Clinton Church Restoration has engaged a multidisciplinary team from Proun Design will provide interpretive planning and exhibit design services for the former Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in Great Barrington. Clockwise from top left: Chris Danemayer; Molly O'Brien; Kendra Field, Ph.D.; Michelle Jarvis; Jeff Hayward; Dina Bailey; and Neal Mayer. Images courtesy Clinton Church Restoration

Business Briefs: CCR exhibition designer; Wortis joins Mahaiwe; Berkshire Nonprofit Awards nominations; grant for Jack Miller Contractors

The Berkshire Nonprofit Awards recognize those who work tirelessly in the nonprofit sector to serve the Berkshire community.

Clinton Church Restoration announces selection of exhibition designer

Great Barrington — Clinton Church Restoration has engaged Proun Design LLC, to provide interpretive planning and exhibit design services for the African American heritage site and cultural center it is developing at the former Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church. Proun’s multidisciplinary team will work with the nonprofit as well as with Huff + Gooden Architects to develop a comprehensive interpretive plan for the site, design all exhibits and interpretive elements, and oversee exhibit fabrication and installation.

The Proun team, headed by principal and lead designer Chris Danemayer, brings decades of experience designing exhibits for museums and visitor centers. Credits include work at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, James Madison’s Montpelier, the Josiah Henson Park, the Booker T. Washington National Monument, the Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park, and the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

“From a design standpoint, this project gives us a lot to work with,” Danemayer said. “The site connects with themes that range from faith and resilience to activism and social justice. We embrace the idea that it can be a hybrid—both historic site and active cultural center. It can shed light on the area’s long, varied and often overlooked African American history while also being a hub for contemporary conversations, learning and performances.”

Kendra Field, Ph.D., associate professor of history and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts University, will serve as the team’s scholar/historian. Field is the author of “Growing Up with the Country: Family, Race, and Nation after the Civil War,” which traces her ancestors’ migratory lives between the Civil War and the Great Migration, and served as assistant editor for David Levering Lewis’ “W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography.”

Proun’s core team includes Danemayer; project manager Michelle Jarvis; exhibit designer Neal Mayer; content and audio video developer Molly O’Brien; educator, performer and spoken word artist Regie Gibson; and estimator Thomas Gille. Consultants include Dina Bailey (community engagement); Jennifer Doherty of Northern Light Productions (media); Kathy Abernathy of Abernathy Lighting Design (lighting); and Jeff Hayward of People, Places & Design Research (visitor and market analysis.)


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Mahaiwe names Diane Wortis as director of advancement

Diane Wortis. Photo courtesy Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

Great Barrington — The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center has announced the appointment of Diane Wortis as director of advancement.

Wortis will work with Mahaiwe senior leadership to envision, plan, and execute a well-rounded and strategic fundraising program; supervise the development staff to achieve all major gift, special event, and contributed income goals; and help establish new campaign initiatives for the Mahaiwe’s strength and sustainability.

Prior to joining the Mahaiwe, Wortis was director of development at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, where she served as chief strategist for fundraising and oversaw a development program that included major, annual and planned giving; individual and business membership; special events; and foundation and government support. Her professional experience also includes 10 years at Miss Hall’s School in Pittsfield, most recently as director of development and alumnae relations. Previously, she held senior development roles at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Sterling and Francis Clark Art Institute, Austen Riggs Center, Boston Arts Academy Foundation, the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, Harvard University, and Huntington Theatre Company. She also served as chair of the Somerville Arts Council and was a founding member of the Berkshire County Development Alliance. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and a Master of Business Administration from the Simmons College School of Management.

“Since 2002, I have lived two blocks up the street from the Mahaiwe and I have a deep love for and commitment to the Berkshires. Both of my kids, now young adults, are products of the public schools in Great Barrington. My son played on the Mahaiwe’s stage as part of the band program at Monument Mountain High School, and both kids attended performances throughout their education thanks to Mahaiwe’s partnerships with the local schools,” said Wortis. “My entire family has spent many an evening or weekend afternoon at the Mahaiwe listening to live music, watching dance, attending a benefit performance, or taking in an old-fashioned movie. I’m a longtime Mahaiwe member and am extraordinarily proud to now be doing my part to support the arts and community programming in my own backyard.”


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Nominations sought for Berkshire Nonprofit Awards

Great Barrington — The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, in partnership with the Berkshire Eagle, will present the third annual Berkshire Nonprofit Awards breakfast Tuesday, May 19, from 8 to 10 a.m. at Berkshire Hills Country Club in Pittsfield. The award recognizes those who work tirelessly in the nonprofit sector to serve the Berkshire community. State Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, D-Lenox, will serve as emcee.

Nominations are being solicited from across the Berkshires in eight categories: Executive Leadership, Board Member, Super Staffer, Unsung Hero, Volunteer, Rising Star and Lifetime Achievement. New this year, the Samya Rose Stumo Youth Leadership Award honors the memory of the Sheffield native who lost her life on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March 2019. The 24-year-old was en route to Kenya for nonprofit work in global health development. Auric Enchill, NPC board member and contemporary of Stumo, was deeply affected by the tragedy and her commitment to nonprofit work, and suggested naming the award in her honor.

20 honorees (three in each of six categories, one youth leadership and one lifetime achievement) will be selected by a committee of business and nonprofit leaders. Online nomination forms are available. The deadline for submissions is Thursday, March 26. For more information, contact the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires at


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Jack Miller Contractors receives Workforce Training Fund grant

Williamstown — Jack Miller Contractors has been awarded a $15,000 grant by the Workforce Training Fund Program, which designs and executes workforce strategies in partnership with businesses, educators and training providers across the state.

Offered by the Commonwealth Corporation, the funding will be used to supplement JMC’s overall training initiatives, which target technical, business, management and leadership skills for the company’s employees. One management-level employee has completed a five-part series of leadership classes and other managers will enroll in a two-class series on leadership. Funds must be used by September 2020.