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'Destined' by Sean McCusker will be featured in the Aug. 3 First Fridays Artswalk in Pittsfield. Image courtesy Downtown Pittsfield Inc.

Bits & Bytes: First Fridays Artswalk; ‘Homebody’ at Ancram Opera House; Mama’s Night Out; ‘Distinctions in Glass’ at Schantz Galleries

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By Wednesday, Aug 1, 2018 Life In the Berkshires

First Fridays Artswalk to feature local favorites and emerging artists

Pittsfield — The Aug. 3 First Fridays Artswalk will encompass over a dozen art shows featuring more than a dozen regional and student artists in Pittsfield’s bustling Upstreet Cultural District from 5 to 8 p.m. The Artswalk will kick off with opening receptions and artists present throughout, plus a free guided walking tour beginning at 5 p.m. at the BRTA Intermodal Center.

The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts hosts “Dreaming of Light,” an exhibition of oil paintings by Sean McCusker, through Friday, Aug. 31, with a reception during Artswalk. Mysterious landscapes that light the imagination, McCusker’s oil paintings, each painstakingly built from as many as 30 layers, glow with an inner light.

‘Merry Pranks II’ by Nina Lipkowitz. Image courtesy Downtown Pittsfield Inc.

For the month of August, the Kinderhook Group Real Estate features “iPaint on My iPad: Meditations in Light & Color” by Nina Lipkowitz. With the touch of her index finger, Lipkowitz uses the apps Brushes and Brushes Redux to paint in light with infinite marks, brushes and colors, enhancing many of the works with watercolor, gouache, acrylic and gold leaf. There will be a reception for her iPad paintings as well as photography by John Lipkowitz during Artswalk.

NUarts Studios and Gallery will host “An Art Show from the Heart,” with art therapist and teaching artist Marney Schorr, who will feature new artwork for sale by eight young artists in Pittsfield: Breanna Lytle, Jack Kelly, Aidan Spaniol, Leah Jordan, Bella Sark, Sanye Burns, Keerah Morgan and Kiara Taylor. All proceeds from the sale of works on display will help to raise funds for the Arts in Recovery for Youth program initiated and run by Schorr. The artists will be available to answer questions and teach their expressive arts techniques. Light refreshments will be served.

New shows from local artists will also be displayed at Steven Valenti’s Clothing for Men, the Marketplace Café, the Funky Phoenix, Berkshire Paint and Sip, the Whitney Center for the Arts, the Brothership Building and Berkshire Medical Center. For more information, contact Downtown Pittsfield Inc. at (413) 443-6501.


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Ancram Opera House to stage ‘Homebody’ by Tony Kushner

Danielle Skraastad. Photo courtesy Ancram Opera House

Ancram, N.Y. — The Ancram Opera House will present “Homebody,” a one-act play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner (“Angels in America”), Friday, Aug. 3, through Sunday, Aug. 12.

Danielle Skraastad stars as the Homebody, an inquisitive British housewife safely ensconced in her respectable kitchen and who grapples with Afghanistan’s turbulent history and her own rather unremarkable life. Written in 1998 as a monologue, “Homebody” was expanded into the full-length play “Homebody/Kabul” with a premiere in December 2001, just weeks after 9/11. It was a work of astounding timeliness but, with a four-hour running time, has rarely been performed since. The Ancram Opera House has received permission from Kushner to mount the first act of the play, the “Homebody” monologue, in a stand-alone production.

“The role of the Homebody is a tour de force, requiring an actor of skill and stamina who can enchant an audience while being alone on stage for the entire show,” said Jeffrey Mousseau, co-artistic director of the Ancram Opera House and the production’s director.

Skraastad grew up in Cairo, New York, attended Cairo-Durham High School, Columbia-Greene Community College and SUNY Albany, and received a master’s degree from New York University. She has experience bringing Kushner’s characters to life, appearing in “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures” at the Public Theater in 2009. She was seen in the recent Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” and has appeared at New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, the Cherry Lane Theatre and many other venues.

Tickets are $30. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Ancram Opera House at (518) 329-0114 or info@ancramoperahouse.org.


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‘Mama’s Night Out’ at LifeWorks Studio to celebrate women and mothers

Great Barrington — LifeWorks Studio will host Mama’s Night Out, the first in a series of monthly events, Sunday, Aug. 5, from 6 to 10 p.m. Mama’s Night Out will bring together and celebrate the local community of women and mothers to help them discover self-care options and connect with other women, mothers and local business owners.

Food, wine, and desserts have been donated for the event, and a raffle will benefit a scholarship fund toward health and wellness classes for those who can’t afford them. Local businesses including Iredale Mineral Cosmetics and local artists including Dai Ban Studio will be present. Businesses will offer special rates on services, and participants can choose from different mini-treatments such as massage, facials, make-up application, nails and more.

“New mothers can suffer from postpartum depression, and if we don’t provide an opportunity for them to step of their usual routine, it can really devastate a family,” said Laura Lin, a massage therapist, yoga teacher and the organizer of the event. “Mama’s Night Out is a way for women to reconnect with themselves in a supportive community setting.”

The cost of the event is $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Laura Lin at (413) 717-2193.


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Schantz Galleries to exhibit ‘Distinctions in Glass’

‘Portrait of an Old Man’ by Martin Janecký. Image courtesy Schantz Galleries

Stockbridge — Schantz Galleries will host the exhibit “Distinctions in Glass” Thursday, Aug. 2, through Sunday, Aug. 26. “Distinctions in Glass” showcases diversity in technique, form and aesthetic of glass artists Peter Bremers, Martin Janecký and Harue Shimomoto. An opening reception will be held Thursday, Aug. 2, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Bremers uses the kiln-cast method to transform dense, foam-block models into glass. He is known for his glass icebergs, which were inspired by a voyage to Antarctica in 2001. In this exhibition, Bremers takes the interplay of positive and negative space and extends it in a metaphoric direction, bringing negative space into sculpture in the form of holes and hollow sections; visible through an outer transparent shell of glass, their volume constantly shifts as the light flows through.

After graduating from the glass school Nový Bor, Janecký embarked on a path that has taken him to glass programs all over the world as a visiting artist and instructor to over 600 students a year. By “sculpting inside the bubble,” Janecký achieves extraordinary realism and startling detail in his faces. Nooks, crevices, lines and protuberances gradually emerge as maps of human emotion drawn in glass.

Shimomoto relishes nature’s small gestures and broad strokes. Illusionistic depth emerges as Shimomoto wields positive and negative sculptural space and carefully handles light and shadow, distilling moments into shimmering immersive impressions. Shimomoto’s work goes beyond mere physical exploration, holding tightly to the impermanence of fragile moments and shifting the viewer’s gaze beyond the tangible.

The reception is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Schantz galleries at (413) 298-3044 or contact@schantzgalleries.com.


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