The Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. Annual Meeting was a celebration of the great efforts being made by our community to make downtown Pittsfield the best that it can be. Highlights of the event held May 3rd, 2018 in the beautiful new theatres at The Beacon Cinema included the presentation of the 2018 Robert K. Quattrochi Downtown Person of the Year Award to Berkshire Lightscapes founder, Elie Hammerling, and the election of officers to the Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. Board of Directors.
The event kicked off with remarks by Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. (DPI) Board President Jesse Cook-Dubin, Partner at Cohen Kinne Valicenti & Cook. Jesse gave a special thank you to Executive Director Cheryl Mirer, distinguished guests, and the major donors and property owners whose support of Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. is instrumental in fulfilling their mission. Senator Adam G. Hinds and Pittsfield Mayor Linda M. Tyer spoke about the accomplishments within our downtown and goals for the future.
Downtown Corporators were re-elected unopposed as were officers and Executive Committee nominees. David Carver of CT Management was honored and appointed as a Life Director on the DPI board, and the following board members were elected unopposed:
President: Jesse Cook-Dubin, Cohen Kinne Valicenti & Cook
First Vice President: Gary Levante, Berkshire Bank
VP Administration: Timothy O’Donnell, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
Treasurer: David Irwin, Adelson & Co.
Clerk: Michele Butler, David J. Tierney Inc.
Strategy 2 (Foot Traffic) Task Force Chairs:
Kait Stinchcomb, Berkshire Theatre Group
Eric Pratt, MountainOne Insurance Agency
Strategy 3 (Marketing and PR) Task Force Chair:
Gary Levante, Berkshire Bank
Strategy 4 (Quality of Life) Task Force Chairs:
Christine Hoyt, Berkshire Community College
Branden Huldeen, Barrington Stage Company
The 2018 Community Award was presented to the City of Pittsfield’s annual 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival in recognition of the impact this collaborative arts festival has on downtown Pittsfield each winter. The festival which brings over 10,000 people to downtown Pittsfield in mid-February completed its 7th consecutive year in 2018. This year the festival featured 66 events at 12 different venues with dozens of cultural and community institutions taking part. The 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival began as a collaboration between the City of Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development and Barrington Stage Company, and has continued to grow every year since its inception in 2012, including downtown institutions such as the Berkshire Museum, the Berkshire Athenaeum, and Berkshire Theatre Group, as well as Berkshire favorites such as Jacob’s Pillow. Director of Cultural Development, Jennifer Glockner, accepted the award on behalf of the festival.
The 2018 President’s Award was awarded to David Irwin, CPA, of Adelson & Company PC for his outstanding contribution to Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. David has consistently gone above and beyond the expectations of his volunteer position as Treasurer of DPI, and his knowledge and dedication make him a treasured asset to the organization and our community.
The 2018 Robert K. Quattrochi Downtown Person of the Year Award was presented to Berkshire Lightscapes founder and DPI board member, Elie Hammerling, for his outstanding contributions to downtown Pittsfield in both his capacity as a Board Member and as founder of Berkshire Lightscapes. Elie, retired VP of Planning for Berkshire Medical Center, is a proud resident of downtown Pittsfield, most often referring to himself as “Downtown Resident”. He has a strong vision for his hometown, and this has lead him on a passionate quest to create dynamic, artistic lighting in downtown areas – lighting that will attract visitors and contribute to the growth of our economy – as well as increasing safety and visibility in downtown areas. In December 2017, the same month Berkshire Lightscapes successfully lit up the historic First Agricultural Bank building at 100 North Street, Elie submitted an application to Commonwealth Places to help fund a permanent lighting project in Park Square, City Hall, and on Dunham Mall in downtown Pittsfield. Elie and his Berkshire Lightscapes steering committee are currently pursuing a funding match of $50,000 from MassDevelopment if they can raise $50,000 from the community at large by May 16th. The total funding of $100,000 ($50,000 in donations raised and $50,000 in matching funds) will be used to complete the project in downtown Pittsfield by August 2018. If you have not donated already, please consider donating online now at www.patronicity.com/lightscapes.
The meeting concluded with remarks by Downtown Pittsfield, Inc.’s Executive Director, Cheryl Mirer. Cheryl gave a brief overview of exciting events on the horizon such as the 20th Annual Downtown Pittsfield Spring Cleanup on May 18th, the Berkshire Pride Festival on June 2nd at the First Street Common, and the June 9th Berkshire Craft Beer Festival & Charity Chug Run 5K also on the Common.
Cheryl also announced the return of DPI’s Ambassador Program this summer and the Fine Art Auction/Artscape Fundraiser to be held June 14th at the Whitney Center for the Arts. Stay tuned for the Painted Piano Project presented by Berkshire Music School, Artscape and many other regional partners. The Painted Piano Project will feature playable works of art throughout Berkshire County from July 18th through August 25th, culminating with a live auction on August 26th. There will be 4 “Painted Pianos” in Pittsfield!
Lastly, DPI’s Marketing Coordinator, Kimberly Gritman, was recognized for her contributions to the organization. Kimberly recently created a brand-new website for Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. (downtownpittsfield.com) featuring updated business directories, cultural pages, residential property listings, and other pertinent downtown information including parking and the City of Pittsfield’s PittSMART App. She currently maintains the DPI website, writes blog articles, creates the weekly Five+ Fun Finds e-newsletter, and manages the Downtown Pittsfield Facebook and Instagram pages. Cheryl and Kimberly will be releasing a “Heart of the Berkshires” marketing toolkit to members in the coming weeks, and everyone is encouraged to use the hashtag #HeartOfTheBerkshires when posting good news, events, products and more on social media!
By Contributor Kimberly Gritman
Heading photo left: Jesse Cook-Dubin. Photo by Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware. Heading photo right: 2018 Robert K. Quattrochi Downtown Person of the Year Award Winner Elie Hammerling. Photo by Berkshire Lightscapes.
Photos by Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware.