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Main Street Hospitality Group has sold the Elm Street Market in Stockbridge to Verson Inc. of New Jersey. Photo courtesy Main Street Hospitality Group

Business Briefs: Main Street Hospitality sells Elm Street Market; IS183 names executive director; BTCF partnership to strengthen arts; Pittsfield Cultural Council awards grants; ‘Basic Banking & Credit’ class

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By Friday, Feb 2, 2018 Trade and Commerce

Main Street Hospitality Group sells Elm Street Market

Stockbridge — Main Street Hospitality Group CEO Sarah Eustis has announced the sale of Elm Street Market to Verson Inc., headed by brothers Rajesh and Rajeev Verma of New Jersey.

Owned and operated by Main Street Hospitality Group for more than 20 years, the Elm Street Market has been a local favorite and community staple. New management took over operation of the market immediately when the sale was completed Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.

“We stopped at Elm Street Market on our way to visit my son at college and immediately fell in love with the restaurant and Stockbridge,” said Rajesh Verma. “The market is a strong community anchor and we intend to keep it that way, building on its existing strength and evolving its local food offerings over time.”

Verson Inc. is a family-owned business that owns and operates a group of deli and catering shops in New York City. Verma plans to keep the current staff while adding more prepared foods to the menu.

The sale was brokered by Rich Aldrich and Tony Blair of the commercial/industrial division of Stone House Properties.


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IS183 names Lucie Castaldo executive director

IS183 Art School of the Berkshires’ executive director Lucie Castaldo, right, works with a student on an art project. Photo courtesy IS183

Stockbridge — IS183 Art School of the Berkshires’ board of directors has named Lucie Castaldo as the organization’s permanent executive director after four months of serving in the interim position.

Castaldo has a long history with IS183, beginning as an art camper not long after IS183, then known as the Interlaken School of Art, first opened its doors in 1991. Since then she has been involved in all facets of the organization’s programming, interning as a summer teaching assistant, teaching adults and children in IS183’s studio and outreach programs, and leading as associate program director.

A graduate of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley and its teacher licensure program, Castaldo led the development of IS183’s Teaching Institute Program, offering current and future arts educators a solid foundation for a variety of classroom settings. Castaldo’s work on exhibits and residencies raises the profile of artists in the community while providing experiences for public access to local art. Castaldo has curated several large-scale art exhibits with IS183, most occurring in non-traditional spaces in Stockbridge, Williamstown and Pittsfield.


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BTCF, Barr Foundation partnership to strengthen arts statewide

Sheffield — Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and the Boston-based Barr Foundation have announced the launch of Creative Commonwealth, a partnership among Barr, BTCF, the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Essex County Community Foundation and the Greater Worcester Community Foundation that will pave the way for the foundations to deepen support for artists and cultural organizations. Creative Commonwealth aims to address the issue of uneven philanthropic support in Massachusetts by increasing local arts and culture funding networks across the state, making the entire sector more sustainable, equitable and accessible.

BTCF has been awarded a $500,000 grant over two years to leverage the strength of the region’s arts sector to increase community engagement. BTCF will bring diverse groups of local residents and arts institutions closer together through grant-making, investing in nonprofit capacity and collaboration. The focus emerged from a planning process the foundation undertook in 2017 with Barr funding to assess needs and identify opportunities to advance the arts and the creative process in Berkshire County.

In addition to supporting activities within each community, Barr will also invest additional resources to help Creative Commonwealth partners learn from each other’s work, expand knowledge about best practices and share relevant lessons with the broader field. Partners will also be posting updates on social media using #CreativeCommonwealth.


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Pittsfield Cultural Council awards $26,500 in grants

Pittsfield — The Pittsfield Cultural Council has announced that it has awarded more 39 grants totaling over $26,500 to a broad array of projects and initiatives by local artists and cultural organizations that will benefit Pittsfield residents.

“We received many worthy grant applications this past fall, far more than could be fully funded,” said PCC Chair Glenn Shalan. “While our resources are limited, we are pleased to be able to support a diverse range of projects that will make the arts, humanities and sciences accessible to anyone and everyone for the residents of Pittsfield.”

Decisions about which activities to support are made at the community level by a board of municipally appointed volunteers. PCC will seek grant applications again in the fall. A full list of recipients can be accessed on PCC’s website via the “Funding List” tab.


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LitNet, Greylock to offer ‘Basic Banking & Credit’ class

Great Barrington — On Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 5:30 p.m., the Literacy Network of South Berkshire and Greylock Federal Credit Union will offer the class “Basic Banking & Credit” at the Berkshire Community College South County Center. The class will cover strategies for managing money by using the right tools and is for English-language learners, though Spanish translation assistance will be available. The class is free and open to the public. Space is limited and registration is suggested. For more information or to register, contact LitNet at (413) 243-0471 or info@litnetsb.org.


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