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The Pillar Profiles:
Lindsey Schmid

Editors Note: What does it mean when we say that someone is a “pillar of the community?” How you answer depends a lot on your experiences and intersections with the people who, in your mind, help support and strengthen the areas of local life that are most important to us. In this new series, we’ll surely tread some well worn paths in search of those personalities. We’ll blaze new trails looking for emerging leaders, as well as expand our vision of where to look for these pillars of our community. Know someone you think fills the bill? E-mail us.

When most of us Berkshires dwellers encourage friends to visit, we usually highlight the traveler’s trifecta of arts, culture, and outdoor recreation. But for Lindsey Schmid, tourism in the Berkshires is a lot more specific and varied. It’s about mindfulness and wellness. It’s about glamping and hotspots for watching wildlife. It’s the craft beverage trend, farm-to-table foods, and cannabis tours. And it’s about interactive experiences and behind-the-scenes tours of well-known venues—all the better to attract thrill seekers jonesing to be the first person to post on Instagram and say, “I did this!”

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He Said, He Said: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at MASS MoCA

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo have been around for 45 years and performed in over 600 cities and towns, Kinda makes them a thing², right? image courtesy the company.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo have been around for 45 years and performed in over 600 cities and towns, Kinda makes them a thing², right? image courtesy the company.

The dance world has been slow to let go of certain stereotypes. Chief among them might just be that men shouldn’t dance en pointe, and that romantic love is best expressed by men and women dancing together.

Which is one of the reasons that Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the 45-year-old, New York City–based company of men in tights (and really, really large pointe shoes) has always been such a blast of fresh air. Not only are they game to get tarted up to play, often hilariously, all the women’s roles in classic ballets, but they also demonstrate serious dance chops that rouse the audience to standing ovation.

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17 Years Boy: Epilogue
Works by Dr. Imo Nse Imeh

Imo Nse Imeh, Ovation, mixed media/canvas, 2018; [Source: artist / Readywipe Gallery]
Imo Nse Imeh, Ovation, mixed media/canvas, 2018; [Source: artist / Readywipe Gallery]

“ To me, this new body of work symbolizes the challenging, yet beautiful journey down the path of healing, to transform the horror of unspeakable tragedy into a renewed sense of life and celebration, I wanted to make something new, I wanted it to be reflective of a dark past, but also hopeful for the future.  It needed to be about healing and the celebration of Black boys.”

Imo Nse Imeh

Following a disturbing rash of racially motivated incidents at Westfield State University, Dr. Imo Nse Imeh, an associate professor at the college, launched a live multi media performance that reexamined the travesty of the death of 17 year old, Trayvon Martin. Using the span of Martin’s life, Dr. Imeh painted a large scale portrait of Trayvon Martin as a video taped performance that culminated in the destruction of the portrait in the final 17th hour of the show. This final hour mirrored the life of a 17 year old boy whose life was cut short for no other reason other than racial hatred. Over the course of the next year, Dr. Imeh created 17 new works, each one integrating fragments from Trayvon Martin’s portrait saved from the first performance.

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Possible Selves:
Queer Foto Vernaculars

Possible Selves: Queer Foto Vernaculars, on view at the Williams College Museum of Art now through April 14; photo of installation by Brad Wakoff.
Possible Selves: Queer Foto Vernaculars, on view at the Williams College Museum of Art now through April 14; photo of installation by Brad Wakoff.

Possible Selves is one of the most critical contemporary exhibitions documenting the global impact of queer identities through portrait photography over a 60-year period.

This exhibition is the brainchild of gifted assistant curator at Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA), Dr. Horace Ballard. The exhibition consists of selections from WCMA’s collection of legendary queer artists including Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethrope, Andres Serrano, Felix Gonzalez Torres, and Nan Goldin to name a few, plus over 200 images selected from Instagram.

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Free! Sometimes with Benefits!

"The Maples," created by Natalie Jeremijenko; photo by Beyond My Ken (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Tree-mancipation Day!
"The Maples," created by Natalie Jeremijenko; photo by By Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons

No doubt about it, museums are expensive. In the Berkshires we live in an area where culture is a primary industry and museums are a major segment of that industry. Everyone tells us, from healthcare professionals to educators, that art is great for you and your family—and it is. But…how can you participate or be part of this community if you can’t visit these institutions?

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Meiver De la Cruz — Workshop on Raqs al Baladi

Meiver De la Cruz is an accomplished dancer and teacher of Middle Eastern and North
African dance genres. Currently she is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality
and Feminist Studies at Oberlin College, and a doctoral candidate in the Department ofPerformance Studies at Northwestern University.

 

Workshop on Raqs al Baladi, the main source dance of Egyptian style “Bellydance.” Open to all genders and levels.

Meiver De la Cruz — “Dancing Remains”

Meiver De la Cruz is an accomplished dancer and teacher of Middle Eastern and North
African dance genres. Currently she is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality
and Feminist Studies at Oberlin College, and a doctoral candidate in the Department ofPerformance Studies at Northwestern University.

Lecture

Dancing Remains: Female “Eastern” Dancers and Entertainers Before, During, and After the Columbian Exposition of 1893

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Will Call Episode #55.9, BONUS: Laughter Is Art at the 10X10 Comedy Show!

The 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival returns to Dottie’s in 2017!

You’re listening to micro-episode 55.9, in which I have speak with very special guest Tom Attila Lewis about the 10X10 Comedy Show. Are you anxious to find out if I managed to keep this episode to ten minutes? Spoiler alert: I missed it by 200 percent. Oh well.

Tom was such an awesome guest with so many great insights on the event, comedy in the Berkshires, and the artform itself, that I had a feeling this would end up almost being a full-length show. So I won’t add any more to the overrun and instead I’ll launch us into our conversation with Tom Attila Lewis here on Will Call at the Greylock Glass.

Saturday, February 25, 2017
Dottie’s Coffee Lounge
444 North Street, Pittsfield

Tickets for the show are $10 in advance at the Dottie’s service counter, wait until the day of the show and you will pay $15.

Dottie’s will again be offering amazing food and drinks, seating for a special dinner designed for the show begins at 7:00 p.m., but make sure you get there early so that you can reserve a good spot near the stage!

The headliner this year is Mike Lebovitz who has appeared on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” performed at the world-famous Just For Laughs Festival, and at festivals and venues across North America! Starting off our show with some musical entertainment during the dinner hour will be Ragliacci Rags. The show will also feature guest spots from Berkshire-based Alyssa Sequioa and Ryan Shea!

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INDIEcent Exposure #24: The Matchstick Architects—”All That’s In Between”

We caught up with the Matchstick Architects as they waited for the first shipment of CDs of their latest effort, “All That’s In Between,” to arrive. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE that “new LP smell.” We spoke with Dar Maloney and Tom Conklin (Diane Davis was unavailable) about the what the guts of the music are made of. Answer: raw stories. In addition to busting out the discs at their CD release party this Saturday, they’ll be helping First Fridays Artswalk break new ground as they inaugurate the addition of live music to the collection of arts offerings in Pittsfield, Mass.

The Matchstick Architects are (from left), Diane Davis, Tom Conklin, and Dar Maloney (submitted photo).
The Matchstick Architects are (from left), Diane DDD, Tom Conklin, and Dar Maloney (submitted photo).

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WDIJW? “Omelette”

You’ll probably never know how many times your best friend has saved your ass.

Omelette from Madeline Sharafian on Vimeo.

“Finally my 2nd Calarts film is completed! It feels really great to make a more personal film this year, now that I know the ropes of filmmaking a bit better. I wanted to make something that focuses on how meaningful it is to make food for someone you love. My family’s lives practically revolve around cooking for each other, so it’s a theme that I’m deeply attached to. I hope you enjoy it!”

—Madeline Sharafian

 

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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