Pittsfield's 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival to include new features, plays and fireworks

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Calendar | 2016 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival

PITTSFIELD — Fan favorites, new collaborations and the return of a winter fireworks display highlight the fifth annual 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival.

The 10 days of cultural activities opens with a reception Thursday at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts and runs through Feb. 21. The festival features 64 performances and exhibits at 16 venues that cover nearly every aspect of the city and county's artistic scene, according to organizers.

"People are looking for reason to get out of the house and 10x10 offers something for everyone," said Cultural Development Director Jen Glockner.

She noted the first weekend of Barrington Stage Company's New Play Festival has nearly sold out, prompting the theater troupe to add a third weekend of shows for the second year in a row.

Barrington Stage and the city have collaborated on what's become a mid-winter cultural classic since 2012, drawing a record 8,000 in visitors to local performing and visual arts venues in 2015, Glockner said.

Following a successful festival in 2014, 10x10 expanded last year to include a downtown fireworks display and bonfire. The 2016 fireworks finale is set for 5:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at The Common on First Street, part of the wrap-up weekend of the festival that features Dance Ten. Held on the main stage of Barrington Stage, the moderately priced event showcases 10 Berkshire County Dance groups at 3 p.m. Feb. 21.

Among the new 10x10 participants is the Downtown Pittsfield Winter Farmers Market featuring KID10 on Saturday at The Boys and Girls Club on Melville.

Ten young entrepreneurs ages 4 to 12 will be selling handmade gifts just in time for Valentine's Day, according to market manager Jess Conzo.

"I can't even take credit for this idea, as it actually came from one of our kid vendors, Amaru Maas," Conzo said. "He is a super creative 9-year-old who attends many markets and festivals where his mom, a local herbalist, is a vendor."

Also making their 10x10 debut are the WordxWord Rockwell Project, locally penned poetry and writings inspired by Norman Rockwell illustrations and iMotif, an exhibition of photos taken with an iPhone.

Stephanie Plunkett, Norman Rockwell Museum's chief curator, said the American illustrator and the spoken word are a natural fit.

"The project connects Rockwell art with another medium and with people who may not be as familiar with his works," she said. "Rockwell considered himself a storyteller."

Meanwhile, iMotif features 75 artists and more than 350 photos at two locations, Hotel on North and Sohn Fine Art in Lenox, the latter owned by Cassandra Sohn.

"Sohn contacted me about how to get involved," Glockner said. "People who are hearing about 10x10 are now calling us to be a part of it."

The festival also features several family-friendly — low cost or free — activities such as daily adventure play at the Berkshire Museum, a concert at Berkshire Music School and two shows at the Colonial Theatre.

An original 10x10 member, Berkshire Museum has tweaked its schedule by hosting the free community night on Friday to kick-off Ten Days of Play. The child-directed activities feature youngsters building with LEGOs and tegu wooden blocks,

"Children playing with blocks and creating things helps them interpret the world around them," said Craig Langlois, the museum's director of education and programming.

Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.

If you go ...

What: Opening for fifth annual 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival featuring IS183 Learning Through the Arts Showcase

When: 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday; festival runs through Feb. 21

Where: Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, 28 Renne Ave., Pittsfield

Info: discoverpittsfield.com/10x10


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