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Louison House's Kathy Keeser thanks the artists who provided the work for 'A Sense of Place,' a fundraiser for the shelter, at Real Eyes Gallery in Adams.
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Betty Vera is inspired by textures and as well as unexpected images of inspiration.
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The work of Sarah Sutro is from the '80s and '90s, when she was using thick oil paints to create texture while Deb Pendell's mixed-media pieces are about how people find meaning in symbols.
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Diane Sawyer is fascinated with light, atmosphere, and the rich spectrum of color in landscapes.
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Artists and patrons mingle at Friday's closing reception. The works will be available through the gallery's website through July.

Local Gallery, Artists Support Louison House

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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Real Eyes Gallery owners Bill and Francie Riley opened their doors to host the exhibition.

ADAMS, Mass. — An exhibition at the Real Eyes Gallery has raised several thousand dollars for Louison House to help those affected by homelessness.

"A Sense of Place" opened on June 4 and concluded on Thursday but the pieces will be live and available on the gallery's website for another month. Fifty percent of all artwork sales go to the non-profit organization.

Gallery owners Bill and Francie Riley were approached by the four participating artists who wanted to do something good in the community and happily played host. 

"The driving force behind the art show and to team up with the Louison House was the inspiration from the COVID lockdown," Bill Riley explained at a closing celebration.

"From the COVID lockdown, the artists met regularly and they wanted to give back to the community."

It has so far raised more than a third of the $10,000 goal.

The theme suggests a feeling of belonging — whether it is to a household, a neighborhood, or a town — and how a sense of place can invoke feelings of security and inclusion while lacking that can cause anxiety and a sense of exclusion.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to isolate themselves, it also caused a loss of jobs and income that caused many to become homeless.

Local artists Debi Pendell, Diane Sawyer, Sarah Sutro and Betty Vera produce their work in the Eclipse Mill in North Adams.

"We've had such a good response to the show, people have loved the show," Pendell said. "And they feel that although each of us do all different work, very different, it  hangs together beautifully."

She explained that her acrylic, collage, and mixed media work is about symbol systems and how people read symbol systems and make meaning from them.

Sawyer's work in soft pastel is largely local landscapes, some that she has even done from her studio window. She is fascinated with light, atmosphere, and the rich spectrum of color in landscapes.

Sutro's featured work is from the 1980s and 1990s when she said she was working with very thick oil paint, scraping it up and building textures to create a sense of landscape.

Vera's textile work is inspired by anything around her that she finds beautiful, sometimes graffiti on a wall or the texture of a wood floor. She captures unexpected images of inspiration with her cell phone while out and about.

Louison House Executive Director Kathy Keeser attended the celebration to show her gratitude and give an informative talk about the organization.

"It was really cool at the opening to see so many artists here and it's good to see, again, so many artists in one place and the fact that you guys really have a community and support each other," she said.

"And I think that's the most important about what happened with this was the crossover."

The nonprofit provides emergency shelter, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, and support services to those in need. It has locations in Adams and North Adams and has helped thousands of struggling and homeless residents in the Northern Berkshires.

It has received $135,000 in state and local funding recently, including $75,000 from the state's American Rescue Plan Act funds through the efforts of state Sen. Adam Hinds and state Rep. John Barrett III.

North Adams also contributed $50,000 from its ARPA funds and  the Williamstown $10,000.

During the event, four of the artists' pieces were raffled off as another form of fundraising.

Tags: art exhibit,   fundraiser,   louison house,   

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Preliminary Sitework Begins at Greylock Glen

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — Preliminary sitework for the Greylock Glen Outdoor Center has started, and town officials hope to have an official groundbreaking ceremony later this month. 


Town Administrator Jay Green said some tree and utility work has already begun at the site, with concrete work coming during the next two weeks. He said contractors, engineers, and town staff frequently hold meetings to discuss the project. 


"There's a lot of work going on with it. If people drive up there, they can see it. Please stay away from construction site for safety, but work is ongoing and we'll hopefully stay on track for an opening sometime in fall '23," he said.


Green said the town should also be ready to submit requests for proposals to operate the outdoor center's cafe and campground by the end of the month. He said the official groundbreaking should also be near the end of August and had hoped there would be a time where both Gov. Charlie Baker and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal could attend. 


"Unfortunately, we weren't able to get both of their days to align, so we're probably going to choose a date last week of August for the ceremonial groundbreaking," he said. "We'll do some invitations and see if we can get people to show up, but we thought it was important to be celebrated for an hour, among ourselves, that we're finally under construction."


The town is the developer for the 54-acre glen, part of the Mount Greylock State Reservation, and the state has committed $7.3 million to the construction of the outdoor center. 


"It's important for people to know who are using the Glen walking trails, particularly the the gravel trail, that there are periodic disruptions to that as the site work is beginning to encroach slightly in that area," Green said. "It's not always closed. However, there's essentially supervisors, construction supervisors working in that area to alert walkers that there is some construction going on."


In other business, the Board of Selectmen once again heard about property concerns on the corner of Summer and Hoosac Streets. 


The concerns were brought forth by resident Lisa Mendel several meetings ago. She took issue with the number of unregistered cars and the property's condition, which she said had been in disrepair for some time. 


The property owners, Lisa and Francis Biros, said the issue had come up in the past and town officials told them that covering the unregistered vehicles would be enough to meet compliance with the bylaw. The bylaw allows for one unregistered vehicle, stating that any further unregistered vehicles must not be "within view" of any public way or abutting property. 


Police Chief K. Scott Kelley said he sent an officer to check and found two of the cars are unregistered. Mendel alleged there was a third unregistered vehicle, which the Biros' said should soon be removed from the property. 


The board read the bylaw, 125-17, aloud to help clarify the situation and debated the meaning of within view. Selectman Joseph Nowak suggested Town Counsel Edmund St. John III, who was not present, look at the bylaw so the town has clarity for future incidents.


Green said he feels the wording does not imply a simple cover meets compliance, but understood that the Biros' may have been told differently in the past. 


"I think Mr. Nowak is correct, in the sense that, it would be nice to have town counsel look at it," he said. 


Building Commissioner Gerald Garner said he would handle the situation further, noting is not an uncommon issue in Adams. 


"There are families here that have six vehicles in their driveway, because they have children that vehicles," he said. "So there's six vehicles that are registered in their driveway and then you'll see one unregistered vehicle on the property as well. So this is not an uncommon thing in the town, or anywhere." 


Selectman Howard Rosenberg said he empathizes with Mendel's complaint about the property and supports whatever action Garner deems necessary to uphold the bylaws. 


  • The board ratified the hire of seasonal Department of Public Works Employee David Shade. 


  • The board designated Kelley as the authority to assign officers to town polling places. A recent change made by the Legislature gave this authority to Boards of Selectmen. 


  • The board approved a one-day liquor license for St. John Paul Parish's Polka Festival. The event will be at the polka grounds on Sept. 11. 


  • The board approved a one-day liquor license for the Fall Run on Sept. 17.


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