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‘Mistruths,’ nasty rhetoric about The Foundry

It’s a sad day for the arts and our neighbors when one person’s discontent, efforts to dictate our programming, and continuous bullying go uncontested.

To the editor:

Trúc Nguyen’s letter on May 6 masquerades as a letter of support for West Stockbridge Select Board candidate Andy Potter, when in actuality it is a disparaging attack on The Foundry. To claim discrimination and accuse The Foundry of harming her business and family, and to put the venue at the root of her unhappiness is discriminatory in and of itself. The mistruths and nasty rhetoric that have been circulated regarding The Foundry have raised more than a few eyebrows. Our venue always supported our neighbor’s business, purchasing food for our artists in residency, sending patrons and press her way, and promoting the restaurant on our social media, yet the harassment continues.

Claims that we are not complying with our special permit restrictions put forth by Ms. Nguyen are simply not true. It is our business that was harmed by the sound restrictions of our special permit dictated by Ms. Nguyen which made us move indoors during a pandemic causing a loss of revenue due to cancelled performances as patrons and performers felt unsafe indoors. The venue has soundproofed our windows and kept all doors closed during events. We do not use “amplified bass” for every show. We  present theater, comedy, dance and music.

Ms. Nguyen is suing The Foundry for prescriptive easement to our privately owned property.

False claims have been made that we closed the private way obstructing access to her patrons. The roadway was never closed as our hopes to close it to cars for safety only during outdoor performances was dropped once she expressed her displeasure.

Ms. Nguyen calls the police whenever our patrons mistakenly park on her property which interrupts performances and recently triggered BIPOC performers and audience. We hire staff to prevent such incidences and email patrons before events instructing them NOT to park on Ms. Nguyen’s property.

Select Board Chairperson Eric Shimelonis has falsely been accused of being partial to The Foundry. Mr. Shimelonis has never been employed by nor performed at our venue nor have we ever socialized. Committed to West Stockbridge and his constituents, he has the utmost integrity.

Accusations that The Foundry knowingly operated without permitting are false. In 2019, the Town informed me that we didn’t fall under the current zoning by-laws. We were then alerted last summer to the requirements. We applied and complied. A quick look below the surface reveals that many businesses in Town have not had proper permitting.

I cannot vote in West Stockbridge. I live in Richmond. If I could vote, it would not be for Andy Potter, as at a Zoom Town meeting he called for the Select Board “to make The Foundry cease and desist.” It’s a sad day for the arts and our neighbors when one person’s discontent, efforts to dictate our programming, and continuous bullying go uncontested.

Amy Brentano

Richmond

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