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Berkshire County, MA (September 13, 2021) – ArtWeek Berkshires 2021 is nearly here, and with more than 100 visual artists, musicians, photographers, dancers, actors, and craftspeople participating, those eager to experience art in person are sure to be pleased. The event takes place from September 16th through the 26th across Berkshire County, celebrating the creative vitality of the region, a place that has inspired resident artists from Herman Melville to Arlo Guthrie.
ArtWeek Berkshires 2021 represents the combined organizing efforts of five cultural districts (Great Barrington, Lenox, North Adams, Pittsfield, and Williamstown). To ensure the event is accessible and inclusive, the event is free-to-join for artists and organizations, and is neither curated nor juried. This year, among the 100+ events being presented, eighteen of Berkshire County’s 32 towns are represented. While most events are in-person, eight will be presented virtually to accommodate COVID concerns.
The range of events spans the gamut from Festival Latino, now celebrating its 25th year, showcasing music, folk dance, and ethnic food from the Latino and Hispanic diaspora, to sound sculptures from Airlift Collective and the Philip Grausman heads at TOURISTS in North Adams. Pittsfield will present the On The Wall Video Art Show at the Colonial Theatre and the 2nd Annual Drive Walk Bike By Art Show throughout the city, among other events. In addition to works created by individual artists, the event features hands-on and family-friendly events led by leading arts organizations like Norman Rockwell Museum, Clark Art Institute, Berkshire Museum, and The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home.
“While there are many reason to visit The Mount,” said Director of Communications and Community Outreach Rebecka McDougall, “ArtWeek gives us the opportunity to focus on two exhibitions installed onsite: SculptureNow’s outdoor sculpture show and The Farewell, a literary and sculptural project created by artist Molly Rideout. Specific ArtWeek events to celebrate these exhibits include an artist-led tour by SculptureNow and a book-launch with Molly.”
For those interested in learning how artists work, an exciting aspect of this year’s experience are the 25 Open Studio events throughout the county. At Project no. 13 1/2 in Adams, for example, sculptor George LeMaitre will be showcasing his diverse array of multimedia works, like a yellow, floating female form regularly spotted by those biking the Ashuwillticook Trail. His partner, artist Pat Fietta, will be on hand to discuss her moss and fungus wall pieces.
“ArtWeek in the Berkshires is an opportunity to showcase our work to the public with the countywide collaboration creating a much bigger event that brings all the arts together. The Berkshires have established cultural icons that attract worldwide visitors to the area and is why we moved here,” said artist George LeMaitre. “We live and work in our 12,000 sq. ft. warehouse located in the post-industrial landscape of Adams, which is conveniently located in the middle of the county. We are very pleased to be participants.”
While the organizers are thrilled about the many in-person events residents and tourists can enjoy, there will also be virtual events that will bring art to an even wider audience. One of the most powerful is likely to be The G51 Hostile Terrain exhibition by MCLA students and faculty, in partnership with North Adams’ Gallery 51. In this virtual participatory art project sponsored and organized by the nonprofit arts and research organization Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), viewers will be able to engage around an exhibit focused on migrants who died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona between the mid-1990s and 2019 along with work by three West Coast artists who seek to broaden the conversation, representation, and understanding of immigration to the US.
The cultural districts within Berkshire County are committed to working collaboratively and found that the ArtWeek festival provided a focal point. “In the past it was always state-driven,” said Jen Glockner, director of cultural development for the City of Pittsfield, said of ArtWeek. “As the Berkshires, we felt a bit remote from projects that originated in Boston. We’re grateful for their template, but we felt we could do it on our own. During the planning process, it great for the local cultural districts to work together on this — one of those COVID silver linings. We had a lot of Zoom meetings over the winter, working together to promote our unique cultural mecca. We want to cross promote and encourage people to come to events in more than one town.”
About ArtWeek Berkshires
ArtWeek Berkshires is a programmatic collaboration of the five designated Cultural Districts in Berkshire County, along with promotional partner 1Berkshire. The crowd-sourced festival event celebrates arts and cultural of all kinds in the region. Partial funding for the event is provided by Mass Cultural Council. Additional support is provided by local governments and Chambers of Commerce. This year’s sponsors include 1Berkshire, Berkshire Magazine, and Lamar Outdoor Advertising. For more information about ArtWeek Berkshires, visit https://berkshires.org/plan-your-trip/artweek-berkshires/.