Well, after nearly two years of planning and preparation to launch an asset development program for artists in Berkshire County, I can now actually talk about real live people in the program instead of just “Berkshire County artists.”
Nine artists are about to start their training and have opened individual development accounts (matched savings accounts) to save for the down payment on a home or for small business investments to grow their artistic enterprises. I’m delighted with the group we’ve assembled:
Julia Britell is a jewelry designer based in Pittsfield whose work is sold through the Sundance catalog and many galleries and craft shows. Her work may be found locally at the Hoadley Gallery, 21 Church Street, in Lenox.
Otha Day, a Berkshire-based team-building and communications facilitator, organizes drum circles in both corporate and community settings throughout the northeast. His clients range from the multi-national enterprise SABIC Innovative Plastics, to Williams College, to Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester Vermont and Oakhill Day Care in Vermont.
Martha Flood, a Surface Pattern Designer based in North Adams, creates designs for manufacturers of wallcoverings and fabrics for the home fashion industry. This summer she is launching a newly created line of fabrics called ELEMENTS. The designs, HOOSIC WATER and BLACK CHERRY BARK, were inspired by the beautiful patterns found in Nature here in the Berkshires. Martha commissioned the fabrics to be digitally printed (in the US) on a new fabric made of 100% recycled plastic bottles. Wall hangings, Pillows and custom orders are available through the North Adams Artists’ Co-op Gallery at 107 Main Street in North Adams, Thurs. – Sun., 10-6.
Anna Kronick, a visual artist producing papercuts, stained glass, and paintings, has exhibited work all across the country, including recent exhibitions at the Lancaster Museum of Art in Lancaster, PA, and the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA. She operates the Suncatcher Glass gallery and studio at 63 Main Street in North Adams, open Thurs. – Mon., 10 – 5, except she will be closed August 7-10 for the Berkshire Crafts Fair at Monument Mountain Regional High School in Great Barrington.
Deirdre McKenna is a visual artist and graphic designer working in downtown Pittsfield. She earned her BFA from The Art Institute of Boston, and has shown her works in fiber, painting and collage both with the 311 North Street artists group and during the city’s “Third Thursday” events. She is currently working on a 3-panel art quilt to be displayed in the lobby of Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.
Robin O’Herin, a Lee-based acoustic blues and gospel musician, specializes in historically rich, often interactive concerts that include original and traditional American music. She was a finalist for the 2006 Memphis Blues Challenge and performs widely at festivals and other venues. She can be heard at numerous locations in and around the Berkshires this summer.
Monika Pizzichemi is a visual artist with a studio in Pittsfield that she shares with her husband, painter Michael McKay. Monika’s work is currently on view at the Berkshire Museum’s gift shop at 31 South Street in Pittsfield, and at her studio — empty set project space, 150 South Street in Pittsfield.
Jackie Salvaggio, a Lenox-based ceramics artisan, designs and sells clay, text-based, decorative plaques intended to uplift or inspire. Her work is available locally at Berkshire Fine Handcrafts at 431 North Street in Pittsfield.
Erica Spizz, a documentary filmmaker in North Egremont, co-directed the award winning short film Sweet Soil: Local Farmers and the Berkshire Co-op Market, which has been screened at many film festivals and was broadcast nationally on PBS. She is currently working on Judith Monachina’s Paper Mills documentary project on the history of paper making in Lee, Maurice Peterson’s improvisational short Rumpy’s, and The Model Room about the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson.
Thanks to all the partners who participated in the recruitment and selection process: Berkshire Creative, MASS MoCA, MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development, IS183, the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, and Berkshire Community Action Council.
We’re now raising funds for a second round of artists to join the program in early 2009, so fingers crossed that all goes according to plan and the program continues to expand.