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The paintings in this exhibit were created by North County artists with disabilities using Artistic Realization Technologies (A.R.T.).

Berkshires Beat: CATA's North Adams Exhibit Features A.R.T. Technique

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Works of A.R.T.

Community Access to the Arts presents an exhibit of artwork by visual artists with disabilities at the MCLA Window Gallery at 49 Main St. through Dec. 2 that features a series of large-scale paintings created by artists from BFAIR (Berkshire Family and Individual Resources) using the innovative Artistic Realization Technologies (A.R.T.) technique. The paintings will be accompanied by an installation of three-dimensional, hanging "CATApillars," which were constructed by Berkshire county students with disabilities.

The paintings in this exhibit were created by North County artists with disabilities using Artistic Realization Technologies (A.R.T.). This adaptive technique, developed by artist Tim Lefens, gives full artistic control to people with profound physical disabilities who do not have the dexterity to apply paint brush to canvas. Through this technique, artists use a laser pointer and the aid of a trained "tracker" to create stunning, original works of art.

The colorful "CATApillar" sculptures, which will be suspended throughout the gallery space, were created by students with disabilities at Lee Middle and High School and the Pittsfield High School Transition Program at Boys & Girls Club through CATA's programs in the schools. CATA provides dynamic and intensive arts workshops to students in special education programs in seven school districts throughout Berkshire County.  

All paintings in the exhibit are professionally framed and available for sale, with proceeds supporting commissions for individual artists. This event is part of CATA's "Art on Tour" program, where original works of art created by CATA artists travel throughout the year to museums, galleries, community centers, and other venues in Berkshire County.


Census dinner

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission will host Georgia Lowe from the U.S. Census Bureau as well as representatives from the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office for a presentation on the 2020 Census on Thursday, Nov. 29, at the Country Club of Pittsfield at 639 South St.

Work is already happening to prepare for the Census and a local Complete Count Committee will soon be organized to help with outreach. As the region faces change, ensuring our congressional and state representation does not decline as well as making sure the county receives its appropriate share of federal and state financial resources, is essential. With concern about a citizenship question and general government mistrust, as well as reliance on internet-based submittals, there is concern in the region about making sure every person is counted.

The evening will begin at 5:30 with a social hour, followed by the dinner and presentation from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and registration is required online.


Genealogy classes

The North Adams Public Library will once again offer genealogy classes for anyone interested in learning how to put leaves on their family tree. Alan Doyle Horbal, genealogist, will be teaching an introduction to genealogy, including, how to use the United States Census, 1790-1940, Ellis Island and other ports of entry, along with international research for Canada, Poland, Galicia and England.

Classes begin on Nov. 29 and continue Dec. 6, 13 and 20 in the library third floor community room. All participants need to have basic computer skills, have a valid e-mail address, and register by Monday, Nov. 26, at 413-662-3133, ext. 13. Participants with laptop computers are welcome to bring them to class.


Create a Dream

The Hoosac Valley Leo Club is starting its annual fund-raising drive for the Create a Dream project this Christmas season. The club has taken on the responsibility of providing gifts for several needy children in the Northern Berkshire area. The Leo Club will be working in conjunction with the North Adams Salvation Army in providing for the children in need.

This year has seen a rise in need, due to the economic climate. Part of the project involves raising funds for the purchase of the gifts, the actual buying of them, and the subsequent wrapping and distribution of them. This is a total club effort that will include the whole school, including the faculty and administration.

Anyone wishing to donate to this project can send their donations to Hoosac Valley Leo Club, 125 Savoy Road, Cheshire, MA. 01225. Checks should be made payable to: The Hoosac Valley Leo Club. All donations, large or small, will be greatly appreciated. This project will run from now through Dec. 14.


WAM donations

Every year, WAM Theatre donates a portion of the box office proceeds from their fall Main Stage production to agencies that benefit women and girls locally, nationally, or internationally. The success of "Ann" this fall enabled the company to present their largest donation ever - $15,000 split evenly between its 14th and 15th beneficiaries, The Denise Kaley Fund and the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts' 2018 Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact (LIPPI). Each organization will receive $7,500.

A one-woman tour-de-force, "Ann" is a hilarious and spirited portrait of Ann Richards, legendary governor of Texas. Written by award-winning actress and writer Holland Taylor ("Two and a Half Men") and starring Jayne Atkinson ("House of Cards," "Madam Secretary"),  "Ann" was a co-production with the Dorset Theatre Festival where it ran for four sold-out performances in Dorset over Labor Day weekend. "Ann" then continued on to break all of WAM’s ticket sales records during its two-week run at the Tina Packer Playhouse in Lenox, Mass., in October.

The Denise Kaley Fund stands alone in its mission to help women living with cancer in Berkshire County pay for the cost of life's necessities as they undergo treatment and heal: heating oil, groceries, car payments and repairs, rent, mortgage payments, babysitting and medical expenses not covered by insurance, to name just a few. WAM's donation will provide emergency grants for women with cancer in Berkshire County.

Since 1997, the Women's Fund has been supporting women and girls in the four counties of western Massachusetts through grant making and leadership programs. Their Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact is a non-partisan initiative that provides women with the tools, mentors, and confidence they need to become our region's community leaders and elected officials. WAM’s donation will provide scholarships for Berkshire participants in the 2018 LIPPI cohort and other impact and leadership training for Berkshire women.


Islandora grant

Williams College, in partnership with the Islandora Collaboration Group and in consultation with the Islandora Foundation, has received a $153,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the Islandora for All project. Islandora for All is designed to advance the development of Islandora, an open-source digital repository that enables institutions — such as academic libraries, archives and research institutions — to manage and share scholarly materials.

Islandora was originally developed by the University of Prince Edward Island's Robertson Library, but is now implemented and contributed to by an ever-growing international academic community that includes Williams College, Barnard College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Grinnell College, and Hamilton College, among others.

The Williams-led project will build on Islandora's existing framework to make the platform easier to install and manage, therefore more useful to a larger group of institutions and saving valuable resources. In addition, Islandora for All intends to be scalable in order to serve evolving digital repository needs. This will allow institutions to operate smoothly while accommodating large collections of more than 1 million digital objects.

Among the expectations of the project is that institutions will be able to reduce costs for installing and maintaining Islandora by approximately 50 percent. This will help democratize and equalize access for institutions with limited resources, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities, community colleges, and tribal colleges.


'Brutus' on display

Guillaume Lethière (French, 1760–1832), Brutus Condemning His Sons to Death, 1788. Oil on canvas, stretcher: 23 3/8 x 39 in. (59.4 x 99.1 cm). Clark Art Institute, 2018.1.1 Image: Chew-Douglas Ho, Christie’s New York

For the first time since acquiring Guillaume Guillon Lethière’s masterpiece, "Brutus Condemning His Sons to Death," the Clark Art Institute presents the painting in its permanent collection galleries beginning Nov. 27.

The painting was acquired at auction this spring along with a preparatory drawing by Lethière (c. 1788) and a stipple engraving dated 1794 by Pierre Charles Coqueret (Paris, 1761–1832) after Lethière’s painting. Conservation of the painting, drawing and print were undertaken by Montserrat Le Mense at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center. All three works will go on view in a special installation in the Clark's galleries.

"Brutus Condemning His Sons to Death" was displayed at the Salons of 1795 and 1801 and has never before been shown in the United States. The painting depicts a dramatic scene featuring the decapitation of one of the sons of Lucius Junius Brutus. Brutus led the 509 BC revolt to overthrow the last king of Rome and establish the Roman Republic, swearing a sacred oath before its citizens that Rome would never again be subject to the rule of a king. When his two sons were later discovered to be among the conspirators attempting to restore the monarchy, Brutus demonstrated his commitment to the Republic by ordering and then witnessing the execution of his own children.

Painted before the onslaught of the French Revolution, Lethière’s composition is eerily prescient in its moralizing message and its brutal iconography. Brutus’s willingness to prioritize the interests of his country above his own made him an exemplar of Republican duty and stoicism. The tale inspired Voltaire and other leaders of the Enlightenment to establish Brutus as a foundational hero of the French Republic.

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MCLA Women's Cross Country Competes at Western New England

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The MCLA women's cross country team ran Saturday morning in the Western New England Invitational.  The Trailblazers finished 15th in the 17 team field.
The meet was won by Mount Holyoke.   Hannah Rieders of MHC took the top individual honors.
For MCLA, they were led by Julie Hammill's 52nd place finish. She covered the course in 25:29. Hannah Poplawski was 70th for MCLA with a time of 26:31.
Jenna Berg clocked in at 100th with a time of 31:42. Domenica Gomez (33:30) and Hunter Schrade (53:40) also ran for the Trailblazers.
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