'Norman Rockwell: Imagining Freedom' will open Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. Image: Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), The Right to Know, detail, 1968. Look. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved

Bits & Bytes: ‘Norman Rockwell: Imagining Freedom’; the Bridge Sessions; ‘RISE UP’ in North Adams; ‘Flight’ at Hawthorne Valley’

Participants will gain a deeper understanding of their shared humanity, diverse identities and interconnectedness through reflective activities, discussions and collaborative art-making.

Norman Rockwell Museum celebrates return of ‘Four Freedoms’ paintings

Stockbridge — The Norman Rockwell Museum will host “Norman Rockwell: Imagining Freedom” beginning Saturday, Oct. 17. Returning to New England after a six-city international tour, the first comprehensive exhibition devoted to Norman Rockwell’s iconic depictions of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms — “Freedom of Speech,” “Freedom of Worship,” “Freedom from Fear” and “Freedom from Want” — the exhibit explores how the 1943 paintings came to be embraced by millions of Americans, providing crucial aid to the war effort and taking their place among the most indelible images in the history of American art. The exhibition invites viewers to trace the origins and legacy of the Four Freedoms from the trials of the Great Depression and World War II to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the call for freedom today across racial, gender, ethnic and religious lines.

Curated by James J. Kimble, Ph.D., of Seton Hall University and Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, NRM’s deputy director and chief curator, “Imagining Freedom” encourages conversation about pressing social concerns and invites visitors to consider how to unite in the creation of a more humane world. The exhibition also encourages reflection on what the Four Freedoms mean in today’s social, political and cultural landscape.

‘Freedom from What’ by Pops Peterson

More than 40 Rockwell artworks are joined by paintings, drawings, photography, artifacts and writings from artists across the decades in the expression of freedom, including Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, Arthur Rothstein, Mead Schaeffer, Arthur Szyk, Martha Sawyers, Langston Hughes, Thomas Lea, Boris Artzybasheff and Denys Wortman, among others. “Reimagining the Four Freedoms,” a multimedia exhibition component, presents perspectives by 38 contemporary artists who explore society’s hopes and aspirations for a free and just world. Highlighted among them is “Rockwell Revisited” by Maurice Pops Peterson, who presents a vision of Rockwell’s art for a new age. Also on view is the Unity Project, a series of original poster illustrations by Mai Ly Degnan, Rudy Gutierrez, Anita Kunz, Tim O’Brien, Whitney Sherman and Yuko Shimizu that are designed to inspire Americans to exercise their rights by voting in the upcoming national election.

The exhibition will be on view through Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. A virtual gala reception will be held Saturday, Oct. 17, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. For more information, contact the Norman Rockwell Museum at (413) 298-4100 or info@nrm.org.


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Music In Common launches the Bridge Sessions to bring communities together

Sheffield — Music In Common has announced the launch of the Bridge Sessions, a monthly online workshop in which young people of diverse backgrounds and identities engage in facilitated dialogue and creative collaboration. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of their shared humanity, diverse identities and interconnectedness through reflective activities, discussions and collaborative art-making.

Seeking to make the experience of MIC’s JAMMS and Amplify programs available to a broader audience, the Bridge Sessions is open to young people ages 14-21. The series is peer-led by Trey Carlisle, Ava Shaevel and Amr Moussa, three members of the 2020-21 Music In Common fellowship cohort and all past MIC program participants and experienced facilitators.

The Bridge Sessions will launch Saturday, Oct. 17, from noon to 4 p.m. with a session on the complexities of racism and its impact collectively and individually, and include poetry writing reflecting on the takeaways from the session’s discussions. The event is free but registration is required. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar, or contact Music In Common at (413) 248-6070 or info@musicincommon.org.


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Art show features murals from New York City George Floyd protests

North Adams — Since a series of protests that hit New York City in the wake of the death of George Floyd, paintings that once covered boarded-up storefronts in Upper Manhattan amid the uprisings are now on display in a gallery setting. The murals, painted by artist Ariel Klein and other locals from the Inwood section of Manhattan, will be shown at the “RISE UP” exhibition at the Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts through Wednesday, Nov. 11.

For Klein, the show is a visual representation of his reaction to recent outbursts of police brutality and the uprisings that followed in the streets: “I see this work not only as art; more so, it is a gut reaction driven by a sense of urgency to respond to the slaughter of George Floyd. The George Floyd protests in New York and elsewhere were silenced by a curfew set in place. This show aims to confront police brutality head on and fight against racism.”

Klein, a resident of the Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts, is a visual artist and graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Curated by Laurie Miles, the exhibition is open by appointment only. The gallery is also offering a free virtual tour. For more information, contact laurie@lauriemilesart.com.


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New sculpture ‘Flight’ on display at Hawthorne Valley

Alexander Madey, left, and Martina Angela Müller with Müller’s sculpture Flight. Photo courtesy Hawthorne Valley Association

Ghent, N.Y. — A sculpture titled ‘Flight’ by artist Martina Angela Müller is currently on display at Hawthorne Valley near the farm store. Müller serves as a core faculty member at the Alkion Center for Adult Education and is director of the new Lightforms Art Center in Hudson.

The sculpture design was inspired by a piece of cedar wood found in nature. Müller amplified and enlarged the wing-like structure of the wood to create the final design.

For his senior project last year, Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School alumnus Alexander Madey ’20 cast the sculpture from a small stoneware maquette enlarged in aluminum with the sandcasting method. It was cast in 17 separate pieces, welded, ground and polished. Madey was mentored through the process by Ivan Goodman of Polich-Tallix. Peter Barrett provided the base, and East Coast Refinishing completed the paint finish.

Though the school campus is closed to visitors due to the pandemic, the sculpture is easily viewable from the area immediately surrounding the farm store.