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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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Adams Selectmen Approve Town Licenses

By Brian Rhodes

ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen has approved the renewal of all the licenses for the town. 


The board approved the licenses largely without issues at its meeting on Wednesday. Approved licenses include alcohol licenses, Sunday and Weekly entertainment licenses, common victualer licenses, auto sales, inn and lodging licenses. 


The board had a significant discussion about Mount Royal Inn, ultimately tabling its lodging license. Board Vice-Chair Christine Hoyt, a member of the board's Local Licensing Authority Subcommittee, said the business has not submitted any licensing paperwork, and is having other payment and inspection-related issues. 


"I know that in the last two years, especially for licensing, we've had to issue a certified letter to Mount Royal Inn about the process and deadlines and so forth," she said. "I ask that another letter be sent and that they be asked to come to our December 21 meeting to address concerns and answer any questions that we might have." 


Building Commissioner Gerald Garner said he and several other town staff have been monitoring multiple potential code violations, including guests staying too long, inadequate book keeping and issues with the fire system. 


"The building down there is not being utilized for the purpose that the license that has been issued is for," he said. "... I've been checking with the police department, and they're having just as much difficulty as I am trying to get information from the owner and the workers that are there." 


The town had similar problems with the Inn the last several years regarding licensing paperwork and other communication issues. Town Administrator Jay Green said the town and its employees have done everything possible to try and resolve these issues with the Inn's ownership.


"We had a variety of people with the motel management and tried to explain what our concerns were, a path forward to try to address it, and I think it's very clear that that's not being returned in good faith," he said.


Hoyt said timely approval of the alcohol licenses was important, as they have to be sent as a package to the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. 


"That does need to go to the ABCC following tonight's meeting to make sure that it goes through the ABCC's renewal process in time for January 1 for license holders to be able to operate come January 1," she said. 


In other business, the board approved the appointment of Board Member Joseph Nowak to the Woodlands Partnership of Western Massachusetts. Nowak had already been the town's representative in the partnership. 


  • The board discussed the board's meeting agenda topics. Nowak referenced agenda item reports from the Town Administrator and Town Counsel, which he said he's received calls about after their absence at recent meetings. 


"[Residents] want a little transparency. That's all I'm talking about, is transparency. I don't think it's asking too much for our town administrator and our town council are getting a salary to come in and talk to the people," Nowak said. 


Board Chair John Duval said general reports on the agenda are often confusing. He said he thinks Board members and community members asking for specific agenda items before the meeting is more helpful for everyone.


"If there's something that any member on this board would like to see on the agenda, please pass it forward and we'll put it on an agenda and we will research it and get the information and have a good, positive discussion," Duval said.  


  • The board approved the dog license fees for the upcoming licensing period. Green said the fees have not changed since last year. 



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