Work by Helen Jamrog, shown above, and other CATA artists will be on view at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts during Pittsfield's First Friday Artswalk on July 2.

Bits & Bytes: Pittsfield’s Artswalk returns; Pleasant Valley Sanctuary canoe trips; river cleanup; new trail, ruins at Hancock Shaker Village; Egremont Dems’ caucus

Help clean up a river, take a canoe trip, view new art or old ruins, blaze a trail, and more. Your schedule is filling up!

Pittsfield’s First Fridays Artswalk returns July 2 with new virtual walking tour

PITTSFIELD First Fridays Artswalk will return, for the first time this year, with a variety of indoor and outdoor exhibits in and around downtown Pittsfield. On Friday, July 2 from 5–8 p.m., the public is invited to view new indoor art shows, outdoor murals, and ArtScape’s Pittsfield Paintboxes during the Artswalk. New this year, the PocketSights app will allow you to follow a virtual walking tour via your cell phone.

Community Access to the Arts (CATA) will present its annual art show, “I Am a Part of Art,” at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, located at 28 Renne Ave., from July 1–31. The exhibit will feature more than 150 vibrant paintings, drawings, and sculptures by more than 100 artists with disabilities, on display and available for sale at both the Lichtenstein and the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. Proceeds benefit CATA programs, as well as the individual artists.

Jesse Tobin McCauley’s “HAPPY” will be on view at Hotel on North during the Artswalk

Hotel on North, at 297 North Street, will feature “HAPPY … a traveling art show” by Jesse Tobin McCauley. McCauley’s paintings are mixed media on canvas and paper, with bursts of bold, saturated color that evoke a feeling of happiness in the viewer.

The Brothership Building Window, located at 141 North Street and curated by IS183 Art School, will feature “The Grass Is Always Greener” by Jackie Fischer. The exhibit’s cheerful atmosphere will make way for some dark truths the more you look at it.

The Dot Gallery at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge, at 444 North Street, will feature “Obsessions,” works by Kris Galli, Robert Barker, Ashley Yang-Thompson, and Diane Firtell.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsfield, at 175 Wendell Ave., will feature photographs by Linda Merry. The show will feature photographic images of the moments that were shared between different bird species and the woman behind the lens.

Karen Carmean, Keith Emerling, Jon Caplan, Walt Pasko, and Pat Hogan, members of the Guild of Berkshire Artists, will show their work in “Plein Air in the Berkshires” at TKG Real Estate, at 137 North St. The Marketplace Café, at 53 North Street, will feature paintings by Shany Porras, and Archive/Project Space at 141 North Street, Suite #1, will feature works by James Casebere.

The July Artswalk will also highlight downtown murals, including “The Sun Will Rise” by Jesse Tobin McCauley, Jay Tobin, and Stephanie Quetti at 443 North Street, and “Gaia” by Mike Carty on Melville Street. All exhibits will be on display in participating venues throughout the month. For more information on First Fridays Artswalk and to view a listing and map of all participating artists and locations, visit


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Pleasant Valley Sanctuary to offer summer canoe trips

October Mountain State Forest. Photo courtesy Pleasant Valley

LENOX — Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary will offer several canoe trips throughout the summer for families or individuals ages 10 and older.

During July and August, Pleasant Valley’s popular off-site paddling programs will visit some of the best spots in the Berkshires. You’ll be able to watch for swallows, herons, ducks, muskrats, and signs of beavers along the Housatonic River in Lenox; explore the coves and marshes of Upper and Lower Goose Ponds for eagles, herons, and kingfishers in Tyringham; and listen for owls, loons, and other wildlife on a moonlit paddle of Buckley Dunton Lake at October Mountain State Forest in Becket.

Pleasant Valley will supply the canoes, paddles, PFDs, binoculars, and experienced guides. Morning, evening, and moonlight paddle trips are available and prices range from $30–$40. All participants must know how to swim.

Advanced registration is required. For a full list of programs and to register visit the Pleasant Valley website or email for more information.


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West Branch Housatonic River cleanup scheduled for Saturday

PITTSFIELD — On Saturday, June 26, from 9 a.m.–Noon, volunteers are invited to help clean up the West Branch of the Housatonic River. Meet at Wahconah Park, 105 Wahconah St. in Pittsfield. Cleanup teams will disperse to nearby locations, gathering miscellaneous trash from the river banks and bottom. Canoes will be used to transport the trash. Old clothes, a hat, sunscreen, old sneakers or waterproof boots/waders, a full water bottle, and sunglasses are recommended. A limited number of hip boots are available to borrow. An additional West Branch cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, July 17, from 9 a.m.–Noon.

“Repeated cleanups along the West Branch are making a huge difference,” said Jane Winn, executive director of Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT). “The piles of trash pulled out are getting smaller, and we are seeing fewer heavier items in the river, such as tires, appliances, and shopping carts. One volunteer has seen an otter playing in the river; the West Branch provides valuable wildlife habitat.”

West Branch river cleanups are organized by BEAT and Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) and cosponsored by the City of Pittsfield and American Rivers, with support provided by Blue Q. Pouring rain or thunder cancels. For more information or to register to volunteer, contact HVA at 413-298-7024 or, or BEAT at


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New trail, newly revealed ruins debut at Hancock Shaker Village July 17

Photo courtesy Hancock Shaker Village

PITTSFIELD — On Saturday, July 17, Hancock Shaker Village (HSV) will open the South Family Trail, a new walking trail just south of its historic Village. The new path will lead to the reveal of additional archaeological remains of Shaker building foundations that have not been seen by the public in the museum’s 61-year history.

Despite the enormity of its archive, archaeologically speaking, the Village property is not fully discovered and some foundation structures have not yet been revealed. The new trail will lead to the archaeological remains of four Shaker building foundations of the South Family. Interpretive signage will tell the history of the site, where from 1818–1849 “new believers” lived when they became Shakers. Anchored by two barns, the unearthed foundations serve as reminders that the Hancock Shakers were primarily farmers. Continuing research involving the indigenous people who lived on the land before the Shakers will be shared through interpretive signs later this summer.

“Previously, you had to bushwhack through a dense thicket of brambles and forest to get to it,” said HSV Director and CEO Jennifer Trainer Thompson of the foundations. “If we had waited another few decades to do this work, I’m sure the forest would have completely taken over the foundations.”

As part of the trail’s opening, Shaker scholar Stephen Paterwic will give a talk about the South Family at 1 p.m. on July 17.


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Egremont Democratic Committee caucus to be held July 8

EGREMONT — The Egremont Democratic Committee will hold a caucus on Thursday, July 8 at 7 p.m., via Zoom. The meeting will be open for one hour. The purpose of the caucus is to elect a delegate and one alternate from Egremont to attend the Massachusetts Democratic Party Convention in September.

All Egremont residents who are registered Democrats are encouraged to vote at this caucus. Details of caucus rules can be found online. RSVP: Alyson Slutzky, For information about the caucus or the Egremont Democratic Committee, or to be added to the Committee’s email list, contact committee chair Alyson Slutzky at

Meeting ID: 836 5036 3709
Passcode: 947769
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