Biz Briefs: Abstract Art Colors Walls at Tunnel City Coffee
Coffee and art
Contemporary abstract work by Williamstown, Mass., artists Jeff and Jane Hudson now hangs at Tunnel City Coffee’s flagship shop on Spring Street, marking the next phase of the pair's artistic journey. The show runs through December.
Jane Hudson's deftly plotted explosions of color energize the shop’s walls, while Jeff Hudson's contemporary digital prints engage visitors with nothing less than burning social questions of the modern world.
Moving from analog through the technological revolution and into the realm of software applications and iPad drawings, the Hudsons consider themselves lucky to keep pace. They use a variety of Mac-based photography and videography editing programs, and produce pieces for single-channel, installation and web contexts.
Before diving headfirst into the visual arts, Jane and Jeff Hudson performed in a cult electronic-pop/punk band called The Rentals in the 1970s and 80s, touring with The Clash, PIL, Duran Duran, as well as Alan Vega and Ministry, to name a few. Described as "the synth wave couple of the U.S.," the Hudsons performed as Jeff and Jane at Club B-10 at Mass MoCA. Now, the couple owns and manages Hudson Art, a gallery and collectibles shop on Water Street in Williamstown. At home in their community, Jeff and Jane are back to basics and creating art every day.
Tunnel City Coffee is a specialty coffee roasting company located in the northern Berkshires. Its flagship store on Spring Street in Williamstown features a full-service espresso bar, whole bean coffee, loose tea and pastry. Since its establishment in 1992, Tunnel City’s operations have grown to include a coffee bar on the Mass MoCA campus, an expanded coffee roasting facility in the Norad Mill of North Adams and Uptown Tunnel at Williams College.
Berkshire Bank Foundation has awarded $483,382 in grants and pledges to 127 nonprofit organizations across its footprint during its third quarter grant cycle. In total, the Foundation has provided more than $1.5 million in grants in 2017.
Since adopting a refined philanthropic strategy in the beginning of the year, the Foundation has focused the majority of its funding on work that achieves specific outcomes within the areas of education, community and economic development, and basic needs.
During the third quarter, nearly 30,000 children and adults improved their reading skills, gained a better understanding of their finances, and/or enhanced their career readiness through programs that received education funding from the Foundation. Dress for Success Hartford was among the nonprofits that received funding to support its Employment Readiness Program that helps unemployed and underemployed women gain professional skills and build confidence. The Foundation also helped support the United Way of the Valley & Greater Utica's Ready for Kindergarten program, an initiative that brings together schools, community service providers and parents. The Foundation is involved with similar early childhood education efforts throughout its markets.
Through its support of community/economic development efforts, the Foundation has helped nearly 60,000 individuals find affordable housing, grow their businesses, and rebuild and revitalize their neighborhoods during the third quarter of 2017. Recently, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity received a grant to support home ownership and repair projects for families that would not otherwise qualify for traditional financing.
In addition to education and economic development initiatives, the Foundation has also provided funding to organizations that address basic needs, making food, shelter, and basic healthcare services available to over 25,000 individuals in the most recent quarter. A grant to Elder Services of Berkshire County in Pittsfield, Mass., will support their Meals on Wheels Program, providing nutritious meals to the elderly. To amplify their financial support, Bank employees also completed a volunteer project in which they picked more than 100 pounds of apples to contribute to meals for Elder Services.
Beyond nonprofit financial support, Berkshire Bank and Berkshire Bank Foundation provide scholarships to high school seniors with a record of academic excellence and commitment to their communities through volunteer service. In addition, Berkshire provides its employees with paid time off to volunteer during regular business hours through its XTEAM, the bank's nationally acclaimed Employee Volunteer Program.
Business as usual
As a result of the Empower Pownal community meetings facilitated by the Vermont Council on Rural Development, Pownal residents have formed an economic development task force called the Pownal Business Network. The Pownal Business Network will host an evening of business and independent contractor networking, on Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Pownal American Legion. This free event is open to the public. There will be a cash bar and some appetizers. Donations will be accepted at the door to cover the cost of the food and further networking opportunities.
During the first formal meeting of the economic development task force, there was extensive discussion about current Pownal businesses and independent contractors including but not limited to farmers, plumbers, electricians, food producers, hospitality, and home based Internet operations. Task force members decided that a networking opportunity would be welcome in the Pownal community. This gathering is an opportunity for people to meet neighbors, learn about other local businesses, compare strategies and marketing ideas, and explore possibilities for new business and growth. Business owners and independent contractors are invited to bring any marketing or business materials along to display and distribute to their neighbors.
They are also invited to send information ahead of time to be included in a new website that will be launched that evening. Information can be sent to Jenny Dewar, P.O. Box 65, Pownal, VT 05261 or emailed. Information on local and state resources for starting or growing your business will be available from the Bennington Chamber of Commerce, the Lightning Jar and the Vermont Small Business Development Center.
There were five overall projects that Pownal residents decided to pursue during the Empower Pownal meetings and discussion: develop trails and other recreation opportunities, develop a network of food and farm producers, reduce barriers to starting businesses in Pownal, grow jobs through business incubation and redevelopment of underutilized properties, and build a community-wide clean-up effort to curb illegal dumping.
The Williamstown Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, at at Taconic Golf Club, 19 Meacham St. The cost is $25 and includes hors d'oeurves and a drink voucher. RSVP by Nov. 13 to 413-458-9077 or by email.
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