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Business Briefs: Berkshire Hills Fund for Excellence awards grants; new Downtown Pittsfield Inc.executive director; nonprofit leaders workshop; BCC appoints trustees; Berkshire Money Management seeks art

The Berkshire Hills Fund for Excellence has awarded $7,760 to Berkshire Hills Regional School District teachers and other community programs to support innovative and student-centered projects.

Berkshire Hills Fund for Excellence awards $7,000 in funds

Sheffield — The Berkshire Hills Fund for Excellence, an endowed fund to enhance and enrich the educational experience of the students and teachers in the Berkshire Hills Regional School District, has awarded $7,760 to teachers and other community programs to support innovative and student-centered projects.

Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School teacher Kim Chirichella and students in kindergarten through fourth grade will work with professional musician Steve Hassmer to create music and performance scenes in their classes, link with art curriculum to learn about costume and set design, and offer a full school production in the spring.

Monument Mountain Regional High School band director Michael Gillespie applied for funds for a master class, during which students will participate in a half-day clinic and workshop with the Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra, then share the stage with the professional musicians for an evening performance.

Under the leadership of teacher Brendan Heck, all 120 eighth graders at Monument Valley Regional Middle School will participate in an end of the year community service project called “YES,” which will see students participating in activities on and off campus to help local organizations.

Community Access to the Arts will offer two series of music workshops during the 2017–18 school year for students with disabilities in Monument Valley’s ABC program. Flying Cloud Institute will work with fifth graders in a chemistry- and art-focused program that will explore states of matter, the periodic table, differences between physical and chemical properties, and how materials undergo change. Mass Audubon will conduct field science studies with fifth, sixth and seventh graders, exploring life and earth science concepts through classroom and in-the-field learning experiences with education coordinator and naturalist Dale Abrams.


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Downtown Pittsfield Inc. names new executive director

Cheryl Mirer. Photo courtesy Downtown Pittsfield Inc.

Pittsfield — Downtown Pittsfield Inc. has announced that Cheryl Mirer has taken over the executive director role vacated by Kristine Hurley in June 2017. After a thorough hiring process, Mirer is now the driving force behind the implementation of the 2016–2220 Downtown Pittsfield Strategic Plan and will work with Downtown Pittsfield Inc.’s board of directors in areas such as public safety, increasing foot traffic, promoting Pittsfield and quality of life.

Mirer grew up in Burlington, Connecticut, and has spent many years living and working in the Berkshires and Pioneer Valley. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in fine arts from UMass Amherst and a master’s degree in arts administration from Boston University. She worked previously in institutional advancement at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington and as director of an artists-in-residence program in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Most recently, she worked as executive director of a small community library before accepting a position in corporate and foundation relations at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. Mirer is also an active visual artist who spent two years after college teaching art in Ghana with the Peace Corps.


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‘The Art and Science of Leading Transformational Change’

Bob Voss. Photo courtesy Nonprofit Center of the BErkshires

North Adams — The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires will partner with Northern Berkshire United Way and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to offer a workshop titled “The Art and Science of Leading Transformational Change” Tuesday, Dec. 12, from 10 a.m. to noon at the MCLA Design Lab. The workshop will be taught by Bob Voss, a senior consultant in change management.

The goal of the workshop is to introduce participants to a framework and process allowing leaders to assess the current states of their organizations; define ideal future states; and create clear, actionable change initiatives for attaining those desired future states. Voss is a senior consultant at Growth River and has extensive experience as an executive, teacher, trainer and technical writer. He served the global nonprofit organization EnlightenNext as CEO, chief operating officer and board member.

The cost of the workshop is $25 for NPC members and $35 for nonmembers. For more information or to register, call (413) 645-3151.


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Berkshire Community College welcomes new trustees

Pittsfield — Berkshire Community College has announced that Lorelei “Lori” Gazzillo and Mary Katherine Eade were recently appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker to its board of trustees.

Gazzillo is the executive director of the Berkshire Bank Foundation and has also served as vice president of marketing for Legacy Banks and as the director of public relations at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She also serves on the boards of 1Berkshire and the Associated Grant Makers of Massachusetts.

Eade, now retired, previously worked as the sole practitioner in her own law office as a court-appointed criminal defense attorney representing clients accused of crimes in district courts in Berkshire County. She was also adjunct faculty at MCLA teaching courses in business law and was an assistant attorney general in the Massachusetts attorney general’s office until 2011.


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Berkshire Money Management seeks art for new location

Dalton — Berkshire Money Management Inc. invites submissions from artists of the Berkshires and beyond of two- and three-dimensional original artwork for a one-night group exhibit titled “New Art in an Old Building” to be held Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Model Farm on Main Street. The historic 19th-century property has undergone extensive renovation and is now the new headquarters for the firm.

The show is open to all artists and submissions can be sent digitally to with the subject line “New Art in an Old Building.” Works should be displayed free-standing or on pedestals or easels, and must be ready for display by Thursday, Jan. 18. Up to six pieces may be submitted by any individual and a stipend of $100 will be paid to each artist for each piece selected. The deadline for submissions is Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, at 5 p.m. Artists whose work is selected will be notified by Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. New Art in an Old Building will be held Friday, January 19, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information, contact



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