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Robin Rapoza Hauser says she wants to help people to unleash their creativity as the art center she and her husband have opened on Summer Street.

Rapoza Center for the Arts Opens on Summer Street

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The Rapoza Center for the Arts is operating on Summer Street until renovations are complete at its permanent home in the former McBride Funeral Home. 
ADAMS, Mass. — The Rapoza Center for the Arts challenges all to tap into their inner artist.
 
"Everybody has creative energy in them and it comes out in all different ways," owner Robin Rapoza Hauser said. "I want to help be on outlet for people to unleash that and by offering workshops and long-term courses at different price points, I am hoping to be able to be open to a wide range of people."
 
Originally from southeastern Massachusetts, Rapoza Hauser and her husband, John Hauser, stumbled upon Adams some years ago and found it to be the perfect place to open up their art center.
 
"We were on our honeymoon out here in the Berkshires and we just went to North Adams for the first time and one day we drove south," Rapoza Hauser said. "We ended up in Adams and we just fell in love with the town’s adorableness. It was just beautiful."
 
The two walked by the Steepleview Realty office on Park Street and saw the former McBride Funeral Home posted, which they eventually purchased.
 
The Liberty Street funeral home is being renovated but in the interim, the two opened up a location on 98 Summer St. this past summer.
 
Rapoza Hauser said she named the center after her father who, too, was a creative spirit.
 
"After my father had passed away in 2014, John and I got together and decided that we were going to open what I wanted to open for many years -- an arts education center," she said. "We decided to name it after my maiden name, which is in remembrance of my father Robert who was also a very creative man."
 
She currently is the sole instructor at this time and has pulled from her many experiences as an artist, teacher, actor, and even improv comedian to inform her courses.
 
"I have worn a million different hats and anything can be creative," Rapoza Hauser said. "I have been a teacher and have worked with children for more than half of my life ... I have worked in communities at many different income levels and with children from all different backgrounds. I want to be able to give art education a boost."
 
Current courses include drawing, watercolor, jewelry making, and improv comedy among others at different price levels. 
 
Folks can sign up for these courses at the center, their Facebook, or on the future website.
 
Rapoza Hauser said they also offer drop-in workshops Monday through Friday. In the morning there is a preschool session between 9:30 and 11:30 when parents and guardians can create with their children. From 3 to 5:30 there is an after-school session and children ages 6 to 12 are invited.
 
People can sign up that day and the workshops cost $10 an hour.
 
Rapoza Hauser said different workshops and classes will be implemented this spring and summer as new faculty is brought on board.
 
She also looks to help the business community around her and organized the holiday walk this Christmas. 
 
"I wanted to help in whatever way I could so I talked to all of the neighboring businesses and put it out there," she said. "It was a way to get everybody in the Christmas spirit."
 
They plan to hold more of these walks throughout the year.
 
Rapoza Hauser said she encourages everybody to explore their creativity and noted that her teaching method aims to break down art into its simplest form. 
 
"There is no such thing is you can’t teach an old dog new tricks," she said. "I have a way of teaching that breaks down the technique into the very smallest things ... if you know what circles and squares are you can do as a sculptor does and carve away at the details with a pencil."
 
Rapoza Hauser said she is excited for the future of the art center 
 
"It is for the love of art that is the number one reason I do this," she said. "I am an artist who is a teacher and I love teaching so I am really looking forward to what this year brings."

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Adams Cemetery Commission Appoints Caretakers

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Cemetery Commission appointed two residents to take care of two historic cemeteries.
 
The commission last week appointed residents Allen Mendel and Johanna Maxwell as the caretakers of Daniels Court Cemetery and Bowens Corner Cemetery. 
 
"It is an extension of a back yard," Commissioner Bruce Shepely said about Bowens Corner Cemetery. "It has historical implications that go back to the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. The latest burial is 1865."
 
The previous caretaker of Bowens Corner Cemetery can no longer maintain the East Road graveyard and abuttor Maxwell contacted the commission and said she would be interested.
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