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Stockbridge Family Has Strong Ties to Heroic Sculptor

Tammy Daniels

We had a chance to meet G. Marie Bidwell Leuchs at the rededication of the Pittsfield war memorial on Monday. Leuchs is the niece of H. Augustus Lukeman, the sculptor who created the paen to the city's World War I veterans back in 1926.

Marie Bidwell Leuchs, left, Catherine Bohrman and David LaRocca in front of Lukeman's Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

She and her daughter, Catherine Leuchs Bohrman, were noted in the crowd who attended the ceremony as being a link to the well-known artist.

Leuchs is actually the niece of Lukeman's wife, Helen Bidwell, who died in 1971 at the age of 82. She outlived her husband by 36 years; he died in 1935 at age 64. The couple had no children, said Leuchs.

The Bidwell and Leuchs families appear to have adopted his legacy, and the Leuchs donated his papers to the Smithsonian Institute.

The Bidwell name has deep roots in New England (John Bidwell being a founder of Hartford, Conn.) and are descendants of the Rev. Adonijah Bidwell, Tyringham's first minister and namesake of Bidwell House and Museum.

(Oddly enough, when we popped Bidwell House into Google we got a link to another Bidwell House, named for a John who searched for gold at Sutter's Mill and married a Kennedy — not that one — from Massachusetts.)

Lukeman married into the old Berkshire family and also studied with Daniel Chester French. It's not surprising that he settled into Stockbridge and built a studio in Glendale, where French built Chesterwood, his summer home and studio.

Lukeman also sculpted the McKinley statue in Adams in 1903 and an old Berkshire Eagle article notes he was incorrectly described as a "Stockbridge native" at the time. He actually hailed from Richmond, Va., and would spend a few years working on the Stone Mountain memorial to the heroes of the Confederacy.

Leuchs stands to be recognized.

The Leuchs share the same zeal for artistry — Marie Leuch's late husband Frederick was a noted stained-glass expert who operated out of Lukeman's studio on Lukeman Lane for a time. Their daughter Catherine is a sculptor and works in bronze, although her pieces are far more abstract and intimate than Lukeman's heroic Beaux Arts works. You can see her collection here.

They were rightly proud of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and took a moment to have their photo taken in front of it with artist David LaRocca of Watertown. LaRocca sculpted the missing laurel leaves, rifle strap and bayonet lost through time and vandalism. It took about six months of careful fitting and crafting to integrate the pieces seamlessly into the work, he said.

"I wanted to please Augustus Lukeman," said LaRocca.

     

It's Never Too Late to Join the Circus

Staff Reports

...That's what the Nutshell Playhouse says. Its studio is now accepting students for ongoing classes in circus skills, including acrobatics, slack rope (see photo), tumbling and juggling. No experience is necessary.

Don Jordan, founding director of the playhouse, will teach. Jordan's resume includes directing the Pickle Family and Pan Twilight circuses, appearing on Broadway in "Mummenschanz," and touring the U.S. and Europe as a clown and mime.

Classes meet every Wednesday night from 7 to 9 at 7 North St. on Park Square, Pittsfield.

For more information, contact Jordan at 413-637-1245 or info@nutshellplayhouse.org.

Tags: Nutshell Playhouse, circus      

Little Red Schoolhouse to Hold Craft Fair, Tag Sale

Staff reports

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Little Red Schoolhouse will hold its second annual juried craft and tag sale Saturday, May 1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to benefit the Williamstown Cooperative Nursery School.

The event will feature more than 40 crafters and vendors selling a variety of items, from jewelry to clothing to artwork to beauty products, just in time for Mother's Day. Each participant has contributed an item to raffle; tickets will be sold at the event.

If you're looking for a bargain, you can browse several tag sale tables, including the school's own table, which will offer a  variety of children's clothing, books and toys, as well as adult clothing, housewares, holiday items and more.

Lunch food also will be sold, and bake sale goodies will be sold for dessert or to bring home.

Bowey the Clown will perform a magic show at 11:30, and will stay after the show for balloon-making; Magic Brushes will provide face painting.

Admission is free. The school is located on Route 7,  just south of Route 43. For more information, contact Jennifer Welch at 413-458-9162 or jeffrey.welch1@verizon.net.

Photos by Rebecca Davis

Bowey the Clown will perform a magic show.

 

 

Bowey's wife was a big hit painting faces last year.

 

 

Tags: Little Red Schoolhouse, craft fair, tag sale      

5 Simple Things for Earth Day

Staff Reports

The Nature Conservancy sent us simple things anyone can do to take the pressure off Mother Earth on April 22, the 60th anniversary of the first Earth Day. You can make difference even with the smallest act.

Often it's the smallest changes – multiplied by millions of people – that have the biggest impact. Here are five simple things that we all can do on Earth Day and beyond:

1. Know your carbon footprint:  We all want to be greener in our daily lives, but in order to do that effectively, we each need to know our carbon footprint. Take five minutes (really, it's that quick!) and use The Nature Conservancy's online tool at www.nature.org/carboncalculator. Then, commit to using just a little less carbon.

2. Time your shower: With the warmer months ahead of us, now is the time to start thinking about conserving our water. The next time you take a shower, time it. The next day, reduce that time by a minute or two. If you listen to music, shut off the faucet after two songs.

3. Go for a walk: Even if it's just around the block, getting outside is one of the best things you can do to connect to nature. Bring your kids, too. A growing body of research suggests that a lack of exposure to nature is linked to rises in obesity, attention-deficit disorder and depression in children.

4. Speak up on climate change: Sen. John Kerry – along with Sens. Lieberman and Graham - have introduced national legislation to reduce U.S. emissions. This is a critically important step in the fight against climate change. Let your legislators know you support it!

5. Find a farmer's market: Farmer's markets – selling locally made fare – abound throughout the summer and fall. Find one near you at www.farmfresh.org and mark a date in your calendar to check it out. Or, simply opting for a PB&J instead of roast beef once or more a week is a great way to green your lunch.

Tags: Earth Day      

Are You BArT Smart?

Staff Reports

ADAMS, Mass. — Interested in taking the SATs... for fun? If you answered yes, you'll be delighted to learn that you'll get the chance to do so at the "Get BArT Smart" fundaiser, to be held at the Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School on Saturday, April 10.

For those of you who are less than thrilled with the prospect of even looking at an SAT question, relax – there will be other opportunities to exercise your brain at the event. In addition to the SAT portion of the competition, teams of four to six people will answer questions on topics including arts and technology, and curriculum-related questions written by BArT teachers.

Points will be awarded and a "Valedictorian" team will be named at the end of the evening.

The event runs from 6 to 9:30 p.m. A minimum contribution of $60 per person is requested, and attendees are encouraged to sign up in teams of four to six. Proceeds will benefit BArT. Food and beverages will be provided by Mezze Catering and Nejaime's Wine Cellars.

Individuals interested in playing should contact Monique Nottke at 413-743-7311 x532, or may sign up here.

Tags: BArT, fundraiser      
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