PITTSFIELD -- The City of Pittsfield's third annual 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival, with its array of art, theater, dance, film, music and more, springs into action Thursday throughout the city's Upstreet Cultural District, where it will run through Feb. 23.

Organized by the City of Pittsfield's Office of Cultural Development and Barrington Stage Company, the festival features dozens of artists, actors, musicians, playwrights, comedians and performers.

Festival partners this year include, among others, the Berkshire Museum, Berkshire Theatre Group, the Whitney Center for the Arts, Miss Hall's School, Berkshire Art Association, the Crowne Plaza, the Beacon Cinema, Berkshire International Film Festival, the Berkshire Music School, the Laugh Lounge, Gypsy Layne Cabaret.

In a news release, Pittsfield Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi noted, "The City of Pittsfield is home to a wide array of year round entertainment and activities for both residents and visitors, including the third annual 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival, bringing affordable fun to the wintertime. I encourage everyone to come out and enjoy everything from teen art in City Hall to new theater at Barrington Stage."

The 10X10 festival kicks off on Thursday with two art openings at Pittsfield City Hall and the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, the classic film TEN at the Beacon Cinema, an opera recital at the Whitney Center for the Arts, and the first preview night of Barrington Stage's 10X10 New Play Festival.


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New additions this year include Dance Ten, the Gypsy Layne Cabaret troupe, and two evenings of opera arias at the Whitney Center for the Arts.

"Dance Ten" is a first-ever performance showcase of 10 community dance groups and schools from throughout the Berkshires. Participants include Terpsichore School of Dance, All Berkshire Dance Team, DysFUNKCrew, Cantarella School of Dance, Youth Alive, Olga Dunn Dance Company and the Olga Dunn School of Dance, Albany Berkshire Ballet, Studio One, and The Funk Box Studio. DANCE TEN will be held at Barrington Stage Company's Boyd-Quinson Main Stage at 30 Union St. on Feb. 23 at 3 p.m.

Returning highlights of the festival include Barrington Stage Company's popular 10X10 New Play Festival, featuring 10 new 10-minute plays; the 10X10 Real Art Party fundraiser organized by Berkshire Art Association at the Berkshire Museum; and the Ten Spot art show at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, featuring 10 contemporary artists both in the gallery and on billboards throughout Berkshire County.

This year there are a variety of family-friendly free or low-cost daytime activities, perfect for a week when many schools are on vacation. They include daily adventure play at the Berkshire Museum, a teen art show at Pittsfield City Hall, a concert at Berkshire Music School, a free presentation by Hancock Shaker Village at The Whitney Center for the Arts, and the Dance Ten performance showcase at Barrington Stage.