PITTSFIELD -- Within the walls of the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts lie nine working studios, in which artists sharpen their respective tools and skills, from oil painting to pottery to burlesque.
For just the second time, the Lichtenstein Center is hosting an exhibit showcasing its in-house talent. The group show presents work from paper sculptor Lorraine Abruzzo, abstract artist Mario Calouri, visual artists Peg Dotchin, Julio Granda, Marion Grant, Sean McCusker and and Michael Rousseau, ceramic artist Jim Horsford, and performance artist Nicole Rizzo.
Both Dan Gigliotti, the administrative assistant for the city's Office of Cultural Development, and Megan Whilden, director of the center, are thrilled to see the work on display.
"I'm always enlightened by the exhibits we bring through the gallery, but especially now," Whilden said, pointing to one of Abruzzo's sculpture made with flax and abaca paper and paper slurry. "This is extra special, because all these amazing pieces were birthed right here in this building."
The exhibit, "Out of the Studio," is free to the public Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m., through Jan. 19.
Like the works in the show, each of the artists has their own unique story how they arrived at 28 Renne Ave.
For some, including Calouri, a retired Berkshire Community College professor of art and literature, and Rousseau, a pittsfield native and graphic designer for the Barrington Stage Company, the trip wasn't far.
"It's certainly convenient," Rousseau said. "I only had to walk down a few flights of stairs, instead of wrapping all the pieces for shipping."
The collection he chose to display he originally created for a different show, he said, but when it was postponed, he knew the pieces would work well downstairs.
"I truly wanted them out of the out of the studio and into a gallery setting, something more public," he said. "I wanted to see people's reactions and listen to what they had to say about them. The pieces are more experimental, something I've been messing around with for the past seven years."
Outside of his graphic design work, Rousseau explores scientific and historical themes in oil painting, in a mix of contemporary and traditional techniques.
Other artists traveled thousands of miles before ending up in Pittsfield, or have studied and worked in their fields in many ways.
Granda, a native of New York, studied at the School of Visual Arts and Cooper Union before serving two tours of duty in Korea with the Navy in the 1950s.
Nicole Rizzo, a lifelong performing artist, studied dance and theater at the prestigious Circle in the Square Theater Conservatory in New York.
Rousseau said one of the great joys of the show came from the chance to interact with the other artists in the building.
"It's easy to get into your studio space and get focused on what we're working on," he said. "We all have different work schedules that may not match up with what else is going on in the building so this is a great chance for us to see each other's work."
No matter where they came from, together they have contributed a wide range of original artwork for the show, Whilden said.
"This is a great looking show with a variety of pieces, good little bodies of work that are cohesive," Rousseau said. "You can tell this is what they enjoy working on."
If you go ...
What: 'Out of the Studio' group show, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts
Where: 28 Renne Ave., Pittsfield
When: Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m., through Jan. 19
Information: (413) 499-9348, www.discoverpittsfield.com