NORTH ADAMS, MASS.—The members of the Berkshire Cultural Assets Network (BCAN) are in the process of launching the BCAN Creative Challenge Series, a new way for people of all ages to be creative at home during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Funded by a collective impact grant Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts received in 2018, BCAN is part of the C4 Initiative (Creative Compact for Collective Impact). Spearheaded by MCLA Arts Management Professor Dr. Lisa Donovan and consultant Andrea Sholler, the C4 Initiative started several interconnected projects, including BCAN, whose mission is to serve as a professional learning network for the staff of Berkshire County cultural organizations working in education and community engagement, and the Berkshire County Blueprint for Arts Integration and Education.
BCAN is made up of representatives from more than 50 local arts and cultural organizations who meet regularly to explore ways that local organizations can collectively align around different challenges. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the group asked themselves what could be done during this unprecedented time to encourage people to remain positive, make art, and have a shared community experience.
Through this, the BCAN Creative Challenge Series was formed: Twice a week, different arts organizations will post a video or instructions for a new way community members can explore the creative arts. IS183 Art School of the Berkshires is kicking off the series with a video by Executive Director Lucie Castaldo. In the video, Castaldo explains how to make a collagraph, a simple printmaking technique that uses easily-found-at-home materials, like cardboard and glue.
“The arts can play a vital role in keeping us connected and grounded. The hope is that Berkshire County residents will be inspired to accept many of these challenges and get their creative juices flowing at home,” Donovan said.
You can find the collection of Creative Challenges at Berkshire Regional Arts Integration Network’s (BRAINworks) website, http://brainworks.mcla.edu/events/.
Community participants can post their artistic products on social media with the hashtags #BCANcreativechallenge and #BCANconnects. BCAN members are discussing a way to display the creative products in the future when the community can gather again. For more information, contact BCAN’s consultant, Andrea Sholler, at firstname.lastname@example.org.