Arts Advisory Board Ready To Welcome Art Into Adams

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Gail Kolis-Sellers explains the purpose of the Arts Advisory Board to the Selectmen on Wednesday

ADAMS, Mass. — The Selectmen approved the creation of an Arts Advisory Board to help bring more art and artists to town.

Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco told the Selectmen on Wednesday that the board will create more opportunities for creative ventures.  

"They are going to focus on some good things for the community," Mazzucco said. "Part of our overall economic development outreach is to encourage a creative economy, get artists to come into town, and get some more avenues for more public art."

Gail Kolis-Sellers of North Adams, who is helping kick start the board, said it will be open to anyone, even those who do not live in Adams. She said she hopes this will create more art collaboration between the communities in Berkshire County.

She said the board's first goal will be create a list of all artists who live in Adams and in the future hold a meet and great.

She added that the board has set up a tent at the Farmers Market and is there every Sunday looking for artists interested in the group. She said the tent may also serve as a co-op gallery for artists to display their work.

Kolis-Sellers added that the board will also push to make Adams more artist-friendly and work with real estate agents to promote spaces that suitable for artists. She said artist's homes are often used as work space and structurally have to be different. She said artists will help improve neighborhoods in Adams.

Kolis-Sellers, who operates a pottery with her husband in the Eclipse Mill in North Adams, said there has never been a place for artists to go in Adams and she hopes this board fills that void.

"It is empowering to me, as someone who was born in raised in Adams, for us to come together and reach out to the creative people that already live here," she said. "I think that before there was not a point or place to go or group to go to."

She urged any artists wanting to get involved to stop by their tent at the Farmers Market.

Mazzucco said members have not yet been appointed to the board, but he does not expect it to hold a limited number of people. He said there will be a steering committee within the board, other than that he said anyone can join.

"If we have a 500-member Arts Advisory Board then we will have a 500-member Arts Advisory Board," Mazzucco joked. "I don't know where they will meet, but we will work on that."

The Selectmen also agreed to a notice of activity and use limitation with National Grid that will limit the use of the Memorial Park, which has been contaminated by hazardous waste from the substation that has seeped into the soil.

Town Counsel Edmund St. John III said normal activity such as walking will be allowed but soil activities such as planting will be prohibited.

He said National Grid has taken some remediatory action and has placed a membrane below the surface to prevent the hazardous waste from reaching the surface.

Selectman Jeffrey Snoonian said he would like to see a long-term plan from National Grid.

"I don't know if a piece of plastic is going to keep it from happening again, and ... I would like to see this pass simply because it will keep people safe in the short term, but in the long term I would like to see National Grid speak on it a little bit," Snoonian said.

Town Counsel Edmund St. John III said the town approved this restriction at town meeting and the approval creates documentation.

Mazzucco ended the meeting by urging residents to resist flushing cleaning or baby wipes down their toilets because they "wreak havoc on the sewer system."

"You have no idea how many problems it causes at the waste-water treatment plant," he said. "I know it's one of those funny things but we have had clogs because of it and thousands of dollars of taxpayer's money is used to fix it." 

Tags: advisory committee,   art commission,   creative economy,   

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Adams Selectmen Hear From Ale House Owner

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Staff

Nate Girard explains his predicament to the Selectmen on Wednesday.
ADAMS, Mass. — Nate Girard and his longtime friend Erik Pizani decided to buy the Saint Stanislaus Kostka Hall in 2012. The property had a rich history in town and most people had memories of bowling, playing pitch, attending a wedding, or just sitting at an old red leather stool and enjoying a cheap beer.
The two partners, along with another investor, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars bringing the structure up to code and restoring the bar and kitchen. The Adams Ale House was born. Both of them ran the restaurant, bought houses, had kids, went into real estate together, and celebrated the boom and even the bust times. 
Pizani eventually left the restaurant business and left Girard as the sole owner of the building. Girard decided to lease the restaurant space to focus solely on real estate and his young family. The new operators didn't last long in a tough restaurant market and went out of business in December 2018.
The building on East Hoosac Street has sat unused since then. Girard has it listed it on several sources and is still hopeful he can find a taker. The idle liquor license he still holds, however, has become an issue for the town.
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