Morningside Pupils Learn Math Through Art at IS183

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STOCKBRIDGE - Third-graders at Morningside Elementary School traveled to IS183 Art School to begin a free eight-week after-school program last Thursday.

The 20 children are  "Learning Math through Printmaking," part of IS183's Learning through Arts (LtA) program that was launched in the fall when fifth-grade students from Morningside successfully completed "Learning American History through Ceramics."

"The LtA Program has the potential to significantly impact the lives of Morningside students," said Principal Tom Simon. "Federal time requirements, although necessary to improve the language and mathematical literacy of all children, greatly reduce the time available for enriched, engaging activities."

Programs such as this one  can marry art education with other academics, said Morningside art teacher Linda Briggs.

According to Hope Sullivan, executive director at IS183, "The curriculum is based on the Massachusetts Department of Education's frameworks and supports the academic programming for each grade level at Morningside."

Karen Arp-Sandel, a faculty artist at IS183, will be leading the course. "The children will learn the fundamentals of printmaking while learning and practicing math skills during their art-making lessons," said Arp-Sandel.

"Learning Math through Printmaking" culminates on March 20 at 3:15 at the elementary school with an art opening for parents, friends and interested community members. The children will display and talk about their work.

This inaugural year of LtA has been made possible through the support of the Berkshire Bank Foundation, the Morningside Neighborhood Advisory Council, the Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, the Pittsfield Cultural Council, the Pittsfield Education Enrichment Fund and the Robbins-de Beaumont Foundation.

IS183 is a nonprofit community art school encouraging people of all ages, means and skill levels to enrich their lives through hands-on experience in the visual arts. It is located at 13 Willard Hill Road, just off Route 183 via Trask Lane. For more information, contact Sullivan at 413-298-5252, Ext. 101, or
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Review: 'Working: A Musical' Is Minimalist, Meaningful

By Nancy SalzGuest Column

Why do we work? It's usually for more than money. To express ourselves, perhaps. To make a better life for our children. To create a legacy. To contribute to our country, our society. We can love our jobs or hate our jobs, but our reasons for working and our emotions about our jobs – which take up so much of our lives – are always deeply felt.

To explore these reasons fully, the author Studs Terkel crisscrossed America in the early 1970s recording more than 130 people in all kinds of jobs, from blue collar to professional. The result was a best-selling book – "Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do" (published in 1974) – which was subsequently made into a musical. Over the years that musical, "Working," has been revised a number of times and presented all over the world.

A version of the 2012 revision with a score by multiple composers is now being presented at the Unicorn Theatre by the Berkshire Theatre Group. It's an excellent, though sparse, production that frequently cuts across the footlights and into our emotions. What comes through above all are the feelings and sincerity of the characters, all of whom are speaking the words of the workers first interviewed decades ago. We quickly realize that little has changed in the working world.

Except for 10 chairs, the stage is bare when we enter the theater. At the rear are five windows that resemble tellers windows at a bank complete with computer screens. The five people sitting behind them are members of the orchestra – too small, as everywhere these days, but composed of fine musicians led by Casey Reed.

After an opening number, "All The Livelong Day" written by Stephen Schwartz, the characters speak to us, sing or dance, one by one or in small groups. Particularly excellent is Denis Lambert. He has such a powerful presence it seems as though he is talking about himself. He's also a terrific singer and dancer as well. Farah Alvin as a teacher singing a song by Mary Rodgers and Susan Birkenhead and as a housewife (song by Craig Carnelia) is also very strong. Miles Wilkie, still in college and one of only two non-equity member of the cast, was most impressive as a retiree with growing dementia and as a UPS delivery man who loves to sneak up on people and scare them.

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