Berkshire Roots After-Hours Art Series

Berkshire Roots offers date-night combo: art and cannabis

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Destigmatizing cannabis use is a goal of Berkshire Roots, which is rolling out a monthly arts series aimed at bringing the general public into the Pittsfield dispensary.

"There's still a lot of negativity towards cannabis and cannabis use," said Brittany Pufahl, Berkshire Roots' marketing manager. "We want to interact with the community and make it less stigmatizing for people, more approachable. We're hoping to do this with a series of events, beginning with the art shows and [an upcoming] cooking class."

The idea for the After-Hours Art Series, she said, came from the dispensary's owners, who aim to build Berkshire Roots as a lifestyle brand. It's a sentiment that's even part of the company's tagline: "Embrace you Berkshire Roots. Cannabis for every lifestyle."

"We decided to take it one step further with the art series and only go with local artists," Pufahl said. "We wanted to create something good for the community, especially in the winter. We wanted something that's a nice little date-night, but also a great way to expose those individuals, who are hesitant to walk in [during regular hours], but are curious to see inside the dispensary."

The art show opening, at the Dalton Avenue dispensary, will feature a charcuterie board from Guido's Fresh Marketplace, mocktails (alcohol and cannabis-free cocktails) and extended hours to shop Berkshire Roots products. The opening is a 21-plus event.

The first installment of Berkshire Roots After-Hours features Berkshire County-native, Jenna Skutnik, an artist, designer, and photographer currently working on the Northshore. Her work, as described on the event's Facebook page: " ... tends to reveal how she works; with flashes of brush and palette knife strokes, showing gesture and movement. A sort of chaotic but completed look, much like her thought-process. Jenna's philosophy is ... to not have one. She believes it's important to be unconfined to one ideal, practice, method or philosophy."

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Her work, like that of the artists who follow, will be on view at the dispensary for a month, with prints and original pieces available for purchase.

"We're booked through August," Pufahl, a Pittsfield native, said of the art series. "It's really exciting to see the turnout of people who are interested. We receive inquiries [about being a featured artist] all the time."

But booking artists for the series, she said, wasn't easy at first.

"A lot of the artists I initially asked would get excited. They thought I was calling from Roots Rising. Once they realized we were a cannabis dispensary, they backed off," Pufahl said. "I went to younger artists and started asking around. I reached out to Jenna, who is a family friend, and to a few of our employees, who are phenomenal artists and are participating in the series. Then, word spread and people started calling me."

Interest in being a featured artist has allowed Berkshire Roots the ability to highlight a wide array of artists working in a variety of mediums, she said. Upcoming shows will include oil paintings, sculptures, 3D paintings, photography and watercolor paintings.

"It's exciting," Pufahl said, "We're bringing two worlds together — art and cannabis."


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