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At this time the historic studio, residence and barn gallery will not be open for touring.

Chesterwood Grounds to Open on July 2

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STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Chesterwood will open its 51st season on July 2, through online, pre-paid, timed parking passes, Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Two-hour passes can be reserved online for 10 a.m., noon or 2 p.m. The entry fee is $20 per car and visitors can download maps and self-guided tours of the formal gardens, landscape, hiking trails and woodland walk, which currently features the contemporary sculpture of Rick and Laura Brown. All current Friends of Chesterwood can reserve their free parking passes through the online booking system as well.

Picnics on the grounds are encouraged with a carry in, carry out policy. Chesterwood will follow all the safety and health guidelines as mandated by the state of Massachusetts and all visitors are required to maintain social distancing outside their family group and to wear masks when appropriate. At this time the historic studio, residence and barn gallery will not be open for touring. Visitors arriving without a pre-paid pass may book one online when they arrive, pending availability for each time slot.  When reserving a parking pass online, the booking confirmation will contain a property map, a guide to the landscape and a map of the outdoor sculpture show, all of which can be downloaded to print or to view on a phone. There is also a scavenger hunt available on site for families.

Chesterwood, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation since 1969, was the former summer home, studio and gardens of Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), one of America’s foremost 20th century public sculptors. Although French is best known for his statues of the Minute Man in Concord, Mass., and the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., he also had a passion and talent for garden and landscape design. While living at Chesterwood from May through October for more than 30 years, French invited family and friends to spend time in his gardens and forest for inspiration and relaxation. He situated his home and studio to face the magnificent view of the north side of Monument Mountain, framing different aspects of the view from the studio piazza, the garden pergola and the porches of the main house. French also spent hours designing and working on his formal studio garden, with its lauded peony and hydrangea-tree allée, and created woodland trails that culminated in a cleared ledge with a view looking northeast to the October Mountain range.  

This season Chesterwood also celebrates the restoration of the original stucco pillars and decorative wrought iron Studio Garden Arch, which was underwritten by the town of Stockbridge per recommendation from the Stockbridge Community Preservation Committee and the Stockbridge Historical Commission as well as a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The arch is a key architectural element in French’s landscape design, acting as both an end point to the hydrangea allée and an entry point to a clearing in the forest called the "Woodland Circle," marked by a classical marble exedra upon which to rest. 

The annual contemporary sculpture show from the 2019 season remains on view through October. "One Impulse from a Vernal Wood" consists of several large-scale sculptural installations along the woodland paths in the forest at Chesterwood.  The site-specific work was inspired by scientific inquiries into the life of trees and how they are connected below the surface through their extensive root systems. Conceived and created at Chesterwood by artists Rick and Laura Brown, each sculpture is made from storm damaged or fallen trees, revered and reimagined as expressions of their wonderment.


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Neal Announces CARES Act Grants for Cultural Organizations

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff

Norman Rockwell Museum CEO Laurie Norton Moffat, Rep. Richard Neal and Mass Humanities Executive Director Brian Boyles pose beneath a banner with Rockwell's depiction of Rosie the Riveter.

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, visited the Norman Rockwell Museum on Friday to announce $72,500 in grants to benefit cultural institutions throughout Berkshire County.

The funds are part of $75 million in grants distributed by the National Endowment for the Humanities from the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act.

Neal told his audience about the expedited process that got the CARES Act enacted and predicted success for the next round of federal stimulus, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions, or HEROES, Act.
 
Neal, who is facing his own primary battle on Sept. 1, dismissed the idea that time was running out to reach a compromise on a new stimulus in an election year.
 
“[The Republicans] were all in on the CARES Act; they were not all in on the HEROES Act,” said Neal, who is the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which drafted both CARES and HEROES. “[Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell, as you know, described it as a 'wish list.' Well, that's what legislation is. It’s architecture.
 
“I think that … he has said 'No' every time, only to have the Senate pass these issues unanimously. So when reporters would say to me, 'How are you going to get past [McConnell],' I'd say, 'He always says no to start. Then he says yes to the legislation.' "
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