Phoebe Honig looks at paintings at the store Treehouse at a recent First Fridays Artswalk in downtown Pittsfield.
Phoebe Honig looks at paintings at the store Treehouse at a recent First Fridays Artswalk in downtown Pittsfield. (Eagle file)
Sunday October 21, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A new resident of the city's Upstreet Cultural District plans to step out during next month's First Friday Artswalk.

1Berkshire, headquartered in Pitts field's historic former central fire station on Allen Street since April, will host an exhibit of the winning local photography to appear in Qualprint's popular Berkshire calendar for 2013.

An opening reception for the photo display is scheduled for Nov. 2, from 5 to 8 p.m.

On First Fridays, more than 30 downtown businesses debut monthlong exhibits by local visual artists, giving them additional venues to display their work. The Artswalk is also intended to draw more customers to the shops, restaurants and other businesses in the district.

While 1Berkshire was formed two years ago, officials with the regional economic development organization view their inaugural participation in the Artswalk as a way to connect with area residents.

"The long-term strategy of 1Berkshire is to use people who live here in a campaign to tell the story about the Berkshires," said Lauri Klefos, the group's chief marketing officer. "Our message is one of tourism and economic development and the Artswalk is a perfect match for us."

Klefos is also the president and CEO of the Berkshire Visitors Bureau. 1Berkshire is comprised of the Visitors Bureau, the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce and Berkshire Creative.


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The nonprofit collaboration, by allying the resources and harnessing the energy of the three established organizations, has a mission to retain and attract jobs and promote tourism and creativity for the benefit of everyone in the Berkshires.

Berkshire Bank donated the 117-year-old former fire station to 1Berkshire in January so all its agencies could be located under one roof.

Meanwhile, 1Berkshire has received a second consecutive $75,000 annual state grant toward the group's effort to promote job growth in the county. The funding will allow 1Berkshire to continue pay for professional help, according to the groups chief operating officer, Michael Supranowicz.

"Last year alone, our economic development specialist conducted more that 60 company visits that resulted in seven successful projects, delivering an economic im pact of $37 million to the region," said Supranowicz, who doubles as the president and CEO of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233