Wednesday, June 19, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: Ellsworth Kelly exhibit at BBG; ‘Spartan Strong’; ‘Little Stones’ at Mason Library; Susan Stryker at Bennington College; ‘The Little Book of Feminist Saints’ at the Mount

Spartan Strong was organized by Railroad Street Youth Project in response to a cluster of deaths among local young people in the last year, many of which involved drug and alcohol use and/or were suicides.

Berkshire Botanical Garden to host Ellsworth Kelly exhibit

Stockbridge — Berkshire Botanical Garden will host a season-long exhibition featuring the plant lithographs of artist Ellsworth Kelly beginning Sunday, May 6, in its Leonhardt Galleries. Kelly lived and worked in nearby Columbia County, New York, for nearly 50 years and was deeply drawn to the area’s natural beauty. The exhibition, assembled from Kelly’s iconic series “Suite of Plant Lithographs,” is on loan from the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation through Monday, Oct. 8.

Kelly began making lithographs in Paris in 1964 and, over the next few years, created a seminal body of work as both an homage to and bold departure from the evocative line drawings of Henri Matisse. Throughout his seven-decade career, Kelly’s plant drawings were rendered in a variety of media including watercolor and ink washes, but he preferred graphite pencil and the use of line only to express the plants’ intrinsic qualities.

“Ellsworth Kelly: Plant Lithographs” is the first major exhibition at BBG’s Leonhardt Galleries in its newly renovated Center House. Said BBG executive director Mike Beck, “This collection of work exemplifies an extraordinary artist who throughout his career consistently returned to nature as a primary subject.” The opening of the exhibition coincides with BBG’s 84th annual Roy Boutard Day, celebrating the seasonal opening of the gardens. Admission will be free all day.

For more information, contact Berkshire Botanical Garden at (413) 298-3926 or


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‘Spartan Strong’ engages, motivate youth

Spartan Strong participants at Berkshire South Regional Community Center in Great Barrington. Photo courtesy Railroad Street Youth Project

Great Barrington — Railroad Street Youth Project has announced that its mentoring program has partnered with the athletic department at Monument Mountain Regional High School and Berkshire South Regional Community Center’s Teen Outreach Nutrition Exercise program to launch a new collaborative effort called Spartan Strong.

Spartan Strong encourages youth and adults to exercise together in a group setting at Berkshire South every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. for free. Each session begins with a chat and check-in about the day while the group stretches. Following this, the group engages in a high-intensity functional fitness workout and then finishes with weightlifting. Following the completion of the program, participants receive three-month memberships allowing them to continue exercising throughout the summer months.

The program was developed in response to a cluster of deaths among local young people in the last year, many of which involved drug and alcohol use and/or were suicides. The majority of the deaths involved young men in their 20s who had participated in sports while in high school and remained in the area after graduation. Spartan Strong pairs recent graduates and alumni of the area’s football teams with current players to keep each other engaged, motivated and connected.

“The best part of the program is watching these young people support one another and cheer each other on to successfully complete the work laid out in front of them,” said program facilitator and local functional fitness trainer Mairead Fogarty. “I love seeing them congratulate one another on their solid effort and holding each other accountable for quality performances.”


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Mason Library to screen ‘Little Stones’

Image courtesy Driftseed

Great Barrington — The Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries will screen the documentary film “Little Stones” Saturday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. at Mason Library.

The 2016 award-winning film unites the personal narratives of four activist women around the world who use art to create positive change in their communities. Said Friends’ treasurer Holly Hamer, “This is an exceptional film about women who have ingeniously used both performance and visual art to empower and inspire women and survivors of gender based violence.”

The event is part of the Friends’ First Saturday Free Film Series and will begin with a wine and cheese social in the vaulted reading room at 7 p.m. More socializing and community discussion will follow the 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. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Mason Library at (413) 528-2403.


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Bennington College to welcome Susan Stryker

Susan Stryker. Photo courtesy Bennington College

Bennington, Vt. — Bennington College will welcome Susan Stryker—an award-winning scholar and filmmaker whose historical research, theoretical writing and creative works have helped shape the cultural conversation on transgender topics since the early 1990s—to give the 2018 Ruth D. Ewing lecture Thursday, May 3, at 8 p.m. in the Tishman Lecture Hall.

Stryker earned her Ph.D. in U.S. history from the University of California, Berkeley in 1992; has held a Ford Foundation/Social Science Research Council post-doctoral fellowship in sexuality studies at Stanford University; and has been a distinguished visiting faculty member at Harvard University, Macquarie University in Sydney, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of numerous books and anthologies including “Gay by the Bay: A History of Queer Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area,” “Queer Pulp: Perverse Passions in the Golden Age of the Paperback,” “The Transgender Studies Reader” and “Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution.” Her academic articles have appeared in such publications as GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Radical History Review, South Atlantic Quarterly, ParallaxAustralian Feminist StudiesSocial Semiotics and Journal of Women’s History. Her public scholarship has appeared in Aperture, Wired, the Utne Reader and

She won an Emmy Award for her documentary film “Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria” and is the recipient of a Lambda Literary Award, the Ruth Benedict Book Prize, the Monette-Horwitz Prize for LGBTQ activism, the Transgender Law Center’s Community Vanguard Award and two career achievement awards in LGBTQ Studies—the David Kessler Award from the City University of New York’s Center for LGBTQ Studies and the Yale University’s Brudner Memorial Prize. Stryker served for several years as executive director of the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco and for five years as director of the Institute for LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona where she is associate professor of gender and women’s studies as well as coordinator of the university’s Transgender Studies Initiative. In addition to serving as founding co-editor of the academic journal TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, she has a book under contract to Farrar, Straus and Giroux called “What Transpires Now,” about the uses of transgender history for the present.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Bennington College at (802) 442-5401.


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The Mount to host ‘The Little Book of Feminist Saints’ author Julia Pierpont

Image courtesy The Mount

Lenox — In association with the statewide ArtWeek festival, the Mount will host New York Times bestselling author Julia Pierpont and her editor Caitlin McKenna Thursday, May 3, at 6 p.m.

Pierpont and McKenna’s conversation will focus around the creation of “The Little Book of Feminist Saints,” in which writer Pierpont and artist Manjit Thapp match short biographies with full-color portraits of secular female “saints.”

Pierpont is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Among the Ten Thousand Things,” winner of the Prix Fitzgerald in France. She is a graduate of Barnard College and New York University’s MFA program. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review and Guernica. She lives and teaches in New York.

McKenna is a senior editor at Random House, where she works with writers including Pierpont, Teju Cole, Calvin Trillin, Ronald C. White, Kayla Rae Whitaker and Sam Graham-Felsen as well as the estates of Shirley Jackson, Kurt Vonnegut, W.G. Sebald and Jane Jacobs.

Tickets are $10 for the general public and free for members of The Mount. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact The Mount at (413) 551-5100.



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