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Mass MoCA announced 17 winners of the Creative Challenge Monday morning. The local artists gathered for the announcement at the museum.

Mass MoCA Announces Creative Challenge Winners

By Andy McKeeverPrint Story | Email Story

Mass MoCA's Director of Retail Operations Jodi Joseph said the museum purchased more than $6,000 of products from the Creative Challenge winners.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts announced 17 winners of the Creative Challenge on Monday.

Local artists John Blair, Claire Fox, April May, Anne Hogeland, Jess Fitzgerald, Stephanie Gravalese, Joan Ciolfi, Stephanie Iverson, Lisa Anderson, Wendy Akroyd, Maureen and Michael Banner, Joseph Katz, Michael Wolski, Dan Bellow, Dai Ban and the students of Community Access to the Arts will sell their handcrafted goods though Mass MoCA's retail store Hardware.

"I was totally thrilled. Mass Moca is a big name so I'm excited to be in here," jewerly-maker Ban said.

The products range from handmade jewelry to wood block prints to leg warmers. Applicants had to submit photos of their work, a brief biography and an explanation on how the product fit in with Mass MoCA. A total of 41 people applied and four staff members of MoCA chose only the best and most fitting.

"I would have taken 100 people if there were 100. It just had to fit with Mass MoCA," Director of Retail Operations Jodi Joseph said. "I wanted to bring in locally made products but I couldn't because of time."

Joseph said she followed the challenge since its inception in 2009 and approached Berkshire Creative last year to be a host. Berkshire Creative provided the link between MoCA and the local artist community so Joseph did not have to spend time scouring the county for products. At the same time, local artists had an opportunity to expand their craft into the museum store.

For Williamstown-based Hogeland, MoCA will be the third location she sells her pottery – an exciting expansion for her one-time hobby.

"I started pottery in high school and it was strictly a hobby though college and law school and then I took a really long break to raise my family," Hogeland said. "I'm not practicing law anymore so I'm devoting myself to this new adventure."

Hogeland said she only began selling her products last year so the retail market for her work is new to her. Ban, however, is a vetern and sells his items in many locations spanning as far as California. Ban said he was glad not to have missed an opportunity to be associated with the museum.

"I saw it on the website and I had maybe two days before the deadline so I just clicked the button," Ban said.

Seventeen local artists will now sell their products at Mass MoCA as winners of the 3rd Creative Challenge.
The challenge typically asked artists to design a product for the host company to make but it had a slight change this time and the products will be made by the artists.

"This one was retailed based," Berkshire Creative Director Helena Fruscio said. "Mass MoCA bought $6,000 worth of goods but that's the start, these relationships will be maintained."

Berkshire Creative operates two challeneges a year. Previous host companies were Crane and Co in Dalton and Interprint in Pittsfield. The next company has been selected but Fruscio would only hint at which one.
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Berkshires Beat: Food Pantry Returning to Eagle Street Starting Aug. 12

Back home

Starting Wednesday, Aug. 12, the Al Nelson Friendship Center Food Pantry will return to operating out of its home at 45 Eagle St. in North Adams. At that time, the hours will change to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for those coming directly to the Friendship Center. Intake and food distribution will take place at the front door. Those who cannot physically come to the food pantry or who feel ill, may call 413-664-0123 on Wednesday during hours of operation to set up a delivery. Deliveries will take place between 10 a.m. and noon on Thursday, Aug. 13.

The Food Pantry will operate from the Holden Street side of the St. Elizabeth Parish Center one final Wednesday, Aug. 5, during two sessions, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

The food pantry operation moved to the St. Elizabeth Parish Center at the end of March. This move allowed for food distribution with greater social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Back at 45 Eagle St., safety will remain very important, and staff asks members to continue to help all of us stay safe by maintaining social distance and utilizing face coverings. For more information and for future updates see the Facebook page or the website.


Basketball courts reopen

Basketball courts in the city of Pittsfield have now reopened for limited use in adherence to COVID-19 safety guidelines. Signage with these directives will be posted at parks throughout the city.

In April, city basketball courts were among a list of public spaces that were temporarily closed, as part of the city’s mitigation efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Per the guidelines, the reopening of the courts will allow for practice and drills only. No pick-up games or scrimmages are allowed until further notice. Visitors are reminded to exercise social distancing and limit group size to 25 players or less.

Additionally, facial coverings must be worn when intermittent contact might occur and when participants are not actively engaged in an activity.

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