Photo Gallery | Berkshire School's Fine Art Cente
SHEFFIELD -- Paul Benevicius remembers the years when displays of his students' artwork was on a catch-as-catch-can basis.
"Basements, classrooms, hallways, wherever we could find space," said Benevicius, chairman of the art department at Berkshire School.
That is no longer an issue. On Friday, Berkshire School will formally celebrate the opening of its new Fine Arts Center at a reception featuring work by two of its most distinguished alumni.
One of the artists, Pedro S. de Movellán, '85, will be at the event.
The other alumni artist to be featured will be Kristin Baker ‘93, according to Carol Visnapuu, director of communications and marketing at the school.
The 14,700-square-foot space was originally the science wing of Berkshire Hall, according to Benevicius. But last year, when the school built its new Science Center, "the space became available," he said.
Berkshire School, founded in 1907, is a prestigious, private, co-ed boarding school for grades nine through 12.
Benevicius is quick to point out that the school has always had a thriving arts program. What he is most excited about is that the Fine Arts Center will now centralize that program into one building.
There are rooms for ceramics, sculpture, digital photography, digital music and digital art, a digital printing lab and office space, Benevicius said.
"I think what it does is finally move the school's arts program front and center," he said. "Rather than keep the program in the shadows."
The new facility, he said, is a more emphatic reminder that the arts are a vital part of every Berkshire School student's academic life.
The building, Visnapuu said, was designed by Finegold, Alexander and Associates of Boston.
In keeping with the school's commitment to sustainability, she said, a number of "green" initiatives were designed into the structure, including lighting controls, a management system for heating and cooling the building; installation of double-paned windows and insulated exterior walls.
While the space will be largely educational, the gallery will reflect a wide range of art representing the various fields of study offered at the school.
The artist Pedro S. de Movellán is renowned as one of the most inventive kinetic sculptors in the world. The Stockbridge resident's work has been exhibited extensively, and in 2013 the Maxwell Davidson Gallery in New York City exhibited a retrospective of his work to coincide with the publication of the book, "Pedro S. de Movellán: Complete Works: 1990-2012."
De Movellan reflected that his interest in kinetic art did not begin at Berkshire School.
"No, no," he said. "In 1983, I was just a kid trying to figure out what I wanted to do."
It was, de Movellán said, a "good feeling" to be coming back to Berkshire School to display his work.
"This is a great space," he said of the gallery. "We certainly didn't have anything like this when I was here. I really hope the students understand what a blessing it is to have something like this."
Baker is one of the most well-known abstract artists in the country. Her work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, Centre Pompidou in Paris, the National Art Center of Tokyo and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, among others.
To reach Derek Gentile:
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile
If you go ...
What: Berkshire School Fine Arts Center
Where: Berkshire School, 245 North Undermountain Road, Sheffield
When: Alumni artists works on display through June 8
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday or by appointment through Paul Benevicius, (413) 229-1265.