Tricks of the Trade Returns with Focus on Enagaging Community While Building Creative Arts


NORTH ADAMS, MA - The official kick-off of the new series titled, "Tricks of the Trade: Culture-Making," begins Nov. 8 at MCLA Gallery 51. This series of 19 interactive seminars will be held across Berkshire County through May 2012. The monthly seminars will provide inventive topics and ground-breaking speakers to ignite the evolving conversation between art and community, including unexplored opportunities and ideas for the artists and creatives.

Presented by Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Berkshire Cultural Resource Center and co-presented by Ferrin Gallery and IS183 Art School, Tricks of the Trade is made possible with support by Appelbaum-Kahn Foundation, Excelsior and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  

Now in its seventh year, Tricks of the Trade offers a series of three seminars each month in North Adams, Pittsfield and Stockbridge. These events are free and open to the public.

November kicks off with "Arts in Education," which will explore a wide range of opportunities in theater, music and visual arts for school systems and non-profit organizations.

Laura Thompson, director of exhibitions and education of Kidspace at MASS MoCA, will be a panelist speaker. She will discuss her several community initiatives and diverse experiences in the field. Elizabeth Baker, 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant coordinator, will share her comprehensive knowledge about public school enrichment, and educating with the arts through her experience with after-school programs in the Berkshires.

Other topics will include December's "Reuse of Spaces for Creative Purposes," which will highlight opportunities to be found by reusing sacred and private space, such as empty storefronts and churches. Many of these spaces have the potential to be turned into a creative business, art studio, gallery, or performance space.

Jessica Conzo, director and co-founder of Alchemy Initiative, will discuss her process to re-purpose an old church into a thriving community with artist studios, events and workshops. An artist lecture/discussion will be led by Michael Oatman, an installation and collage artist exhibiting at MASS MoCA. He will speak about his repurposed air-stream trailer installation, "All Utopias Fell," a fictional tale of a solar-obsessed scientist who crash-lands back to earth.  Visitors to this work may walk though his intricate laboratory and peculiar living quarters. 

In January, the topic will be "Creative Residencies Based in Communities," with local and national opportunities, as well as how to successfully restructure a residency application.

One of the many panelists, Jennie Jadow, the director of Riotous Youth and Shakespeare in the Courts, will share how to get involved in the renowned program for at-risk youth that involves participatory Shakespeare performances as a means to develop a sense of positive community.

The month of February contains "Integration of Art and Community," which will include round-table discussions about art, community and local politics. Mayors and city councilors of Berkshire County will be invited, as well as community innovators such as Susan Cross, curator at MASS MoCA, and Sandra Newman, founder and executive director of Community Access to the Arts.

March will feature "Political Art," which includes a series of remarkable artist lectures hosted by Denise Markonish, curator at MASS MoCA.

April is the month for "Environmental Art," including the controversy surrounding local river art projects and opportunities for environmental residencies. The artist lecture/discussion will be with Jane Philbrick, an outdoor space and installation artist exhibiting at MASS MoCA, with her work, "The Expanded Field."

In May, the topic will be "Public Art," which will discuss the opportunities for artists to visually enrich an entire community, as well as the funding and process.

Tricks of the Trade will officially kick-off Tuesday, Nov. 8, at MCLA Gallery 51 in North Adams, Mass., with "Arts in Education: Local Experts and Institutions." On Wednesday, Nov. 9, "Arts in Education: Local Artists and Experiences" will be held at Ferrin Gallery in Pittsfield, Mass. On Thursday, Nov. 10, "Public School Enrichment and Educating" will be held at IS183 Art School in Stockbridge, Mass. All sessions begin at 6:30 p.m.

To see a full list of the monthly Tricks of the Trade seminars and/or download a free brochure, please go to BCRC . For more information, 413-664-8718. To register, please contact Valeria Federici, BCRC Program Coordinator or call 413-663-5253.