Danielle Klebes is painting 'Outdoor Recreation' on the back of Tres Ninos.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The O-Positive Festival is set to kick off on Friday with two days of music, performance, art and health care.
"O-Positive is a cultural and wellness organization that supports the health of underinsured artists musicians," explained Ashley Strazzinski, artistic director, to the Public Arts Commission last week. "So artists will paint murals and host workshops, have different happenings and musicians will perform in exchange for wellness services at a clinic at Mass MoCA. There's going to be a health-care expo that's tied in with the farmers market that's for the community."
The concept of providing cultural entertainment in trade for medical services came to fruition with the first O-Positive Festival in Kingston, N.Y., in 2010. That original festival has grown and expanded into Poughkeepsie and The Bronx, N.Y., Chicago, Petaluma, Calif., Haverhill and, this year, into North Adams.
"We're essentially trying to provide some creative and educational programming that bolsters community well-being and strengthens relationships between artists, musicians, the community, our health-care providers," Strazzinski said.
The festival organizers were before the board largely in an informational capacity and to determine whether approval would be required for one installation: Dalton James' "Objects of Significance."
James, who lives in North Adams, will be placing small metal identification tags at locations around the city on objects to "discover and reimagine" them.
The commission determined that a contract wasn't necessary but did vote to approve the project provided that the language on the tags could be considered family friendly and that their placement would interfere with how the location functions.
"I think it's going to be really nice to get people to walk around," Strazzinski said. "A lot of people that are visiting North Adams from out of town, that are tourists, go to Mass MoCA. They might make going over to Marshall street, might make it down Main to Eagle. But it would be really great give them a reason to really draw them out to the city."
The festival will, however, be doing two murals on private property. The first, "Outdoor Recreation," is being painted by Danielle Klebes on the back wall at Tres Ninos on Marshall Street.
Klebes, who is married to James, plans to highlight the city's recreational pursuits such as swimming, hiking, camping and enjoying nature against its cultural backdrop.
The commission questioned if the mural would be visible at night, being in the alley and parking lot. Strazzinski said lighting the mural was under discussion but would not occur during the festival.
The second mural will be on the south wall of Goodwill Industries on State Street. Vincent Ballentine's "Metal and Stone" will be a symbol of American industry and labor and the metal and stone infrastructure it's built on.
It will feature a vintage locomotive coming through the Hoosac Tunnel.
In performance, the festival kicks off with three at the Elks Lodge on Friday night: Humble Digs, Aubrey Haddard, And The Kids starting at 8 p.m.
Saturday includes an all-day open mic and, outside, Go Doc Go's The Box at Bright Ideas Brewing; an installation at Roots Teen Center; Petros Chrisostomou's digital photography installation "Still Alive/Still Here" at the Design Lab on Main Street; Erica Barreto's Creativity Capsule workshop at Roots Teen Center; and more performances at night at the Elks Lodge and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
Wellness activities include the farmers market and health expo at The Green at 85 Main from 9 to 1; yoga at Colegrove Park from 9 to 10; learning to run at UNO Community Center from 10 to 11; getting strong from 10 to 11 at Miner Combat; and healthy relationships from 2 to 3 at the Ashland Street Project Space.
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Berkshire Food Project Recognizes Hours Put in by Volunteers
By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
Three generations of volunteers with Linda Palumbo, left, Cindy Bolte, Alicia Rondeau and Cassandra Shoestack.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Five days a week a troop volunteers helps the small staff of the Berkshire Food Project feed hundreds of people.
On Monday night, the tables were turned.
More than 30 volunteers and attending family members were served up a choice of beef wellington and potato, salmon and rice, or a vegetarian meal, along with appetizers, dessert and beverages.
"Just from 2018 to 2019, [we served] 10,000 more meals, right, a 28 percent increase in 2019. So the numbers on the stove, same amount of counterspace. The only thing that changed is the capacity of our volunteers. So thank you, guys," said Executive Director Kim McMann.
The volunteers have been crucial in making that happen, she said, and thanked them for rolling with the changes the organization has implemented — some of which have worked and some that have not.
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Mark Steele-Knudslien, 49, pleaded guilty on Thursday in Berkshire Superior Court to second-degree murder in the death of his wife. Judge John Agostini sentenced him to life in state prison, with parole eligibility in 25 years.
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After a few days in the icebox, temperatures will be turning above freezing going into the weekend and there's a chance of snow — or more likely rain, as a storm system moves north of the Berkshires.
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The Finance Committee took a tour of the building on Tuesday afternoon to get a better sense of the condition of the J. Stanley Sullivan Elementary School as the City Council has been weighing an offer on the property made more than two months ago.
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