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Weather Cold But Sales Warm for Open Studios

Staff ReportsiBerkshires
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Jean Fink of Otis and some of her wearable Woolart in the NoAMA mill. Left, a crop of glass mushrooms by Jill Balawander. Top, bold paintings by 19-year-old A.J. Schlesinger.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The traffic cooled slightly on Sunday along with the weather, but hundreds of area residents and other art lovers visited dozens of studios and galleries over the three days of North Adams Open Studios.

Committee Chairman Philip Sellers said the sixth year of the annual event went well.

"The crowds were down but sales were up," said Sellers after the studios closed on Sunday night. "Considering the economy and the weather, that was good."

Nearly 200 artists had work on view around the city, including the many downtown galleries on Main Street that have also been part of the summerlong Downstreet Art.

The results were hit and miss with some artists getting plenty of viewers but no sales. Eclipse Mill artists, who started the event as a way to introduce themselves and their work to the community, had a number of buyers among its more than 500 visitors.

Berkshirefinearts' article on the event has more statistics, with an estimate that the crowd was off by about 40 percent.
The Eclipse and NoAMA building (Hoosac Mill) across the street drew more than 800 visitors between them. The tiny Berkshire Arts Colony gallery on Eagle Street had so many people on Saturday, said event marketing director Brian Handspicker, that glass bead artist Isabella Raven gave up counting.

Main Street was busier than normal on Saturday as milder temperatures and blue skies drew people downtown. NoAMA (which stands for North Adams, MA) was filled with more than two dozen booths for artists who didn't have local studios handy.

The event was good for Jean Fink, who was participating in Open Studios for the first time with her "Woolart." In fact, the chilly temperatures inside the old textile mill may have prompted sales of her wearable art, she said.

"It was great working with the people who run the show," said Fink, who recently moved to Otis. "It was just really excited by the energy they had setting up Friday. It was just wonderful."

Fink was one of several artists from BerkshireMade at the mill. Gabrielle Senza said her booth didn't do quite as well, but "it was great for BerkshireMade to be part of this event."

The event brings an estimated 2,000 people out to meet with local artists and view their works. It's grown from a half-dozen studios in the Eclipse Mill to include the entire mill and galleries throughout the city representing dozens of artists, groups including the North Adams Artists Co-operative, and the Beaver Mill with its newly opened studio21south. Musical and other performances have also joined in.
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SteepleCats Top Mystic at Joe Wolfe Sports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Mount Greylock alumnus Derek Paris went 2-for-4 Tuesday to help the North Adams SteepleCats to a 12-5 win over the Mystic Schooners in the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
Taconic grad Nick Guachione doubled in a run, and Sam Sherman scored in the win.
Nick Balcom earned the win on the mound, striking out a pair and allowing two runs in five innings of work.
North Adams (4-5) goes to Vermont on Wednesday.
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