Author Joyce Carol Oates is one of the many participants in Spencertown Academy Arts Center's Virtual Festival of Books, which kicks off this weekend. Photo: Dustin Cohen

Bits & Bytes: Virtual Festival of Books; CATA at the Clark; ‘Out of the Silence’; Berkshire artists in sculpture show

Since the COVID-19 pandemic caused CATA programs to move online in March, CATA has delivered care packages of art supplies to its artists so they can continue to connect and use their talents via virtual arts workshops.

Spencertown Academy Festival of Books to move online

Spencertown, N.Y. — Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s 15th annual Festival of Books will take place online this year, with virtual events running from Friday, Sept. 4, through Monday, Oct. 12. The Festival will feature Zoom events with authors and documentary filmmakers, children’s programs, and an online book sale.

“We have a stellar line-up of authors for 2020,” said Spencertown Academy board member David Highfill, who is also vice president and executive editor at HarperCollins Publishers imprint William Morrow. “Joyce Carol Oates, surely one of our most ambitious and prodigiously talented novelists, will discuss her new novel about a troubled family; journalist Robert Kolker will talk about his No. 1 New York Times bestseller about the trauma of schizophrenia running through one family; David Gehr will explore the work of several brilliant New Yorker cartoonists; and Ed Ward will entertain us with stories of 1960s and 70s rock & roll, the most evergreen of pop culture topics; and much more.” Also included in this year’s festival will be the team behind the acclaimed documentary film “The Booksellers,” including director D.W. Young and producers Judith Mizrachy and Dan Wechsler.

Admission is free to all events, but advance registration is required as Zoom capacity is limited. Registration is open now for most sessions; others will follow soon. The online book sale will open for Spencertown Academy members on Friday, Sept. 4, at 10 a.m. and for the general public on Saturday, Sept. 5, at 10 a.m. For more information and a schedule of events, see the Berkshire Edge calendar, or contact Spencertown Academy Arts Center at (518) 392-3693 or


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CATA’s ‘I Am a Part of Art’ on display at the Clark

Untitled, 2019, byt CATA artist Leslie Scarlet. Image courtesy Community Access to the Arts

Williamstown — Community Access to the Arts presents its annual art show, “I Am a Part of Art,” at the Clark Art Institute. The exhibit features more than 50 paintings and drawings by artists with disabilities from across Berkshire County as well as Columbia County, New York.

Each work in the exhibit was created through CATA’s year-round workshops serving teens, adults and elders with disabilities. Works are professionally matted and framed, and all pieces are available for sale, with proceeds providing commissions to the individual artists.

This annual exhibition is the culmination of hundreds of visual arts workshops that CATA holds throughout the year in day programs, residences, schools, elder care settings and in the CATA studio. Since the COVID-19 pandemic caused CATA programs to move online in March, CATA has delivered care packages of art supplies to its artists so they can continue to connect and use their talents via virtual arts workshops. Several of the works in this exhibit were created during this period.

The exhibit hangs at the Clark’s Lunder Center at Stone Hill through Sunday, Oct. 25. CATA will launch an online, multimedia version of the exhibit in mid-September, which will include behind-the-scenes photos, video commentary from CATA artists and digital art talks from guest curators.


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Bard Music Festival to present ‘Out of the Silence: A Celebration of Music’

Leon Botstein conducting the Orchestra Now. Photo: David DeNee

Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. — From Saturday, Sept. 5, through Saturday, Sept. 26, the Bard Music Festival will join forces with the Orchestra Now and the Bard Conservatory of Music to present “Out of the Silence: A Celebration of Music,” a series of live-streamed concerts for string orchestra, piano and percussion via coming to UPSTREAMING, the Fisher Center’s virtual stage.

Pairing works by Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák and Bartók with music by 10 prominent Black composers — ranging from Classical pioneer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges to contemporary Americans Alvin Singleton, Adolphus Hailstork and Jessie Montgomery — the series will be performed without an audience and with appropriate safety measures under the leadership of TŌN music director and Bard College president Leon Botstein plus other members of the artistic team.

Said Botstein: “These concerts are an affirmation of Bard’s commitment to the centrality of music in our public culture. The series takes its title from the opening work on this series, by William Grant Still. Out of the Silence therefore carries two meanings: the return of music to the public stage after months of silence, and the foregrounding of music too long kept in the shadows, music by Black composers who have never gotten their proper due on the concert stages of the world. As the performance of music begins anew, Bard will pioneer, as it has in the past, on behalf of those composers and works of music left, unjustly, in obscurity.”

TŌN founder Botstein leads the orchestra in all four programs of “Out of the Silence,” which also features appearances by TŌN’s academic director and associate conductor James Bagwell, resident conductor Zachary Schwartzman and assistant conductor Andrés Rivas. Keyboard faculty from the Bard Conservatory of Music will join TŌN for several performances.

All programs are free, and registration is requested. For more information, contact (845) 758-7900 or


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Berkshire artists featured in sculpture exhibit

‘Navajo Sunset’ by Robin Tost. Photo courtesy Flying Horse Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit

South Hamilton — Beginning Saturday, Sept. 5, several Berkshire artists will exhibit their work at the 11th annual Flying Horse Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit on the campus of Pingree School. The show, featuring close to 50 works by New York and New England sculptors, is one of the largest displays of outdoor art in the country.

This year, in order to provide visitors with a safe outdoor experience, the organizers are requiring everyone to wear masks and to socially distance from those not in their group. Instead of a printed catalog, a free app with a guide and map can be downloaded to all cell phones, There is also an online catalog. The artists from the greater Berkshire area are Peter Barrett, Great Barrington; Robin Tost, Mill River; Robert Markey, Ashfield; James Meyer, Lakeville, Connecticut; Joe Chirchirillo, Bennington, Vermont; Ursula Perry, Woodstock, New York; and Phil Thorne, Norwich, Vermont.

The show will run through Sunday, Nov. 29. It is open to the public on weekends and holidays during daylight hours.