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Spring 2019 ArtWeek Applications Now Available

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A diverse team of local organizations has been named as collaborators for the 2019 ArtWeek festival, celebrating the arts across Massachusetts with hundreds of creative events from April 26 through May 5.

Applications for the festival are now available online.  Featured events should be hands-on, interactive, or offer behind-the-scenes access to arts, culture, and the creative process. Events may be submitted by individual artists, informal groups, nonprofit organizations, or businesses, and there is no fee to apply as an Event Host. The final deadline is Feb. 22. Examples of previous events can also be found online.

As part of the spring 2019 festival, ArtWeek will be working with more than 100 statewide, regional and local partners, including multiple organizations in Berkshire County recently named as collaborators. In the Berkshires, the Downtown Great Barrington Cultural District, North Adams Cultural District, Cultural Pittsfield's Upstreet Cultural District, the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce, as well as Art Lenox and the Lenox Chamber of Commerce have all signed on as Community Partners. 1Berkshire and Berkshire Young Professionals are serving as Regional Collaborators in Western Massachusetts.

Through this innovative festival, each partner will be able to spotlight Berkshire County's local creative economy, cultural treasures and artistic assets.

"As a brand-new cultural district, this was a perfect opportunity for us to serve the community," said Karin Watkins, co-chair of the Downtown Great Barrington Cultural District, which received its designation earlier this fall. "We can encourage participation among our district stakeholders and neighbors, and then use our district’s communication tools to promote the festival itself when the time comes next spring."

Plans are also underway for each of these local and regional partners to coordinate their promotion of ArtWeek in order to better leverage Berkshire County participation in the festival.   

"Last year, Western Massachusetts offered 50 events during ArtWeek. We believe we can feature at least that many in Berkshire County alone with the right coordination and the addition of new Community Partners," said Jen Glockner, director of Cultural Development in Pittsfield and coordinator for the Upstreet Cultural District.



Those considering submitting an event to the 2019 festival lineup will receive considerable free promotion as Event Hosts, both locally and through ArtWeek's "Lead Champions." Both the Mass Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism will continue their support of ArtWeek for 2019, helping to fuel the creative economy by featuring the festival in their own marketing of Massachusetts.

The Berkshire County group of partners will be working in the coming weeks to brainstorm ways to provide support to Event Hosts within the region.

"1Berkshire is happy to again be collaborating with our creative economy for ArtWeek. This is a great way to showcase all the Berkshires has to offer and attract visitors during a slower time of the year. I look forward to seeing even more venues participate in 2019," said Lindsey Schmid, director of Marketing at 1Berkshire.

"We'll make use of our social media accounts, websites, and e-newsletters to present a wide range of audiences with information about ArtWeek 2019," said Suzy Helme, director of Community Events in North Adams. "The more we can include from around the Berkshires, the more appealing this festival will be to residents, visitors and second-home owners."

ArtWeek expanded into Western Massachusetts in 2018. Previously a Boston-based event, the festival opened up applications to all of Massachusetts for the first time last year, and a remarkable 130 cities, town and neighborhoods participated. In 2018, more than 60 percent of events were free and all were affordable. ArtWeek events now span the commonwealth's six regions: Greater Boston, North of Boston, South of Boston, Cape & Islands, Central Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts. ArtWeek is presented by Highland Street Foundation and produced by the Boch Center.

"We are thrilled to have organizations like those in the Berkshires partnering with ArtWeek this season for our second annual statewide festival," said Josiah A. Spaulding Jr., president and CEO of the Boch Center. "We launched ArtWeek in Boston in 2013 to bring the mission of the Boch Center literally outside of our theatres’ walls and are thrilled with the amount of growth and excitement the festival has generated. ArtWeek has and will continue to invite curious minds to experience arts, culture, and creativity in new – and sometimes unexpected – ways. We're very proud that ArtWeek helps to shine the spotlight on arts and culture as a driving force in the economy on a local, regional and state level."


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DA's Office, Pittsfield Schools Collaborate on Early Intervention Grant

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Brooke Bridges, founder of Building Bridges SEL, explains how the program works. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A collaboration of the Berkshire District attorney's office and the Pittsfield Public Schools is using $25,000 in seed money in hopes of growing a sustainable program for social emotional learning in the schools. 
 
The program, Tuned Transitions, is being funded through a grant from the state Department of Probation and will be implemented in the Conte and Morningside community schools for Grades 2 through 5. The curriculum was developed by Brooke Bridges, founder of Building Bridges SEL, a mental health advocacy and coaching organization.
 
"I have to say, as a parent, I understand how much the closing of schools and the switch to virtual learning has impacted children," said District Attorney Andrea Harrington at a press conference at Conte School on Wednesday. "And the disparity between children who are able to live in a safe home, children who are able to have access to education, and those who do not during the pandemic is going to be the social justice issues of our time."
 
Bridges will be the facilitator for the program, which will use personal storytelling as the focus to aid children in working through their experiences and challenges. Her business was inspired by her overcoming her own mental and social challenges as a child actor in Los Angeles. The program is evidence-based and is based off the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, or CASEL, program used in schools. 
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