Bits & Bytes: Historic Preservation Grants awarded; Cellblock Visions; BCC info sessions; Tamarack Hollow Drum & Dance Fest

Nathan Law

IS183 Art School of the Berkshires was awarded a $4,100 matching grant for exterior work to their home base, Citizens’ Hall in Stockbridge, shown above. Photo courtesy IS183 State Historic Preservation Grants awarded to three Berkshire County entities BERKSHIRE COUNTY — Preservation Massachusetts, in partnership with The 1772 Foundation, recently […]

IS183 Art School of the Berkshires was awarded a $4,100 matching grant for exterior work to their home base, Citizens’ Hall in Stockbridge, shown above. Photo courtesy IS183

State Historic Preservation Grants awarded to three Berkshire County entities

BERKSHIRE COUNTY — Preservation Massachusetts, in partnership with The 1772 Foundation, recently announced the final recipients of a historic preservation matching grant program. Preservation Massachusetts is the statewide nonprofit historic preservation organization dedicated to preserving the Commonwealth’s historic and cultural heritage and The 1772 Foundation plays a leading role in promoting historic preservation nationwide.

In this latest grant round, the Foundation worked with statewide historic preservation organizations to administer matching grants of up to $10,000. Grants will be given to historic preservation projects for building exteriors. At its quarterly meeting, the trustees of the Foundation awarded $100,000 total in grants to 12 Massachusetts projects, based on recommendations from Preservation Massachusetts.

Photo courtesy Sandisfield Arts Center

Among the 12 recipients were IS183 Art School of the Berkshires for Citizens’ Hall in Stockbridge, Sandisfield Arts and Restoration Committee for the Sandisfield Arts Center, and West Stockbridge Historical Society for the Old Town Hall.

IS183 Art School of the Berkshires was awarded a $4,100 matching grant for exterior work to their home base. “We are so grateful to Ann and Joe Gallo for supporting IS183 Art School through their love and generosity — and completing our match!” said IS183 Executive Director Lucie Castaldo. “We love our building; Citizens’ Hall is the second ‘teacher’ in our classes — inspiring students and faculty just with its presence.”

Citizens’ Hall was designed in 1870 by Charles T. Rathburn to serve a mixed community use. IS183 was founded in 1991 and leased the space in the building for 15 years. The art school merged with the building’s previous owners and became the sole owner in 2005. IS183 Art School completed a $330,000 capital campaign in 2009 to fund an extensive renovation of the building’s exterior.

The Sandisfield Arts Center was awarded $9,250 to assist with masonry repointing and work related to the stone foundation, including utilizing a more historically appropriate mortar for the building. Constructed in 1839 as the Montville Baptist Church, the building is a wood-frame Greek Revival structure with an exposed granite foundation. In 1921, the building was converted into an Orthodox Jewish synagogue by the Congregation B’Nai Abraham, a full basement was added, and the landscape regraded to permit a direct entrance to the basement meeting hall. In 1984, former congregants decided to repurpose the building as a community arts center. The Sandisfield Arts Center opened in 1995.

The West Stockbridge Historical Society was awarded $10,000 for repair and restoration work on the windows and doors of the Old Town Hall as part of a larger phase to secure the building’s envelope from weather and enable efficient heat and air-conditioning in the structure. The building was constructed in 1854, designed with first-floor commercial space and community spaces on the second floor. Vacated in 2003, the town decided to sell or demolish the hall in 2006. It was purchased by the reformed West Stockbridge Historical Society in 2009 and the Society has been undertaking its restoration and remaking it as a community center once again.

—A.K.

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Cellblock Visions: Prison Art in America illustrated talk with Phyllis Kornfeld

Image courtesy Phyllis Kornfeld

PITTSFIELD — The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Berkshire Community College (BCC) will host a Zoom event with Phyllis Kornfeld, an internationally known expert on prison art, on Wednesday, May 12 at 4 p.m.

Kornfeld has taught art to incarcerated men and women for over 30 years, and is the author of “Cellblock Visions: Prison Art in America” (Princeton University Press). In this illustrated online program, she will present artworks and quotes that reveal this unseen culture among incarcerated people. She will discuss the impact of creating art as a preventive against violence and a catalyst for transformation. You’ll see images from a vibrant collection of artwork, created behind bars, from county jail to death row.

Admission is $10 for OLLI at BCC and Berkshire Museum members, and $15 for the general public. Admission is free for BCC students, those age 17 and younger, and those holding WIC, EBT/SNAP, or ConnectorCare cards. Pre-registration is required. Click here to register safely and securely online or call 413-236-2190.

—A.K.

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BCC to hold virtual info sessions for Criminal Justice, Human Services programs

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Community College (BCC) will hold a virtual open house session for Criminal Justice and Human Services programs on Tuesday, May 18 at 4:30 p.m. Current and prospective students can register for the Zoom session by visiting this website and scrolling down to the Program Info Sessions section.

The program will begin with opening remarks from Dr. Laurie Gordy, dean of the Humanities and Behavioral & Social Sciences Division. Dr. Gordy will then introduce program advisors and faculty from both programs, who will present program overviews discussing courses, program requirements and workload, and transfer and career opportunities.

Attendees will enter “breakout sessions” for their respective programs of interest and will have the opportunity to meet Dr. Kari Dupuis, professor of Human Services and program advisor for the Human Services Program; Pam Coley McCann, associate professor of Human Services; Reena Bucknell, professor of Criminal Justice and chairperson of the Behavioral & Social Sciences Department; Gene Baker, adjunct instructor of Criminal Justice; and Patrick Barry, adjunct professor of Criminal Justice.

After the breakout sessions, the admissions department will present an overview of the admissions process, followed by a brief presentation from the financial aid office. A question-and-answer session will conclude the program. For more information, contact the admissions office at (413) 236-1636.

—A.K.

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Tamarack Hollow Drum & Dance Fest to be held at Windsor Town Park

M’Bemba Bangoura
M’Bemba Bangoura. Photo courtesy Wula Drum

WINDSOR — The Tamarack Hollow Drum & Dance Fest will be held at Windsor Town Park on Saturday, May 29 (rain date Sunday, May 30).

The day will kick off at 10:30 a.m. with intergenerational drum classes, both in person and on Zoom. Classes will be led by master drummer, dancer and “Djembe Fola” M’Bemba Bangoura from Conakry, Guinea, West Africa. Registration is required and class fees are $30 per class, with a drum rental fee of $5. At 3 p.m., an intergenerational West African dance class will be held in person only. Registration is required, with a $15 fee. M’Bemba Bangoura and Berkshire Rhythm Keepers will join class leaders Aimee Gelinas and members of Gaia Roots. The fest will also include a world marketplace and refreshments courtesy of Panera. Masks are required for classes.

The drum fest is part of an annual spring and fall community experience to gather and celebrate in the spirit of the drum. Fest proceeds will support the artists and the Tamarack Hollow Nature & Cultural Center’s year-round environmental education for all ages, the “Raise the Roof” fund to build a sustainable nature and cultural education center, and to continue to conserve 32 acres of highland boreal forest in Windsor, Massachusetts for future generations.

Tamarack Hollow is a 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization whose mission is to “inspire environmental and cultural awareness, appreciation, and stewardship.”

Email Director Aimee Gelinas at [email protected] to register for drum and dance classes (scholarships available).

—A.K.

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