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PHS art staff and students pose with Berkshires Jazz President Edward Bride and Mayor Peter Marchetti at City Hall on Thursday.
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PHS senior Nye Stedman took second place for his jazzy cat poster (center of first column).
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The judges liked sophomore Karalin Melendez's bold color and graphics in 'All About Jazz,' giving her third.
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Marchetti Announces Jazz Art Contest Winners

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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Brooklyn Duck is this year's winner of the contest and her work will be used for the Pittsfield City Jazz Festival. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield High School has 75 jazzy artworks in City Hall, one of which was chosen to represent the 2024 Pittsfield City Jazz Festival.

Mayor Peter Marchetti on Thursday congratulated the winners of the annual Berkshires Jazz Student Art Contest. PHS junior Brooklyn Duck won first place followed by senior Nye Stedman and sophomore Karalin Melendez.

Duck's artwork features a colorful array of musical instruments and musicians with piano keys winding down the center.  She said that she was inspired by her teacher Lisa Ostellino and of course, jazz music.

"It's always good to invite people in the city hall and it's actually really great to be walking outside of my office and seeing the artwork," Marchetti said.

The festival runs April 18 to 28 with various events in Downtown Pittsfield.

Judges remained anonymous but it was revealed that they thought Duck's figures were well done and worked well with the curving piano keys. They felt that Stedman's piece featuring cats was fun with plenty of attention-grabbing aspects and a good concept. The judges liked Melendez's use of strong bold colors and graphics.

President and founder of Berkshires Jazz Edward Bride said Jazz Appreciation Month is a "big deal," officially recognized by the Smithsonian Institution and Congress.

"And we're making it a big deal with our student art contest," he added. "We want to thank Mayor Marchetti for allowing us to hang this wonderful work in the City Hall quarters and for being here to make the announcement of who the winners are."

The school has been participating in the contest for more than 15 years. Art teacher Lisa Ostellino is proud that her students turn out for the creative contest annually and that they are educated about jazz.

"I show them jazz videos and I talk about how everybody has a voice in jazz and about improvisation," she explained. "And I tell them all the places they can go in Pittsfield to listen to jazz."

Students are asked to capture the feeling of jazz in their works, with the main stipulation being that it is in a vertical landscape to fit the poster.

Stedman explained that he played trumpet in the jazz band all throughout middle school and has a great appreciation for the genre.

"As for cats, I am a very big fan of cats. I love cats," he said, adding that he created the work while listening to "Stardust Speedway" from the Sonic the Hedgehog games.

Melendez explained that hers is "mainly all about colors."

"I really wanted to put lots of colors and just instruments also," she said.

There were also several honorable mentions:

  • Brenna Bellefontaine (junior)
  • Ari Berard (sophomore)
  • Tierra Darrisaw (junior)
  • John Mullen (freshman)
  • Amaya Rennie (sophomore)

Tags: art contest,   jazz,   PHS,   student art,   

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Dalton Planning Board Works to Update Special Permit Fees

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
DALTON, Mass. — The Planning Board is navigating how to update its special permit fees to bring them up to date with the current costs of services. 
During the board meeting last week, Town Planner Janko Tomasic said the cost of completing the services is higher than what it costs to take action on the application.
The current application fee charged by the Board of Appeals and the Planning Board is $375. 
This fee is intended to cover the cost of labor, time, materials, postage for the certified abutters list for abutter notification, postage for the certified mail for the notice of the decision, and two Berkshire Eagle legal advertisements for the public hearing.
"According to the data, the base cost for a permit application is barely enough to cover the cost of the application process," according to Tomasic's special-permit costs breakdown. 
Based on the last six permits, the least expensive permit is $414 to complete because of the increase in cost for the steps in the permit process.   
The flat certified mail fee for eight letters is $69.52, which covers the cost of certified mail to abutting towns, the applicant, and notice of the decision to the applicant
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