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Crane Offers Creative Challenge

Staff Reports

Crane & Co. is setting the bar for the next Berkshire Creative Challenge in hopes of identifying local talent that could be added to its freelance creative resource team.

The 200-year-old Dalton stationary manufacturer and the sole supplier for the nation's folding money is the second company to participate in the challenge. Interprint Inc. took the plunge last year and was so pleased with the results, company officials are considering their own creative program.

The challenge is designed to connect local artists and other creative types with the manufacturers and businesses that fuel the Berkshire economy. This challenge is open to artists, illustrators, designers and copywriters who can create sophisticated art and copy for Crane's stationery collections.

Known as a leader in the stationery category, Crane is an iconic brand that delivers uncompromising quality and classic designs. The brand also creates updated, fresh, modern designs targeted at consumers who are young, artistic, design-savvy and stylish.

Interested creatives should have an understanding of the stationery category and how art translates to stationery products. Art for stationery would include, but not be limited to, motif illustrations, illustrative design, pattern creations, type-driven design (type layout and type as art), and copywriting as art/voice/layout. Working knowledge of printing and production processes will also be helpful. Printing and production processes used by Crane & Co. include engraving, letterpress, thermography, lithography, foiling and die cutting.

Those interested should submit an application to include examples of their work using the guidelines provided. The preliminary examples should help with Crane's assessment of each artist's style as it applies to stationery. Concepts for stationery collections or brand appropriate product lines are also welcome. From these submissions finalists will be chosen.

Find an electronic application here.

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Fat Lady Sings

Staff Reports

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The final note has apparently sounded for the Berkshire Opera Company. The 26-year-old company filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

According to the Boston Business Journal, the company filed for Chapter 7, which its says usually results in liquidation, and its assets were less than $50,000. Its liabilities are reportedly $100,000 to $500,000.

The company once had grand plans, buying the Mahaiwe back in 2000 for $435,000 as a permanent home. Its $15 million grand plans to renovate the historic theater, however, ran almost immediately into financial trouble and it sold off the theater two years later.

Things continued to go downhill from there as the state's economy faltered and the audience for classical performances declined. The company's last season was in 2008; no performances were attempted in 2009. BerkshireFineArts did a story on its economic woes early last year.

There's still hope for opera lovers; the Mahaiwe offers a number of performances simulcast live in high-definition from New York City's Metropolitan opera.

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