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Bits & Bytes: ‘She Shapes History’ at Berkshire Museum; Shays’ Rebellion lecture; CATA art exhibit; ‘Pollock’ at PS21; ‘Early Epitaphs’ talk

John 'Sean' Condon will explore how Shays' Rebellion influenced the division of power between state and federal governments set out by the U.S. Constitution and how it shaped the form of public protests today.

Berkshire Museum to exhibit ‘She Shapes History’ women’s suffrage exhibit

Pittsfield — Centered around the 100th anniversary of American women winning the right to vote, “She Shapes History” will be on view at the Berkshire Museum Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, through Tuesday, May 5, 2020. A public preview and reception will be held Friday, Oct. 4, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. as part of the First Fridays Artswalk.

“She Shapes History” uses biographies of women including Elizabeth Freeman and Susan B. Anthony plus fine art and historical objects from the museum’s collection and on loan from Berkshire Historical Society, Hancock Shaker Village and private collections to trace the expectations of “women’s work” in America over the past 200 years, from the early 19th century homestead to the record number of women holding public office today. Focusing on the struggle to gain equal rights and access for women in civic life, education and the workplace, the exhibition highlights technological advancements and innovations that offered independent travel and economic opportunities for women.

An integral part of the exhibition focuses on civic participation, demonstrating how women’s voting, advocacy and community organization has shaped the nation over the past 200 years. The exhibit dives into the history of the American voting system, as well as the techniques used by suffragists and women’s rights activists to sway public opinion. Visitors will have the opportunity to make their voices heard by casting their own ballots and participating in guided gallery programs that will include, among other activities, the chance to design their own protest signs.

The reception is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Berkshire Museum at (413) 443-7171.

–E.E.

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The Shays’ Rebellion monument in Sheffield. Photo courtesy Great Barrington Historical Society

Great Barrington Historical Society to present lecture on Shays’ Rebellion

Great Barrington — As part of its “Rebels With a Cause” lecture series, the Great Barrington Historical Society will present “Shays’ Rebellion in the Berkshires: Enduring Legacies and Questions” given by Merrimack College history professor John “Sean” Condon Saturday, Oct. 5, at 2 p.m. at Saint James Place.

“Shays’s Rebellion in the Berkshires: Enduring Legacies and Questions” will examine the uprising named for one of its prominent leaders, Daniel Shays, who lived for a time in Great Barrington. In his lecture, Condon will describe the role Massachusetts tax and debt collection policies played in precipitating the revolt; the disproportionate impact those policies had on rural farmers; and the benefits that many felt accrued to merchant and ruling classes who supported the policies. He will explore how Shays’ Rebellion influenced the division of power between state and federal governments set out by the U.S. Constitution and how it shaped the form of public protests today.

Condon is the author of “Shays’ Rebellion: Authority and Distress in Post-Revolutionary America,” published in 2015 by Johns Hopkins University Press. A social and cultural historian of Revolutionary America, he is currently working on a history of labor in the Early Modern Atlantic World.

Tickets are $20. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Great Barrington Historical Society at (413) 591-8702 or info@gbhistory.org.

–E.E.

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Community Access to the Arts, Mass Audubon to collaborate on art exhibit

Watercolor illustration by Cathy Crofut from the Community Access to the Arts/Mass Audubon ‘Forces of Nature’ exhibit. Image courtesy Community Access to the Arts

Lenox — Community Access to the Arts and Mass Audubon will present “Forces of Nature,” an exhibit of paintings and drawings by CATA artists with disabilities inspired by the wildlife and natural landscape of the Berkshires. An opening reception will be held Thursday, Oct. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.

“Over the past year, CATA artists with disabilities have worked with naturalists from Berkshire Wildlife Sanctuaries to explore local flora and fauna through tactile nature walks and open air art-making,” said CATA executive director Margaret Keller. The works range widely in stylistic expression and scale of size, and include botanical studies, landscapes and wildlife portraits as well as abstract paintings and mixed-media works inspired by textures, colors and patterns found in the local environment. All works in the exhibit are professionally matted, framed and available for sale, with proceeds supporting commissions for the individual artists.

The reception is free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested from those planning to attend. “Forces of Nature” will runs through Thursday, Oct. 31. For more information or to RSVP, contact Community Access to the Arts at (413) 528-5485 or RSVP@CATAarts.org.

–E.E.

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PS21 to stage ‘Pollock’

Jim Fletcher and Michelle Stern in ‘Pollock.’ Photo: Laurent Schneegans

Chatham, N.Y. — PS21 will present “Pollock” by French playwright Fabrice Melquiot and directed by Paul Desveaux for three performances: Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 6, at 2 p.m.

The life, mythology, and volatile relationship of the towering 20th-century painter Jackson Pollock and his likewise talented and enigmatic wife Lee Krasner, the play stars Jim Fletcher as Pollock and Michelle Stern as Krasner. Jackson Pollock has come to embody the overtly masculine, doomed artistic genius and Krasner the muse and steadying force that kept him afloat, but “Pollock” presents a deeper look at the inner workings of this famous couple’s relationship. Many of the scenes and much of the dialogue in the 75-minute play were inspired by real episodes. “Pollock” is a production of Compagnie de La Vallée/L’héliotrope, co-presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S.

Tickets are $10-$30. Ticketholders can drop off their children at the PS21 Dance Barn during the Sunday, Oct. 6, performance for a collage-making workshop inspired by Krasner’s artistic output. Following the performance, the audience is invited to a reception with the artists, en plein air, to celebrate autumn. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact PS21 at (518) 392-6121 or info@ps21chatham.org.

–E.E.

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Bidwell House Museum to host ‘Early Epitaphs’ talk

Monterey — The Bidwell House Museum will host Tyringham resident John Hanson Saturday, Oct. 5, at 10 a.m. for a talk titled “Early Epitaphs.”

Hanson has been collecting and studying early New England epitaph verse for many years. In his talk, he will share some favorite verses from local gravestones and discuss their sources such as scripture, hymnody, lyric poetry and epitaphs made-to-order for a particular individual. The program will start with a presentation at the museum; the group will then travel to the Chestnut Hill Cemetery to see examples of the epitaphs discussed. Attendees should dress for the weather and plan for a short, 4-mile drive from the museum to the cemetery.

A Williamstown native and Cambridge business executive, Hanson is a third-generation homeowner in Tyringham.

The cost of the event is $10 for members, $15 for nonmembers, and free for youth ages 18 and under. For more information, contact the Bidwell House Museum at (413) 528-6888 or bidwellhouse@gmail.com.

–E.E.

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