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Artwork by Cathy Crofut is among that on display in 'Forces of Nature.'

Berkshires Beat: CATA, Mass Audubon Collaborate on Art Exhibit at Wildlife Sanctuary

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'Forces of Nature'

Community Access to the Arts and Mass Audubon present "Forces of Nature," an exhibit of paintings and drawings by CATA artists with disabilities inspired by the wildlife and natural landscape of the Berkshires. The exhibit is the culmination of a year-long collaboration between CATA and Mass Audubon, where CATA artists worked with educators and naturalists from Berkshire Wildlife Sanctuaries to explore connections between art and nature.

The exhibit opens Oct. 3 with a free, public reception from 5 to 7 p.m. in the historic barn at the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. "Forces of Nature" runs through Oct. 31 31 in the barn at Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary at 472 West Mountain Road in Lenox. The works range widely in stylistic expression and scale of size, including botanical studies, landscapes and wildlife portraits, as well as abstract paintings and mixed-media works inspired by textures, colors, and patterns found in our local environment.

All works in the exhibit are professionally matted, framed, and available for sale, with proceeds supporting commissions for the individual artists. This exhibit 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 and Columbia counties. RSVPs are requested for the free, opening reception on Oct. 3 at 413-528-5485.


Clark Art image policy

The Clark Art Institute has made more than 2,700 high-resolution digital images of works in the museum's collection available for direct download from the Clark’s website, free of charge. The images are made available at no charge and may be used for any purpose without requiring any permissions from the Clark. Prior to instituting its open-access policy, the Clark charged nominal fees for photographic reproductions of works in its collection. The number of available images will continue to increase as new digital files are added to the collection database available online.

Most images are provided in two sizes — a JPEG file suitable for most uses and a larger, high-resolution TIFF file suitable for publication. The works for which high-resolution downloads are available are those that are believed to be free of artist copyright or other known restrictions. Some images may not have a download option available due to copyright considerations or restrictions from an artist, a donor, or related legal entities or because a digital image of suitable quality has not yet been created.


NAMI annual meeting

National Alliance on Mental Illness Berkshire County celebrated 35 years of providing support, advocacy and education programs at their annual meeting held on Sept. 18. Larry DeAngelo from NAMI Massachusetts  was featured as the guest speaker. He discussed the many programs and accomplishments that NAMI offers.

The following Eunice Zorbo Awards winners were recognized: Member of the Year, Margy O’Connor, Office Staff Volunteer; Citizens of the Year, Five Years of Cupcake Wars Participation, Michele Dion, Sarah Sayers, Linda Williams; and The Silver Ribbon, Richard Collins, Brien Center, Social Worker, and First Response Team Member with Pittsfield Police

The Brien Center and Berkshire County Police Departments honored Richard Collins for his work assisting the county as a first responder when police are called to a scene that may involve someone with mental health needs. He is the "warm helping hand" assisting a person in a crisis situation right alongside the police departments.


New Girl Scout badges

As the school year begins and families in central and western Massachusetts are considering extracurricular activities for their daughters, Girl Scouts is debuting 42 new badges for girls in grades K through 12 that allow them to make their own choices about how they want to experience and influence the world. The badges enhance the organization's existing girl-led programming, offering girls everything from adventuring in the snow or mountains to learning how to use coding to solve problems they care about. Girl Scout programming has long promoted independent decision making, which helps girls challenge themselves to move beyond their comfort zones, and build confidence in their leadership abilities.

Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts is inviting girls to join the fun and register for Girl Scouts. Providing countless opportunities for trying new things and exercising leadership skills through activities like building robots, participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, playing sports, and more, Girl Scouts is an exciting way to engage girls all year round. Girl Scouts is open to all girls from kindergarten through grade 12. Look for Girl Scouts at your school’s open house or check out the website for upcoming events and troops with openings.

Anyone over the age of 18 can become a Girl Scout volunteer. Girls cannot experience the positive impact of Girl Scouts without adult volunteers, and each adult who volunteers has the opportunity to make a real difference in the life of a girl. Girl Scout volunteers come from all walks of life; they are men, women, young professionals, retirees, college students, and more. Both girls and adult volunteers can join at any time of the year. To join Girl Scouts or learn more about volunteering, visit the website.


Warm Clothing Program

Registration for the Berkshire Community Action Council's Holiday Warm Clothing Program runs from Tuesday, Oct. 1, through Thursday, Oct. 31. Applications are available at 1531 East St., Pittsfield, or 85 Main St., Suite 201, North Adams from Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3:30 p.m.

The program is for children up to age 12. The program is in its 38th year of supporting underserved Berkshire County children with new coats, new boots and new warm clothing for the holiday season. Each year, the Holiday Program serves more than 2,000 Berkshire children and their families. For more information, call Melissa in Pittsfield at 413-418-3668 or Aleta in North Adams at 413-663-3014.


BArT deadline

Berkshire Arts and Technology (BArT) Charter Public School is currently accepting applications for students in grades six through 10 for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. The next enrollment deadline for the 2019-2020 school year will be Thursday, Oct. 10, at noon. More information on the school's enrollment and lottery process can be found online. Interested families should contact the school at 413-743-7311.

BArT is a nationally recognized, award-winning, tuition-free public middle and high school focused on preparing students for college. To date, 100 percent of BArT's graduates have passed a college course and have been accepted into college prior to graduation. In 2019, BArT was recognized by MassLive Media as #2 among all Massachusetts high schools in college placement.


Cultural Council grant

State Rep. John Barrett and the Northern Berkshire Cultural Council jointly announce the availability of grant funds to support cultural activities in the community. This year, the Northern Berkshire Cultural Council will distribute about $70,700.00 in grants. The deadline is Oct. 15 for community-oriented arts, humanities, and science programs, organizations, schools, and individuals to apply for grants to support cultural activities within the Northern Berkshire region.  Proposals are due by or postmarked by that date.

According to Council Co-Chairs Tammara Leminen and Arthur De Bow, these grants can support a variety of artistic projects and activities in Lanesborough, Hancock, New Ashford, Cheshire, Adams, Williamstown, Clarksburg, Florida, Monroe, Savoy and North Adams -- including exhibits, festivals, field trips, short-term artist residencies, and performances in schools, workshops and lectures. The council also awards $1,000 each year to one Individual Artist. More details are found on the website.



The Parent-Child Home Program, a leading early childhood, school readiness organization working in 15 states and five countries, has launched a new name and brand identity – ParentChild+. The program has been in Berkshire County since the late 1970s.

ParentChild+ is a free program serving families with children from 1 1/2 to 4 years that helps families see and access a future full of possibilities. Highly trained early learning specialists visit homes twice a week for 23 weeks, and families can be enrolled for two years. In their half-hour long visits, they bring gifts of educational books, toys, ideas and activities for the parent (or caregiver) and child to do together. The program supports families and connects them to relevant services in their communities. ParentChild+ is available for Family Child Care providers as well in a slightly modified format.

The program begins soon and is enrolling families now throughout Berkshire County. Child Care of the Berkshires has two locations serving North and Central Berkshire County and Community Health Plan offers the program in South County.  For more information or to enroll, call the coordinators for more information. North County: Karen Rowe, 413-664-4821; Central County: Erin Morris, 413-443-0676; and South County: Cynthia Segui, 413-717-6260. Family Child Care Providers should call Christen Romanick at 413-663-0234.


McCann Tea Room

McCann Technical School's Tea Room will be open to the public several times during the fall semester. Regular hours of operation are 10:45 a.m. to noon.

The Tea Room, which serves a full menu of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrees and more, will be open in October Tuesday, Oct 1, and Thursday, Oct. 3., then again on Wednesday, Oct. 16, and Thursday,, Oct. 17, then on Thursday, Oct. 31. It will be open in November only on Thursday, Nov. 14, and in December for a brunch buffet on Tuesday, Dec. 3, and Thursday, Dec. 5, the finally on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

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Tanglewood's Online Festival Continues

By Stephen DanknerGuest Columist

The Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival will enter its seventh week with a capacious selection of state-of-the-art digital audio and video streams. These performances were recorded at Tanglewood’s breathtaking spaces at the superbly designed Linde Center – a constituent part of the BSO's/Tanglewood’s new entity, the Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI). Other concerts will include performances previously recorded and archived by the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood. 

A unique, all-encompassing digital music festival, the diversity of programming replicates a choice selection of the previously announced 2020 live performances Tanglewood had hoped to present this summer, but which had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus. 

Here is this week’s schedule of streamed events, from Wednesday, Aug. 12, through Tuesday, Aug. 16.

New content, recorded especially for the online festival:

• Aug. 12, 8 p.m.: Recitals from the World Stage featuring Boston Symphony Chamber Players, joined by pianist Vivian Choi, in works by Poulenc, Allison Loggins-Hull (played by BSO Principal Flute Elizabeth Rowe), Henze, Stravinsky, and Brahms, hosted by Karen Allen.

• Aug. 14, 8 p.m.: BSO Musicians in Concert with Alexander Velinzon, Danny Kim, Adam Esbensen, Toby Oft, Stephen Lange, James Markey, and Mike Roylance, hosted by Lauren Ambrose, performing music by Beethoven and Baroque and 20th-century works for brass ensemble. 

• Aug. 15, 8 p.m.: Great Performers in Recital featuring pianist Conrad Tao performing pieces by Beethoven, Crawford Seeger, David Lang, Tania León, and Conrad Tao, hosted by Nicole Cabell.

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