A Pittsfield Paintbox by Michael Carty. Photo: Kimberly Gritman

Bits & Bytes: First Fridays Artswalk; Walk a Virtual Mile; Prageeta Sharma lecture; Young Writers Awards; veterans at Williams

This year, COVID-19 precludes a large, community walk, but there are several options for those who want to take a stand against gender-based violence while raising funds to support the Elizabeth Freeman Center.

First Fridays Artswalk to feature indoor/outdoor exhibits, new Pittsfield Paintboxes

Pittsfield — The First Fridays Artswalk on Friday, Sept. 4, from 5 to 8 p.m. will feature work by over two dozen regional artists, include indoor and outdoor art shows, Pittsfield High School student art, and 19 of Artscape‘s Pittsfield Paintboxes.

Beginning Friday, Sept 4, and continuing all month long, NUarts Studios and Gallery will display the artwork of at least seven artists in the storefront windows along Union Street across from Barrington Stage Company’s Boyd-Quinson Mainstage. Participating artists include Karen S. Jacobs, Caroline Kelley, Peggy Morse, Linda Petrocine, Sally Tiska Rice and Marney Schorr.

The Marketplace Café will feature works by Philip Nommay plus an opening reception. The Lantern host a brand-new mural by local artist Jesse Tobin McCauley. The Funky Phoenix will display its original salvage art. Hotel on North features “Water, Land & Sky: A Berkshire Journey” by Marita O’Dea Glodt through Tuesday, Sept. 29; and Dottie’s Coffee Lounge features “Home Work – The Universe – and Abstractions, with work by artists Richard Britell, Erika Larskaya and Ashley Yang-Thompson through October.

Three new Pittsfield Paintboxes will be at the following locations:

  • TD Bank (Center Street and West Street intersection) – “Deep Sea Magic” by Michael Carty;
  • Silvio O. Conte Federal Building (Center Street and Columbus Ave intersection) – “Power and Peace” by Stefanie Quetti and artists from ROPE; and
  • First and Fenn Street intersection – “Strength, Love and Unity” by Robert Trzcinka.

All art exhibits are on display in participating venues throughout the month. Artswalk participants are asked to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from other individuals and to wear masks. An online map of all indoor and outdoor locations is available. For more information, contact Downtown Pittsfield Inc. at (413) 443-6501.


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Walk a Virtual Mile event to support Elizabeth Freeman Center

Pittsfield police Chief Michael Wynn at the 2018 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Freeman Center

Pittsfield — Berkshire County’s 2020 Walk a Mile March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence is going online this year. Previously, walks have been held during September’s Third Thursday celebration. This year, COVID-19 precludes a large, community walk, but there are several options for those who want to take a stand against gender-based violence while raising funds to support the Elizabeth Freeman Center.

“In the midst of these extraordinary and challenging times, we know that gender-based violence has not taken a break. The necessary steps that we take to stop the spread of coronavirus create the very conditions that result in explosions of domestic and sexual violence that we’re seeing,” said EFC executive director Janis Broderick. “Violence affects us all, and as a community, we must all continue to work together to make our homes and streets safe for everyone.”

At any time during September, individuals can walk a route through downtown North Adams, Adams, Pittsfield, Lee or Great Barrington and take a photograph or video of themselves in front of any storefront window with a “Walk a Virtual Mile” window display to then share on social media with #WereHereWeWalk. For those who prefer to have some socially distanced company, there will be small walks scheduled across the county From Tuesday, Sept. 8, through Friday, Sept. 18.

Those planning on attending the walks are asked to wear masks. Those who don’t want to walk may still register to raise funds or make donations. For more information and a schedule of the in-person walks, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Elizabeth Freeman Center at (413) 499-2425 or info@elizabethfreemancenter.org.


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Simon’s Rock to host virtual lecture by Prageeta Sharma

Prageeta Sharma. Photo courtesy bard College at Simon’s Rock

Great Barrington — On Monday, Sept. 7, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., Bard College at Simon’s Rock will host a virtual lecture by poet Prageeta Sharma on her book “Grief Sequence,” which is the school’s Book One selection for this year.

Sharma is the author of the poetry collections “Grief Sequence”; “Undergloom”; “Infamous Landscapes”; “The Opening Question”, which won the 2004 Fence Modern Poets Prize; and “Bliss to Fill”. She is the founder of the conference “Thinking Its Presence: Race, Creative Writing, Literary Studies and Art.” A recipient of the 2010 Howard Foundation Award and a finalist for the 2020 Four Quartets Prize, she has taught at the University of Montana and is now the Henry G. Lee ’37 Professor of English at Pomona College.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information and instructions on how to access the lecture, see the Berkshire Edge calendar, or contact Bard College at Simon’s Rock at (413) 644-4400 or info@simons-rock.edu.


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High school Students invited to submit to Bennington College Young Writers Awards

Bennington, Vt. — Bennington College is accepting submissions from high school students nationwide for its 2020-21 Young Writers Awards. The annual competition, which accepts entries in poetry, fiction and nonfiction, is free to enter and open to all high school students in ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th grades. A first-, second-, and third-place winner will be selected in each of the categories, with cash prizes from $125 to $500 awarded.

Young Writers Award finalists and winners are also eligible for undergraduate scholarships at Bennington. YWA finalists who apply, are admitted and enroll at Bennington will receive $10,000 scholarships every year for four years, for a total of $40,000. YWA winners who apply, are admitted and enroll at Bennington will receive a $15,000 scholarship every year for four years, for a total of $60,000. Submissions for the 2020-21 Young Writers Awards will be accepted through Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, with winners announced in spring 2021.

For more information, see submission guidelines or sign up to receive notifications about the competition. Printable submission forms are also available.


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Students participate via Zoom in a humanities course at Williams College. Image courtesy Warrior-Scholar Project

Williams College, Warrior-Scholar Project hold online course for veterans

Williamstown — Williams College has partnered with the Warrior-Scholar Project to help veterans prepare for higher education. In a course held completely online in response to the pandemic, nine student veterans had the opportunity to learn from Williams faculty, receive mentoring from fellow student veterans, and begin to adjust to a formal learning environment.

Held Aug. 2-7, the course’s humanities-based curriculum was designed to help students develop skills in analytical reading and academic writing while providing tools for success with college-level seminars and assignments.

“Beyond their impressive academic achievements, the participants were deeply engaged with one another and their instructors, and developed an incredible sense of community over the course of the week,” said Liz Creighton, dean of admission and financial aid at Williams.

Support from Williams and investments made by foundations, corporations and private donors cover the entire cost of the program for participants. WSP launched its first program at Yale University in 2012 with nine participants. Since then, the program has expanded 20 schools and has helped more than 215 veterans get a head start in higher education in 2020.