Let It Shine! A Celebration of Public Art: Sat. Sept. 9 in Downtown Pittsfield
The Pittsfield Let It Shine! Public Art Partnership will celebrate eight new murals in Pittsfield on Saturday, September 9 – the day of the partnership’s community celebration: “Let It Shine! A Celebration of Public Art”. The celebration will feature self-guided tours of the mural sites and the Let It Shine! Block Party on Saturday, September 9, from 12 to 6 pm at Palace Park at the Cooper Center, 116 North Street. This event is appropriate for all ages.
The Let It Shine! Block Party will feature live music and entertainment, community art making, games, and food vendors from 12 to 6 pm. Grab a bite from Upstreet Smoke, the destination for smoked meats and Southern style sides, or Grampie’s Dog House, home of Ernie’s famous hot dogs. Have a seat in the Beer Garden provided by Wandering Star Craft Brewery and settle in for live music from the Benny Kohn Trio and Sample The Cat and an engaging performance from “Dance and Drum with Aimee, Kim and Dan”.
Schedule of events at the Block Party location:
- 12:00-12:30pm – Welcome and Introductions/House Music
- 12:30-2:30pm – Benny Kohn Trio
- 2:30-3:00pm – Youth Alive
- 3:00-4:00pm – “Dance and Drum with Aimee, Kim and Dan”
- 4:00-6:00pm – Sample The Cat
The Benny Kohn Trio features Benny Kohn (piano, vocals), Ed Moran (lead vocals and harmonica), and Dan Broad (bass, vocals). The trio plays a mix of classic blues, soul, jazz, and popular songs. Ed provides the hard driving, deeply blues-infused, powerful lead vocals, while Dan and Benny lay down a solid foundation ranging from hard swinging to straight solid grooves.
“Dance and Drum with Aimee, Kim and Dan” features Aimee Gelinas and Dan Cohen on drums and dancer Kim Waterman. For 25 years, Aimee, Kim and Dan have been sharing traditional West African and Caribbean song, drum, and dance in the Berkshires and beyond. They have all studied with master teachers from West Africa, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Brazil, and it is with these teachers’ blessings and an abundance of spirit and respect that they bring these traditions to you.
Sample The Cat is a 4-piece soulful rock group storming the region’s rock scene. The band fuses elements of rock, soul, blues, and funk into an energetic yet smooth original sound that grooves with a serious head bop factor. Years in the making, the group includes singer Kendrah Bellevue with her soulfully enriching vocals, Steve Dalton with his masterful melodic arrangements on guitar, Bryan “Dizzy Fingers” Brophy with his colorful layers on keys, and Olivia Davis with her punchy groove on drums.
Let It Shine! Celebration attendees will be able to pick up a map at the Block Party to follow a self-guided tour of the mural sites, or they can download the Downtown Pittsfield app in the App Store or on Google Play to follow a virtual walking tour of all murals downtown and in the West Side neighborhood of Pittsfield.
There will also be an opportunity to meet mural artists Cara Petricca, Trinity Rivard, Pops Peterson, and Jasmine Sade.
Below are the eight new murals being celebrated as part of the Let It Shine! event:
“Sisterhood” by Silvia Lopez Chavez on the Shipton Building at 146 North Street
Making Wishes by Cara Petricca on the north-facing side of 348 North Street (the alleyway facing St. Joseph’s Church)
“Young Legends” by Trinity Rivard on The Howard Building at 41 Federal Street
An original mural by qwynto on Carr Hardware at 547 North Street
“Wings” & “Two Colors of Water” by Pops Peterson at the Riverside Sitting Park at the corner of Columbus and Dewey Avenues (in partnership with the Westside Legends)
Memory Lane by Jasmine Sade at the Riverside Sitting Park at the corner of Columbus and Dewey Avenues (in partnership with the Westside Legends)
Seven Stars for Renne Ave. by Huckleberry (Huck) Elling on the east side (facing Renne Avenue) of The Cooper Center at 1 Fenn Street
Other murals will also be included as part of the self-guided tour.
The Westside Legends will host a special unveiling of “Wings” & “Two Colors of Water” by Pops Peterson and Memory Lane by Jasmine Sade at the Riverside Sitting Park, corner of Columbus and Dewey Avenues, at 2 pm on Saturday, September 9. There will be an opportunity to meet with Pops and Jasmine during this event.
Paintings by Karen Chase and Paul Graubard will also be on view at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, 28 Renne Avenue, from 12 to 4 pm. Witch Slapped, 78 North Street, will be open with an afternoon of spooky, free family fun. There will be a Spooky Storytime at noon with Poppy DaBubbly and spooky ornament making from 12 to 4 pm.
The Let It Shine! Public Art Partnership is a group of Pittsfield-based community members who have formed to organize public art and revitalization on North Street, empowered by organizing efforts through MassDevelopment’s TDI. MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) is a program for Gateway Cities designed to accelerate economic growth within focused districts.
The Let It Shine! Public Art Project is sponsored by MassDevelopment’s TDI Creative Catalyst Grant program, Teton Management, Mill Town Foundation, and Carr Hardware. It is presented in partnership with MassDevelopment’s TDI, Downtown Pittsfield, Inc., Downtown Pittsfield Cultural Association, Artscape, City of Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development, Huck Elling, Jesse Tobin McCauley, Common Wealth Murals, Westside Legends, Allegrone Companies, The Cooper Center, and Paul Aronofsky.
MassDevelopment’s TDI Creative Catalyst Grant program is made possible by the Barr Foundation, which since 2019 has awarded $4.4 million to MassDevelopment to create and administer arts-based programming that directly supports the expansion of cultural and creative industries in Gateway Cities. Gateway Cities have historically been home to many vibrant cultural and creative assets, and MassDevelopment’s TDI Creative Catalyst Grant program seeks to amplify the vibrancy of these communities by providing grant funding for locally initiated arts and culture-based projects.
MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) works with cross-sector partnerships in targeted commercial districts in Gateway Cities in order to engage community members, implement local economic development initiatives, and spur further public and private investment. Since 2015, MassDevelopment has invested $20 million in TDI districts through tools such as technical assistance, real estate investments, grant programs, and fellows who work in the districts. That investment has directly influenced over $100.2 million in public and private investments in the districts and assisted an additional $219.9 million.