again at Hilltop Orchards on Wednesday, July 12, the event featured wine made on-site by Furnace Brook Winery, live music, and silent and paddle auctions to help fund WAM events and education, especially Girls Ensemble, who performed an excerpt from their original piece, What’s That Sound? Since its inception, WAM Theatre has donated more than $30,000 to 11 nonprofit organizations. This year’s beneficiary, the Solider On Women’s Program, which provides services to female veterans, will receive 25 percent of the box office proceeds from The Last Wife, premiering this October at Shakespeare & Company. [Above, WAM executive director Kristen van Ginhoven, Wendy Healey, senior vice president at Lee Bank, and Kelly Galvin, director of The Last Wife.]

Rick Bowers, Kim Stauffer, who starred in WAM’s production of Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight this past spring, and Lia Russell-Self, associate producer.

Mary Jo Carpenter, Adriana Brown and Martin and Truus van Ginhoven, parents of Kristen; Volunteer coordinator Dawn Martin and Linda Gillespie.

Maggie Mitts, an intern at Chesterwood and Marybeth Mitts of Williams College; Sarah McNair and Randal Fippinger, producing director at ‘62 Center for Theatre & Dance.

Philanthropy and outreach coordinator Gwendolyn Tunnicliffe, Arwen Lowbridge, and Dorothy Mack.

Event coordinator Oskar Hallig and Meghan McGrath; Arthur and Millicent Blum.

Board member Victoria May and Nick Webb, founding board president; Tina Bartini of Lee Bank and Cathy Terwedow.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/12/17 at 07:40 PM • Permalink

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Supporters Are The First To Meet “The Founders Of Kent”

Lisa Green reports from Kent. “In the early 17