Black Abundance Mural Unveiled in Downtown Pittsfield

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Press Contact: Jen Glockner, City of Pittsfield Office of Cultural Development 

Phone: (413) 499-9348 

Email: [email protected] 

Black Lives Matter Art Committee Commits to Ongoing Art Projects in Pittsfield

PITTSFIELD, MA (June 2022) – The Black Lives Matter Art Committee, a partnership between Black community members, Artscape and the City of Pittsfield, announces two art installations to kick-off the Juneteenth Weekend. Commemorative events ranging from a musical celebration of Black history to festivals and art celebrations are expected to take place throughout the weekend in Pittsfield.

The weekend began this afternoon with the unveiling of a mural, “Black Abundance,” by artist Frances Chlöe Jones-Whitman on the south side of the Adlib Building at the corner of Columbus Avenue and North Street. Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer and Jones-Whitman both spoke at the press event this afternoon at Persip Park. The mural is a Mount Rushmore-style depiction featuring past and present notable leaders in the black community including: W.E.B. Dubois; Elizabeth Freeman; Samuel Harrison; Agrippa Hull; Dr. Frances Jones-Sneed; James Van Der Zee and Stephanie Wilson. 

The mural is an homage to notable Black leaders, both past and present, who have done great things and are a symbol of Black Excellence, said Jones-Whitman, a 22-year-old who graduated from college in March of 2020 at the height of the pandemic.

For the last three years, Jones-Whitman has resided in North Adams with her mother and grandmother and is happy to call the Berkshires home. After not feeling comfortable going into the job market after COVID, she began doing freelance art and started an at home sewing business, Sedie’s Designs. 

Adlib, Inc., owns the building where the mural will be installed.  The organization provides independent living and specialized services for people with disabilities in Berkshire County and empowers people with disabilities to live more independently and have control of their own lives.  Executive Director Marco Ingoglia said that partnering with the Black Lives Matter Art Committee was a natural collaboration in fitting with the organization’s mission.

The piece good luck out there by artist Salief Lewis was also installed at Persip Park in the summer of 2021 on the corner of Columbus Avenue and North Street. 

Lewis created the piece from acid etched steel and angle iron.  good luck out there was created from a process of extraction; the phrase was repeatedly etched into the underlying steel. The message it delivers is a reflective statement, directed in part at itself as it endures time, its participants, and the surrounding environment.

good luck out there appears erratically across the metal canvas. Alongside the words are artifacts of the hyper-weathering process. Its assembly is the execution of a range of imperfect processes and gives evidence to uncertainty as an operating condition. The message of the work reverberates between artist, audience, and the world. It addresses the volatility of our lives and social environment.  Follow @salieflewis for more information. 

Since its inception in the spring of 2020, Black Lives Matter Art Committee Members have said that they hope that the art projects will empower, solidify and educate the Pittsfield community. 

“While it’s important that we recognize and honor the memories of victims, we must also celebrate the lives and contributions of black individuals who have had a meaningful impact on American culture through the years,” says Olivia Nda, a member of the Black Lives Matter Art Committee.  “In Berkshire County, we have a rich black history, but it’s one that’s not always told. The Jones-Whitman’s mural is a dynamic visual that will shine a well-deserved spotlight on past and present figures in the region, and serve as a spark to keep the conversation going.”

“The City of Pittsfield is deeply proud to be a part of the Black Lives Matter Art Committee. During the spring and summer months of 2020, we saw how the fight for justice and change drew thousands to streets across our nation,” said Mayor Linda Tyer. “Here in Pittsfield, community members from all walks of life, backgrounds, and ages came together in solidarity and raised their voices for change. Two years later, we continue to honor the significance of this movement and the diligent work of this committee through inspiring and transformational works of art.”

The Black Lives Matter Art Committee Members include:  Katherine Blay Tandoh; Justinnajah Clark; Auric Enchill; A.J. Enchill; Dan Joslyn; Jen Glockner; Gerdlie Jean-Louis; Shiobbean Lemme; Roberta McCulloch-Dews; Olivia Nda; Jake Paris; Abby Powers; Amin Purry; Alex Reczkowski; Fleur Sereko; Deonte Young and Catherine VanBramer.

Projects are ongoing with future planned calls for art and installations throughout 2022 and beyond.  If you are interested in joining the Black Lives Matter Art Committee, please contact Jen Glockner at [email protected]

The Juneteenth celebrations continue throughout the weekend:

Black Legacy Project Premiere Film Screening at the Colonial Theatre

Official Unveiling of the Pops Peterson Walk With Her Mural hosted by the West Side Legends   

Juneteenth Celebration at Durant Park

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Third Thursday at The Common to be Held May-August

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Jen Glockner, City of Pittsfield, Director of Cultural Development

(p) 413-499-9348

[email protected]

March 15, 2022

Third Thursday to Return in Pittsfield.

Festival to be Held May-August at The First Street Common. 

Pittsfield, Mass – The City of Pittsfield Office of Cultural Development announces the return of Third Thursday.  The festival will return on May 19 for the first of four season events at The Common with a more artisan and creative format. 

 “Over the past two years, we saw a pause on many of our beloved traditions and pastimes,” stated Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer.  “Now, as we continue to embark on this new phase of community life, I am absolutely thrilled to welcome the return of Third Thursday this spring in its new location at The Common. With so much to enjoy, this is an event that promises to deliver a good time for all, so I’m encouraging everyone to come out and experience firsthand the magic of Third Thursday.”

Third Thursday at the Common will each have a theme:

  • May – Youth sponsored by General Dynamics Missions Systems
  • June – Celebrating Summer with the Whiskey Treaty Road Show sponsored by MountainOne  
  • July – Touch a Truck sponsored by Lenco Armored Vehicles with a special interactive performance hosted by Jacob’s Pillow
  • August – Love Pittsfield Showcasing Cultural Organizations sponsored by Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

Cultural Pittsfield is collaborating with CozQuest and Roots Rising to have a wide array of vendors and activities with an artisan focus.  For vendor information, contact Shiobbean Lemme at [email protected]

“We are excited to once again collaborate with businesses and cultural organizations to highlight all of the wonderful things that Pittsfield has to offer,” says Jen Glockner, director of cultural development for the City of Pittsfield.  “This event will also include Third Thursday After Dark, focusing on the restaurants, theatre and nightly entertainment that is always present in Downtown Pittsfield.” 

Cultural Pittsfield serves as the city’s first point of contact for artists, cultural organizations, event organizers and creative businesses in Pittsfield.  The Office is located in the city-owned Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in downtown Pittsfield’s Upstreet Cultural District.  The office publishes the free Love Pittsfield Email Newsletter and leads the Love Pittsfield campaign.  Go to LovePittsfield.com for more information. 

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10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival Celebrates 11th Anniversary with Ice Sculptures, New Collaborations, Live Music Every Night and More!

Pittsfield, Mass – The 11th annual 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival encourages everyone to get outside and enjoy all there is to love about Pittsfield!  Presented by the City of Pittsfield and Barrington Stage Company and sponsored by Mill Town Capital, the festival features a live array of music, art, theatre, dance, play, ice sculpting, outdoor fun, fireworks and more from February 17-27, 2022 in the heart of the Berkshires. 

“The 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival is one of Pittsfield’s signature winter events and for good reason,” stated Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer. “We all know that New England winters can be tough, but the festival is the perfect antidote. It offers a series of exciting activities and events for individuals of all ages. There’s truly something for everyone so I encourage our community to come out and have a good time.”

Most events are back in person, with some streaming options, including: the 10×10 New Play Festival at Barrington Stage Company.  Berkshire Museum is hosting its Ten Days of Play; the Berkshire Art Association’s Real Art Party and the Berkshires Jazz concert.  And, you can listen to live music every night at venues downtown during the 10×10 Tour.

“We are happy to bring many things back in person this year but also give people outdoor and streaming options,” said Jen Glockner, director of cultural development for the City of Pittsfield.  “The mantra continues to be keep calm and flexible during these unprecedented times.”

There are plenty of outdoor options.  Bousquet is offering $10 Tubing Night and artists Peter Vacchina and Robert Markey will be creating works of art made from ice in front of the Berkshire Museum on February 24. Look for Facebook and Instagram updates and live footage of this event. Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) and Berkshire Running Center all have 10×10 events. 

The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts will feature the 5 x 10 Art Exhibit featuring five artists, each with ten pieces.  Berkshire residents, as well as current and former arts teachers Michael Boroniec, MaryBeth Eldridge, Lisa Ostellino, Barbara Patton and Colleen Quinn will be showing ten pieces each at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts.  The show runs February 17-27, 2022 with an opening reception on Friday, February 18 from 6-8pm. 

The Lichtenstein will also host other in person events including a Darrow School Theater Workshop; a pottery demonstration with Jim Horsford; a 10×10 Tamarack Hollow Percussion Presentation and a performance by Irish dancers.  

The Berkshire Athenaeum and the Berkshire Historical Society are joining forces once again to present a collaborative exhibit of writing visualizations by this year’s Melville Fellows.   Jacob’s Pillow returns this year, hosting dancer, storyteller, and drummer Iddrisu Saaka for an exciting workshop at the Zion Lutheran Church’s Common Room.  Hancock Shaker Village is bringing back The Big Chill to add to the 10×10 festivities. 

The free 10 Minutes of Fireworks is back!  Sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union, it returns to the Common on First Street on Saturday, February 26 at 6pm (dusk). 

Other highlights of the festival include live music every night at downtown restaurants and a 10% discount at Mission Restaurant every night of the Festival. 

About the 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival

The 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival is a winter arts festival located in Pittsfield’s Upstreet Cultural District in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, organized by the City of Pittsfield and Barrington Stage Company. 

Milltown Capital is the lead sponsor of the 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival.  Additional support is provided by Greylock Federal Credit Union and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  For a day-by-day calendar and more information, visit LovePittsfield.com or call 413-499-9348.  For regular updates to the Festival, like the 10×10 Upstreet Festival on Facebook and follow Cultural Pittsfield Mass on Instagram.  Use the #10x10Upstreet and #LovePittsfield on your social media posts.

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