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Bits & Bytes: CATA exhibit at Lauren Clark; Egremont Library seeks artists, crafters; Montessori open house; Columbia Art School invitation

By Wednesday, Mar 11, 2015 News

CATA artists at Lauren Clark Fine Arts Gallery

Great Barrington – Community Access to the Arts (CATA) has been nurturing the artistic talent of people with disabilities for more than 20 years. Those talents will be on display at Lauren Clark Fine Art Gallery on Railroad Street from March 14 through 23, when the gallery hosts a spring show featuring paintings by 14 CATA visual artists.

The opening reception is Saturday, March 14, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Paintings featured in the show were created in visual arts workshops held by CATA over the past year and led by CATA’s Faculty Artists, all local artists in their own right. These workshops in painting, drawing and sculpture are part of a larger group of 1,000 CATA arts workshops held annually, which serve 600 people with disabilities across Berkshire County. Workshops focus on both the visual and performing arts and include modern dance, tap, movement, yoga, singing/drumming, juggling, and creative writing.

Curated by gallery owner Lauren Clark, the exhibit includes paintings with spring themes and landscapes, including a weeping willow by CATA artist, Eric Schumann, best known for his painterly brush strokes. Schumann is one of CATA’s most prolific artists and uses the commission he earns on the sale of his artwork to pay for the many CATA workshops he takes throughout the year.

Established in 2006, Lauren Clark Fine Arts features fine art and contemporary craft by regional and internationally recognized artists in all media, with an emphasis on local artists and community.

“CATA’s core mission is to shine a light on the artistry of people with disabilities. We are thrilled that the public will be able to encounter the extraordinary work of our CATA artists in the beautiful space that is Lauren Clark Fine Arts,” says CATA Executive Director Margaret Keller.

All artwork is for sale, with proceeds split between individual CATA artists and the CATA programs that support them.

The inclusion of CATA’s artists with disabilities in the local arts community takes on particular significance in March, which is National Developmental Disability Awareness Month. CATA is also participating in the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers on March 19. For more information about these events, visit www.communityaccesstotheARTS.org or call 413-528-5485.

— D.S.

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Egremont Library’s call to artists and crafters

IMG_0012Egremont — It’s that time again. We’ve sprung our clocks forward, a warm breeze has ruffled our hair and the  Egremont Public Library is calling all artists and crafters! The second Annual ELF (Egremont Library Fundraiser) is going to take place on Saturday and Sunday, July 18th & 19th, at the South Egremont Firehouse and next door at The First Congregational Church, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The location is in the center of South Egremont on Rte. 23 across from Kenver. As the vendors will set up their wares inside there are no worries about weather, and everything can be left overnight. The cost of a 10×10 space is $30 for the weekend, vendors must bring their own tables.

It is definitely going to be the place to go that weekend. Not only will the Craft Fair be a hive of activity, the Firehouse will be putting on a Barbecue! If that is not enough, the church will be selling drinks and snacks. If you read this and are not an artist or crafter, put it on your calendar anyway. If you are an artist or crafter, call Bonnie (413) 528-5637 or write to her bonnie.oloff@gmail.com.

 — D.S.

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Project Native Film Festival opens in South Hadley

"Just Eat It' filmmakers Jen Rustemeyer and Grant Baldwin. The film will be shown at the Mahaiwe Theatre on April 11.

“Just Eat It: A food waste story’ filmmakers Jen Rustemeyer and Grant Baldwin. The film will be shown at the Mahaiwe Theatre on April 11.

South Hadley — Project Native announces the official selections for its 5th annual environmental Film Festival.

The festival will begin Sunday, March 15 at the Tower Theaters in South Hadley, Massachusetts. The Festival has always been hosted in Great Barrington, but this year, in response to requests from the community, Project Native will bring a full day of the festival to the Pioneer Valley.

“We expect this festival to be the biggest and best yet. With 14 award-winning films on a wide-range of current environmental topics, if people don’t leave the theater more educated, inspired, enraged or motivated to act then we are doing something wrong,” said Karen Lyness LeBlanc, Education and Outreach Coordinator For Project Native.

Fortunately, festival history has proven otherwise. In 2011, following a screening of the film Bag It (at Project Native’s 1st Film Festival), a group of community members gathered to discuss banning single-use plastic bags in Great Barrington. A committee formed and after a lot of hard work a ban was put into effect on March 1, 2014.

A special screening of Just Eat It: A food waste story will be held on Saturday April 11 at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. The directors and subjects of the film will conduct a Q & A following the film. On Sunday, April 12 seven award-winning environmental films will be shown at the Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington. As in years past, the day will start at 10 a.m. with a program for children and families.

Project Native is a non-profit environmental education organization committed to growing native plants, maintaining a native butterfly house and wildlife sanctuary, and promoting stewardship of the local landscape.

Since its inception, the festival has been offered free of charge as a gift to the community.

Hosting this free festival would not be possible without funding from the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation and official sponsors: Berkshire Coop Market, GoodWorks Insurance, Kenver Ltd., and Bobbie Hallig.

Official Selections 

Tower Theaters – Sunday, March 15

DamNation (2014)

This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has moved beyond the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang to go mainstream.

Plastic Paradise:  The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (2013)

Ocean-borne plastic trash on Midway Island in the South Pacific Ocean.

Ocean-borne plastic trash on Midway Island in the South Pacific Ocean.

Every single piece of plastic that has ever been created since the 19th century is still somewhere on our planet. So if it never goes away, where does it go?

Thousands of miles away from civilization, Midway Atoll is in one of the most remote places on earth. And yet it has become ground zero for The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, syphoning plastics from three distant continents.

The Starfish Throwers (2014)

Worlds apart, a five-star chef, a 12-year-old girl, and a retired schoolteacher discover how their individual efforts to feed the poor ignite a movement in the fight against hunger.

Resistance (2014)

Antibiotics were first massed-produced in the 1940s. Their ability to fight and kill bacteria revolutionized medicine and had profound effects on everything from agriculture to war. After less than 80 years, however, these miracle drugs are failing. Resistant infections kill hundreds of thousands of people around the world each year, and there are now dozens of so-called Superbugs, each with its own challenges and costs. How did this happen? Using microscopic footage, harrowing personal stories, and expert insights Resistance clarifies the problem of antibiotic resistance, how we got to this point, and what we can do to turn the tide.

Groundswell Rising, Protecting Our Children’s Air and Water (2014)

Groundswell Rising brings us into the lives of people from all walks of life and all sides of the political spectrum who are dedicating themselves to resisting, slowing down or stopping fracking. It is a story told by those who are living it, with honesty, passion and a sincere desire to protect our children and the world we leave them.

We will see how an industry rich with political connections managed to slip into a position of almost untouchable power and how at-risk communities have come together to fight back. And we will see how not protecting the cyclical flow of air and water puts us all at risk, no matter where we live.

— D.S.

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The Montessori School of the Berkshires Tour Day March 17

Lenox Dale – The Montessori School of the Berkshires will hold a school tour day at 21 Patterson Road on Tuesday, March 17 at 9 am and 10 am. The tours will give families a chance to observe classes in session and to see Montessori’s discovery-based education in action. Parents who register will receive a free book, “Montessori Madness.”

“Visitors taking part in the tour will discover the Montessori advantage and learn how Montessori education focuses on children actively participating in their learning,” said Todd Covert, Head of School at The Montessori School of the Berkshires. “Parents will see how our environment is designed to meet each student’s unique needs, interests, abilities, and development, with children progressing at their own pace.”

Interested parents can register for the tours online at www.BerkshireMontessori.org or by calling (413) 637-3662. The Montessori School of the Berkshires is open to students from 15 months through eighth grade. There are immediate openings in the toddler program and early childhood programs, with limited openings for elementary and adolescent programs.

For more information about the School’s programs visit www.BerkshireMontessori.org.

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— H.B.

 Art School of Columbia County spring classes

'Blue Dawn,' oil, courtesy of HM Saffer, II

‘Blue Dawn,’ oil, courtesy of HM Saffer, II

Harlemville, N.Y. — The Art School of Columbia County has announced its Spring offerings, all to be held at the Old Schoolhouse, 1198 Route 21c in Harlemville.

Tim Ebneth offers Mixed Media: Collage as Journal for three Monday evenings from 6-9 p.m. starting March 16. With an emphasis on being fun, accessible and in the moment, students will learn to combine collage and painting to create collages as a daily journal.

HM Saffer’s Oil Painting classes return on Tuesday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Session I March 17, 24, and 31 and Session II April 7, 14, and 21. Students will learn color, design, and rich textures with this versatile medium. HM Saffer also offers Sumi-e (Brush Painting) in the Chinese and Japanese classical tradition, on six Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., starting March 19.

Jeffrey Neuman’s Yes, You can Draw returns for six Wednesday evenings from 6-9 p.m. starting March 18.  Students will learn the fundamentals of drawing using hands-on exercises and art historical context.

Beth Thielen offers Paste Paper and Small Books as a Weekend Workshop on March 28-29 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day.  Students will learn how to create colorful decorative papers and make small books. Thielen also offers Monoprinting  as a weekend workshop May 2-3 (with an optional third day May 4) from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day. This unique process combines painting, collage and drawing in a direct and spontaneous process.

Jerry Freedner teaches In Focus: Introduction to Digital Photography April 9 from 6-9 p.m.  Students who wish to pursue additional study may take his class Further Exposure: Photography II as a weekend workshop April 18-19, 10-4 each day.

Several courses focus on the beauty of the spring landscape. E S DeSanna’s Land & Sky: Watercolor & Pastel on Saturday, April 12 from 10 a.m. — 4 p.m. teaches students how to layer to explore subtle color and textural effects.  Robin Guthridge’s In the Round from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on April 24 shows students how to create light and shadow in still life arrangements, inspired by eggs, nests, and spring berries. Draga Šušanj’s sculpture class, Spring Impressions, on Saturday, April 25 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., teaches students how to translate environment into sculptural form using willow branches and transparent Unryu (mulberry) paper.

Also inspired by spring gardens, Mick Hales offers Garden Photography on two Sunday afternoons (April 26 and May 17) from 2-5 p.m. Students will learn garden photography and how to create their own inspirational calendar. Sara Pruiksma will take students out into the school’s garden to study plant forms, and then work in mixed media in How to Speak Botanically two Thursday evenings, April 30 and May 7 from 6-9 p.m.

Finally, students wishing short but intensive courses will enjoy Maj Kalfus’s Exploring Color, Saturday May 9 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. And Gary Finelli encourages his students to bring in their favorite collectibles to learn abstract drawing in Pop Art Design, May 9 from 1-4 p.m.

The Old School House is at the intersection of Harlemville Road and Route 21C. Next to the Hawthorne Valley Farm Store, the building is centrally located within Columbia County, a ten minute drive from Chatham, and one mile from the Taconic Parkway, at the Harlemville/Philmont/217/21c Exit.

To register for classes online, go to artschoolofcolumbiacounty.org. For more information, email info@artschoolofcolumbiacounty.org or call 518-672-7140.

— H.B.

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