ArtWeek coming to Berkshires for the first time

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For the first year since its founding in 2013, ArtWeek has crept it's way to the westernmost part of the state,

About 30 art exhibits and events, many of them free to the public, will be offered across Berkshire County from April 27 to May 6 allowing residents to observe art, learn how it's made and make some themselves.

"As we moved into Central and Western Mass., we've seen a ton of enthusiasm and excitement," said Michelle Chapman, director of Marketing & Communications at Boch Center, which produces the festival with the Highland Street Foundation.

About 70 percent of the events offered statewide are free, she said.

Locally, ArtWeek has partnered with 1Berkshire to help encourage artists in the county to participate in the 10-day event.

"The idea here is not just to go to your museum, but it's offering something different that you can partake in while you're there," Laurie Klefos, Executive Vice President of 1Berkshire said. "The event needs to be something different than what they'll experience through the year."

For Pittsfield, that includes a more "interactive" version of their First Fridays Artswalk on May 4 from 5 to 8 p.m.

"We are going to have art-making during that opening reception," said, Jen Glockner, director of the city's Office of Cultural Development. "It's kind of a bigger and better First Fridays Artswalk."

At Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, members of the public will be able to "get their hands dirty" with Jim Horsford and observe other resident artists creating during open studios.

There will also be a community painting of Pittsfield at Berkshire Paint and Sip, burlesque life drawing at Dottie's Coffee Lounge and more.

Glockner said she's excited to see ArtsWeek spread to Berkshire County because for the past few years she had been traveling with friends to events available in Boston.

"Downtown being a destination for people to explore the arts has really been growing for the last 10 years," Glockner said. "Those cultural anchors bring more people downtown, which brings more demand for restaurants, for shopping, and for different businesses to establish themselves."

Lenox will also host a daylong gallery walk April 28, where visitors will have the opportunity to participate in talks with artists and gallery directors.

Museums will also be hosting special events for visitors.

On May 6 from 6 to 8 p.m., L'Atelier Berkshires Gallery will welcome the public to an artists reception for their Viva La Femme exhibition.

Viva La Femme is open until June 6, but during the reception, members of the public will be able to speak with the artists involved, according to the gallery's director and sculptor Natalie Tyler.

"Quite a few of the female artists will do talks about their works," she said. "It has to do with women finding their voices and bringing forth their voice."

In North Adams, Museum of Dog scheduled its grand opening April 28 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to coincide with ArtWeek, according to the museum's operations manager John Langlois.

The grand opening will feature "Come see about me, Daisy," an exhibit based on the museum's founder David York's Weimaraner.

"It's all about her energy," Langlois said. "And some of the masterpieces that she's made."

The museum, which is currently in its "soft opening," also features York's personal collection of dog art, sculptures and an antique dog collar collection.

When ArtWeek was founded in 2013, there were only 26 events. This year, there will be 530, according to Chapman.

A full events listing can be found at artweekma.org/events.

Haven Orecchio-Egresitz at horecchio@berkshireeagle.com, @HavenEagle on Twitter and 413-770-6977.


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