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Berkshires Arts Festival: A celebration of imagination and artisans

“The unique thing about this event is that you really can count that people will come here,” event organizer Richard Rothbard told The Berkshire Edge.

Great Barrington — Artists from all across the country gathered at the 24th annual Berkshires Arts Festival at Ski Butternut, which was held Friday, July 5 through Sunday, July 7.

According to event organizer Richard Rothbard, who co-owns An American Craftsman gallery in Lenox with his wife Joanna Rothbard, this year’s event included 200 artists and craftspeople. “The unique thing about this event is that you really can count that people will come here,” Rothbard told The Berkshire Edge. “We are getting thousands of people who come to the Berkshires because they are on vacation here. They go to the theater in the evening after the event to either Jacob’s Pillow, Shakespeare & Company, Tanglewood, or Barrington Stage Company. This is a wonderful place for families to meet with each other and see these great artists.”

Event organizer Richard Rothbard, co-owner of An American Craftsman in Lenox. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.

From jewelry, clothing, paintings, photography, and pottery, the Berkshires Arts Festival had a wide diversity of art and artists. “People come here from Florida, Minnesota, California, the Midwest, and we have many locals,” Rothbard said. “When you work with hundreds of artists that all love what they do, it doesn’t get any better than that. Also, people who come here to this festival get to see Ski Butternut when it’s not skiing season. Most people get to see Ski Butternut in the wintertime, but if you look at the grounds here when there’s no snow on it, you can see how gorgeous it is.”

Steven Kolodny Designs from Malden Bridge, N.Y. Kolodny sold his unique jewelry at the festival. “This festival has a really nice and laid-back atmosphere,” Kolodny said. “There’s a really great mix of artists here. To me, this is the only good quality show in this area.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Photographer Zili Zhang from Greenwich, Conn. This was Zhang’s first time at the festival. “I’m honored to be with these artists,” Zhang said. “This is a big show, and there are so many good artists here.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
John Van Orsouw from New York selling his psychedelic and rock and roll-themed paintings. Orsouw said that he has been taking part in the event for the past seven years. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Paul Henry Devoti of Atlantis Studio with his daughter Sophia. Devoti lives in North Carolina but has an art studio in San Juan De Oriente, Nicaragua. This year’s festival was the first for Devoti. “I think that the Berkshires is a beautiful setting for having an art festival,” Devoti said. “It’s great to get all of these artists together in one spot. There’s this great community vibe here where people can look [at] and enjoy art, and also find something special to bring home and cherish.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Artist Jeanne DeCoste, from Bellingham, Mass., sold a variety of her paintings at the festival. “This is my fourth year, and it is always fun to be here,” DeCoste said. “It’s great to walk around the festival and to see all of these artists together.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Rich Wansor, from Otis, and some of his hand-forged work. “This is my third year at the festival, and it has given my work some great exposure,” Wansor said. “I’ve gotten some good commission work from this festival, and it’s a great location for me.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Sculptor Dale Rogers, from Haverhill, Mass., with some of his fabricated metal work, which was on display at the festival. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
A whole field of Rogers’ work was on display at the festival. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Artist Judith Wombwell, from Plainfield, Conn., has had her origami-based work on display at the festival for the last two years. “It’s great to see so many people come into my booth who want to know about origami,” Wombwell said. “You get to have very unique conversations with people at this festival.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Bruce Jefferies Reinfeld and his colorful lenticular art. Reinfeld came up to the festival for the first time this year from Philadelphia, Penn. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Lois Warner, from Newton, Conn., and her colorful paintings. This was Warner’s second year at the festival. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Artist Rahmon Olugunna, originally from Nigeria but now living in Chicago. Olugunna has been taking part in the festival for three years. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Beth Adoette, from Pawtucket, R.I. “This is my third year at the festival, and it’s a great chance to be in the mountains, which is what I love,” Adoette said. “This festival is a great way to make relationships with other artists.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Amanda Jeanne from Quebec City. “This is my first time doing this festival, and I love the wide range of artists here,” Jeanne said. “There are a lot of cool people to meet here.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Great Barrington-based Daniel Bellow created pottery on his wheel during the festival. “I’ve met a lot of great people here,” Bellow said. “It’s great for me because this show is in my hometown.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Iva Kalikow, of Becket, has been at the festival for five years with her “Fine Art in Glass.” “The artists here are just fantastic,” Kalikow said. “Everybody here is very creative, and every festival includes a great collection of all different artistic mediums.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Brooklyn, N.Y.-based artist Hillary Mizrachi has been at the festival for four years. “There are so many great arts and artists here at the festival,” Mizrachi said. “I really love the community at the festival, just some really great people who love great art.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Stephen Tucker, from Kerry, N.C., sold his work as Imperfect Tense Pottery. “This is my first year here at the festival, and this has been a great experience,” Tucker said. “The vendors are all wonderful, and everybody has been really friendly and kind.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Madeline Shir, from Shir Glassworks in Greenfield, Mass., sold her work and her husband Ori’s work during the festival. “This is my first time at the festival, and I have seen a lot of galleries as I drive through the Berkshires,” Shir said. “It’s great to see art in a place that’s so full of nature, and I think that makes people appreciate the things around them in a way that connects into art.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Husband and wife Chez Dennis and Sandra Dennis are co-owners of Chez Dennis Jewelry, from Westchester County, N.Y. “We’ve been coming to this show for the past three years, and it’s great because there are all of these Fourth of July festivities surrounding the festival,” Sandra Dennis said. “It’s great to see all of these artists around and visitors to the Berkshires can come around to the festival so they can buy something that they love.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Artist Maria Livrone, from Livrone/Zack Art Designs from the northeast part of Pennsylvania, with her encaustic wax artwork. “This is my first year in the Berkshires, and I think it’s a lovely show,” Livrone said. “The customers here at the festival are very loyal because they all came out in the extreme heat and humidity.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Emily Gwynn from Hands to Work Textiles in Shelburne Falls, Mass. “I love this location at Ski Butternut, and outdoor shows are great for textiles because it gives them movement in the wind,” Gwynn said. “The quality of the work at this festival is very high, and I feel like I’m in good company.” Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Keith De Cesare from the Inwood Butterfly Sanctuary in New York City. This year’s festival included a butterfly house with monarch butterflies. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
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