Bits & Bytes: First Fridays Artswalk; Sandra Steingraber on health and the environment; Frank Mason documentary; Indian classical music at Simon’s Rock

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By Monday, Nov 27 Life In the Berkshires
Work by artist Don Orcutt will be included in the Whitney Center for the Arts' fifth annual Whimsy exhibit, opening Friday, Dec. 1, during Pittsfield's First Fridays Artswalk. Image courtesy Downtown Pittsfield Inc.

First Fridays Artswalk to feature holiday-themed activities

Pittsfield — The First Fridays Artswalk, from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, will encompass a dozen art shows featuring over two dozen accomplished regional artists in Pittsfield’s Upstreet Cultural District. The event will kick off with opening receptions and artists present throughout, plus a free guided walking tour led by Artswalk co-founder Mary McGinnis beginning at 5 p.m. at the BRTA Intermodal Center.

The Office of Cultural Development will hold its third annual holiday wreath art auction at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts. The wreaths will be on display during a $10 ticketed event, with a preview at 5 p.m. and a live auction of 10 featured wreaths at 6:30 pm. All proceeds will benefit the Pittsfield Food Pantries. Light refreshments and beverages will be served.

 

‘Wildlife’ by Laura Didyk. Image courtesy Downtown Pittsfield Inc.

NUarts Studios & Gallery will host a holiday show featuring interactive holiday art-making in the studios of Marney Schorr and Caroline Kelley. The show will also feature at least 10 Taconic High School art students under the tutelage of art teacher Lauretta Saldo, who will exhibit both two- and three-dimensional work at NUarts’ new Youth Art Gallery curated by Schorr. Other NUarts artists with open studios will include Ellen Joffe Halpern, Karen S. Jacobs, Sophia Lane, Laura Didyk, Joan Rooks and Gwenan Marshall.

The fifth annual Whimsy exhibit will open at the Whitney Center for the Arts and will feature artwork by Nancy Baumiller, Michael Boroneic, Misa Chappell, Ryder Cooley, Katherine Haig, Don Orcutt and Schorr. An afterparty from 8 to 10 p.m. will follow the reception with a live multimedia musical performance by the Dust Bowl Faeries.

New shows from local artists will also be displayed at Steven Valenti’s Clothing for Men, RJ Stohr Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, the Brothership Building Window, the Marketplace Café, Berkshire Paint and Sip, the Kinderhook Group Real Estate, Hotel on North, Berkshire Museum, and the Funky Phoenix. For more information, contact Downtown Pittsfield Inc. at (413) 443-6501.

–E.E.

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Ecologist, activist Sandra Steingraber  speaks on PCBs, fracked gas and human health

Sandra Steingraber. Photo: Benjamin Gervais

Lenox — Berkshire Environmental Action Team and the Housatonic River Initiative will present ecologist and author Sandra Steingraber in a talk titled “Fracked Gas, PCBs and Our Health” Saturday, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. at Lenox Memorial High School. The talk will be followed by a question-and-answer session and book signing.

Steingraber has written extensively about topics ranging from climate change and toxic chemical exposure to developmental and reproductive disorders. Her 1997 book “Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment” changed the way many people think about toxic chemicals and their connections to cancer. The book was based on Steingraber’s personal journey as a cancer survivor and her career as a scientist. The book was released as a film in 2010. Steingraber’s other works include “Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis,” “Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood” and “Post Diagnosis.” She was also featured in the recent environmental activism documentary “Unfractured.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact BEAT at (413) 230-7321 or team@thebeatnews.org.

–E.E.

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‘Margaree River Valley, Nova Scotia’ by Frank Mason. Image courtesy the estate of Frank Mason

Scoville Library to screen Frank Mason documentary

Salisbury, Conn. — On Saturday, Dec. 2, at 4 p.m., the Scoville Memorial Library’s Documentary Filmmaker Series will screen “A Light in the Dark: The Art and Life of Frank Mason” with videographer Scott Mason. The event will also include an exhibition of a number of Frank Mason’s original works.

‘Madame W.’ by Frank Mason. Image courtesy the estate of Frank Mason

Frank Mason enjoyed a prolific career as an oil painter and inspired others to embrace the classical style of painting. His passion for learning and teaching remained central throughout his life. The film explores the legacy of the New York artist and educator as he reveals the scandal behind art restoration and the fights to preserve cultural heritage. In Mason’s opinion, many of the greatest paintings have been destroyed by overzealous art restorers.

Scott Mason, grandnephew of Frank Mason, studied with Frank Mason for a half decade before transitioning to the medium of filmmaking. His background as a trained artist coupled with his family history led him to director Sonny Quinn to bring Frank Mason’s story to light.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Scoville Memorial Library at (860) 435-2838 or scovlibn@biblio.org.

–E.E.

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Devesh Chandra, left, and Veena Chandra. Photo courtesy Bard College at Simon’s Rock

Simon’s Rock to host concert of Indian classical music

Great Barrington — Bard College at Simon’s Rock will present a concert of Indian classical music by the mother-and-son duo of sitarist and vocalist Veena Chandra and tabla master Devesh Chandra Sunday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m., in the Kellogg Music Center. Guitarist and Simon’s Rock music professor John Myers will accompany Veena Chandra during the first half the program.

An internationally renowned sitartist, composer, teacher and choreographer, Veena Chandra is noted for her skill and sensitivity in the meend (bending of strings) and her ability to produce vocal sounds on the sitar. Devesh Chandra is a sought-after tabla player who has worked with musicians across a broad range of musical genres including Western classical, flamenco, jazz and Latin music.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Simon’s Rock at (413) 644-4400 or info@simons-rock.edu.

–E.E.


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