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A hay sculpture by Michael Melle, one of the 26 artists who will be participating in the hilltown Arts Alliance's Hilltown Open Studio Tour this weekend. Photo courtesy Hilltown Arts Alliance

Bits & Bytes: Hilltown Open Studio Tour; ‘A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.’ screening; CEWM solstice party; mill history talk; Greenagers to dedicate garden beds

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By Monday, Jun 18, 2018 Life In the Berkshires

Studio tour to highlight hilltown artists

Worthington — On Saturday, June 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, June 24, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Hilltown Arts Alliance will offer its first-ever Hilltown Open Studio Tour, in which 26 artists in the hilltowns of Chesterfield, Cummington, North Chester, Plainfield and Worthington will open their studios to the public.

Guests will get a glimpse into the creative process and the physical work that make up the daily lives of 26 artists participating at 24 locations, plus a group exhibition at the Cummington Community House Gallery, 33 Main St., Cummington. Special demonstrations will take place both days from artists including Mark Shapiro, who will throw pots on a treadle wheel; Jeanne Johns, who will paint a portrait from a model; and Valerie Claff, who will paint with watercolors. Artists who will be working during the event include sculptors Michael Melle and Beckie Kravetz, and still-life painter June Ferrin.

The tour is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Hilltown Arts Alliance at (413) 238-0481 or hilltownarts@gmail.com.


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Jackson Smith as the Boy and James DeMunn as the Man in ‘A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.’ Image courtesy atreearockacloudthefilm.com

Sandisfield Arts Center to screen ‘A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud’

Sandisfield — Actor and director Karen Allen’s award-winning short film, “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.”, will return to its roots Saturday, June 23, at 7:30 p.m. with a screening at the Sandisfield Arts Center.

Based on the short story by Carson McCullers, “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.” is set at a roadside café on an early spring morning in 1947 when an older man imparts his wisdom to a young boy, relating a tale of personal heartbreak and loss, and of his hard-won understanding of the nature of love. Filmed in Sandisfield in 2016, the film won several international festival awards in 2017. This will be the film’s first screening in the Berkshires since its inclusion at the 2017 Berkshire International Film Festival.

An award-winning theatre director as well as a film and stage actress, Berkshire resident Allen made her directorial and screenwriting debut in film with “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.” Produced by Brian Long, and Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative executive director Diane Pearlman, the film features the talents of cinematographer Richard Sands, Academy Award-nominated production designer Kristi Zea, film editor Noriko Sakamoto and composer Mark Kelso. The cast includes Jeffrey DeMunn (“The Green Mile,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Walking Dead,” “Billions”), James McMenamin (“Orange is the New Black”) and 12-year-old Jackson Smith in the role of the Boy.

Tickets are $10. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Sandisfield Arts Center at (413) 258-4100 or info@sandisfieldartscenter.org.


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Close Encounters With Music solstice party to feature traditional Chinese dance

Dancers from Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute at a recent parade. Photo courtesy Close Encounters With Music

Copake, N.Y. — Close Encounters With Music will provide an opportunity to interact with nature and sculpture and enjoy music and dance performances Sunday, June 24, at the estate of Stanley Cohen. Scheduled to optimize viewing the beauty of sunset as dancers from Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute in New York City thread their way across the hills in a dramatic traditional Dragon Dance, the solstice party will take place from 4 to 7 p.m.

The Institute, dedicated to preserving and promulgating Chinese culture and folk art through education and presentation, has made appearances with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, MTV, Caesars Boardwalk Regency, Town Hall, the American Museum of Natural History, Gracie Mansion and Lincoln Center.

The event will also include a cocktail reception and an auction to benefit CEWM’s programs that will include sought-after products, restaurant and store gift cards, luxury services, fine art and craft objects, tickets to performance venues, and more.

Tickets are $80. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact close encounters With Music at (800) 843-0778 or cewmusic@aol.com.


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Employees of the Robbins and Kellogg Shoe Company in Pittsfield, 1880. Photo courtesy Berkshire Historical Society

Historian Dickson to discuss Berkshire mill history

Dalton — On Wednesday, June 20, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Dalton Free Public Library, historian and author John Dickson will present the talk “Why Here? The Rise of Berkshire County’s Industrial Might.”

Using historic photos of the 19th-century mills and factories, Dickson will reveal the story of the people who harnessed the power of streams and rivers to make a living for their families, turning Berkshire County from an agricultural frontier to an industrial powerhouse supplying the nation and drawing workers from around the world.

A resident of Pittsfield, Dickson is the chair of the Pittsfield Historical Commission, a member of the board of the Berkshire Historical Society and the author of the book “Berkshire County’s Industrial Heritage.”

The talk is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Housatonic Valley Association at (413) 298-7024 or adixon@hvatoday.org.


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Greenagers to dedicate community organic garden beds

Aretha Whitehead and Cailen Cooper of Greenagers install raised garden beds at French Park in North Egremont. Photo courtesy Greenagers

North Egremont — Egremont businesses, town officials, Greenagers and local families will gather Wednesday, June 20, at 5 p.m. at French Park, 21 Prospect Lake Road, to dedicate newly installed raised-bed organic gardens now available to the community. With some garden beds already matched with families, the organizers are gathering to celebrate the effort and the community is invited.

Egremont business owners raised funds for garden construction and installation in an effort led by Kenver and carried out by Greenagers, which recruited local families to adopt and plant the beds. Priority was given to families with children or grandchildren who will learn about growing their own organic food. Two beds have extra elevation for gardeners with physical limitations.

Several garden beds are still available. Those who are interested in using one are asked to contact Greenagers Front Lawn Food coordinator Aretha Whitehead at 413-644-9090 or aretha@greenagers.org and indicate if there are children in their families or if they have family members with physical limitations.


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