In continuing to expand and improve its outreach, the UNO Community Center, at 157 River St. in North Adams, has expanded its hours to be open five days a week, from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays.
Folks are welcome to come use the space to meet up with friends, hold an informal gathering (like a knitting group), grab a cup of coffee and a snack. A play area is also open for families with children.
Among the new initiatives at the UNO Center is its local "chef" showcase. Since November, the center has been recruiting professionals and community members who love to cook to share a favorite recipe and teach others how to prepare it.
The center pays for the ingredients and provides the kitchen for use. Following the demonstration, participants can sit down and share the meal they made together. In November, Shirley Davis made her famous lentils and last month Rob Foster served up homemade spaghetti. The recipes are being collected throughout the cooking series to create a cookbook, which will be available at the end of next year.
Another feature, particularly helpful in this stretch of cold winter weather, is the "Giving Box," currently located near the entrance of the community center. Created by Lynda Field and Shawn Cook, this box collects items such as sweaters, scarves, hats and gloves, and anyone who needs them are welcome to take from it.
For more information on what's happening at the UNO Community Center, visit facebook.com/UNOCommCenter, or stop on in.
An upward spiral
Internationally recognized for his socio-political bodies of work, 32-year-old Pittsfield-based ceramic artist Michael Boroniec will premiere new work for his ongoing, "Spatial Spiral" series at the New York Ceramics & Glass Fair, to be held Wednesday through Sunday at Bohemian National Hall.
Initial work from this series, started in 2013, has been featured in Berkshire galleries, like Lauren Clark Fine Art, but his technique has since been refined and his work in this vein expanded.
In a press release from the New York Ceramics & Glass Fair, Boroniec is introduced as one of "Six Cutting-Edge Artists Whose Works Are Not to Be Missed," and tells the publication: "And for me, ceramic art is about having a conversation with the clay. It's about the hands-on relationship of the artist and the medium that makes for a piece that is more than just beautiful. It is an expression of the human soul."
"Spatial Spiral" represents a departure from his past thematic works, as he molds open spirals into strong, sleek modern vessels with beautiful lines, built from the pottery wheel up. Boroniec employs a special technique, firing each vessel individually in a kiln that is custom made to accommodate the spiral designs, then finishing them with custom glazes. The ceramic artist said he aims for these works to become highly sought collector's items.
At the New York Ceramics & Glass Show, Boroniec also will feature pieces from his socio-political body of work and other traditional and nontraditional ceramic works.
In addition to his New York premiere, Boroniec and his work also will be featured in an upcoming docu-series called "Portraits," which explores and highlights unique artists reflecting on their craft. The project, directed and edited by Mark Cantin and produced by Catherine Burt of Double Vision Projects, is expected to debut this spring. You can preview the segment on the artist here: doublevisionprojects.com/portraits-michael-boroniec.
Learn more about Michael Boroniec and his work here: mboroniec.com.
The world's her stage
How now, you say? 'Tis true, a Williamstown musician will perform in this Sunday's performance of Verdi's full opera "Otello," based on Shakespeare's famous work, "Othello."
Sixteen-year-old viola player Mercer Greenwald will join more than 100 other members of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Federico Cortese. Together, will special guests, they will bring this dark tale to life in a one-time only presentation beginning at 3 p.m., at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre. The BYSO is presenting this three-hour semi-staged opera in Italian, in collaboration with the consulate general of Italy in Boston. To get tickets to the performance, call 617-496-2222. Visit BYSOweb.org, for more information about the youth orchestra.
Greenwald is a junior at Mount Greylock Regional High School, who also has performed with the school orchestra and in the Summer Noontime Concert Series at the town's St. John's Episcopal Church.
She is a member of the National Honor Society, has participated in the Senior Festival of the Massachusetts Music Educators Association's Western District festival program and has practiced and performed with the Empire State Youth Orchestra in Schenectady, N.Y. She has also played clarinet and bass clarinet.
Watch her perform at St. John's on the viola here: youtube.com/watch?v=yLXf900P0UM.