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Will Call #55: 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival hits Pittsfield for its sixth year!

The 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival Explodes into Its 6th Year.

The 6th Annual 10×10 Festival is February 16-26, 2017. Participants and locations include Barrington Stage Company, the Beacon Cinema, Berkshire Athenaeum & Berkshire Historical Society, Berkshire Art Association, Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF), Berkshire Museum, Berkshire Running Center, Berkshire Yoga Dance & Fitness, Dottie’s Coffee Lounge, Jacob’s Pillow Dance, Word X Word. Keep Reading

Will Call Episode #55.1, BONUS: a 20/20 Look at 10X10—CHAIR-ity with Diane Firtell


We speak with artist and activist Diane Firtell about the “CHAIRity” exhibition and silent auction taking place at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge as part of the 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival.

Proceeds will benefit the Pittsfield Education Foundation.

From CHAIRity release

“This year we invited 17 local artists and 2 organizations, to use their creative genius and recycle chairs no longer being used in the Lounge. The only instruction was to take the chairs and bring them back in another form. Working in all mediums these artists have produced a fantastic and diversified show with wall hangings, table sculpture, planters, a toy box and more.”

Participating Artists

CHAIRity work by Diane Firtell
CHAIRity work by Diane Firtell

Phil Bastow, Patricia Boissevain, Marguerite Bride, Berkshire Fabrications Jan Charbonneau and Wood craftsman Jon Charbonneau, John Clarke, Carrie Jean Converse, Zoë Doucette, Autumn Ni Dubhghaill, Diane Firtell, Betsy Gorman (Burnt Barn Studio), Kate Kimball (heykatekimball), Michael King, Lisa Merullo, Scott Taylor and Steve Sears, Nina Silver, Ellie Spangler, Kristen Tool, The Women Veterans from Soldier On and The Soldier On Men’s Program.

About the Silent Auction

Proceeds from the silent auction will benefit the newly formed non profit Pittsfield Education Foundation (PEF.) Bidding begins at $50 and increases in $10 increments (in keeping with the 10×10 theme.) The silent auction ends at 8PM, 3/3. Please plan to be here to claim your item.

Opening Reception Friday 2/17 and Closing Reception Friday 3/3
Please join us for receptions from 5-8PM. We’ll provide light refreshments; beer and wine available for purchase.

CHAIR-ity work by Kate Kimball
CHAIR-ity work by Kate Kimball

We’ll also be having informal artist talks both evenings beginning at 7PM. Come meet the artists and hear about their inspiration and have a last chance to bid on these awesome creations.

Thanks for supporting the arts and education!

Phil Bastow, Patricia Boissevain, Marguerite Bride, Berkshire Fabrications Jan Charbonneau and Wood craftsman Jon Charbonneau, John Clarke, Carrie Jean Converse, Zoë Doucette, Autumn Ni Dubhghaill, Diane Firtell, Betsy Gorman (Burnt Barn Studio), Kate Kimball
(heykatekimball), Michael King, Lisa Merullo, Scott Taylor and Steve Sears, Nina Silver, Ellie Spangler, Kristen Tool, The Women Veterans from Soldier On and The Soldier On Men’s Program.

Pittsfield Education Foundation

“Impacting Achievement in Public Education”

CHAIR-ity work by Scott Taylor and Steve Sears
CHAIR-ity work by Scott Taylor and Steve Sears

Mission
To improve the achievement and success of the children and teachers in the Pittsfield Public Schools by enhancing educational opportunities and building broad-based  community support for quality public education.

Core Values

● Provide o pportu nities for stu dents and teachers to achieve their
greatest potential
● Literacy for all
● Support for innovative ideas and creativity
● Promote cultural equity
● Cultivate and sustain pride in the Pittsfield community

 

 

Why is your support important?

CHAIR-ity work by Kristin Tool
CHAIR-ity work by Kristin Tool

Enrichment, Intervention & Educator Empowerment:
“In a study looking at gifted students who participated in talent development through  competitions, the researchers reported a long-term impact on these students’ post-secondary achievements, with 52% of the 345 students who participated having earned doctoral degrees.”
(“A student not reading at his or her grade level by the end of the third grade is four  times less likely to graduate high school on time–six times less likely for students from low-income families.”

“States use reading proficiency scores in third grade to project how many prisons they’re going to need twenty years down the road.”

 

CHAIR-ity work by Betsy Gorman
CHAIR-ity work by Betsy Gorman

“For Fiscal Year 2014, the average cost per year to house an inmate in the Massachusetts DOC was $53,040.87.”
“Teaching quality has been defined as “instruction that enables a wide range of students to learn,” ( Darling-Hammond, 2012 ), and it is the strongest school-related factor that can improve student learning and achievement.”

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Will Call #54: Standing Together Against Othering in the Berkshires

"Kylie Jenner," by Merudjina Normil; submitted photo.
"Kylie Jenner," by Merudjina Normil; submitted photo.


In the wake of the November election, people across the country have seen fear and anger and exclusion become part of a national public conversation. Many people are sharing the experience of feeling that they do not belong in their familiar places. It’s called othering — making someone feel pushed to the edges, unwanted or different. It can happen in daily meetings and conversations, at work, at school, even at home.

In the Berkshires, movements are growing in response, art and lectures and performances and rallies, to explain what othering means and what it looks like — and to draw people together instead.

"Eyes Opaque With Terror," by Marcelene Mosca and Freya Segal; Mixed Media, 2014; photo by David Edgecomb.
“Eyes Opaque With Terror,” by Marcelene Mosca and Freya Segal; Mixed Media, 2014; photo by David Edgecomb.

People are saying in different ways, I feel threatened. I feel alone. And people are saying that hate is not mine. I want to stand with you. I want to live in a country where we can all live and love and work, pray or not, speak and play music. People are saying we need to talk to each other.

In the Berkshires, efforts are growing to bring people together. In Pittsfield, on a November afternoon, young WordxWord poets and storytellers reflected on how it felt to be excluded or pushed to the edges, as part of “Othering,” a month-long show curated by the Berkshire Art Association at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts.

In Great Barrington, Asma Abbas, Associate Professor of Politics and Philosophy at Bard College of Simon’s Rock, invited Moustafa Bayoumi, American Book Award–winning  writer and professor of English at Brooklyn College — who wrote one of the most re-tweeted tweets of the 2016 USA presidential debates, according to Twitter—to speak about Muslim American experiences in the last 15 years.

In North Adams, Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel, joins Rabbi David Markus, her co-chair of Aleph, the central organization of the international Jewish Renewal movement, in a call for solidarity. If a national effort to register Muslims becomes real, they are calling on all Americans to register.

Nick Cave’s “Until”

One of 16,000 dangling items in MASS MoCA's Rauschenberg gallery that are part of the installation, "<a href="http://massmoca.org/event/nick-cave-until/" target="_blank"><strong>Until</strong></a>," by Nick Cave, on view through August, 2017; photo by Kate Abbott.
One of 16,000 dangling items in MASS MoCA’s Rauschenberg gallery that are part of the installation, “Until,” by Nick Cave, on view through August, 2017; photo by Kate Abbott.

And in December of 2016, MASS MoCA, offered free admission for Berkshire residents until the solstice, as Nick Cave’s installation, Until, opened to take a close look at the ideal of “innocent until proven guilty” — and what happens when it becomes “guilty until proven innocent.”

Soprano Brenda Wimberly and organist Sereca Henderson  perform at the opening of Nick Cave’s ‘Until,’ at MASS MoCA. His installation fills the Rauschenberg gallery, and everyone who walks in stops at the doorway. The room is as large as a football field. And it is full of light.

It’s like walking into an optical mobile. It’s a maze of stars and spirals and suns on 16,000 strings. They spin like tops, and they transform from pinwheeling color to faint lines, until they become invisible. In some of them, at the core, he has set the image of a hand gun.

 

Nick Cave is known for Soundsuits, wearable sculptures that cover the whole body, and he often performs in them. But here he has created something new. It’s a landscape. It’s a cloudscape made of chandelier crystal. It’s a place where he invites other people to perform.

Benjamin Clementine gave a concert on opening night.

 

Nick Cave created this installation holding in mind the lives and deaths of Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Yvette Smith and Michael Brown and more like them. Mass MoCA curator Denise Markonish speaks about his work.

Moustafa Bayoumi and Asma Abas

John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme,’ a jazz classic from 1965 has echoes of Middle Eastern scales in its improvisation, and echoes of Islamic prayer in its inspiration, professor Moustafa Bayoumi writes in his 2015 collection of essays, “This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror.”

Moustafa Bayoumi has explored the concept of Othering in both How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America (2009) and This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror (2015); photo by Neville Elder, courtesy of Moustafa Bayoumi.
Moustafa Bayoumi has explored the concept of Othering in both How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America (2009) and This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror (2015); photo by Neville Elder, courtesy of Moustafa Bayoumi.

 

 

Coltrane often performed with Muslim musicians, he says, and anyone with an ear attuned to Islamic influences can hear them in Coltrane’s words and music.
He quotes Coltrane’s liner notes: “No Matter what … it is with God. He is Merciful. His way is in love, through which we all are. It is truly — a love supreme.”
Moustafa Bayoumi is an internationally recognized journalist. He is a columnist for The Guardian; his writing has appeared in journals from the New York Times to the Nation; and he has appeared on CNN, FOX News, National Public Radio and many other media outlets around the world.
He is an associate professor of English at Brooklyn College, and in 2008 he won an American Book Award for “How Does It Feel to Be a Problem: Being Young and Arab in America.”

.

Asma Abbas is an Associate Professor of Politics and Philosophy and Emily H. Fisher Faculty Fellow at Bard College at Simon's Rock; photo courtesy Asma Abbas.
Asma Abbas is an Associate Professor of Politics and Philosophy and
Emily H. Fisher Faculty Fellow at Bard College at Simon’s Rock; photo courtesy Asma Abbas.

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“How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?” takes its title from writer, Civil Rights activist and Great Barrington native, W.E.B. DuBois, who asks that question in Souls of Black Folk.

In his book, Bayoumi tells the stories of seven young men and women in their 20s living in Brooklyn after 9/11.
Rasha and her family were imprisoned without trial and without evidence; Sami served in the military in Iraq; Yasmin fought discrimination in her diverse high school — and won.
In December, professor Bayoumi came to Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington to talk with professor Asma Abbas, and her students and the community, about the experience of being Muslim American in the past, in the last 15 years and today.
Many Americans misunderstand a great deal about what Muslim Americans believe and how they live their lives, he said.

To begin with, Muslim Americans have lived in this country for almost 400 years.

Aleph takes a stand against othering

Rachel Barenblat of Williamstown is the rabbi and spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, and she will serve as the interim Jewish Chaplain at Williams College in the spring semester. She is also co-chair of Aleph, the central organization of the international Jewish renewal movement, with David Markus, associate spiritual leader of Temple Beth-El of City Island in the Bronx. He has Berkshire ties as well — like Rachel, he is a Williams College alum. (In full disclosure, I am also a Williams alum, and Rachel is an old friend.)

Jewish Renewal, founded by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, is a movement across Jewish denominations. At its center, Aleph includes a rigorous liberal seminary and a growing network of congregations and communities around the world.

"Arab Women Bonding," by Muriel Angelil; Monoprint, 2014; submitted photo.
“Arab Women Bonding,”
by Muriel Angelil;
Monoprint, 2014; submitted photo.

In response to the U.S. president-elect’s campaign promise to require all Muslims to register with the government, Aleph has sent out a call to all Americans, if that day comes, to register as Muslim in solidarity.

That call comes out of values central to Renewal, Rachel and David say, from a respect for all faiths, and a core Jewish value (Lev. 19:18), to love your neighbor as yourself.

The experience of being treated differently — the ‘Othering’ that David Markus talks about — is also the name of the Berkshire Art Association’s biennial juried show. In November, it filled the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield with abstract paintings, collages and drawings.

The art association sent out a call for work reflecting on experiences of exclusion and separation. More than 30 artists from throughout the Northeast had work in the exhibit — from a twenty-year veteran of the U.S. military who served two tours in Iraq to an African-American Pittsfield High School graduate now studying art at Williams College.

On Nov. 13, the Pittsfield organization WordxWord hosted an afternoon of poetry and storytelling on the same theme — WordxWord uses spoken word, poetry and storytelling to celebrate diversity and creativity and make connections.

"Kylie Jenner," by Merudjina Normil; Drawing, 2014; submitted photo.
“Kylie Jenner,” by Merudjina Normil; Drawing, 2014; submitted photo.

Four of those poets have given us permission to share there work here. We thank Izzy; our second poet, who has asked to remain anonymous; Sage; and Doni Smith.

"This Is Normal: 4th grade," by Dina Noto, Ink Drawing, 2016; submitted photo.
“This Is Normal: 4th grade,” by Dina Noto, Ink Drawing, 2016; submitted photo.

 

Looking Ahead

On Saturday, Jan. 7, on the 76th anniversary of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, a new Four Freedoms Coalition will invite the Berkshire community to unite against hate and bigotry in all its forms. The Berkshire County branch of the NAACP, BRIDGE, Berkshire Immigrant Center, United Africans of the Berkshires, and the United American Muslim Association of the Berkshires and others will gather for a rally and march in downtown Pittsfield.

The Four Freedoms Coalition is a non-partisan, diverse coalition of community organizations and people working together to unite the community and reaffirm the  American values outlined in President Roosevelt’s speech:

Freedom from fear
Freedom from want
Freedom of speech
Freedom of religion.

All are welcome. To find out more, check out the Four Freedoms Coalition on Facebook or email 4freedomscoalition@gmail.com

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On Jan. 29 at 3 p.m., Doni Smith and WordXWord will welcome the new year with a free poetry reading to celebrate sharing and caring and reflect on the consequences of greed at MCLA’s Gallery 51, at 51 Main St., North Adams.

Nine days after the presidential inauguration, poets and spoken word artists will bear witness to a world where greed appears to have no limits, and yet every day holds moments of generosity and compassion. The event will accompay Josh Ostraff’s exhibition, OFA ATU, which opens Jan. 26.

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Also in Pittsfield, Georgene Poliak has formed All Band Together as an initiative in compassion and solidarity. At the holiday Shindy at Shire City Sanctuary, she showed arm bands with a crescent and a star that she is making out of upcycled t-shirts and sweaters. They recall the bands that Jews in Europe were made to wear under the Nazi occupation. But these mean the opposite — they mean that people of many faiths can stand together.

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And in the spring, new artists will come to Mass MoCA to create and perform work inspired by Nick Cave’s ‘Until.’ Internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones will present a new solo work on March 4.

And choreographer, writer, and actress Okwui Okpokwasili will create and offer a site-specific dance on April 7.

Okwui Okpokwasili “Bronx Gothic” trailer from Peter Born on Vimeo.

Grammy-winnter and living legend Mavis Staples, known worldwide as a voice in R&B, Gospel, Soul, folk, rock and blues, will also perform at Mass MoCA on March 25.

And Toshi Reagon and Dorrance Dance will return to the ’62 Center at Williams College with tap masters Derick Grant and Dromeshia Sumbry-Edwards.

Will Call #53: It’s a Wonderful Life at Shakespeare & Company

Jennie M. Jadow, Ryan Winkles, and Sarah Jeanette Taylor in "It's a Wonderful Life," adapted by Joe Landry, directed by Jenna Ware (photo by Enrico Spada.
Jennie M. Jadow, Ryan Winkles, and Sarah Jeanette Taylor in "It's a Wonderful Life," adapted by Joe Landry, directed by Jenna Ware (photo by Enrico Spada.

Ensemble of five proves that It’s a Wonderful Life (yes, still!)

The cast of It's a Wonderful LIfe — Jennie M. Jadow, Sarah Taylor, David Joseph, Jonathan Croy and Ryan Winkles (photo by Enrico Spada).
The cast of It’s a Wonderful LIfe — Jennie M. Jadow, Sarah Taylor, David Joseph, Jonathan Croy and Ryan Winkles (photo by Enrico Spada).

Today is Tuesday, December 13, and this is Episode #53 of Will Call. I’m your host and pretender to the Will Call throne, Jason Velázquez, and I thank you for joining us! Keep Reading

Will Call #52: Hot lights on chilly nights at the Mahaiwe

A Talk with Beryl Jolly

mahaiwe_auditorium_featured
You’re listening to 52 of Will Call, released on a brilliant and beautiful Saturday, November 19, 2016. I’m your host, Jason Velázquez, and I thank you so much for joining us. We just heard a snippet of Ghost Town Girl from the eponymous new release from California-based Roots band, Echo Sparks. Not because we’re featuring them on this show, but because I recently recorded a video interview with them and I’ve got that tune stuck in my head. Go to greylockglass.com and sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know when that episode of INDIEcent Exposure goes live. In the meantime, go to their website to find out more and to listen more songs from Ghost Town Girl. Keep Reading

Will Call #50: Hancock Shaker Village Appoints Jennifer Trainer Thompson New President and CEO

Pittsfield, Mass.—The Board of Trustees of Hancock Shaker Village announced Wednesday, September 14 the appointment of Jennifer Trainer Thompson as president and chief executive officer. Ms. Thompson will assume her new role at the end of the year from her current post as senior vice president of partnerships and external affairs at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA).

The Board of Trustees of Hancock Shaker Village announced September 14 the appointment of Jennifer Trainer Thompson to the positions of president and CEO of the landmark institution (photo, Robert S. Colantuono).
The Board of Trustees of Hancock Shaker Village announced September 14 the appointment of Jennifer Trainer Thompson to the positions of president and CEO of the landmark institution (photo, Robert S. Colantuono).

Keep Reading

Will Call #49: (Not) Tip-toeing Around the Issues with the Capitol Steps

LENOX, Mass. — If you’ve ever wanted to see Hillary Clinton belt a show tune, Donald Trump sing a rock song, or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie perform a classical ballet, The Capitol Steps might just be the show for you.

No matter how quickly you're burning out on politics this campaign season, you won't mind seeing just a teensie bit more of "Bernie," "Donald," and "Hillary" this summer as incarnated in the Capitol Steps at Cranwell Spa & Golf Resort (submitted photo).
No matter how quickly you’re burning out on politics this campaign season, you won’t mind seeing just a teensie bit more of “Bernie,” “Donald,” and “Hillary” this summer as incarnated in the Capitol Steps at Cranwell Spa & Golf Resort (submitted photo).

Keep Reading

Will Call #48: “The Tempest” Sweeps Ashore at First Street Common

William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" will be presented on Pittsfield's First Street Common Thursday–Sunday, 8:00 p.m., July 21–August 7; photo by Enrico Spada.
William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" will be presented on Pittsfield's First Street Common Thursday–Sunday, 8:00 p.m., July 21–August 7; photo by Enrico Spada.

William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” brings together some very talented local flotsam.

William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" will be presented on Pittsfield's First Street Common Thursday–Sunday, 8:00 p.m., July 21–August 7; photo by Enrico Spada.
William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” will be presented on Pittsfield’s First Street Common Thursday–Sunday, 8:00 p.m., July 21–August 7; photo by Enrico Spada.

In this episode, we were lucky enough to catch Enrico Spada, founder and artistic director of Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park, with a little time to to talk about the 2016 presentation of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” Considering that today is the opening of the run, that’s no mean feat. Now in its third season, Shakespeare in the Park, is expected to draw an audience of 5,000 before it closes on August 7. I hope you enjoy this great conversation about one of the Berkshires’ newest great traditions. Keep Reading

Will Call #47 — Governor Slashes Arts Funding, Part 2 with Van Shields of the Berkshire Museum

Governor Baker's veto hacks approximately fifty five percent from the FY2017 budget of the Massachusetts Cultural Council
Governor Baker’s veto hacks approximately fifty five percent from the FY2017 budget of the Massachusetts Cultural Council

Governor Charlie Baker issued a budget veto on July 8 that would slash funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) by more than half. The cut would exceed the value of MCC’s two largest grant programs, reducing state cultural funding to levels not seen since 1994.

In this episode, we speak with Van Shields, executive director of the Berkshire Museum, about some of the ways that programs supported by the MCC have had an impact on the lives of residents across the county and state. Shields points out the now universally understood link between early exposure to the arts and educational and personal achievement.

Van W. Shields, Director of The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Mass. (submitted photo)
Van W. Shields, Director of The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Mass. (submitted photo)

Governor Charlie Baker issued a budget veto July 8 that would slash funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) by more than half. The cut would exceed the value of MCC’s two largest grant programs, reducing state cultural funding to levels not seen since 1994.

Read the MCC’s Fiscal 2017 Budget request, with a detailed breakdown of expenitures.

On July 1, the Legislature approved a state budget for FY17 that included $14 million in funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences via MCC. The veto would reduce that by $7.7 million, to $6.5 million. That funding level would put Massachusetts in league with states such as Nebraska and South Dakota in per capita support for arts and culture. The proposed cut of $7.7 million was included in a larger set of $256 million in vetoes.

“If it stands, this budget would cut many of our core grant programs to the bone,” said MCC Executive Director Anita Walker, “and likely force us to eliminate some programs entirely. It would cost jobs in our nonprofits, choke off revenue from cultural tourism, and close arts education opportunities for thousands of kids in schools and youth programs across the state.”

[gview file=”https://www.greylockglass.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/FY17_MCC_Budget_Proposal.pdf”]

MCC’s two largest grant programs are its Cultural Investment Portfolio, providing core operating support for 384 nonprofits, at $4.6 million in the last fiscal year; and $3 million for 329 Local Cultural Councils, which support more than 6,000 public programs statewide.

MCC will work with MASSCreative, Mass Humanities, the Mass Artists Leaders Coalition, and advocates statewide to encourage members of the House and Senate to override the veto when they consider responses to the Governor’s actions this week. Stay tuned for updates as the process unfolds.

Van Shields, Executive Director Berkshire Museum

Van Shields was appointed the Executive Director of the Berkshire Museum in September 2011. Since arriving, the Museum has completed a $2.4 million in facility improvements and launched several new initiatives including the WeeMuse early childhood education program, Learner’s Lab and BeMuse series for adult and family audiences, and increased collaboration with area cultural institutions. In 2013 the Museum became the ninth New England organization to join the Smithsonian Affiliations program.

Before coming to the Berkshires, he was the founding CEO of the Culture & Heritage Museums, created in 1997 by a consolidation of three cultural institutions serving the greater Charlotte, North Carolina metropolitan region. In 2009, the Culture & Heritage Museums created the Main Street Children’s Museum to focus on early learners. Prior to his time in the Carolinas, he spent seven years at New York City’s Museum of the Moving Image and his experience includes stints in small business and serving as an Air Force officer.

He has served on the boards of numerous organizations from planning to social services, tourism, economic development, media, and the arts. He currently serves on several local governing and advisory boards including Berkshire Visitors Bureau, 1 Berkshire Strategic Alliance, Downtown Pittsfield, Inc., Berkshares, and Pittsfield Promise, among others.

He and his wife the artist Peggy Rivers live Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

About the Massachusetts Cultural Council

MCC is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and sciences to improve the quality of life for Massachusetts residents and contribute to the vitality of our communities. MCC pursues this mission through grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists.

MCC’s FY16 budget is $15.7 million, which includes a $14 million state appropriation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. MCC also runs the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) in partnership with MassDevelopment. CFF is supported separately via the state’s capital budget.

About the Berkshire Museum

Berkshire Museum offers a unique array of exhibitions, activities, and attractions for visitors of all ages. From fine art and ancient objects to fossils; from an aquarium of native and exotic creatures to Spark!Lab and the Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, the Berkshire Museum is a community museum: a place where everyone, from toddlers to elders, can learn, play, explore, innovate, and be engaged. Founded in 1903, the Museum integrates art, history, and natural science in a wide range of programs and exhibitions that inspire educational connections between the disciplines.

Finding Raven: Art and Stories of the Northwest Coast is on view through October 30. Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies is on view through August 28. Living on Earth: The Work of Robert Hite, a solo show of sculpture and photography co-presented by the Berkshire Museum and Hancock Shaker Village, is on view at both venues through October 30. Little Cinema is open year-round.

Berkshire Museum is located at 39 South Street in downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and is open every day, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 on Sunday. For information on the many programs and events happening every week, visit www.berkshiremuseum.org or call 413.443.7171.

In addition to their website, you can follow Berkshire Museum on Facebook and Twitter.

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Will Call #46 — Governor Slashes Arts Funding, Part 1 with Matt Wilson of MASSCreative

Governor Baker's veto hacks approximately fifty five percent from the FY2017 budget of the Massachusetts Cultural Council
Governor Baker’s veto hacks approximately fifty five percent from the FY2017 budget of the Massachusetts Cultural Council

Governor Charlie Baker issued a budget veto on July 8 that would slash funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) by more than half. The cut would exceed the value of MCC’s two largest grant programs, reducing state cultural funding to levels not seen since 1994.

In this episode, we speak with Matt Wilson, exectuive director of MASSCreative, about the precarious fate of arts, culture, science, and humanities programs across the state. Wilson points out impacts of the arts on communities way beyond the aesthetic. Programs supported by the MCC have been shown to fuel the economy, reverse urban blight, and provide alternatives to self-destructive behaviors for youth.

Former Governor. Deval Patrick (left) with MASSCreative executive director Matt Wilson on July 06, 2014 at Barrington Stage Company, Pittsfield announcing that he would allocate $15 million to the state’s Cultural Facilities Fund (photo courtesty mass-creative.org).
Former Governor. Deval Patrick (left) with MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on July 06, 2014 at Barrington Stage Company, Pittsfield announcing that he would allocate $15 million to the state’s Cultural Facilities Fund (photo courtesty MASSCreative via mass-creative.org).

Governor Charlie Baker issued a budget veto July 8 that would slash funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) by more than half. The cut would exceed the value of MCC’s two largest grant programs, reducing state cultural funding to levels not seen since 1994.

Read the MCC’s Fiscal 2017 Budget request, with a detailed breakdown of expenitures.

[gview file=”https://www.greylockglass.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/FY17_MCC_Budget_Proposal.pdf”]

On July 1, the Legislature approved a state budget for FY17 that included $14 million in funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences via MCC. The veto would reduce that by $7.7 million, to $6.5 million. That funding level would put Massachusetts in league with states such as Nebraska and South Dakota in per capita support for arts and culture. The proposed cut of $7.7 million was included in a larger set of $256 million in vetoes.

“If it stands, this budget would cut many of our core grant programs to the bone,” said MCC Executive Director Anita Walker, “and likely force us to eliminate some programs entirely. It would cost jobs in our nonprofits, choke off revenue from cultural tourism, and close arts education opportunities for thousands of kids in schools and youth programs across the state.”

MCC’s two largest grant programs are its Cultural Investment Portfolio, providing core operating support for 384 nonprofits, at $4.6 million in the last fiscal year; and $3 million for 329 Local Cultural Councils, which support more than 6,000 public programs statewide.

MCC will work with MASSCreative, Mass Humanities, the Mass Artists Leaders Coalition, and advocates statewide to encourage members of the House and Senate to override the veto when they consider responses to the Governor’s actions this week. Stay tuned for updates as the process unfolds.

Matthew Wilson, MASSCreative Executive Director

Hired as MASSCreative’s first Executive Director in March of 2012, Matt directs the advocacy campaigns and organizational development for the organization. For 30 years, he has run campaigns and organized volunteers and communities for the public interest on a local, state, national level.

In 2011, Wilson directed environmentalist and social entrepreneur Bob Massie’s campaign for the U.S. Senate. Previously he coordinated Health Care for All’s campaign to monitor the takeover of the nonprofit Caritas Hospitals by a for profit private equity firm.

As the National Director of the field staff for MoveOn.org from 2005-2006, Matt helped develop and implement the strategy behind MoveOn.org’s successful 2006 Call for Change, which recruited and trained more than 100,000 volunteers in 60 swing Congressional and Senate districts.

As the Founder and Director of Toxics Action Center from 1989 to 2005, Wilson assisted more than 300 neighborhood groups address toxic pollution issues in their communities. He grew the organization from one staffer working in Massachusetts to a New England-wide organization with 11 staff.

Wilson graduated from Dartmouth College in 1983 and also earned a Masters of Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2008.

About the Massachusetts Cultural Council

MCC is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and sciences to improve the quality of life for Massachusetts residents and contribute to the vitality of our communities. MCC pursues this mission through grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists.

MCC’s FY16 budget is $15.7 million, which includes a $14 million state appropriation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. MCC also runs the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) in partnership with MassDevelopment. CFF is supported separately via the state’s capital budget.

About MASSCreative

MASSCreative works with creative leaders, working artists, arts educators and arts and cultural supporters to empower creative organizations and the public with a powerful voice to advocate for the resources and attention necessary to build vibrant, connected, and creative communities. In addition to their website, you can find them on Twitter and Facebook

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Will Call #44 — First-Ever Berkshire Mountain Faerie Festival

A Whimsical Fantasy Celebrating the Arts

The Berkshire Mountain Faerie Festival makes its debut in Adams, June 25, with activities, music, arts, and magic for believers of all ages.

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing circa 1786 William Blake 1757-1827 Presented by Alfred A. de Pass in memory of his wife Ethel 1910 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N02686
Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing, by William Blake, 1786 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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When: June 25th, 2016
10:00am to 10:00pm
Where:Bowe Field, Adams, Mass. (Adams Aggie Fair Grounds)
Cost: $5 admission, children under 12 FREE

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Will Call #43 — Special Summer Solstice Episode: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Cover illustration for "The Wind in the Willows," by E. H. Shepard; Novel by Kenneth Grahame, 1908
Cover illustration for "The Wind in the Willows," by E. H. Shepard; Novel by Kenneth Grahame, 1908

We celebrate the Summer Solstice with one of the Summery-est
passages we know. Enjoy!

Cover illustration for "The Wind in the Willows," by E. H. Shepard; Novel by Kenneth Grahame, 1908; Summer Solstice, 2016
Cover illustration for “The Wind in the Willows,” by E. H. Shepard; Novel by Kenneth Grahame, 1908

 

The Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame

(Full text available at Project Gutenberg)

VII. THE PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN

The Willow-Wren was twittering his thin little song, hidden himself in the dark selvedge of the river bank. Though it was past ten o’clock at night, the sky still clung to and retained some lingering skirts of light from the departed day; and the sullen heats of the torrid afternoon broke up and rolled away at the dispersing touch of the cool fingers of the short midsummer night. Mole lay stretched on the bank, still panting from the stress of the fierce day that had been cloudless from dawn to late sunset, and waited for his friend to return. He had been on the river with some companions, leaving the Water Rat free to keep a engagement of long standing with Otter; and he had come back to find the house dark and deserted, and no sign of Rat, who was doubtless keeping it up late with his old comrade. It was still too hot to think of staying indoors, so he lay on some cool dock-leaves, and thought over the past day and its doings, and how very good they all had been.

Visit Shakespeare & Company online at shakespeare.org for details about all this season's performances!
Visit Shakespeare & Company online at shakespeare.org for details about all this season’s performances!

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