May 4th First Fridays Artswalk to get interactive with live art demonstrations, hands-on art-making, and open studios throughout downtown Pittsfield.
The May 4th First Fridays Artswalk has kicked it up a notch in celebration of Massachusetts’ ArtWeek. “Presented by Highland Street Foundation and produced by the Boch Center, ArtWeek is a 10-day innovative festival featuring hundreds of unique and creative experiences that are hands-on, interactive or offer behind-the-scenes access to artists or the creative process”. In addition to featuring over a dozen art shows featuring over two dozen student and accomplished regional artists, the May 4th Artswalk in downtown Pittsfield will feature live art demonstrations, hands-on art-making, artist talks, and open studios. All events are free and open to the public.
Participating venues will reach as far south as the Berkshire Museum and as far North as Berkshire Medical Center. The May First Fridays Artswalk will kick –off with opening receptions and artists present throughout the “walk” from 5 to 8 pm on Friday, May 4th. There will be a free guided walking tour lead by Artswalk co-founder Mary McGinnis beginning at 5 pm on May 4th at the Intermodal Center at BRTA, 1 Columbus Ave.
The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, 28 Renne Avenue, will be hosting its annual Art in Our Schools Exhibit, a 30 plus year tradition held each spring honoring art education and our creative young people. Art from Grade 6 through 12 students in the Pittsfield Public Schools will be on display throughout the month. There will be art making during the opening reception on Friday, May 4th, 5 to 8 pm during First Fridays Artswalk.
In addition, artists from the studios housed within the Lichtenstein: Sean McCusker, Rick Casucci, Stefanie Weber, and others, will have open studios during Artswalk on May 4th, 5 to 8 pm, and some will have live art demonstrations.
NUarts Studios and Gallery, 311 North Street, 2nd Floor, will be open during the May 4th Artswalk from 5 to 8 pm presenting “Creating Community”. A dozen artists will open their studios and offer interactive art-making and behind-the-scenes experiences. Participate in an interactive abstract collage, witness a painting demonstration, or participate in a community 3D project. There will be live music and refreshments.
The Whitney Center for the Arts, 42 Wendell Ave., will feature “The View from Behind the Bars: Therapeutic Art by Massachusetts Inmates”, including a gallery walk-through talk by curator and author Phyllis Kornfeld. There will also be an opportunity to participate in a free therapeutic art project guided by The Whit’s resident artist and curator Tammara Leminen. The Whit will also feature “Pluralities”, a behind-the-scenes look at one of art therapist and teaching artist Marney Schorr’s students, Caleb Case.
Burlesque Life Drawing returns to Dottie’s Coffee Lounge, 444 North Street, special for ArtWeek, during First Fridays Artswalk on Friday, May 4th, from 5 to 8 pm. The fabulous Cosmic Candy will be your model. A “life drawing” is a drawing of the human figure from observation of a live model. Participation is by donation. Bring your own materials/art supplies (any medium welcomed… draw, paint, photograph, collage, write). The evening will begin with short poses and move into longer ones. Light refreshments will be served.
“All of us at First Fridays Artswalk are very excited to be able to present additional programming during Pittsfield’s first ever ArtWeek,” says lead coordinator Kimberly Gritman. “The effort by our venues to bring unique experiences to the May 4th Artswalk is astounding. If you haven’t been to downtown Pittsfield for Artswalk, May 4th is the time to come check out what we are all about!”
New shows from local artists will also be displayed at the following locations as part of First Fridays Artswalk: Downtown Pittsfield, Inc., The Marketplace Café, RJ Stohr Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, Berkshire Paint and Sip, The Kinderhook Group Real Estate, Hotel on North, Berkshire Museum, The Funky Phoenix, The Berkshire Athenaeum, and Berkshire Medical Center.
First Fridays Artswalk is presented by Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. Most art exhibits are on display in participating venues throughout the month. Please check with venues for hours of operation. For more information on First Fridays Artswalk and to view a listing and map of all participating artists and locations, visit www.FirstFridaysArtswalk.com.
“Statewide partners (for ArtWeek) include Mass Cultural Council, Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism as well as Mass Center for the Book, MASSCreative, MassHumanities, MassPoetry, MassAccess, Music Drives Us Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, New England Museum Association, Young Audiences of Massachusetts and VSA Massachusetts. To learn more about… regional and local collaborators as well as about the festival and its growth, visit www.artweekma.org.”
By Contributor Kimberly Gritman
Images (left to right): Brandi Dahari, Sean McCusker, and Ronnie White