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Bits & Bytes: First Fridays Artswalk; ‘The Organ Masters’; Heart Night; Claiming Williams Day; PAWS Read-A-Thon

Launched by Fairview Hospital’s critical care nurses in an effort to raise awareness of heart disease, Heart Night is designed to give participants their own working plans for heart health and better health in the coming year.

First Fridays Artswalk to kick off 2020 Artswalk season

Pittsfield — The Feb. 7 First Fridays Artswalk will encompass almost a dozen art shows featuring over two dozen regional and student artists in Pittsfield’s Upstreet Cultural District from 5 to 8 p.m. The Artswalk will kick off with opening receptions and artists present throughout, plus a free guided walking tour beginning at 5 p.m. at the BRTA Intermodal Center.

‘Prehisterical’ with Boxxa Vine. Photo: Emily Johnson

The Ten Spot Sculpture Show at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts will have a preview reception from 5-8 pm. Part of the 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival, the Ten Spot show features contemporary artists with a different focus each year. This year’s focus is three-dimensional art. An opening reception will take place Thursday, Feb. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m., and the show will be on view through Saturday, Feb. 29.

‘Fragment VIII.’ Image: Kelsey Sherman

For the month of February, the Marketplace Café will display photographs by Emily Johnson of Monterey drag queen Boxxa Vine, featuring costumes she’s made and makeup she’s done. A self-taught seamstress, she now mainly works making custom costumes for drag performers, theatre, and beyond. There will be a reception with Boxxa Vine Friday, Feb. 7, from 5 to 8 p.m.

“If You Remember, I’ll Remember,” artworks by Kelsey Sherman, will be on view at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Pittsfield branch, 66 Allen St., through Monday, Feb. 24. Sherman explores themes of grief, loss, and death through the creation of drawings and typefaces. A reception with the artist will take place Friday, Feb. 7, from 5 to 7 p.m.

New shows from local artists will also be displayed at Berkshire Museum, TKG Real Estate, Dottie’s Coffee Lounge, Hotel on North, Berkshire Paint and Sip, Unitarian Universalist Church, and the Brothership Building window. For more information, contact Downtown Pittsfield Inc. at (413) 443-6501.


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‘The Organ Masters’ to celebrate the music of Bach

Renee Anne Louprette. Photo: Joshua South Photography

Housatonic — On Saturday, Feb. 8, at 2 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting of South Berkshire, Berkshire Bach Society will present organist Renée Anne Louprette in a recital of music by J.S. Bach in its “The Organ Masters.” Also at this year’s concert, Louprette’s husband, musicologist and Bach specialist George B. Stauffer, will provide insight into Bach’s organ music, introducing the individual works on the program and tracing the development of Bach’s style.

George B. Stauffer. Photo courtesy Berkshire Bach Society

Hailed by the New York Times as “one of New York’s finest organists,” Louprette has an active international performance and recording career. Her program includes four of the Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes, BWV 651–668 that she recorded on the Metzler organ at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 2014. Other works on the program include the rarely-heard Pastorella, BWV 590; the Prelude and Fugue in D minor, BWV 549a; the Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 537; and the Allegro from the Concerto in C Major (“Il grosso mogul”), BWV 594.

Stauffer is the author of several well-regarded books including “J.S. Bach: The Mass in B Minor” and “The World of Baroque Music,” and is currently at work on a book analyzing Bach’s organ music. He also had a performance career, studying organ at the Juilliard School, and serving as university organist and chapel music director at Columbia University.

Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 for Berkshire Bach Society members, and free for youth under age18 and students with ID. A reception will follow the concert. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Berkshire Bach Society at (413) 528-9555 or


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Heart Night to raise awareness of heart disease

Paulette Pontier, RN, head of Fairview Hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation program, presents an exhibit at Fairview’s 2016 Heart Night. Photo courtesy Berkshire Health Systems

Great Barrington — Fairview Hospital will hold its annual Heart Night Friday, Feb. 7, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Berkshire South Regional Community Center. Launched by Fairview’s critical care nurses in an effort to raise awareness of heart disease, Heart Night is designed to give participants their own working plans for heart health and better health in the coming year.

At 5 p.m., Dr. Adrian Elliot of Fairview’s emergency department will speak, followed by Maureen Daniels, director of Berkshire Health Systems’ wellness program. After the presentations, information tables, screenings, food tastings and education will be offered. The evening will also educate participants on the signs of heart attack and what to do if they are experiencing the symptoms. There will be a raffle for attendees of the program, including a massage by Emily Wagner; kayak lessons; many gift baskets; and a grand prize of tickets to March Madness in Albany Monday, March 19, donated by Berkshire Bank.

The event is free and open to the public. Interpreter services will be available. For more information, contact the Fairview Hospital Community Relations Office at (413) 854-9609.


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Claiming Williams Day to highlight diversity and inclusion

Anthony Jack. Photo courtesy Williams College

Williamstown — Williams College will hold its annual Claiming Williams Day Thursday, Feb. 6, with events throughout the day that encourage critical thinking about diversity, equity, and inclusion. For the past 11 years, Claiming Williams Day has raised awareness of historical and contemporary efforts to make Williams more accountable to its various communities, especially underrepresented and underserved groups.

Hoda Katebi. Photo courtesy Williams College

While most of the events are open only to the Williams College community, three events are open to the public: Anthony Jack, sociologist and assistant professor of education at Harvard University will kick off the event Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in Chapin Hall with a lecture titled “The Privileged Poor”; “Reinventing ReEntry: Post-Incarceral Simulation Experience,” a workshop that looks at the challenges that former inmates face following their release from prison, will be held Thursday, Feb. 6, at 3:45 p.m. in Greylock Hall; and Hoda Katebi, a Chicago-based Iranian-American fashion blogger, writer and activist who promotes garment workers’ rights and ethical fashion production, will deliver a lecture titled “Decolonizing Fashion from Tehran to Boston,” at 7:30 p.m. on the ’62 Center’s MainStage,.

For building locations on the Williams campus, consult the online map or call the Office of Communications at (413) 597-4277.


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Berkshire Humane Society opens PAWS Read-A-Thon to all Berkshire County students

Pittsfield — Berkshire Humane Society will open its annual PAWS Read-A-Thon to all students in pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students in Berkshire County for the first time in the event’s five-year history.

During the event, children find sponsors to pledge an amount to donate to Berkshire Humane Society for each minute the child reads during March, which is National Reading Month. Prizes are awarded to top readers and schools in various categories. Each child enrolled in the read-a-thon will receive a Berkshire Humane Society goody bag.

In the past, Berkshire Humane Society worked with a handful of local schools for the read-a-thon. Home-schooled children, scouting and other civic groups and youth organizations, especially those engaged in service projects, are encouraged to participate.

Participation materials are available online and the deadline to apply is Monday, Feb. 10. For more information, contact Lizzy Filkins at (413) 447-7878 x129.



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