SculptureNow will host a special Meet the Artists event at The Mount on Sunday, June 20. Image: "Unrealized" by James Payne. Photo: Ann Jon

Bits & Bytes: Meet SculptureNow artists; Local Farmer program awardees; BNRC adds trail maps en espanol; IS183 resident artists

Spanish language trail maps are now available for free — online, via QR code, and in print — for Berkshire Natural Resources Council hiking trails.

Meet the artists of SculptureNow 2021 at The Mount

LENOX — SculptureNow will host a special Meet the Artists event at The Mount on Sunday, June 20 from 2-5 p.m. The sculptors of the 2021 exhibition will appear in person to discuss the inspiration and process behind their large-scale works.

SculptureNow at The Mount is a new, juried exhibition of outdoor sculptures by 30 regionally, nationally, and internationally recognized artists. Exhibiting artists are Craig Anderson, Susan Arthur, Gilbert Boro, James Burnes, Dylan Collins, Christopher Curtis, Eliza Evans, Harold Grinspoon, Ann Jon, James Kitchen, Elizabeth Knowles, Kathryn Lipke, Madeleine Lord, Pamela Matsuda-Dunn, Evan Morse, Gary Orlinsky, James Payne, Frank Raczkowski, Katie Richardson, Henry Royer, Laurie Sheridan, Daina Shobrys, Allen Spivack, Michael Thomas, Bill Tobin, Robin Tost, Natalie Tyler, Richard Wansor, Kate Winn, and Adam Zamberletti.

This event is free and open to the public. Please register online.

For self-guided tours, please pick up a map at The Mount, or find it on the SculptureNow website. Artist-guided tours are offered to the general public, students, and special needs visitors. For dates, times, and rates please visit the website.

—A.K.

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Local Farmer program funds 81 new infrastructure projects

AGAWAM — The Local Farmer Awards program, funded since 2015 by community philanthropic leaders and businesses, recently distributed checks of up to $2,500 to 81 farmers in Western Massachusetts and Eastern New York. The funds, totaling $180,000, support infrastructure improvements and equipment.

“Our local farmers continue to be an intrinsic and crucial part of our communities. We recognize their growing need for assistance now more than ever,” said funding partner Charles D’Amour, Big Y president and CEO. “For over 85 years, Big Y has been proud to support hardworking farmers and their families, and as partners with the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, we provide one more way to help our local growers thrive.”

In its short history, the awards program has made over $900,000 available to local growers, who have become better positioned to expand, compete in the marketplace, and provide the public with the health and environmental benefits of local farming.

Not surprisingly, the pandemic fueled a need for some unexpected projects and new equipment. Local Farmer Awards Director Cari Carpenter of the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation notes that farmers have exhibited enormous persistence, creativity, and great spirit throughout COVID-19. “We are incredibly fortunate to be able to purchase local farm products at farmers markets, farmstands, through CSAs, and in our grocery stores. We urge all consumers to continue buying local farm products whenever and wherever they can.”

This year’s funds support these farms and their projects:

  • Bigfoot Farm, Shade Cloth for Greenhouse Tomato Production
  • Brattle Farm, Weed Suppression for No-till Operation
  • Cedar Farm Wholesale, Repair Hoop House Infrastructure
  • Climbing Tree Farm, Brooder for Pasture-raised Poultry
  • Dandelion Hill Farm, Grass-fed Goat and Lamb Production
  • Elmartin Farm, Commercial Kitchen
  • Fern Farm, Egg Roll-Out Nesting Boxes for Improved Production
  • Flynn Farm, 5105 Tractor Repair
  • Full Well Farm, New Hoop House for Season Extension
  • Gaetano’s Organic Farm, Irrigation Well
  • Gould Farm, Dairy Improvement Project
  • Gray Raven Farm, Water Line to Barn
  • Graylight Farm, LLC, Bulk Feed Storage for Pastured Pigs
  • Hancock Shaker Village, Equipment for No-till Bed Preparation
  • Indian Line Farm, 2-door Glass Display Refrigerator for On-farm Sales
  • Joshua’s Farm, Mobile Poultry Processing Trailer
  • M and A Farm, Caterpillar Tunnel for Increased Production
  • Many Forks Farm, LLC, Making the Cut
  • Markristo Farm, Replacement of Malfunctioning Refrigeration Unit
  • MX Morningstar Farm, PropTek Reusable Seedling Trays
  • Raven & Boar LCC, Mobile Shelters for Silvo Pasture Pigs
  • Shaker Creek Farm, Bulk Grain Storage; Increased Efficiency
  • Sky View Farm, Farm Signage
  • Stillman Quality Meats, LLC, Purchase of New Commercial Egg-washing Machine
  • Three Maples Market Garden, Efficient Greens Production
  • Turner Farms Maple Syrup, LLC, Electric Vacuum Releaser Pump
  • Wild & Cultivated Flower Farm, Greenhouse Improvement
  • Wildstone Farm, Market Garden Irrigation System
  • Woven Roots Farm, Inc., BCS 749 Model Walk-behind Tractor
  • YundWell Pastured Poultry, Egg-washing Improvement

—A.K.

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Free Spanish language maps available at BNRC trailheads / Mapas gratuitos en espanol disponibles en los senderos de BNRC

BERKSHIRE COUNTY — Mapas de senderos — Spanish language trail maps — are now available for free in digital and/or print for Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) hiking trails. Silvana Kirby, a nationally certified interpreter and founding translator of Berkshire Language Management, was instrumental in creating these maps.

After conversations with Berkshire nonprofits, businesses, and community members, BNRC came to understand language accessibility was creating a barrier for Spanish speakers to feel comfortable and welcome on the region’s hiking trails.

BNRC is actively engaged in finding ways to ensure its reserves are welcoming for all who visit and who call the Berkshires home. BNRC identified trail map translation as an immediate priority because of its important ability to help people understand how to navigate a trail, what to expect in terms of difficulty, and for its information about the natural world.

All English BNRC trail map brochures have been translated into Spanish and are available on the BNRC website, and by snapping the QR code at BNRC trailhead kiosks. Additionally, paper mapas de senderos are provided free at five of BNRC’s most popular trails: Hoosac Range, The Boulders, Housatonic Flats, Thomas & Palmer Brook, and Yokun Ridge South.

BNRC will continue to expand on these efforts, eventually printing all trail maps in Spanish, and translating other existing and future BNRC materials.

“All BNRC reserves are free and open to the public. However, that alone is not enough to make them truly welcoming and thoughtfully inclusive,” said Jenny Hansell, president of BNRC. “We hope that increasing language access on BNRC reserves will cultivate a more inclusive environment for everyone in the Berkshires who seeks to explore, enjoy, and stay well in the outdoors.”

—A.K.

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IS183 Art School’s 2021 Berkshire Artist Residency artists announced

Ellie Spangler. Photo courtesy IS183

STOCKBRIDGE — IS183 Art School announces its two Berkshire Artist Residency 2021 artists are Elizabeth Spangler and Jacqueline Fischer. The Red Lion Inn will host Spangler and Chesterwood will host Fischer. The Summer 2021 program began at both locations on May 31 and will run through October 11.

Elizabeth (Ellie) Spangler currently teaches studio art at Miss Hall’s School in Pittsfield. In 2016, she travelled to Stockholm, Sweden to research the artist Hilma af Klint. From her research, she began to shift her practice to focus entirely on meditation and working intuitively. She continues to research the life and work of Hilma through traveling to see her shows, reading her writings, and staying in touch with Ulrika, Hilma’s sister. Ellie draws inspiration for her art from her daily life which includes caring for her 5-year-old daughter, supporting her students’ artistic pursuits, walking in the woods, and practicing meditation.

Jackie Fischer. Photo courtesy IS183

Jacqueline (Jackie) Fischer is a mixed media sculptor who grew up in the suburbs of Eastern Long Island, where her struggles sparked inspiration. She received her BFA from Alfred University with a minor in psychology. Jackie has received scholarships to craft schools such as Anderson Ranch, Haystack, and Watershed, and has exhibited work nationally. She will be teaching two upcoming classes at IS183 — Pinching the Perfect Planter starting July 10 and Building Large Ceramic Forms starting July 19.

The two artists will receive access to the buildings and grounds of their site and support for the development, creation, and exhibition of their work. Each residency closes with a reception and exhibition of the artist’s work. During the summer, both artists are invited to teach courses through IS183 Art School and will deliver an Artist Talk to share their experiences, inspiration, and process during their residency.

—A.K.