Integration of Art and Community Will Be The Spotlight for "Tricks of the Trade" Feb. 7-9


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Berkshire Cultural Resource Center announces that its "Tricks of the Trade" series for the month of February will focus on "Integration of Art and Community," in particular the relationship between local politics, the arts and the larger community.  

The next installment of this series will take place Feb. 7-9, with three seminars to be held throughout Berkshire County. The events are free and open to the public. All seminars begin at 6:30 p.m.

Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in round table discussions with local politicians, state representatives and professionals. Questions to be addressed include, how do communities engage and embrace art and culture?  What are the benefits?  What are the downfalls?  How do our local politicians and community leaders view the role of art and culture in their communities? How beneficial art can be for a community and how to make the community aware of those benefits?

Panelists will discuss realized projects, as well as possible future ones. They will talk about obstacles that may occur, such as community reluctance, as well as benefits and tangible improvement of public engagement and participation.  All are encouraged to bring their own questions, thoughts and ideas.

In North Adams on Feb 7 at MCLA Gallery 51, a panel moderated by Jonathan Secor will focus on North Adams and Northern Berkshire community. Panelists include Richard J. Alcombright, mayor of North Adams; Nancy Bullet, North Adams city councilor; David Bond, North Adams city councilor; Keith Bona, North Adams city councilor; Christine Dobbert, Florida town administrator; and Veronica Bosley; director of North Adams Office of Tourism.

On Feb. 8, at Ferrin Gallery in Pittsfield, the series will highlight aspects of integration art and community in the City of Pittsfield and in the Southern part of the County. The panel will be moderated by Helena Fruscio, Massachusetts Creative Economy Industry director and former executive director of Berkshire Creative.

Panelists include newly-elected Dan Bianchi, mayor of Pittsfield, state Sen. Ben Downing and state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier.

On Feb. 9, at IS 183 in Stockbridge, a conversation among professional of the art and community field will be facilitated by Megan Whilden, director of the Office of Cultural Development in Pittsfield. Panelists include Susan Cross, curator at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA); Kate Merrigan, UNITY program coordinator of Northern Berkshire Community Colation; and Sandra Newman, founder and executive director of Community Access to the Arts.

To see a full schedule of the monthly Tricks of the Trade workshops or to download a free brochure, go to BCRC. For more information, (413) 664-8718. To register, contact Valeria Federici, BCRC program coordinator, (413) 663-5253 or

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