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Let Your Mind Wander with Guild of Berkshire Artists New Exhibit

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.—Guild of Berkshire Artists will be opened its new exhibit "Where Our Minds Wander" Thursday. 
The gallery, located at 38 Main St., is open Thursday through Monday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. and features work by figurative artist Mollie Kellogg and abstract artist Shany Porras. 
According to the artists, the exhibition encourages the artists and gallery visitors to let their minds wander and go beyond pressures and societal restrictions.
During this collaboration, Porras created pieces that look completely different from what she has done in the past. 
Porras said in an effort to create environments that Kellogg's characters would want to live in she has had to exercise both focus and restraint to create pieces that complement Kellogg's but still in her own artistic voice. 
"Knowing that [Kellogg] is figurative doesn't mean that I need to start creating figurative work. I think abstract landscape and abstraction can live side by side with figurative work," Porras said. 
When Porras listens to a certain type of music her mind visualizes a made up world that she can imagine living in the painting based on the colors, lines, and spaces she has created. 
"All of it is a reflection of course of the music that I'm listening to try to translate into something visual, but I've curtailed that selection of music, to ensure that I ended up with a painting that makes sense within this show," Porras said.
"...But as a whole, the show should provide the viewer with sort of alternatives for letting their minds wander, and hopefully, you know, feel some, some sort of connection with what we've created."
During their career as artists both Kellogg and Porras have followed rules that the industry compel artists to follow which has limited their work in the past, the artists said.
Porras said with this exhibit the duo attempted to break the barriers of the restrictions they have been indoctrinated into so they can explore and create something entirely new. In a way, the exhibit gives them permission to play and explore materials and styles. 
"We're just doing art that allows us to create from a place of reflection, a space of being forgiving to ourselves for letting our minds wander and not focus so much as we should," Porras said. 
"And these conversations have been pretty interesting for us as we have continued to develop new artwork for the show."
Kellogg remembered a time when a teacher called a sketch she had made as "decorative," which has a negative connotation in the industry.  
"For better or for worse, I kind of thought 'oh, that must be a bad word' although I think maybe I might have sold a lot more art if I had never heard that word," Kellogg said. 
Putting together this exhibition they are telling themselves not to be tough on themselves and to see what happens when they allow their minds to wander and have fun, Kellogg said. 
Artists have rules, concepts, and techniques that they impose on themselves which is great because it is easier to identify the artist, Kellogg said. But with this exhibit, they are going to allow themselves to relax and go beyond those rules. 
"It's still going to match the theme. It's still going to be honest to our own individual missions as well but it's gonna be maybe like, in my case, some different mediums, something different," Kellogg said. 
Working as an illustrator she was able to explore different mediums, concepts, and different things but wasn't really able to explore "the realm of the magic, of the Incognito Witch World, and it's fun and it's a little intimidating," she said. 
"It's time. We're in a new world, a new place, and I think you can't really know where you're supposed to be unless you allow yourself to get a little lost," Kellogg said. 
The gallery will be open until July 24. There will be a reception on Saturday, July 15 from 2 until 4 and an art talk on Saturday, July 22 at 2 p.m. More information here.  
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Lenox Library Annual Book Sale

LENOX, Mass. — The Lenox Library Association's two-day annual book sale will be held on Saturday, Oct. 7 and Sunday, Oct. 8 at the Lenox Town Hall from 9am to 5pm. 
The event is free from noon to 5pm on Saturday and all day on Sunday. The public is welcome to preview the collection on Saturday from 9am to noon for a $10 donation: preview admission numbers will be given out starting at 8am.
The 28th annual book sale is one of the Lenox Library Association's primary fundraisers. Staffed and organized by volunteers throughout the year, all proceeds from the book sale benefit the Lenox Library Association's support for the library's programs, services and collections.
The sale will offer more than 8,000 books in 25 categories, all donated from area homes and most in like-new condition. A Special Interest section features collectors' items, including limited editions, signed and first editions, and books from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
This year, a raffle featuring two high-value prizes donated by local businesses will include: A restaurant basket filled with gift cards to local Lenox restaurants and a spa day pass at Miraval Berkshires. 
Raffle tickets are $10 each, three for $25, and five for $40 and will be sold at the Lenox Chamber of Commerce, at the book sale, or by contacting Maria at or calling 413.637.2630 x115.  The drawing is on Sunday, October 8, at 4 p.m. in the Lenox Town Hall auditorium.
Sturdy, recyclable book bags featuring the Lenox Library Association and Lenox Library logos will also be available for purchase. Customers who spend $50 or more will receive a complimentary bag.
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