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Pittsfield High School art teachers Lisa Ostellino, Colleen Quinn and Michael Greenberg are the recipients of the Phoebe Pepper Award for having the most improved class.
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Program manager Gabriel Sacco introduces the Activators, the students who helped in curating the exhibit.
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Ariel Lachman, the only McCann Technical School student, gets a round of applause. He also won for his miniature 'Brake Run Helix.'
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Shayna Tarr of Darrow School won for her textile work.
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Marlee Alpi, from Mount Greylock, won for her landscape painting.
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Miles Boukalik of Buxton School won for his ceramic pieces.
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The Drury High band plays in the Hunter Center.
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Annual Teen Invitational Draws More Than 300 Submissions

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Grand-prize winner this year is Owen Hindes, a student at Buxton School, for his drawing on black paper. See more photos here.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — More than 300 students from area high schools entered their work in 12th annual Teen Invitational at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. 
The event is a collaboration between the museum and high school art teachers to inspire young artists and stimulate their creativity.
"These students look to their teachers for that encouragement who say, 'keep going,' who say, 'yes, it is good enough to be seen, submit your work,' and we are so thrilled that they do this every day," Lisa Dent director of public programs. "Every year the participation is different, but we're excited to see that there was participation across all 10 schools and all 10 schools are going to be recognized for the work that they've done."
Participating were Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter School in Adams; Buxton School in Williamstown; Darrow School in New Lebanon, N.Y.; Drury High in North Adams; The Academy in Charlemont; Hoosac Valley High School in Cheshire; McCann Technical School in North Adams; Mount Greylock Regional School in Williamstown; Pine Cobble School in Williamstown; and Pittsfield High School. 
The student exhibition opened on Friday night with a reception, award ceremony and performance by the Drury band and ran through Sunday. There were five $100 awards and one grand prize of $200, sponsored by The Berkshire Eagle. Each recipient also was presented a book from the Artist Foundation for their classroom. 
"We do our best to also recognize individuals who really had the judges had spinning in a good way," said Dent. "These are artists, young artists who we felt like went above and beyond this year, who we felt like deserve a little bit more of the encouragement as we see the extraordinary way that they have moved their practices and presented their work this year."
The $100 winners were Ariel Lachman of McCann Technical School for his miniature version of E.J. Hill's "Brake Run Helix" that recently ended its run at the museum; Shayna Tarr of Darrow School for her textile work; Finn McCafferty of Mount Greylock Regional School for a landscape painting; Marlee Alpi, also from Mount Greylock, for her landscape painting; and Miles Boukalik of Buxton School for his ceramic pieces.
The grand prize went to Own Hindes of Buxton School for his large drawing on black paper. 
The art teachers at Pittsfield High School — Lisa Ostellino, Colleen Quinn and Michael Greenberg — were the recipients of the Phoebe Pepper Award for having the most improved class.
"When we started to install the work this year, we all felt that Pittsfield had done an extraordinary job," said Dent. "That this year, there were so many objects that clearly the artists had taken great care and an extraordinary amount of time. ...  all of you did an extraordinary amount of work and it did an extraordinary job."
All of the students and their teachers were called up to the stage by school and applauded for their efforts and each art program received a book from the Artist Foundation and a funding for materials. The students all got an annual membership to the Mass MoCA. 
"We wanted to make sure that you see these are all future famous artists that are going to be on this stage. So you have to remember their faces, right?" said Dent.
The works were exhibited in groupings determined by the first letter of the student's last name and were on two floors behind Building 5's large gallery. 
Certain works were accompanied by a gold sticker to acknowledge "the extraordinary amount of work that was going into some of these," said Dent.
"Of all of the schools, Mount Greylock received 20 of those gold stars," she said. "Those are students that really were taking extraordinary amount of time to do this work and they should be commended for all of their beautiful, beautiful artwork in the galleries."
Some 305 students participated by submitting art but another smaller group, the "Activators," were instrumental in curating the installation.
The program is for students in Grades 11 and 12 and was initiated by Dent last year. Gabriel Sacco, senior manager of public programs, said it allows students to participate in a "museum microcosm" in which they learn by doing. 
"They participate in making curatorial decisions, organizing the installation, developing graphic design skills that resulted in a poster for the event which is on sale tonight," Sacco said. "All proceeds will go towards the future programs and future Teen Invitationals."
Applications for the summer round opens on May 17.

Tags: art exhibit,   mass moca,   teenagers,   

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North Adams High School Athletes Place Flags on Veterans Graves

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff

Raegan Keil, daughter of VSO Mitchell Keil, participates in placing the American Flag on veterans' graves. The first flag she placed was in the marker of Michael Kline, her grandfather.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Athletes from Drury High School and McCann Technical School gave up the rare free Saturday morning to place flags on veterans graves in Southview Cemetery.
"I was very humbled when I saw the cars coming in, and I actually had to go over to the corner and put my sunglasses down and hide my tears, because it was very, very humbling to see everybody show up," said Travys Rivers, the city's veterans grave officer.
Rivers, a firefighter and veteran, said he sent out the "bat signal" and called John Moore of Drury and Robin Finnegan of McCann to see if any of the sports teams were free.
River said he was unsure what to expect, knowing many student athletes likely had games or practice. But come Saturday morning, around 100 students showed up with coaches and high school athletics administration. 
"I am amazed by these kids. They gave up a Saturday morning. They could have slept in if they didn't have practice or whatever," Rivers said. "They did not have to do this but instead came down and busted their butts."
Northern Berkshire Veterans Service Officer Mitchell Keil added that he often hears that the youth do not participate in civic activities. He said Saturday proves the opposite.
"As a veteran, it is heartwarming to see this type of participation from today's youth and encouraging for the future of the community. They may not understand the impact their involvement has on those that see them in action or those family members that visit a departed loved one's grave and see them continuously honored," he said. "Our city has a large group of individuals that are dedicated to honoring those veterans that have passed. This long tradition is in good hands, and as we move forward I encourage all to take part in the pursuit of honoring our veterans daily."
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