Amanda Tobin, left, Laura Thompson and Phoebe Pepper at the announcement of artist grants to be awarded in Pepper's name. See more photos here.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Garrett Rhoads was inspired when he looked into a little box on a piano, wondering what it was.
The box held a spool of perforated paper to make the piano play.
"I knew what it was because I have seen them before," the Pine Cobble School eighth-grader said. "I just, I loved how it looked. And so I wanted to do something with it."
He unspooled the paper and liked the movement it made as it fluttered. So he created a waterfall of four pieces with an accent in the middle of printed words and fingerprints.
"We were using ink and I actually got it on my fingers and I put it on my piece of paper almost as like a signature because every fingerprint is different," he said. "And I really loved how that looked as well and so I thought I could combine them in different ways to make something unique."
Garrett's unique piece found the perfect spot to be displayed — from the Juliet balcony in Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art's main first-floor gallery.
It also won him a runner-up for the grand prize in the 9th annual Teen Invitational of Friday night.
Nearly 300 artworks were on view over the weekend at Mass MoCA for the event that provides a platform for local high school students to display their creations and to encourage arts education.
"We have an amazing amount of depth and breadth to the work that is on view tonight," said Amanda Tobin, the museum's associate director for school and community engagement. "A total of 273 creative works ranging from oil paintings, photography, ceramics and drawings to a print me from a piece of wood and installation using slides and a bridesmaid Dress, a work of sound art, and many, many more works that demonstrate the immense creativity and thoughtfulness of these amazing young artists."
Tobin and Laura Thompson, the director of education, announced the winners of the invitational at a party with the Drury High jazz band in the Hunter Center that followed the public reception on Friday night.
Kirsten Shang of Buxton School was the grand prize winner, earning a Gold Award and $200 cash prize; her classmate Elijah O'Neill was, with Garrett, a runner-up, winning a Gold Award and $75 cash prize each.
The Gold Awards were also presented to other participants and came with a one-year Mass MoCA family membership and a financial contribution to their school's art department. Leslie van Breen, executive director of the Artist Book Foundation, with offices on the Mass MoCA campus, also donated art books to schools as she has the past three years.
Every participant also got a pass to the upcoming O+ Festival, courtesy of the festival organizers.
Christopher Fortier of Hoosac Valley High School won his second consecutive award, this year from Common Folk. (Last year it was presented by the now defunct Makers Mill). The prize came with a Gold Award and a one-year creator with benefits membership at the Common Folk Artist Collective.
Fortier's freakish clay bust was a self-portrait to express some of the personal struggles he's experienced over the past year, including the death of his father. It was also the first time he's worked in clay though he has worked with headpieces for costumes.
"I like working in 3D because there's only so much you can express in two-dimensional and I really just wanted to expand my comfort zone," he said. "I went through a lot of things over the summer that really affected me and my perception of self that I just wanted to express myself inside dark times. And I put that all into work that would inspire others."
Kirsten Shang of Buxton School was this year's grand prize winner.
Thompson and Tobin also presented the first sets of Phoebe Pepper grants to art teachers and named after the visual arts instructor at Drury High School.
The grants are recognition of the mentorship and guidance the instructors provide to their students in preparing for the invitational.
"Each year from now on, we will be awarding the Phoebe Pepper grants to the teachers who facilitated the previous year's Teen Invitational," said Thompson. "These grants are intended to go to their own individual practices because not only are they teachers but they are incredible artists. And so this is acknowledging the fact that they do individual work."
The instructors awarded grants were Andrae Green and Nora Bates Zale of the Academy at Charlemont; Karin Stack and Alana Mazza of Berkshire Arts and Technology Public Charter School; Frank Jackson, Amrita Lash-St. John and Ben Ripley of Buxton School; Karl Mullen of Pine Cobble School; Christine Driscoll of Hoosac Valley; Cheryl Daub of McCann Technical School; Jane-Ellen DeSomma and Michael Powers of Mount Greylock Regional School and Colleen Quinn and Julie Gold of Pittsfield High School.
"I think that this is a great showcase of the creativity and the innovation, and the great thinking that happens with arts integration, arts education," said Barbara Malkas, superintendent of the North Adams Public Schools. "The fact that we are able to see the work of all of the high schools in the area really allows our students to feel they're part of something bigger than their own community, but also, I think, allows for the sense of community that grows countywide."
McCann Technical School: Patience Charron, Dakota Hurley and Madison McLear
The Academy at Charlemont: Ethan Brossard, Rhiannon Campbell, Juliet Corwin, Claire Grunberg, Ella LaMee, Avery Mayer, Francesca Ruggiero-Corliss, Katie Tobits, Haven Vincent-Warner, Harper Walker-West and Linnea Zimmer
Hoosac Valley: Mackenzie Beckwith, Lauren Faucher, Marina Fortier, Chelsea Krutiak, Jenna Raimer, Maverick Sumner, Peter Suriner, Kris Wilczak and Haley Winchell
Drury High School: Dan Beebe, Sydney Boucher, Max Daugherty, Zachary Davignon, Brooke DiGennaro, Connor Kelly, Zoey LaCasse, Olivia Nunn, Emily Patenaude, Zoe Ramsden, Emilie Raymond, Sam Sroka, Caitlin Tatro and Kayla Therrien
Mount Greylock Regional School: Mallory Alden, Caroline Hadley, Simon Klompus, Felicia LaRoche, Jamie Rhinemiller, Colette Stapp, Lexi Toomey, Elizabeth Westerdahl and Olivia Winters
Pine Cobble School: Ezra Holzapfel, Zoe Kerns, Hannah Lane, Grace Merselis, Mateo Priest and Samantha Rich
BArT Charter Public School: Emma Danylin, Sal deBethune, Maia DiLego, Troy Healey, Wylie Jones, Riley Jowett, Josiah Joyce, Viviana Lanphear, Julia LaSalle, Kai-Erik Nielsen, Owen O'Brien-Garvey, Jay Palencia, Kayla Saunders, William Schrade, Amelia Soler-Sala, Devon Turner, Abel Ward, Abigail Webster, Jessie Wiles and Anna Zheng
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Mohawk Trail Woodlands, Forest Service Team Up on Conservation
By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
BRPC's Tom Matuszko asks advisory board members to raise their hands as FRCOG's Executive Director Linda Dunlavy waits to speak.
CHARLEMONT, Mass. — A shared stewardship agreement signed Thursday will bring U.S. Forest Service expertise to the state while keeping hundreds of thousands of acres of forestland in state and private hands.
The Mohawk Trail Woodland Partnership encompasses 361,941 acres of state and private land across 21 communities in the northwestern corner of the state. About 28 percent of that land is permanently protected. The partnership will enhance conservation and forest research and provide technical support for businesses that depend on the region's natural resources such as tourism and forestry products.
"I am from this region, it is a part of the state that is near and dear to my heart," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides at signing held at Berkshire East Mountain Resort. "Something that is a priority to the governor is making sure that this region can continue to have economic security and opportunity for people, but also that connectedness to the landscape and that rootedness in the special places that make up Western Massachusetts."
Theoharides said the state is losing about 65 acres of forestland a day to development — housing, parking lots, and commercial establishments — and it's not coming back.
The Mohawk Trail Woodland Partnership encompasses 361,941 acres of state and private land across 21 communities in the northwestern corner of the state. About 28 percent of that land is permanently protected. click for more
The council put the sale of Sullivan School to the newly organized Berkshire Advanced Manufacturing Training and Education Center, or BAMTEC, on pause last week even as it approved the sale of two other city properties.
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