Berkshires Beat: SVMC Corridor Gallery Exhibits the Work of Bennington Murals Project
The Bennington Murals Project will exhibit work from their first mural at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center Corridor Gallery through Oct. 17. The exhibit is open to visitors daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The show will feature work by the nine artists who contributed to the project, which depicts animals native to Vermont in a scene that progresses from dawn to dusk. Among the artists are Bennington Murals Project Founder Forest Byrd of Bennington, Cristal Call of Bennington, Crystal Harris of Bennington and Katya Harris of Albany, N.Y.
Visitors to the show will be able to purchase prints of parts of the mural. Proceeds benefit both the Bennington Murals Project and the Southwestern Vermont Health Care Auxiliary, which manages the gallery. In addition to work related to the Union Street mural, the show will include other works by the artists who contributed to it and information about murals the group is planning for the future.
The Bennington Murals Project aims to unite the community in an arts initiative that creates a sense of pride, helps sustain a healthy, vibrant arts community, and strengthens the economy. For more information about the Bennington Mural Project, visit the website.
Library hour change
Beginning Sept. 10, the North Adams Public Library will open three hours later on Monday mornings - at noon instead of 9 a.m. - and extend the day to 8 p.m. in a trial move that will allow more working families and students access to programs and collections. With a growing need for community space on the third floor and for an additional program night that doesn't conflict with so many city activities, the trustees and staff agreed that shifting the hours benefit the public without impacting the budget.
On Sept. 17 at 6 p.m., the library will use the new hours to hold an introductory program on the Overdrive "Libby" app. This powerful shortcut opens up a world of electronic resources including e-books, audio, magazines, and movies in a customizable interface for all your devices. Future workshops will include accessing Acorn TV on your tablet or TV and using databases for fun or serious research. For more information, visit the website.
Celebrating local biodiversity, the ninth annual Berkshire BioBlitz brings community members of all ages together with biologists, naturalists, environmentalists and teachers to explore nature and identify as many plants, animals, fungi and other organisms as possible during a 24-hour period. Participants will join teams led by specialists to experience first-hand the importance of a healthy, active ecosystem in their own community. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Sept.15, and Sunday, Sept. 16, in Hopkins Memorial Forest. Participants may take part in the BioBlitz any time during the 24-hour period.
In addition to surveying local species, this year's program will include family events such as bird banding, microscope and specimen set-ups, and a hands-on water filtration activity, as well as interactive walks and conversations that will run throughout the day. There will also be an invasive species identification exhibit to exemplify the impact of holding a survey.
More than 30 specialists will be on site to share their scientific knowledge. Additional programs will take place after dark, including an "Owl Prowl" led by Rene Wendell of The Nature Conservancy, and a "Moth-Light" demonstration by Mark Mello of the Lloyd Center for the Environment and Jason Crockwell, local amateur entomologist.
4-H info meetings
Three 4-H information sessions have been set for around Berkshire County: Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the Adams Free Library in Adams; Wednesday, Sept. 12, at the Mason Library in Great Barrington and Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield. All meetings will be from 6 to 7 p.m.
4-H projects can include, but are not limited to animals, photography, community service, sewing, fishing, science, robotics, leadership and much more. Membership is for youth 5-18 years of age. Both boys and girls are welcome. Call Angelica to find out how to volunteer at 413-448-8285.
Adult Basic Education Programs
Northern Berkshire Adult Basic Education will offer English as a Second Language (ESOL) classes this fall. These free classes help students to improve English language reading, writing and speaking skills including preparation for citizenship.
Also being offered is Bridge to College, another new class to help students with a high school diploma or equivalent prepare for success in college and career. Visit the website for more information.
LEGO donations sought
Dalton Preschool (formally known as Dalton Cooperative Nursery School) is collecting donated LEGOs through Sept. 21. They will be given a new life in helping to encourage creativity and support child development.
The school will accept used and new LEGO-Sized bricks, figures, parts and sets. Enclose donations in sealed bags or containers to keep small parts from getting lost. Any donations exceeding Dalton Preschool's current needs will be donated to other local charities.
The following local sites have agreed to serve as collection centers for the LEGO Drive and will have have a designated collection box available: the Dalton CRA, the Dalton General Store and the Wahconah Regional High School Lobby.
The Williamstown Community Chest is accepting applications for its 2018 Mary and Henry Flynt Grants. The application deadline is Oct. 1. The bequest that established the grant program specifies that grants will be made annually, based on a competitive process to "persons or entities (including the town of Williamstown) that provide services to the town or its residents (although not necessarily exclusively)." The criteria for reviewing applications will "relate to the maintenance or improvement of the quality of life of the residents of Williamstown, defined broadly."
The second round of grants, made in 2017, funded one-time projects and innovative programs provided by nine local organizations: Berkshire Immigrant Center, Child Care of the Berkshires, Louison House, the MCLA Foundation, National Alliance on Mental Illness Berkshire County, Northern Berkshire Loss Support Group, ROOTS Teen Center, Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation and WilliNet.
An application form for the Mary and Henry Flynt Grant is available on the Williamstown Community Chest's website or by contacting the Community Chest office at 413-458-2443.
Praise for MCLA
U.S. News and World Report has named Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts one of the "Top Public Schools" in the United States, alongside some of the nation’s most prestigious military academies and innovative public colleges. MCLA President James F. Birge credited MCLA's distinguished faculty, academic rigor and fiscal stewardship as major reasons for MCLA's national recognition alongside such highly selective institutions as the United States Military Academy at West Point, the United States Naval Academy and St. Mary's College of Maryland.
Over the past year, MCLA added a number of new degree programs to support the needs of Berkshire County employers, including a Health Sciences major and the Community Health Education major within the Department of Biology, as well as two new concentrations in pre-medical professions and pre-veterinary. Additionally, the Computer Science Department added a concentration in electrical engineering, and a new entrepreneurship minor was added within the Department of Business Administration. MCLA’s Performing Arts Department also introduced new concentrations in design and studio art, as well as minors in dance, design, and music production.
In 2016, the United States Department of Education recognized MCLA as one of "26 Four-Year Public and Private Colleges with Low Educational Costs and High Salaries" for graduates. All 26 colleges enroll more than 40 percent low-income students. These institutions feature an affordable net price, and good graduation rates for all of their students. In addition, the Department of Education last spring recognized MCLA as one of 13 institutions nationally for graduating students from low-income families at the same rate as students from high-income families.
U.S. News and World Report ranks colleges based on indicators that reflect a school's student body, its faculty, and its financial resources, along with outcome measures that signal how well the institution achieves its mission of educating students, according to the report.
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