Showing, Schmoozing, and Creating



Tricks of the Trade - presented by MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) - continues to attract a growing number of visual artists, musicians and writers, as well as other creative professionals and those from the business sector.

In its fourth year, this professional development series draws a wide audience from throughout Berkshire County. Its three sessions held month in North Adams, Pittsfield and Stockbridge each draw between 15 to 40 participants. All of the sessions are free and open to the public.

According to Jonathan Secor, MCLA's director of special programs, the series was developed as MCLA continues to provide support, education and training to the arts community. In addition to its Bachelor of Arts degree program in arts management, MCLA is a leading source of education, training and professional development for the larger Berkshire community.

This month, attendees will learn how to show their work. The sessions will discuss which galleries artists should approach and what other venues they might consider. Facilitated by Jessica Conzo, BCRC's program coordinator, all sessions will be held at 6:30 p.m., as follows:

  • Tuesday, February 9th:  MCLA Gallery 51: Cathy Deely - the producer of "Made in the USA in Pete's Motors," will discuss non-traditional spaces - and Pip JS Deely - a curator, will discuss fine art galleries
  • Wednesday, February 10th:  Lichtenstein Center for the Arts: Gail and Phil Sellers - owners of River Hill Pottery - will discuss fairs, festivals, open studios and trade shows
  • Thursday, February 11th:  IS183 Art School: Melissa Stafford - the director of Carrie Haddad Photographs - will discuss fine art galleries and non-traditional spaces

This year's topics were selected after last year's participants were surveyed to discover their needs and interests.

"Last year we did a session on doing your taxes as an artist. We're not doing that this year," Conzo explains. "This year, we really tried to look at the process - from once you're created your work to how do you price it, how do you brand it, where do you put it, how do you talk about it - all of that full circle, back to creating your work."

In March, attendees will learn how to network in "Schmoozing." Panelists will include Leslie Ferrin (owner of Ferrin Gallery) and freelance writer Beth Hochstein. The 6:30 p.m. sessions will be held as follows:

  • Tuesday, March 9th:  MCLA Gallery 51
  • Wednesday, March 10th:  Lichtenstein Center for the Arts
  • Thursday, March 11th:  IS183 Art School

Conzo attributes the series' growth in part to BCRC's partnership last year with other groups, including Berkshire Creative in Pittsfield, IS183 art school in Stockbridge and Pittsfield's Office of Cultural Development. This collaboration allows for sessions in additional locations, making the series more accessible to a greater number of people.

"People really seem to enjoy the sessions and get a lot out of them," says Conzo.

In April, the series will conclude for the year with "Creating," in which local artist and MCLA Art Professor Melanie Mowinski will talk with artists about residency programs. For more information about these sessions and other the Tricks of the Trade workshops, go to Community/bcrc/tricksofthetrade0809/tricksofthetradeupcoming .