An Evening Of Whimsy: Berkshire Museum’s 2017 Festival Of Trees | Rural IntelligenceWith Help From Our Community, Indwe Soars Higher | Rural IntelligencePerformance Spaces for the 21st Century (PS21) in Chatham, NY held its first fundraiser in its brand-new theater. | Rural IntelligenceThe NAACP Berkshire County Branch held its annual Freedom Fund Awards Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 4 in Pittsfield, Mass. | Rural IntelligenceL’Atelier Berkshires Art Gallery created a spooktacular evening for its artists and patrons on Oct. 29. | Rural IntelligenceBerkshire Humane Society celebrated 25 years of compassion with help from meteorologist and animal advocate Steve Caporizzo. | Rural IntelligenceLitNet of South Berkshire helps make the American dream come true for its students. | Rural IntelligenceArtist Liz Glynn Uncovers The Future At MASS MoCA | Rural IntelligenceSchantz Galleries in Stockbridge, Mass. opened 'Cast, Cut and Cold' on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. | Rural IntelligenceBerkshire Grown’s Harvest Supper wa tiffany agus jewelry co

Parties & Openings

Nov. 18 – Pittsfield Festival of Trees Nov. 15 – G. Barrington Indwe Learning Center Benefit Nov. 11 - Chatham PS21 Gala

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An Evening Of Whimsy: Berkshire Museum’s 2017 Festival Of Trees

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Whether you’re 5 years old or 85 years young, Berkshire Museum’s annual Festival of Trees exhibition elicits true holiday joy in all who experience it. This year’s show, entitled Whimsical, Wonderful Festival of Trees , opened with its signature reception on Friday, Nov. 17. Guests enjoyed oodles of noodles and other snacks from Chef Laura Shack of Firefly in Lenox, surreal live music from Hudson, New York’s C. Ryder Cooley, signature cocktails, colorful masks and balloon creations from Bowey the Clown. Tree sponsors were asked to conceal an item in their creations so guests can search them out in a game inspired by the I-SPY books. Criterion hid an orange eyeball, Canyon Ranch hid dragon eggs, Cross Insurance hid sleepy dust, and exhibit sponsor Hill Engineers hid Tinkerbell. This year’s Festival of Trees will be up until Jan. 7, 2018.

Cindy Perrea, of exhibit sponsor Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, with Sandi Sakowski; Stockbridge Library director Katherine O’Neil and her son Leo.

Eric Mabee, Jen Hines of exhibit sponsor Berkshire Magazine , board president Buzz McGraw and Rachel Melendez Mabee; Eric and Tess Barriere.

Graphic designer Sara Paul, Mike Dowling, Joe McCauley, Jesse Tobin McCauley, Noel Henebury and Mika Saarela.

Cassey Santos-China and Sharon Smith of Kimball Farms make the opening party an annual event; Berkshire County Arc staff pose in front of their tree: Jose Taveras, Morgan Jasewicz, Crossroads Center director Donna Williams and her husband Michael Williams.

Leah Thompson, Jayme Kurland and Aliyah; Josie Buzzanco and Bob Pothier.

Stephanie Merwin, Jen Kerwood, Olivia Kinne, Pat Davis and Kim Kinne.

Ryan Keegan and Rebecca Wehry; Maris Nichols [center] with her aunt, Dorothy Demick, and her father, Art Nichols.

Josh Pisano, Aimee Lescarbeau-Knysh, Harry Potter and Chris Knysh; Bowey the Clown twists up a good time.

Penelope Mitchell, Sarah Mitchell, Bridjet Cebula, Michela Juras and Mila Juras, all with NBT Bank.

Laurie Tierney checks on Dory & Ginger‘s tree; Guests search for clues hidden among the trees.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/20/17 at 10:23 AM • Permalink

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With Help From Our Community, Indwe Soars Higher

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. Rural Intelligence focuses on a four-county region, but the philanthropic nature of our residents often brings other parts of the world into our own universe. Case in point: Susie Weekes-Roeder, a dynamo who runs a Berkshire-based staging business and serves as a Construct board member, decided to start a Montessori-based school adjacent to an orphanage in South Africa…and did it. Now a 501 (c) 3 organization, the Indwe Learning Center (named for the national bird) in Illovo, South Africa sits on the border of the Mother of Peace orphanage, which cares for children who have been impacted by the AIDS crisis. On Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Marketplace in Great Barrington, Mass., Weekes-Roeder introduced the school’s head, Iris Canham, who was in town for a week to help raise funds for the Center. Both women spoke about the Center’s mission: a commitment to educate, empower and engage the children, many of whom come from “child-headed households.” It was hard to hold back tears upon learning about the children, and invitations to visit the Center in South Africa suddenly seemed tempting. “Once you meet these kids, there’s no turning back,” said one board member who has spent time at Indwe. [Above, Iris Canham, head of the school, with actor local resident and Indwe supporter Jayne Atkinson.]

Sue Schwarz, an Indwe supporter, and Hope Fitzgerald, who serves on Indwe’s board of governors; Heather Flemming, a website consultant, and Chris Ryan, treasurer of Indwe’s board of governors.

Lisa Frankel, Jayne Atkinson, realtor Deborah Levinson, Elaine Silberstein and photographer Larry Frankel, all fervent supporters of Indwe’s mission.

Susie Weekes-Roeder with Shirley Blanchard and Steve Blanchard; Indwe Learning Center’s brochure illustrates its work, “From Tragedy to Triumph.”

Writer Monica Bossinger and Charlie Weekes, son of Susie Weekes; Diane Gentry from New Jersey and Elizabeth Olenbush from Mill River.

Don Roeder, retired professor of Botany and Environmental Studies at Bard Colleges and member of Indwe’s board, with Kerry Millikin and Suzi Peel, vice chair, who spearheaded the first World AIDS Conference.

The slide show opened a window into the life and children at Indwe Learning Center in South Africa; Susie Weekes-Roeder delivers a passionate and moving plea for support.

Karen Mercer and Diane Dillon stand beside a display of beaded jewelry and other artwork created by the children at Indwe.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/18/17 at 01:20 PM • Permalink

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PS21 Invites A Crowd To Help Celebrate Its New Home

Amy Krzanik reports from Chatham. At long last, Performance Spaces for the 21st Century (PS21) was able to hold a fundraising gala inside its very own building. On Saturday, Nov. 11, supporters flocked to tour the brand-new black box theater and to help PS21 and its director Judy Grunberg celebrate its completion. Two years in the making, the theater stands near the site where a saddle-span tent welcomed visitors every summer for the past 12 years. Unlike the tent, which was erected and torn down each season, the theater offers both a permanent indoor and an outdoor performance space. A packed house was treated to Kind of Blue by members of PS21 favorite Parsons Dance that was tweaked especially for the occasion. Jeff Loshinsky Catering impressed with passed appetizers, a ramen noodle bar, a grilling station, a dessert bar and more. Lincoln Mayorga bookended the evening with piano improvisations, and singer-guitarist Rory Block performed as a surprise treat.

Jack Shear, Rebecca Josue and Fabrizio Caputo; Annie Brody, executive director the Chatham Film Club, with Tamarack Garlow, Gary Bernstein and Dale Bernstein.

Author Emily McCully, writer Elizabeth Hess, Peter Biskind of FilmColumbia and Evan Stoller, the architect behind PS21’s new theater; Shawn Lesniak, Zoey Anderson and Geena Pacareu of Parsons Dance.

Judy Grunberg [far right] poses with those responsible for bringing the new theater to life.

Linda Sugin, Anthony Calnek, Jess Fardella and gala co-chair Marcia Fardella; NY Assemblymember Didi Barrett is flanked by Derek Grout and Ashley Hartka of Harvest Spirits Distillery, who offered tastes to the crowd.

Abby Laufer, Ed Grossman and Gwen Gould were there to show their love for Judy Grunberg; Live music was performed by pianist Lincoln Mayorga, here with his son Juan Carlos.

Singer-guitarist Rory Block stopped for a surprise performance.

  Larry Salzman, Bob Blechman and Trudi Roth; Judy Grunberg and David Parsons raise their glasses.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/13/17 at 06:17 PM • Permalink

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Celebration, Renewed Commitment At Berkshires NAACP Dinner

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Some people would have you believe that we are living through the worst time in America’s history. The present, however, is best viewed through the lens of the past. Anti-racism activist and writer Tim Wise discussed this topic and others during his keynote speech at the NAACP Berkshire County Branch’s annual Freedom Fund Awards Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Itam Lodge. The United States has always had a racism problem, and through worse times than these, people have banded together to fight against it. There’s no reason to stop now. To that end, the NAACP honored three local leaders who show us how that can be done. Wray Gunn, Sr. received the Paul Robeson Freedom Award for his lifetime commitment to the Berkshires and his work with the African-American Heritage Trail, Clinton Church Restoration, Friends of DuBois committee and the Sheffield Historical Society. Shirley Edgerton received the Mary McLeod Bethune Freedom Award for co-founding the Rites of Passage and Empowerment (R.O.P.E.) program for girls, being an active member of the local Women of Color Giving Circle and the Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival, and for her work as a cultural competency coach for the Pittsfield Public Schools. The Chaney, Goodman, Schwerner Freedom Award was given to John Bissell, president and CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union, to honor his work as a true community partner instrumental in making sure opportunities are available to all. Proceeds from the dinner benefit area students through college scholarships and an upcoming trip to the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C. [Shown left, Tim Wise and Berkshires NAACP president Dennis Powell.]

Wray Gunn with Carol Stroll and Lenny Kates; Shirley Edgerton and her daughter, Jernee Edgerton.

Erin Sullivan, Churchill Cotton and Pittsfield city councilor Melissa Mazzeo; John Bissell with his parents, Nancy and George Bissell.

AJ Enchill, a district aide for Mass. State Senator Adam Hinds, with Catherine Van Bramer, an executive assistant to Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, and city councilor Pete White; Brett Westbrook and Roberta McCullough-Dews.

Gisselle and Tariq Pinkston; Roberta Russell, Carolyn Oppenheim, Bonnie MacCracken and Mass. State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier.

Laurie Norton Moffatt, Wayne Gunn and Amy Diamond; Bill Wright, Darcie Sosa and Kathie Penna.

Mass. State Representative Smitty Pignatelli with Allyce Najimy, and Pittsfield city councilors Melissa Mazzeo and Tony Simonelli; Luci Leonard, an advisor for Multicultural BRIDGE and attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/06/17 at 01:54 PM • Permalink

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Costumes, Cocktails, Caviar…And Art…At L’Atelier Gallery

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. You can’t expect Halloween in the Berkshires to be anything less than artful, and that was fully expressed at L’Atelier Berkshires Art Gallery on Sunday, Oct. 29. Gallerist Natalie Tyler took advantage of the Halloween spirit by combining a come-as-you-please party with an art salon and made it work. Amidst hors d’oeuvres (including caviar and pâté “stations” arranged by Torrey Oates of Amuse Culinary Events) and cocktails, glass artists Iva Kalikow and Debora Coombs spoke about their work, describing their inspiration and techniques, as did painter Michael Allen Lowe. Every couple of minutes, the door creaked open and, from the pouring rain outside, an alter ego of some sort or another stepped into the gallery to be admired by the guests. And if you don’t think it’s a little disconcerting having a conversation with a big toad head, you ought to try it some time. [Above, gallery owner Natalie Tyler and Adam Zamberletti, a.k.a. The Big Lebowski.]

Krysia Kurzyca, an artist and farmer who founded Medicine Buddha Gardens, and Alex Brink, a culinary artist; Misha Gomberg, who is on the staff of Turn Park, and Eric Smith of Eric’s Great Gardens.

The featured artists: glass artists Iva Kalikow and Debora Coombs, with painter Michael Allen Lowe.

Lenny Kalikow as Mr. Toad, in a head he had made 30 years ago (which he used to try to get on the David Letterman show); creepy eyeballs swimming in a blood-red punch.

Live Brazilian jazz provided by Vita Kay and Michael Junkins.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/30/17 at 02:39 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Humane Society’s 25th Birthday Bash

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. The biggest change the Berkshire Humane Society (BHS) has seen in its 25 years might be the huge decrease in its clientele. But that’s great news! The clients in this case are dogs, cats, birds, goats and other animals in need, and the work BHS has done since 1992 has more than halved the amount of homeless pets in our region. To celebrate this milestone and its 25th birthday, the organization threw a party on Sunday, October 22 at The Colonial Theatre. News10 meteorologist and Pet Connection host Steve Caporizzo helped BHS honor its veterinary partners and raise funds for its programming with a live segment of Pet Connection and an onstage auction. The money raised will support the BHS satellite shelter, Purradise, in Great Barrington; humane education for children and adults; the Ken Freeburg Fund, which pays for treatment for animals who enter the shelter with health problems; and the SafePet Program, which provides temporary care for the pets of people in crisis.

Mark Heyer and Mary Shogry-Heyer with Steve Caporizzo; Stacey Carver, director of Berkshire Animal D.R.E.A.M.S., with Allen Harris of major sponsor Berkshire Money Management and BHS adoption counselor Lindsay Hermanski.

BHS executive director John Perreault with board president Cindy Bartlett and Marsha Weiner, co-founder of Catwalk; volunteer Sandy Haywood poses with Dakota, a dog she fostered and then adopted.

Barry Clairmont, Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, Allison Johnson Krol and Pittsfield city councilor John Krol.

Lisa Ressler, Camille Nugai and BHS board member Sheila Labarbera all represented major sponsor Greylock Federal Credit Union; Cindy and Jeff Caminiti and Catwalk volunteer Melissa Bye take a moment to pet Gabby.

Julie Macdonald, Valerie Ross and Monique and James Blake of sponsor Allegrone; board member Tracy DiSilva with board vice president Fred Pomerantz.

Guests were treated to a live Pet Connection with BHS adoption counselor Lindsay Hermanski and host Steve Caporizzo.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/23/17 at 11:05 AM • Permalink

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Keeping The American Dream Alive With LitNet

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. Is “the American dream” still achievable in 2017? The Literacy Network of South Berkshire (LitNet), its staff, board members and dedicated tutors would answer that question with a resounding “yes.” In fact, the non-profit’s annual gala — held on Saturday, Oct. 14 at Berkshire Country Day School — was the culmination of its American Dream Campaign. Since 2016, the number of new LitNet students has increased by 30 percent, and the fundraising effort began as a way to guarantee that tutoring will remain free for any local adult who needs it. As an added incentive, The Gilson Family Foundation agreed to match any money raised by up to $30,000. Going into the evening, the campaign had amassed $20,000. During a speedy live auction, author-performer Alison Larkin easily was able to raise more than double the $10,000 still needed to receive the full amount of funding offered. A balloon drop marked the happy occasion. The gala, which honored the organization’s tutors, was again catered by The Old Inn on the Green.

LitNet President Lucy Prashker with Michael Ury and board member Sue Weintraub; LitNet’s Mary Spina with her son-in-law, Brian Schmidt, and her daughter, Michelle Schmidt of the Gilson Family Foundation.

Catherine Shearn Chester and board member Matthew Chester with Shela Hidalgo and Gary Levante of gala sponsor Berkshire Bank; Francis Spina, Loretta Scheel and Robert Bujalski.

Tutor Lee Glazerman with Maria de Melendez, Marcelo Melendez, who is a student of Glazerman’s, and Young Kim and her tutor Fran Wolk.

Tutor Justin Burke, Ellen Boyd and Kevin Allan; Roy Kozupsky and LitNet tutor Leslie Kozupsky with Wendy Federer, a gala benefactor.

Tutor Sue Arkans, Howard Arkans, Erick Schafler and tutor Sharon Schafler; Cathy Deely with board member Marianne Deignan Ellrodt.

LitNet Executive Director Jennifer Vrabel and husband Matthew Vrabel [center] are flanked by guests from Greylock Federal Credit Union, a major gala sponsor, including Christhian Cabrera and Katherine Phillips [left] and Meghan McGrath and Dan Dillon [right].

Major gala sponsor Jane Iredale with board members Merle Kailas and Bob Montgomery; Stephen Boyd poses with Eleanore Velez.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/16/17 at 01:15 PM • Permalink

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Artist Liz Glynn Uncovers The Future At MASS MoCA

Amy Krzanik reports from North Adams. “Build something out of nothing” reads the wall text on the second floor of Liz Glynn’s exhibit, The Archaeology of Another Possible Future , now on view in MASS MoCA’s Building 5 gallery space. Piles of single-page newspapers make other succinct statements, also in black handwriting on a white background: “all that is solid melts into air;” “repair, refashion, reimagine;” “in ten thousand years ____________.” Glynn, in her largest-ever exhibit, which opened with an artist’s reception on Saturday, Oct. 7, ponders the past, present and future of human experience through its daily materials. Record players, wooden pallets, scrap metal, cement and soft felt mix with 3D printers and their output, delicate metal tumbleweeds, a series of catwalks, and hospital gurneys placed under tanning lamps. The goal? “Liz Glynn asks us to consider perhaps the biggest question,” says MASS MoCA Director Joseph Thompson, “What’s next for us humans?”

Liz Glynn with outgoing museum board president Hans Morris; Bridget Rigas, MASS MoCA’s director of development, with the exhibit’s curator, Susan Cross, and Richard de Maat.

Curator Denise Markonish with David R. Harper and Karen Patterson; Clay Hensley and Joyce Shu.

Photographers Brianna Rettig and Chris Janaro; MASS MoCA exhibition manager Caitlin Tucker-Melvin, Pint Locke and artist Joanna Klain.

Guests venture into the third cave, SMELL .

Elie Miodownik, Alli Dillenbeck and Makayla McGeeney; Lisa Reile and Jodi Joseph, the museum’s director of communications.

Denise Ottina and Paul Glynn, the artist’s father; Xavier, Lisa Dorin, Williams College Museum of Art interim director, and MASS MoCA’s deputy director Larry Smallwood.

The outside of the “analog” caves; children play inside the TOUCH cave.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/09/17 at 01:37 PM • Permalink

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Peering Through Glass At The Schantz Gallery Reception

Lisa Green reports from Stockbridge. It would not be an overstatement to say that I was gobsmacked by the virtuosity of the glass artists represented at the Schantz Galleries, but even the collectors among the crowd expressed wonderment for the pieces on display. Jim Schantz and his team invited a select audience to a reception to view “Cast, Cut and Cold” on Saturday, Oct. 7, at which several of the exhibiting artists were present. “Come help us celebrate the art, the artists, and the beautiful autumn colors of New England,” read the invitation, but clearly, the works by these internationally recognized glass artists, some of the best known in the world, were the real stars of the weekend. Following the reception, guests strolled around the block to the Red Lion Inn, where Jim Schantz and Kim Saul hosted a dinner for the art glass community — of which I now proudly call myself one. Above, a piece by Dale Chihuly hovers over the main floor exhibition area.

Hana Rosol, whose husband’s work is in the gallery, with glass artist Robin Grebe, whose work is also on display; Stanley Wooley of Schantz Gallery, with Susan Baker of Art New England , and her sister, Gail Baker.

Nick Minglis and Erica Minglis traveled from their home near Woodstock to enjoy the gallery reception.

Eric Federer and Wendy Federer with gallery owner Jim Schantz; Robert Shaloff and Michelle Shaloff of West Stockbridge and New Jersey.

Glass artist Eric Hilton and Ed Yasuna; Sidney Hutterer stands by one of his magnificent pieces.

Kim Saul and Jim Schantz, gallery owners and gracious hosts of the reception and dinner.

Janet Kawada and glass artist Dan Clayman; Gallery artists William Carlson and Martin Rosol with Pedro Alexander. Steven Baum and Dorothy Baum of Newton, Penn. are avid glass collectors.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/09/17 at 01:03 PM • Permalink

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A Movable Feast: Berkshire Grown’s Annual Harvest Supper

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. At Berkshire Grown’s Harvest Supper, it’s definitely helpful if you can eat and walk at the same time: you’ve got to keep moving to get a taste of all of the dishes provided by member chefs. The 19th annual food feast on Monday, Sept. 25, held again at the Ski Butternut lodge, offered a showcase for restaurants, markets and beverage purveyors who outdo themselves every year with ingredients from producers in our area. It’s an evening where chefs, farmers and enthusiastic eaters can help Berkshire Grown further its mission: to celebrate and support local food and farms. [Above: Tom Curtin, Berkshire Grown board treasurer, with Executive Director Barbara Zheutlin, Molly Comstock of Colfax Farm, Schuyler Gail of Climbing Tree Farm and Allison Bayles, board president.]

From Kripalu, Steve Sherman and Shelby Drosehn; Doria Polinger of H.R. Zeppelin Chocolates prepares her display.

The mother-daughter team of eaters, Ava and Margaret Lindenmaier, get set to do a round of feasting.

Sue Arkans and Sharon Schafler; Fabien Riviere, director of food and beverage at The Red Lion Inn, with Anne-Juliette Maurice, vice president of operations for Main Street Hospitality.

Good news for those who miss the former Cafe Reva in Pittsfield: Its owner, Aura Whitman, is bringing her company, nAtURAlly, to Berkshire Mountain Bakery.

Castle Street Cafe’s new chef, Luis Zambrano; Williams College Dining chefs Mike Militello and Jerry Byers.

David Rothstein, owner of Race Brook Lodge, with Laura Werntz.

Shakespeare & Company’s Ariel Bock, Ruth Dinerman, Barbara Zheutlin, Allison Bayles, and Lianna Toscanini, executive director of the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires; Ryan Chandler and Ashley Chandler of Brattle Farm.

Richard Tovell and Abby Tovell, who run T Square Design Studio, with Sam Ernst and Jovanina Pagano.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/25/17 at 10:15 PM • Permalink

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New Milford Barn Quilt Trail Kicks Off At The Silo

Lisa Green reports from New Milford. One of the things we most love about covering events is bearing witness to (and yes, being embraced by) the warmth and enthusiasm of the communities in the RI region. On Sunday, Sept. 24, that “we’re all in this together” spirit filled The Silo’s handsome, restored barn at Hunt Hill Farm. The brunch, catered by Bonni Manning, honored the farmers, artists, volunteers, boards and commissions who banded together to make Connecticut’s first barn quilt trail a reality. Now, eight giant painted quilt panels adorn eight barns, with each design reflecting the history of the farm and the town’s agricultural past. New Milford Mayor Dave Gronbach presented certificates of appreciation to the many participants, praising the project as the perfect intersection of art, landscape and community. In a fitting cap to the event, Rachel Carley, an expert on barns in Connecticut, spoke about the styles of the eight host barns on the New Milford Barn Quilt Trail. [Above, the Quilt Trail committee: Suzanne Von Holt, chair, with Julie Bailey and Susan Bailey (no relation), whose barn bears the first of the quilts to be hung.]

Elizabeth Schrang of the Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust, which sponsored a quilt at Smirsky Farm, with her mother, Maridith Schrang; Rob Burkhart, president of the New Milford Trust for Historic Preservation, and Lorraine Ryan, an artist who is creating a series of paintings of the barns.

Sharon Kaufman, executive director, and Jayson Roberts, studio director of the Village Center for the Arts, which played a leading role in painting the eight-foot-square quilt panels.

Sarah Carberry and her mother Janet Harris of Harris Hill Farm (the first to hang one of the quilts); Mayor Dave Gronbach hands out certificates to farmers who lent their barns to the project.

The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm created a quilt pattern that reflects its agricultural and cultural history: Skitch Henderson, founder of the New York Pops orchestra, long-time musical director of the NBC Orchestra and radio and television personality, and his wife Ruth, a writer, chef and entrepreneur, fell in love with the property and purchased it in 1968. Building by building, they converted the two farms into a much-beloved cooking school, art gallery, museum and kitchen store.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/25/17 at 10:10 AM • Permalink

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Litchfield Historical Society’s Pig Roast Furthers Initiatives

Elyse Sadtler reports from Morris. The Litchfield Historical Society held its annual fall fundraiser on Sunday, Sept. 17 at South Farms in Morris, Conn. This year’s event took the form of a pig roast, featuring barbeque from When Pigs Fly South of Sharon, Conn. as the main fare. As guests began to arrive, they were greeted by music from the band Switch Factory, which provided live music for the evening. Jack Baker from the Litchfield Distillery served up cocktails and mixed drinks featuring their bourbon and vodka, including their new cinnamon bourbon. Proceeds from the event go toward funding the historical society’s educational initiatives, which include offering programs to students at Litchfield Schools — at no cost to the school system. On display at a side table were the plans for the Tapping Reeve House and Litchfield Law School grand landscaping project. [Above, Dave Hunt and Curator of Education Kate Zullo.]

Tom Curran and Laura Lasker; Switch Factory, the band for the evening.

LHS President Jane Hinkel, Executive Director Catherine Fields and Vice President John LaGattuta in front a rustic gate locally crafted by Christopher Hawver. (The historical society is also raising money for the purchase of two gates by Hawver for the landscaping project.)

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/18/17 at 02:43 PM • Permalink

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Equus Effect Event Tackles Trauma On Stage With “Cry Havoc”

Lisa Green reports from Lakeville. By the end of actor, playwright and veteran Stephan Wolfert’s one-man tour de force, “Cry Havoc,” the “why” of The Equus Effect became clear to anyone who may have doubted the need to help veterans successfully reenter civilian life. On Sunday, Sept. 16, The Equus Effect’s fundraising event at Quarry Hill Farm allowed supporters to bear witness to Wolfert as he performed his experience of trying to come home and re-connect with society. The Equus Effect, which began in 2013 working with 21 veterans, has grown to service 200 veterans in 2017 alone. The nonprofit organization in Sharon, Conn. empowers veterans to rebuild healthy relationships through purposeful engagement with horses. The horses help veterans focus on rebuilding trust, restoring healthy boundaries and both leading without force and relaxing without losing awareness. [Above, David Sonatore, co-founder of The Equus Effect, with Robert Caffrey, president of its board of directors.]

Wassaic residents Robyn Cutler Rosenberg, a board member, and David Rosenberg; Riley David-Gagnon, Aimee Davis, Bridget Ford Hughes, owner of of Body Lab GB and sculptor Jon Prince.

Co-founder Jane Strong with actor, playwright and veteran Stephan Wolfert.

Cecelia Morris, Carr Ferguson and Mary Oppenheimer; Ann Marie Belli and Jeffrey Earls.

Juliet Hubbard, Tony Robinson, writer Roxana Robinson, and physical therapist Bente Busby; Rene Milo, with Cynthia Walsh and Kathleen Fuhr, both on the Audubon Sharon board of directors.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/18/17 at 11:04 AM • Permalink

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1Berkshire Celebrates North Adams And More

Amy K nilelxml. tiffany parijsrzanik reports from Williamstown. More than 300 community members — from bankers, builders and politicians, to artists, educators and medical professionals — found their way to the new Bloom Meadows event space on Thursday evening, Sept. 14. 1Berkshire, the region’s economic development organization, had invited them there to once again “Celebrate the Berkshires.” The annual event recognizes individuals and organizations who strengthen the local economy and help the Berkshires grow. The 2017 Berkshire Trendsetter winners were announced and are as follows: Comprehensive Marketing Campaign – Shakespeare & Company; Entrepreneur/Visionary of the Year – Tad Ames of Berkshire Natural Resources Council; Growing/Advancing the Berkshire Economy – Allegrone; Under 40 Change Maker – Jessica Vecchia [shown left with her mother, Patti Bilodeau]; Nonprofit Impact – McCann Technical High School; Creative Economy Standout – Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival; and Newcomer of the Year – Adam Hinds. The award for Putting the Berkshires on the Map, whose winners were the only ones previously announced, was presented to the Community of North Adams. And what a community it is. MASS MoCA’s Executive Director Joe Thompson perhaps said it best when he introduced the recipients. “Not to diminish the natural beauty and history of North Adams,” he said, “but the people are our greatest assests.”

1Berkshire board member and award presenter Peter Stasiowski of Interprint with “Newcomer of the Year” Mass. State Senator Adam Hinds; Noel Henebury, Devin Shea and Andrea Sholler, managing director of “Creative Economy Standout” winner Jacob’s Pillow Dance.

Brad Felix of event underwriter Greylock Federal Credit Union, Pittsfield City Councilor Pete White, Lo Sottile, and Craig Kahn of All Seasons Realty; Glenn Diehl of nominee Berkshire Scenic Railroad with 1Berkshire president and C.E.O. Jonathan Butler and Michelle Butler.

Sam Russo of event underwriter General Dynamics, Tim Burke, Carrie Holland also of GD, and Maggie Barry and Cody Gavin of the LakeHouse Inn in Lee.

Adam Klepetar and Charles Stephens, both of Berkshire Community College; Tim Kiely, 1Berkshire board member Lori Gazzillo of underwriter Berkshire Bank, James Culliton, a principal of Allegrone who received the award for “Growing/Advancing the Berkshire Economy,” and Mary Verdi.

Siddhi Mehta, Katielynn Hoffman, Brandon Wong, Jessica Clayborn and Dr. Mahek Mehta of nominee Hillcrest Dental Care; Tony Dunne, Julia Dixon and North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright.

Stephanie Bosley, Meghan Stetson, Brent Bette, Ally Holmes, and JD Chesloff of nominee MCLA.

Chris Smith, Cheryl Richards, Michele Morin and Mark Placido of Hillcrest Educational Centers; Change Maker nominee and North Adams City Council president Ben Lamb with Otto, and Alexandra Mitchell with Kya.

Denise Marshall, Molly Fannon Williams, and Michelle Daly of nominee MCLA; Emily Bronson and Shela Hidalgo of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Gary Levante of underwriter Berkshire Bank and Sarah Tucker.

Berkshire Community College came out in force to celebrate the Berkshires: Christina Wynn, Adam Klepetar, Adams Select Board member Christine Hoyt, Linda Morelli and Jonah Sykes.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/18/17 at 10:36 AM • Permalink

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Community Celebrates BNRC’s Half Century Of Landkeeping

Lisa Green reports from Dalton. “Landkeeping is for all of us.” So says the Berkshire Natural Resources Council’s website, and for 50 years, this organization has valiantly worked with landowners who want to donate land, it has scouted for new acquisitions, and planned, built and maintained trails — all so that we have easy access to the Berkshires’ natural world. On Saturday, Sept. 9, Tim Crane opened up his Holiday Brook Farm for a day of hayrides, guided walks, presentations, archery lessons, fishing clinics, food and music to celebrate and honor the work of the last 50 years. BNRC has big plans going forward as it embarks on the High Road project, which will create a system of linked trails that covers the entirety of Berkshire County. [Above, Sarah Hudson, whose brother Barclay Hudson donated Steadman Pond in Monterey, Mass. to the BNRC, with Tad Ames, BNRC’s outgoing president.]

Holiday Brook Farm’s pond was the perfect spot for a fishing clinic and fishing derby.

Jim Lamme, Wendy Linscott, a Council board member and Narain Schroeder, who is the director of land conservation at the BNRC; Roxanne Gawthrop, who runs development and donor relations, with Tom Curtin, a Council board member.

Mackenzie Greer, conservation and stewardship associate, chats with George Wislocki, who was founding president of the Council 50 years ago.

Joel Lerner, who was director of the Massachusetts Division of Conservation Services, and Gige Darey, former chair of the Massachusetts Fish & Wildlife Board, and “one of the nation’s great conservationsts,” said Lerner; David McGowan, executive director of the Williamstown Rural Land Foundation, and Nicole Pyser, stewardship coordinator at the BNRC.

Tad Ames and Holiday Farm owner and BNRC board chair Tim Crane with Jonas and Betsy Dovydenas.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/10/17 at 06:50 PM • Permalink

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James Ivory Hosts The 2017 Columbia-Greene Garden Party

Amy Krzanik reports from Claverack. The Alliance for Positive Health’s annual Columbia–Greene Garden Party is always a well-attended event and the cause is one that many hold close to their hearts. An added draw is that the APH (formerly the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York) holds the fundraiser at a different, magical property each year. This year, more than 400 guests were able to tour the home and grounds of famed film director James Ivory on Saturday, Sept. 2. Simons Catering created fanciful hors d’oeuvres, Kelly Mittleman & Friends played their hearts out, and the silent auction, another of the event’s big draws, featured hand-chosen pieces of art, furniture, fashion, personal care packages, dinners and overnight stays.

Brian Flynn, New York State Assemblymember Didi Barrett and Kris Kohler; Lindsay Pennington, Anthony Slayter-Ralph and Priscilla Woolworth.

Keith Lee with Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan and former mayor of Altamount James Gaughan; Robin Horowitz and Dale Stewart of Halstead Property with Cricket Coleman.

Artist Stephen King, host James Ivory and gala committee member Peter Bevacqua.

Mary Jane Bendon Couch, APH president, with Bill Faragon, APH executive director; Dave King, Frank Tartaglione, Maria Manhattan and Merry DePhillips.

Stephen Sipperly, board members Dominic Carota and Victor Mendolia, and Matt Lynch; Elizabeth Homitzky, Kurt Parde and Claire Parde, executive director of the Columbia County Community Healthcare Consortium.

Craig Chorney, John Boone and Chris Lockwood.

Alex Contreras, Lisa Briscoe and Andy Goldsborough; Christine Boeke, Suzanne Frye of NYC and Barbara Challan of Hudson.

Charles Rosen with Joseph Sniado and Michael Moy of Joe’s Garage in Catskill, and Duke Dang; Jane Duffstein, Charles Edwards and Michael Myers.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/04/17 at 09:54 PM • Permalink

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Drinks At the Waterfront With Historic Hudson

Jamie Larson reports from Hudson . An empty lot beside an abandoned warehouse, surrounded by barbed wire and next to railroad tracks, might seem like a strange locale for a posh party. But this is Hudson, New York, and that’s exactly what took place on Friday, Sept. 1. Historic Hudson held its Drinks on the Waterfront event at the old Dunn Warehouse to benefit the organization and to think big about the future of the highly visible historic site on the Hudson River. There was additional reason to celebrate; the city recently won a $10 million economic development grant for the riverfront district, which means plans to revitalize the building could become a reality sooner than later. The weather was perfect, as was the food provided by Talbott & Arding and the unique Eastern European wines from Hudson Wine Merchants. The party, produced by Katharine Millonzi, also was used to promote the equally unique upcoming Historic Hudson chamber music series. [Above, executive director of the Columbia County Historical Society Lori Yarotsky and executive director of Historic Hudson Lisa Weilbacker.)

Lacy Clarke, Historic Hudson intern Lucie Huston and realtor Dina Palin of Houlihan Lawrence, Scenic Hudson land project manager Abdiel Lopez Torres and Isabel Ramirez.

Photographer Annie Leibovitz with daughters Susan and Samuelle. Photo by Kelly Thompson.

Principal at Hudson Praxis Damara Rose (she is currently undertaking a feasibility study about turning Dunn into a Hudson River museum and science center), Chandra Glick, and photographer Antony Nagelmann holding Indigo Nagelmann; NY State Assemblymember Didi Barrett, Historic Hudson vice president Dorthy Heyl, candidate for Hudson 1st Ward Alderman Rob Bujan and Kathy Bujan. President and executive producer at Hoff Productions Michael Hoff, Julia Ritchie, Shari Brink, Judy Kramer, Win Jackson and principal broker at Historic Hudson Homes Paul Trantanella; Kathryn and Bernadette Fitzgerald with Laurie Fenlason.

Linda and Bill Livanos, Glenda Ruby, author of the new book A Murderous Summer at Bard , and Ros Delay.

Morag Hann, Michael Arkin and Colin Stair of Stair Galleries, who sponsored the event; Historic Hudson president Alan Neumann invites attendees to dream big about the future of the site. 

Olana landscape curator Mark Prezorski, Hudson 3rd Ward Alderman and candidate for 3rd Ward Supervisor John Friedman, and designer Mitchell Motsinger; Eric Tucker and Susannah Millonzi wearing Francis Tucker.

Zachary Hill, Rhodes Adler, Annick de Bellefeuille and Historic Hudson president Alan Neumann.

Historic Hudson volunteer photographers Jackie O’Neill and Kelly Thompson; Suzanne Frye, Nancy Westbrook and Barbara Challan.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 09/03/17 at 05:02 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Grown Eats (And Contemplates) Farm-To-Table

Lisa Green reports from Sheffield. Barbara Zheutlin, executive director of Berkshire Grown, leads me to the menu posted at the entrance of the brunch on Sunday, Aug. 27, catered by The Old Inn on the Green and The Southfield Store. “Read, and prioritize,” she advises. “Peter Platt has outdone himself.” And indeed he has, providing a home-grown feast under the shade trees at the home of Hester Velmans and Peter Cherneff, with food and drink supplied by local farmers and beverage makers. It all just underscored the purpose of the event: Berkshire Grown’s championing of the local food economy in the Berkshires, and whetted the guests’ appetites for the after-brunch conversation, “Food, Farming and our Future.” Although one of the speakers, columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman was unable to make the event due to a family emergency, Dan Barber held the audience’s attention with his views on where the farm-to-table movement is heading. “We’re just beginning,” said the author, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill New York and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. “For farm-to-table 2.0 we need to look beyond what is passive or easy, and develop hyper-regional cuisines.” While his talk left guests wanting more, each was rewarded on the way out with a copy of Letters to a Young Farmer: On Food, Farming and Our Future , compiled by the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. [Above: The two men of the hour(s): Chef Peter Platt and Dan Barber.]

Ellen House, who is assistant to cosmetics company owner Jane Iredale, and Geoffrey House; Doug McTavish and Linda Saul-Sena.

Steve Sagarin of the Berkshire Waldorf High School, Janis Martinson, advancement director at The Mahaiwe, Chris Weld, owner of Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Berkshire Grown’s Barbara Zheutlin, and Tyler Weld. The farmers and other vendors who contributed to the brunch; Anna Oliver, Stephan Klein, Bonnie Rosenberg and Susan Bubenas.

Blue Q graphic designer Silka Glanzman, Susan Engel, a professor at Williams College, and Emily Bronson of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.

Jewelry designer Dai Ban, Robin Ban, Jessica Velmans and artist Jorge Silveira.

Restaurateur Mark Firth, owner of Prairie Whale, joins the sausage-grilling team Hope Millham, Jake Levin  of Jacuterie, Brian Heck, and Sean Stanton of Blue Hill Farm.

Guests head to the barn to hear Dan Barber’s talk.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/28/17 at 09:47 AM • Permalink

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Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon Gala 2017

Amy Krzanik reports from New Lebanon. Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon’s annual summer benefit gala, held this year on Saturday, Aug. 19, began with a cocktail hour in and around the Vault of the impressive Great Stone Barn. Guests moved to the tent for dinner, which was prepared by The Farmer’s Wife located in Ancramdale and Millbrook, New York. The evening’s highlight was a performance by the gala’s guests of honor, actress Frances McDormand and actress/singer Suzzy Roche [shown left]. The two performed an excerpt from The Wooster Group’s  Early Shaker Spirituals: A Record Album Interpretation , which was introduced by The Wooster Group’s current and founding member Kate Valk. Dolores Meissner of Meissner’s Auctions led a live auction, where supporters participated in a friendly battle for trips, nights out on the town, finely made Shaker reproduction side tables and other items. Coffee, camaraderie and desserts from Manhattan’s Magnolia Bakery rounded out the evening’s events. Early Shaker Spirituals  will return to The Performing Garage in SoHo for a limited engagement this December. [ Above photo of Frances McDormand and Suzzy Roche by John Mulligan. ]

Chair of the board Paul Cassidy with Lisa Malone Jackson, the site’s director of advancement, and her husband Jeffrey Jackson; Patricia Crown and Tracy Kelly.

Jed Englund and Alyce Englund, a curator at The Met; architect John James, Jill and Rufus Jones of the James Weldon Johnson Foundation, and board member Rae Gilson.

Daniel Schmeder, Zoe McFarland and Gavin McFarland; chair emeritus Jeff Daly with Dennis Corrado.

Julia Todoli, Roni Horn and Vernon Evenson; Chris Thompson and David Landauer.

Jeffrey Peabody, Jennifer Dowly and Guy Walker of The Re Institute; Arlin Wasserman with Dan and Nina Worth.

Auctioneer Dolores Meissner and Lacy Schutz, the site’s executive director; Nancy Kyle, Michael Hursa, Max Gitter and Linda Hursa, who created bouquets for the dinner tables.

Jerry Grant, the Museum’s director of collections and research, with Toby Bilanow and Stephen McNabb; Shaker scholar Sharon Koomler, Stephanie Aeder and Rae Gilson.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/21/17 at 04:24 PM • Permalink

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The National Committee Keeps The Mount Close To Its Heart

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. After a visit to The Mount, you’d be forgiven for thinking that summer evenings were created specifically for sipping cocktails on the mansion’s terrace, which overlooks former owner Edith Wharton’s breathtaking gardens. On Tuesday, Aug. 15, on just such an evening, members of The National Committee gathered on the terrace of the mansion for a Summer Soirée. The Committee, The Mount’s annual giving society, is comprised of individuals who make a gift of $1,000 or more. Established in 2012, the group includes board members as well as fans of The Mount who live too far away to serve on the board but want to show their appreciation for the site and the work the non-profit does to preserve it. Most of the guests pictured below are members of the Committee and The Mount holds a special place in their hearts.

Editor Pat Peters, retired U.S. district judge Jose Gonzalez and trustee Mary Copeland; Susan Wissler, executive director of The Mount, with photographer Jonas Dovydenas.

Judith Joyce and Linda Zukowski; Roger and Naomi Gordon, a trustee, with Jane Roy.

Carron Haight, Tom Thaler and Sarah Tyler.

Don Temples, The Mount’s director of development, with writers Natalie Pope Boyce and Mary Pope Osborne; Alan Price and Irene Goldman-Price, who is the board’s vice chair.

Hermine Drezner with Carol and Richard Seltzer, a board member; Enid Michelman, Jonas Dovydenas, trustee Cris Raymond and George Raymond.

Trustees Virginia Giddens and Lila Berle with James Giddens and Mary Copeland, also a trustee.

Judith Katz, Betsy Dovydenas and Alice Wislocki; Leslie and Tim Curtis, National Committee members from Connecticut.

Stephen Peters, trustee Kate Wharton and Alan Price; Sherry Kasper, Dan Kasper, chair of The Mount’s board, and Linda Fawley, a National Committee member from Boston.

Susan Wissler and board members past and present thank the National Committee members for all that they do to support and promote The Mount.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/15/17 at 08:40 PM • Permalink

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IS183 Sends Director Hope Sullivan Off On Her Next Adventure

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. If you’ve ever taken a class at IS183 Art School of the Berkshires, visited its home base at Citizens’ Hall in Stockbridge, Mass. or attended one of the non-profit’s over-the-top (in the very best way) galas, you’ve met Hope Sullivan. The organization’s longtime director was most likely there to greet you with a smile and make you feel welcome. But Sullivan is now moving on, ready to begin a new job as the executive director at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center Foundation in Stowe, VT. Friends, colleagues, IS183 instructors and board members, and others in the community gathered at Citizens’ Hall on Sunday, Aug. 6 to send her off and wish her well on her next artistic adventure. Nancy Kalodner, an IS183 founding board member, read a statement expressing the gratitude many feel toward Sullivan, who has been at the helm of the 25-year-old organization for the last 12 years, and has expanded its programming and led the non-profit out of debt. Sullivan herself thanked the school’s board members and other supporters for their dedication and generosity throughout the years. Good luck, Hope, and we’ll miss you.

Program director Lucie Castaldo, who will serve as interim executive director, with Hope Sullivan; board chairman Andy Foster with ceramics student Nadine Atalla of Cafe Lucia and board member Aine Ungar.

Noel Henebury of Hotel on North with Vicki Bonnington, Andrea Sholler and Berkshire Athenaeum director Alex Reczkowski.

Gallerist Leslie Ferrin, artist Rebecca Weinman and Danielle Steinmann; Mary Nash with David Schecker.

Shirley Shapiro and former board member Jana Purdy; Diane Firtell and Marilyn Orner Cromwell, who both teach at IS183, with Cecilia Hirsch, the school’s student programs coordinator.

Partygoers raise their glasses in a “cheers” to Hope.

IS183’s marketing coordinator Carrie Wright and photographer Bill Wright flank Pilot; Peter Long, IS183’s registrar and office manager, with Leigh Rosenfeld.

Ceramics studio manager Jared Gelormino with Leslie Ferrin; artist Keith Emerling with potter and teacher Margie Skaggs and ceramicist Marcie Kammel.

This cheesecake, which was as delicious as it was beautiful, was created by Chocolate Springs in Lenox, Mass.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/14/17 at 11:33 AM • Permalink

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Tea For 200 Celebrates Its China Anniversary

Rachel Louchen reports from Washington Depot . On Saturday, August 12, Tea for 200 reached a huge milestone, commemorating its 20th annual year, which might mean it’s been tea for 4,000 at this point. Held for the last two decades in the gardens of Gary Goodwin and Gael Hammer’s home, the party is a favorite among locals of Litchfield County and sees a huge turnout summer after summer. Tea for 200 has raised nearly a million dollars for local organizations since its inception, with proceeds from this year benefiting the Interfaith AIDS Ministry of Greater Danbury and Gunn Historical Museum. The honored nonprofits may change, but a constant remains the all-white dress code, extravagant hat contest, silent auction, live music by “The Beehive Queen” Christine Ohlman, and the surrounding beauty of Washington Depot. [Above, Gary Goodwin, Evie Hammer, Gael Hammer and Jason Moskowitz].

Andrew Clementi, Lucy Clementi, executive director of Interfaith AIDS Ministry of Greater Danbury, Janet Olsen Ryan
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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/18/17 at 11:04 AM • Permalink

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1Berkshire Celebrates North Adams And More

Amy K nilelxml. tiffany parijsrzanik reports from Williamstown. More than 300 community members — from bankers, builders and politicians, to artists, educators and medical professionals — found their way to the new Bloom Meadows event space on Thursday evening, Sept. 14. 1Berkshire, the region’s economic development organization, had invited them there to once again “Celebrate the Berkshires.” The annual event recognizes individuals and organizations who strengthen the local economy and help the Berkshires grow. The 2017 Berkshire Trendsetter winners were announced and are as follows: Comprehensive Marketing Campaign – Shakespeare & Company; Entrepreneur/Visionary of the Year – Tad Ames of Berkshire Natural Resources Council; Growing/Advancing the Berkshire Economy – Allegrone; Under 40 Change Maker – Jessica Vecchia [shown left with her mother, Patti Bilodeau]; Nonprofit Impact – McCann Technical High School; Creative Economy Standout – Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival; and Newcomer of the Year – Adam Hinds. The award for Putting the Berkshires on the Map, whose winners were the only ones previously announced, was presented to the Community of North Adams. And what a community it is. MASS MoCA’s Executive Director Joe Thompson perhaps said it best when he introduced the recipients. “Not to diminish the natural beauty and history of North Adams,” he said, “but the people are our greatest assests.”

1Berkshire board member and award presenter Peter Stasiowski of Interprint with “Newcomer of the Year” Mass. State Senator Adam Hinds; Noel Henebury, Devin Shea and Andrea Sholler, managing director of “Creative Economy Standout” winner Jacob’s Pillow Dance.

Brad Felix of event underwriter Greylock Federal Credit Union, Pittsfield City Councilor Pete White, Lo Sottile, and Craig Kahn of All Seasons Realty; Glenn Diehl of nominee Berkshire Scenic Railroad with 1Berkshire president and C.E.O. Jonathan Butler and Michelle Butler.

Sam Russo of event underwriter General Dynamics, Tim Burke, Carrie Holland also of GD, and Maggie Barry and Cody Gavin of the LakeHouse Inn in Lee.

Adam Klepetar and Charles Stephens, both of Berkshire Community College; Tim Kiely, 1Berkshire board member Lori Gazzillo of underwriter Berkshire Bank, James Culliton, a principal of Allegrone who received the award for “Growing/Advancing the Berkshire Economy,” and Mary Verdi.

Siddhi Mehta, Katielynn Hoffman, Brandon Wong, Jessica Clayborn and Dr. Mahek Mehta of nominee Hillcrest Dental Care; Tony Dunne, Julia Dixon and North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright.

Stephanie Bosleyd??L tiffany agus jewelry co An Evening Of Whimsy: Berkshire Museum’s 2017 Festival Of Trees | Rural IntelligenceWith Help From Our Community, Indwe Soars Higher | Rural IntelligencePerformance Spaces for the 21st Century (PS21) in Chatham, NY held its first fundraiser in its brand-new theater. | Rural IntelligenceThe NAACP Berkshire County Branch held its annual Freedom Fund Awards Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 4 in Pittsfield, Mass. | Rural IntelligenceL’Atelier Berkshires Art Gallery created a spooktacular evening for its artists and patrons on Oct. 29. | Rural IntelligenceBerkshire Humane Society celebrated 25 years of compassion with help from meteorologist and animal advocate Steve Caporizzo. | Rural IntelligenceLitNet of South Berkshire helps make the American dream come true for its students. | Rural IntelligenceArtist Liz Glynn Uncovers The Future At MASS MoCA | Rural IntelligenceSchantz Galleries in Stockbridge, Mass. opened 'Cast, Cut and Cold' on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. | Rural IntelligenceBerkshire Grown’s Harvest Supper wa

An Evening Of Whimsy: Berkshire Museum’s 2017 Festival Of Trees | Rural IntelligenceWith Help From Our Community, Indwe Soars Higher | Rural IntelligencePerformance Spaces for the 21st Century (PS21) in Chatham, NY held its first fundraiser in its brand-new theater. | Rural IntelligenceThe NAACP Berkshire County Branch held its annual Freedom Fund Awards Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 4 in Pittsfield, Mass. | Rural IntelligenceL’Atelier Berkshires Art Gallery created a spooktacular evening for its artists and patrons on Oct. 29. | Rural IntelligenceBerkshire Humane Society celebrated 25 years of compassion with help from meteorologist and animal advocate Steve Caporizzo. | Rural IntelligenceLitNet of South Berkshire helps make the American dream come true for its students. | Rural IntelligenceArtist Liz Glynn Uncovers The Future At MASS MoCA | Rural IntelligenceSchantz Galleries in Stockbridge, Mass. opened 'Cast, Cut and Cold' on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. | Rural IntelligenceBerkshire Grown’s Harvest Supper wa tiffany agus jewelry co

Parties & Openings

Nov. 18 – Pittsfield Festival of Trees Nov. 15 – G. Barrington Indwe Learning Center Benefit Nov. 11 - Chatham PS21 Gala

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An Evening Of Whimsy: Berkshire Museum’s 2017 Festival Of Trees

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Whether you’re 5 years old or 85 years young, Berkshire Museum’s annual Festival of Trees exhibition elicits true holiday joy in all who experience it. This year’s show, entitled Whimsical, Wonderful Festival of Trees , opened with its signature reception on Friday, Nov. 17. Guests enjoyed oodles of noodles and other snacks from Chef Laura Shack of Firefly in Lenox, surreal live music from Hudson, New York’s C. Ryder Cooley, signature cocktails, colorful masks and balloon creations from Bowey the Clown. Tree sponsors were asked to conceal an item in their creations so guests can search them out in a game inspired by the I-SPY books. Criterion hid an orange eyeball, Canyon Ranch hid dragon eggs, Cross Insurance hid sleepy dust, and exhibit sponsor Hill Engineers hid Tinkerbell. This year’s Festival of Trees will be up until Jan. 7, 2018.

Cindy Perrea, of exhibit sponsor Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, with Sandi Sakowski; Stockbridge Library director Katherine O’Neil and her son Leo.

Eric Mabee, Jen Hines of exhibit sponsor Berkshire Magazine , board president Buzz McGraw and Rachel Melendez Mabee; Eric and Tess Barriere.

Graphic designer Sara Paul, Mike Dowling, Joe McCauley, Jesse Tobin McCauley, Noel Henebury and Mika Saarela.

Cassey Santos-China and Sharon Smith of Kimball Farms make the opening party an annual event; Berkshire County Arc staff pose in front of their tree: Jose Taveras, Morgan Jasewicz, Crossroads Center director Donna Williams and her husband Michael Williams.

Leah Thompson, Jayme Kurland and Aliyah; Josie Buzzanco and Bob Pothier.

Stephanie Merwin, Jen Kerwood, Olivia Kinne, Pat Davis and Kim Kinne.

Ryan Keegan and Rebecca Wehry; Maris Nichols [center] with her aunt, Dorothy Demick, and her father, Art Nichols.

Josh Pisano, Aimee Lescarbeau-Knysh, Harry Potter and Chris Knysh; Bowey the Clown twists up a good time.

Penelope Mitchell, Sarah Mitchell, Bridjet Cebula, Michela Juras and Mila Juras, all with NBT Bank.

Laurie Tierney checks on Dory & Ginger‘s tree; Guests search for clues hidden among the trees.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/20/17 at 10:23 AM • Permalink

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With Help From Our Community, Indwe Soars Higher

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. Rural Intelligence focuses on a four-county region, but the philanthropic nature of our residents often brings other parts of the world into our own universe. Case in point: Susie Weekes-Roeder, a dynamo who runs a Berkshire-based staging business and serves as a Construct board member, decided to start a Montessori-based school adjacent to an orphanage in South Africa…and did it. Now a 501 (c) 3 organization, the Indwe Learning Center (named for the national bird) in Illovo, South Africa sits on the border of the Mother of Peace orphanage, which cares for children who have been impacted by the AIDS crisis. On Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Marketplace in Great Barrington, Mass., Weekes-Roeder introduced the school’s head, Iris Canham, who was in town for a week to help raise funds for the Center. Both women spoke about the Center’s mission: a commitment to educate, empower and engage the children, many of whom come from “child-headed households.” It was hard to hold back tears upon learning about the children, and invitations to visit the Center in South Africa suddenly seemed tempting. “Once you meet these kids, there’s no turning back,” said one board member who has spent time at Indwe. [Above, Iris Canham, head of the school, with actor local resident and Indwe supporter Jayne Atkinson.]

Sue Schwarz, an Indwe supporter, and Hope Fitzgerald, who serves on Indwe’s board of governors; Heather Flemming, a website consultant, and Chris Ryan, treasurer of Indwe’s board of governors.

Lisa Frankel, Jayne Atkinson, realtor Deborah Levinson, Elaine Silberstein and photographer Larry Frankel, all fervent supporters of Indwe’s mission.

Susie Weekes-Roeder with Shirley Blanchard and Steve Blanchard; Indwe Learning Center’s brochure illustrates its work, “From Tragedy to Triumph.”

Writer Monica Bossinger and Charlie Weekes, son of Susie Weekes; Diane Gentry from New Jersey and Elizabeth Olenbush from Mill River.

Don Roeder, retired professor of Botany and Environmental Studies at Bard Colleges and member of Indwe’s board, with Kerry Millikin and Suzi Peel, vice chair, who spearheaded the first World AIDS Conference.

The slide show opened a window into the life and children at Indwe Learning Center in South Africa; Susie Weekes-Roeder delivers a passionate and moving plea for support.

Karen Mercer and Diane Dillon stand beside a display of beaded jewelry and other artwork created by the children at Indwe.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/18/17 at 01:20 PM • Permalink

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PS21 Invites A Crowd To Help Celebrate Its New Home

Amy Krzanik reports from Chatham. At long last, Performance Spaces for the 21st Century (PS21) was able to hold a fundraising gala inside its very own building. On Saturday, Nov. 11, supporters flocked to tour the brand-new black box theater and to help PS21 and its director Judy Grunberg celebrate its completion. Two years in the making, the theater stands near the site where a saddle-span tent welcomed visitors every summer for the past 12 years. Unlike the tent, which was erected and torn down each season, the theater offers both a permanent indoor and an outdoor performance space. A packed house was treated to Kind of Blue by members of PS21 favorite Parsons Dance that was tweaked especially for the occasion. Jeff Loshinsky Catering impressed with passed appetizers, a ramen noodle bar, a grilling station, a dessert bar and more. Lincoln Mayorga bookended the evening with piano improvisations, and singer-guitarist Rory Block performed as a surprise treat.

Jack Shear, Rebecca Josue and Fabrizio Caputo; Annie Brody, executive director the Chatham Film Club, with Tamarack Garlow, Gary Bernstein and Dale Bernstein.

Author Emily McCully, writer Elizabeth Hess, Peter Biskind of FilmColumbia and Evan Stoller, the architect behind PS21’s new theater; Shawn Lesniak, Zoey Anderson and Geena Pacareu of Parsons Dance.

Judy Grunberg [far right] poses with those responsible for bringing the new theater to life.

Linda Sugin, Anthony Calnek, Jess Fardella and gala co-chair Marcia Fardella; NY Assemblymember Didi Barrett is flanked by Derek Grout and Ashley Hartka of Harvest Spirits Distillery, who offered tastes to the crowd.

Abby Laufer, Ed Grossman and Gwen Gould were there to show their love for Judy Grunberg; Live music was performed by pianist Lincoln Mayorga, here with his son Juan Carlos.

Singer-guitarist Rory Block stopped for a surprise performance.

  Larry Salzman, Bob Blechman and Trudi Roth; Judy Grunberg and David Parsons raise their glasses.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/13/17 at 06:17 PM • Permalink

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Celebration, Renewed Commitment At Berkshires NAACP Dinner

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Some people would have you believe that we are living through the worst time in America’s history. The present, however, is best viewed through the lens of the past. Anti-racism activist and writer Tim Wise discussed this topic and others during his keynote speech at the NAACP Berkshire County Branch’s annual Freedom Fund Awards Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Itam Lodge. The United States has always had a racism problem, and through worse times than these, people have banded together to fight against it. There’s no reason to stop now. To that end, the NAACP honored three local leaders who show us how that can be done. Wray Gunn, Sr. received the Paul Robeson Freedom Award for his lifetime commitment to the Berkshires and his work with the African-American Heritage Trail, Clinton Church Restoration, Friends of DuBois committee and the Sheffield Historical Society. Shirley Edgerton received the Mary McLeod Bethune Freedom Award for co-founding the Rites of Passage and Empowerment (R.O.P.E.) program for girls, being an active member of the local Women of Color Giving Circle and the Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival, and for her work as a cultural competency coach for the Pittsfield Public Schools. The Chaney, Goodman, Schwerner Freedom Award was given to John Bissell, president and CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union, to honor his work as a true community partner instrumental in making sure opportunities are available to all. Proceeds from the dinner benefit area students through college scholarships and an upcoming trip to the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C. [Shown left, Tim Wise and Berkshires NAACP president Dennis Powell.]

Wray Gunn with Carol Stroll and Lenny Kates; Shirley Edgerton and her daughter, Jernee Edgerton.

Erin Sullivan, Churchill Cotton and Pittsfield city councilor Melissa Mazzeo; John Bissell with his parents, Nancy and George Bissell.

AJ Enchill, a district aide for Mass. State Senator Adam Hinds, with Catherine Van Bramer, an executive assistant to Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, and city councilor Pete White; Brett Westbrook and Roberta McCullough-Dews.

Gisselle and Tariq Pinkston; Roberta Russell, Carolyn Oppenheim, Bonnie MacCracken and Mass. State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier.

Laurie Norton Moffatt, Wayne Gunn and Amy Diamond; Bill Wright, Darcie Sosa and Kathie Penna.

Mass. State Representative Smitty Pignatelli with Allyce Najimy, and Pittsfield city councilors Melissa Mazzeo and Tony Simonelli; Luci Leonard, an advisor for Multicultural BRIDGE and attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/06/17 at 01:54 PM • Permalink

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Costumes, Cocktails, Caviar…And Art…At L’Atelier Gallery

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. You can’t expect Halloween in the Berkshires to be anything less than artful, and that was fully expressed at L’Atelier Berkshires Art Gallery on Sunday, Oct. 29. Gallerist Natalie Tyler took advantage of the Halloween spirit by combining a come-as-you-please party with an art salon and made it work. Amidst hors d’oeuvres (including caviar and pâté “stations” arranged by Torrey Oates of Amuse Culinary Events) and cocktails, glass artists Iva Kalikow and Debora Coombs spoke about their work, describing their inspiration and techniques, as did painter Michael Allen Lowe. Every couple of minutes, the door creaked open and, from the pouring rain outside, an alter ego of some sort or another stepped into the gallery to be admired by the guests. And if you don’t think it’s a little disconcerting having a conversation with a big toad head, you ought to try it some time. [Above, gallery owner Natalie Tyler and Adam Zamberletti, a.k.a. The Big Lebowski.]

Krysia Kurzyca, an artist and farmer who founded Medicine Buddha Gardens, and Alex Brink, a culinary artist; Misha Gomberg, who is on the staff of Turn Park, and Eric Smith of Eric’s Great Gardens.

The featured artists: glass artists Iva Kalikow and Debora Coombs, with painter Michael Allen Lowe.

Lenny Kalikow as Mr. Toad, in a head he had made 30 years ago (which he used to try to get on the David Letterman show); creepy eyeballs swimming in a blood-red punch.

Live Brazilian jazz provided by Vita Kay and Michael Junkins.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/30/17 at 02:39 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Humane Society’s 25th Birthday Bash

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. The biggest change the Berkshire Humane Society (BHS) has seen in its 25 years might be the huge decrease in its clientele. But that’s great news! The clients in this case are dogs, cats, birds, goats and other animals in need, and the work BHS has done since 1992 has more than halved the amount of homeless pets in our region. To celebrate this milestone and its 25th birthday, the organization threw a party on Sunday, October 22 at The Colonial Theatre. News10 meteorologist and Pet Connection host Steve Caporizzo helped BHS honor its veterinary partners and raise funds for its programming with a live segment of Pet Connection and an onstage auction. The money raised will support the BHS satellite shelter, Purradise, in Great Barrington; humane education for children and adults; the Ken Freeburg Fund, which pays for treatment for animals who enter the shelter with health problems; and the SafePet Program, which provides temporary care for the pets of people in crisis.

Mark Heyer and Mary Shogry-Heyer with Steve Caporizzo; Stacey Carver, director of Berkshire Animal D.R.E.A.M.S., with Allen Harris of major sponsor Berkshire Money Management and BHS adoption counselor Lindsay Hermanski.

BHS executive director John Perreault with board president Cindy Bartlett and Marsha Weiner, co-founder of Catwalk; volunteer Sandy Haywood poses with Dakota, a dog she fostered and then adopted.

Barry Clairmont, Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, Allison Johnson Krol and Pittsfield city councilor John Krol.

Lisa Ressler, Camille Nugai and BHS board member Sheila Labarbera all represented major sponsor Greylock Federal Credit Union; Cindy and Jeff Caminiti and Catwalk volunteer Melissa Bye take a moment to pet Gabby.

Julie Macdonald, Valerie Ross and Monique and James Blake of sponsor Allegrone; board member Tracy DiSilva with board vice president Fred Pomerantz.

Guests were treated to a live Pet Connection with BHS adoption counselor Lindsay Hermanski and host Steve Caporizzo.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/23/17 at 11:05 AM • Permalink

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Keeping The American Dream Alive With LitNet

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. Is “the American dream” still achievable in 2017? The Literacy Network of South Berkshire (LitNet), its staff, board members and dedicated tutors would answer that question with a resounding “yes.” In fact, the non-profit’s annual gala — held on Saturday, Oct. 14 at Berkshire Country Day School — was the culmination of its American Dream Campaign. Since 2016, the number of new LitNet students has increased by 30 percent, and the fundraising effort began as a way to guarantee that tutoring will remain free for any local adult who needs it. As an added incentive, The Gilson Family Foundation agreed to match any money raised by up to $30,000. Going into the evening, the campaign had amassed $20,000. During a speedy live auction, author-performer Alison Larkin easily was able to raise more than double the $10,000 still needed to receive the full amount of funding offered. A balloon drop marked the happy occasion. The gala, which honored the organization’s tutors, was again catered by The Old Inn on the Green.

LitNet President Lucy Prashker with Michael Ury and board member Sue Weintraub; LitNet’s Mary Spina with her son-in-law, Brian Schmidt, and her daughter, Michelle Schmidt of the Gilson Family Foundation.

Catherine Shearn Chester and board member Matthew Chester with Shela Hidalgo and Gary Levante of gala sponsor Berkshire Bank; Francis Spina, Loretta Scheel and Robert Bujalski.

Tutor Lee Glazerman with Maria de Melendez, Marcelo Melendez, who is a student of Glazerman’s, and Young Kim and her tutor Fran Wolk.

Tutor Justin Burke, Ellen Boyd and Kevin Allan; Roy Kozupsky and LitNet tutor Leslie Kozupsky with Wendy Federer, a gala benefactor.

Tutor Sue Arkans, Howard Arkans, Erick Schafler and tutor Sharon Schafler; Cathy Deely with board member Marianne Deignan Ellrodt.

LitNet Executive Director Jennifer Vrabel and husband Matthew Vrabel [center] are flanked by guests from Greylock Federal Credit Union, a major gala sponsor, including Christhian Cabrera and Katherine Phillips [left] and Meghan McGrath and Dan Dillon [right].

Major gala sponsor Jane Iredale with board members Merle Kailas and Bob Montgomery; Stephen Boyd poses with Eleanore Velez.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/16/17 at 01:15 PM • Permalink

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Artist Liz Glynn Uncovers The Future At MASS MoCA

Amy Krzanik reports from North Adams. “Build something out of nothing” reads the wall text on the second floor of Liz Glynn’s exhibit, The Archaeology of Another Possible Future , now on view in MASS MoCA’s Building 5 gallery space. Piles of single-page newspapers make other succinct statements, also in black handwriting on a white background: “all that is solid melts into air;” “repair, refashion, reimagine;” “in ten thousand years ____________.” Glynn, in her largest-ever exhibit, which opened with an artist’s reception on Saturday, Oct. 7, ponders the past, present and future of human experience through its daily materials. Record players, wooden pallets, scrap metal, cement and soft felt mix with 3D printers and their output, delicate metal tumbleweeds, a series of catwalks, and hospital gurneys placed under ta