Saturday, July 13, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: ‘Love Yourself’ at the Colonial; ‘A Little Rebellion Now and Then’; Marie Kendall photography talk; ‘Empowering Women and Girls Worldwide’

Shays’ Rebellion is viewed as an agrarian revolt pitting impoverished farmers in western Massachusetts against the wealthy merchant class of the coastal eastern part of the state.

‘Love Yourself’ exhibit to support youth suicide prevention

Pittsfield — Berkshire Theatre Group will present Arts in Recovery for Youth’s second annual “Love Yourself” art exhibition opening Sunday, Feb. 9, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Colonial Theatre, 111 South St.

Performances will include interactive dance and original music by Grace Ida Marks, the Berkshire Theatre Group, Jake Madison and Rachael Bentz, as well as poetry by Jack Kelly and Ayah Lehtonen, and lived experience speaker Sophia Bilia. Opening remarks will be given by Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield, and AIRY founder and director Marney Schorr, There will also be a screening of the AIRY digital film “The Story of Indigo Phoenix,” which explores social issues, the emerging teen identity and creating a sense of belonging through peer support.

A still from the film ‘The Story of Indigo Phoenix’ by Rachael Bentz. Image courtesy Berkshire Theatre Group

On view and for sale will be youth artworks including acrylic paintings by Jack Kelly, Jalencia Melendez and Jake Madison; mixed media by Kiara Bresett; watercolors by Sophia Bilia; figurative drawings by Amy Lacrosse; and digital art by Rachael Bentz. Guest artists include Tammara Leminen, Leo Mazzeo, Ellen Joffe Halpern, Caroline Kelly, Misa Chappell, Peggy Morse and Marney Schorr.

This event is free and open to the public. “Love Yourself” will be on display in the lobby of the Colonial from Friday, Feb. 7, until Friday, March 20. Sales will benefit AIRY and BTG PLAYS! education programs. For more information, contact Berkshire Theatre Group at (413) 997-4444.


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History Talk Replay series to screen Shays’ Rebellion presentation

Dennis Picard at Tyringham Union Church in 2019 discussing Shays’ Rebellion. Photo courtesy Bidwell House Museum

Monterey — On Sunday, Feb., 9, at 1 p.m. at the Monterey Community Center, the Bidwell House Museum’s History Talk Replay series will screen “A Little Rebellion Now and Then: A History of Shays’ Rebellion,” a talk given in July 2019 by former Storrowton Village Museum director Dennis Picard.

Shays’ Rebellion is viewed as an agrarian revolt pitting impoverished farmers in western Massachusetts against the wealthy merchant class of the coastal eastern part of the state. Picard shared stories about people who became known as the “Regulators,” their activities in the area, a few personages of local interest, and the effect on the nation’s early history.

Picard began his career at Old Sturbridge Village, spending 12 years filling various positions. He also served on the staff of Hancock Shaker Village as a historic trade craftsman and site interpreter. He has held the position of assistant director and director at sites including the Fort at No. 4 in Charlestown, New Hampshire, and the Sheffield Historical Society. He recently retired after 27 years at Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield.

The event is free and open to the public but pre-registration is appreciated due to the small size of the venue. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Bidwell House Museum at (413) 528-6888 or


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A photo of a Norfolk society house by Marie Kendall. Photo courtesy Scoville Memorial Library

Talk to highlight 19th-century photographer Marie Kendall

Salisbury, Conn. — On Saturday, Feb. 8, at 4 p.m., the Scoville Memorial Library will welcome Norfolk Historical Society director Barry Webber, who will give a talk titled “Capturing the Age of Elegance in the Northwest Corner: Photographs of Marie H. Kendall.”

A photo by Marie Kendall. Photo courtesy Scoville Memorial Library

In 1884, 30-year-old Marie Kendall and her three children moved to northwest Connecticut with her husband, who had taken the position of town doctor in Norfolk. Frustrated by the lack of a photographer’s studio in town and wanting to capture images of her growing family, Kendall taught herself the art of photography. What started out as a hobby soon blossomed into a full-time career. Upon moving to Norfolk, she spent 20 years photographing the evolving landscape, farm scenes the elegant buildings and the local inhabitants. She braved the aftermath of the Great Blizzard of 1888, producing some remarkable pictures. She won a bronze medal in 1893 at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and later exhibited at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis.

Unfortunately she destroyed many of the thousands of glass negatives she possessed before her death in 1943. Recently Webber was put in touch with Kendall’s surviving granddaughter in Maryland, who possessed family memorabilia, plates and photographs including unknown portraits of Kendall, adding to the Society’s established collection.

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


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Film and discussion to focus on empowerment of women and girls

Clockwise from left: Perfect Ten program director Tina Dipper, Sisters for Peace founder and executive director Caroline Wheeler, and Girl Rising CEO Christina Lowery. Photos courtesy Spencertown Academy Arts Center

Spencertown, N.Y. — Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s Conversations with Neighbors series will host “Empowering Women and Girls Worldwide: An Afternoon of Film and Discussion” Sunday, Feb. 9, at 2 p.m. The event will feature a panel composed of three local advocates: Perfect Ten program director Tina Dipper; Sisters for Peace founder and executive director Caroline Wheeler; and Girl Rising CEO Christina Lowery, who will serve as moderator and show excerpts of the documentary film “Girl Rising” that led to the founding of her nonprofit

Lowery helped found Girl Rising in 2009, serving as its managing director and, in 2017, led its transition from a film production company to a nonprofit. Girl Rising works with local partners by providing customized tools and curricula to build confidence and agency in girls, and to change attitudes and social norms so that entire communities stand up for girls and against gender discrimination.

After reading Nicholas Kristof’s book “Half the Sky,” Wheeler engaged 25 of her friends to participate in the Heifer Project and they bought a cow for a family. What began as an intimate giving circle has grown into Sisters for Peace, which is a 501(c)(3) grant receiving/giving foundation that works to empower women and girls through education, training and community development.

Perfect Ten was founded in Hudson in 2010 to serve as a place where girls might gather, support one another, and develop the skills and courage required for making their own dreams come true. Dipper worked at Perfect Ten during its infancy and returned to the organization in June 2019. Having grown up in Hudson, she has experienced the lack of afterschool activities and appreciates the opportunity and experience Perfect Ten has brought in to the community.

Admission is $20 general admission, $15 for members and free for youth under age 18. Proceeds will be donated to the panelists’ organizations. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Spencertown Academy Arts Center at (518) 392-3693 or



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