Ventfort Hall Names First Director of Programming and Events

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LENOX, Mass. — Ventfort Hall and Gilded Age Mansion and Museum announced the appointment of Chelsea Gaia as its first-ever Director of Programming & Events. 
 
Under the leadership of Executive Director Wendy Healey, who took the helm in December of 2022, Gaia will shape the mansion's future as a "beacon of culture, progress, and inclusivity" in the Berkshires, stated a press release.  
 
Appointed in January, Gaia programed a full 2024 Season for the mansion, promising an array of events and programs under the theme Reviving the Spirit of Festival House.
 
Gaia, who has over twenty years of experience in business development, audience growth, marketing strategy, and entrepreneurship brings a fresh perspective to Ventfort Hall. Having relocated from the Pacific Northwest to the Berkshires in 2022, Gaia has a track record of community revitalization and cultural engagement. Her previous roles in the Berkshires include serving as the Director of Marketing & Box Office at Barrington Stage Company and subsequently engaging several local cultural organizations as clients through her Public Relations & Engagement company, Green Bird Business Services. 
 
At Ventfort Hall, Gaia aims to honor and build upon the mansion's legacy.
 
"There is a Renaissance unfolding at Ventfort Hall, and it is undoubtedly driven by the spirit of those who have kept this place alive in this era and eras passed. While I am humbled to be part of this chapter, I intend to honor the work and stories of everyone who has shaped the legacy of Ventfort Hall as a foundation for my time here," Gaia said.

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Ventfort Hall Masonry Repair Project Underway

LENOX, Mass. — Ventfort Hall announced they have reached their funding goal and work has begun on their masonry restoration project through multiple sources.
 
This project will address urgently needed masonry work to rebuild and restore four chimneys on the east and west sides of the roof ridge. The four massive chimneys each contain multiple conjoined fireplace flues and are ornamented with brick corbelling (staggering) and custom profiled bricks for architectural detail.
 
Many of the bricks on the chimneys have lost their mortar and have begun to dislodge and are currently being caught by temporary netting to prevent falling bricks from causing severe harm to the roof or to patrons on the ground. Should a chimney collapse completely, there is not adequate documentation to replicate the ornate brick details and corbelling to recreate the chimneys.
 
The work will entail disassembling each of the four chimneys down to sound underlying material, rebuilding the bricks to match the historic design and detailing, providing new custom brick to replace units that are too deteriorated for re-use, and fabricating and reinstalling the metal chimney caps.
 
Pittsfield masonry contractor H.A. O'Neil was chosen to complete the restoration. They were chosen for their experience working with historic masonry restoration projects and methods. Hill-Engineers, Architects, Planners Inc. is providing oversight for the project. Work began on April 26.
 
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