Click photo to enlarge
This oil portrait, "Akira," by Dalton native Brian DiNicola, features his frequent model, Amber Gamello, and recently won first place in a national juried exhibition at Union Street Art Gallery in Chicago.

Dalton native and visual artist Brian DiNicola is off to another good year.

The artist, son of Geno and Kathie DiNicola, of Dalton, was announced on Feb. 27 as the winner of the Union Street Art Gallery's national juried exhibition, displayed Feb. 24 through March 26 in Chicago Heights, Ill.

His work featured frequent model Amber Gamello in an oil portrait titled "Akira," submitted to the exhibition under the theme, "A Curious Reality: Exploring the Mythos of Fantasy, Sci-Fi & Gaming."

The model is pictured baring slightly a T-shirt that gives a nod to the iconic Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.

DiNicola this week was also notified that two of his portraits have been selected for the show, "REversion 2016," at Super Wonder Gallery in Toronto. The work will be displayed from April 29 through May 2, among 200 pieces by 75 artists.

According to gallery curator Daniel Anaka, with an emphasis on the human form, each portrait will highlight the importance of figurative artwork.

A 2008 graduate of Wahconah Regional High School, Brian DiNicola, has continued to study and work to establish himself as an accomplished career artist. He received bachelor and master of fine arts degrees while studying illustration, classical and contemporary painting at the College of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.


He continues to produce and show work throughout the Northeast, as well as Chicago and California. In 2015, his work was published in Art Ascent magazine's February issue, "Portraits," receiving the Bronze Award, and also was featured in Volume 30 of the Boston-produced, Studio Visit Magazine.

He exhibited work at last year's Berkshire Arts Festival at Ski Butternut in Great Barrington.

"I use gel mediums for tackiness, often botchy pasty layers of pigment akin to the consistency of Elmer's glue. At the end of the day, I'm a painter who wants to sculpt," DiNicola says in his artist statement on his website (

About his work at Gallery25N, a online gallery of contemporary art, he adds to his statement by describing how he's "drawn to figuration and the language of paint" and uses portraiture "as the platform to solve questions in paint."

Said DiNicola, on why portraiture transcends time: "There is no second-guessing what you're looking at. Whether elements represent a rebellious youth, or simply love [for] Akira, no amount of software can download as fast as viewers can sympathize with the likeness of another human being."

Find his latest work and updates at and on Instagram.

Another successful Daltonian

Alexandra Chabot, of Dalton, was one of eight students from the Campus Ministry Department at Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, who recently went on a service trip to Chinandega, Nicaragua, to work with Amigos for Christ.

The group of students and chaperones helped to dig trenches in order to bring water to a rural Nicaraguan community. Amigos for Christ is a nonprofit organization that "facilitates water, health, education and economic development in Nicaragua."

In addition to digging ditches for the water pipes, the group also did home visits and helped with the construction of the La Chuscada school project. Chabot is dean's list student and a member of the Elms Class of 2017.

Gala benefits students

Hillcrest Educational Centers raised nearly $60,000 from its annual Robert "Bees" Prendergast St. Patrick's Celebration gala and benefit held on March 18 at the Country Club of Pittsfield.

Greylock Federal Credit Union was the lead sponsor, with major support from General Dynamics Mission Systems, Rowley Fuel Co. and Berkshire Bank. More than 240 businesses and individuals also supported the event through their attendance, sponsorships and donated auction items.

To highlight the event, attendees had the opportunity to hear directly from a 15-year-old Hillcrest student who shared his journey of losing his family in a fire and being in and out of failed placements. His foster parent also told an amazing story of resilience and how his son has overcome so many obstacles.

Additionally, Massachusetts State Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, was named Irish Person of the Year award and UNICO was honored with the Judge John A. Barry Award for community service.

"The challenge of meeting the incredible treatment needs of the children we serve is a continuous process," said Tim Gallagher, Hillcrest's director of development and community relations. "We feel honored that the individuals and businesses in this community understand this need and have consistently supported Hillcrest. This event was one of our most successful to date and we thank each and every person for their help in recreating the future of the children we serve."

County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.