Monday, July 22, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: First Fridays Artswalk; ‘Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson’; LHA annual meeting; ‘Aunt Leaf’ at Ancram Opera House; ‘The Spirituality of Aging’

The 2015 film 'Packed in a Trunk' follows Emmy Award-winning writer and director Jane Anderson as she and her wife, Tess, attempt to unravel the mystery of her great aunt, Provincetown painter Edith Wilkinson.

First Fridays Artswalk to begin its 2018 season

Art by Richard Britell. Image courtesy Downtown Pittsfield Inc.

Pittsfield — The Feb. 2 First Fridays Artswalk will encompass almost a dozen art shows featuring over a dozen accomplished regional artists in Pittsfield’s bustling Upstreet Cultural District. The event will kick off with opening receptions and artists present throughout, plus a free guided walking tour led by Artswalk co-founder Mary McGinnis beginning at 5 p.m. at the BRTA Intermodal Center.

The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts will host IS183 Art School of the Berkshires’ “Kids Create: A Learning Through Arts Showcase” Friday, Feb. 2, through Monday, Feb. 26, which will represent each of LTA’s program sites across the Berkshires. The soft opening will take place during First Fridays Artswalk and an opening reception is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m.

The Brothership Window at 141 North St. will feature “Fuzzpatch x Pooties UFO Catcher” during the month of February. Local artists Brielle Rizzotti and Dina Noto are teaming up to transform the Brothership Window into a Japanese arcade-style UFO-catcher machine, which brings together the artists’ hand-sewn, original plush lines: Rizzotti’s Pootie Dolls and Moon Cats, and Noto’s Fuzzpatch Studio.

Dottie’s Coffee Lounge will feature “Memory Dreams and the Imagination,” a 22-painting exhibit by Richard Britell, with an opening reception from 4:30 to 6 p.m. during the Artswalk.

New shows from local artists will also be displayed at the Whitney Center for the Arts, the Marketplace Café, Berkshire Paint and Sip, the Kinderhook Group Real Estate, Hotel on North, Berkshire Museum, Berkshire Medical Center, and the Funky Phoenix. For more information, contact Downtown Pittsfield Inc. at (413) 443-6501.


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‘Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson’

Image courtesy

Great Barrington — The Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries will screen the film “Packed In A Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson” Saturday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Mason Library.

The 2015 film follows Emmy Award-winning writer and director Jane Anderson as she and her wife, Tess, attempt to unravel the mystery of her great aunt, Provincetown painter Edith Wilkinson, who was committed to an asylum in 1924, most likely because of her lesbianism. As Anderson herself became a painter, she sought to discover the answers to the mystery of Wilkinson’s buried life and return her work to Provincetown and recognition by the art world.

The event is part of the Friends’ First Saturday Free Film Series and will begin with a free wine and cheese social in the vaulted reading room at 7 p.m. More socializing and community discussion will follow the 77-minute film until 10 p.m. The film does not reflect endorsement or advocacy for any particular point of view by the library or the town of Great Barrington. For more information, contact the Mason Library at (413) 528-2403.


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Laurel Hill Association’s annual meeting to highlight American chestnut restoration

Stockbridge — Lois and Denis Melican of the American Chestnut Foundation for Massachusetts and Rhode Island will be the guest speakers at the Laurel Hill Association‘s annual meeting, to be held Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. in the Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives‘ Bement Room.

The Melicans will give an update on ACF’s chestnut breeding program, which is developing blight-resistant American chestnut trees with the goal of restoring the trees to their native forests along the eastern United States. LHA’s Chestnut Preserve on Route 7 is one of the program’s breeding sites. LHA has been involved in ACF’s backcross breeding program for the last decade. The program crosses Chinese chestnut trees, which are naturally resistant to blight, with American chestnuts. Over the course of many generations, the program is producing blight-resistant American chestnut trees.

The event will open with a business meeting and the guest presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact LHA at


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Ancram Opera House to present ‘Aunt Leaf

Indira Pensado. Image courtesy Ancram Opera House

Ancram, N.Y. — The Ancram Opera House will present “Aunt Leaf,” a ghost story inspired by American and Mexican folklore and a Mary Oliver poem, Saturday, Feb. 3, and Sunday, Feb. 4, at 4 p.m. Suitable for ages 9 to 90, the “Aunt Leaf” features Mexican artist Indira Pensado as Storyteller, mixing English with Spanish to tell a spine-tingling tale that asks audiences to decide what is real, and what is not. “Aunt Leaf” is directed by Ancram Opera House co-artistic director Jeffrey Mousseau.

It’s 1910 and 11-year-old Annabelle and her lonely great-aunt Leaf have developed a secret ritual of storytelling. Each night the old woman sends the child into the woods to look for her husband and each night the girl brings back stories–made-up “proof” of her deceased uncle–to cheer up the old woman. “Aunt Leaf” was originally created and developed by Barbara Wiechmann and Jeffrey Mousseau as part of the HERE Artist Residency Program in New York City and premiered at HERE Arts Center in 2010.

Known as a performer, director and teacher, Pensado is based in Mexico City where she founded Medula Teatro and Los 4 Gatos. She is acclaimed for her powerful use of voice and body on the stage and has performed in Peru, Argentina, Denmark, Sweden and the U.S. She teaches at the National School of Theater in Mexico City, the Intercultural Theatre Institute in Singapore, is a member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association, and has been a Linklater Voice designated teacher since 2012.

Tickets are $15 for adults and free for youth under age 18. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Ancram Opera House at (518) 329-0114 or


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‘The Spirituality of Aging: A Conversation About Life and Depth’

Wren Bernstein. Photo courtesy Jewish Federation of the Berkshires

Pittsfield — Beginning Thursday, Feb. 1, at 10:45 a.m. and continuing every other Thursday through April 12, the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires will present “The Spirituality of Aging: A Conversation About Life and Depth” led by licensed social worker and spiritual guide Wren Bernstein at Congregation Knesset Israel.

According to Bernstein, the six-session course offers an opportunity to explore the unique spiritual and psychological gifts of the third major stage of life in a relaxed group setting. Each one-hour session will include a brief mindfulness practice, inspirational readings with questions for introspection, and a facilitated group conversation. Topics will include aging consciously, retiring the inner critic, forgiveness, life review, facing mortality and the mystery of transformation. While the course is designed as a series, it is not required to attend all six.

Bernstein has been a spiritual practitioner for 35 years and a clinical social worker for 25, working with clients both individually and in groups. As a lifelong seeker of truth and transcendence, she offers a spiritual and philosophical perspective to the psychological and social issues that confront people at various stages of life.

For more information, contact the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires at (413) 442-4360 x10.



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