November 1st Artswalk in Pittsfield's Upstreet Cultural District

From ceramic theatre masks in honor of Halloween and the Day of the Dead and group show of work made from thread, fabric and more, to a photography show documenting the the work of two Berkshire artists bringing tap dance to Nairobi youth, the November 1st First Fridays Artswalk in downtown Pittsfield is filled with surprises from 5pm to 8pm and beyond.

In addition, November 1st marks the first ever Artswalk Afterparty, which will be held immediately following Artswalk beginning at 8pm at the Whitney Center for the Arts, located at 42 Wendell Avenue within the Upstreet Cultural District.

Ghazi Kazmi, Executive Director of the Whitney Center for the Arts, said, "we wanted to provide a relaxed opportunity for all the exhibiting artists, the store owners, and the artloving public to come together after Artswalk to celebrate and discuss the artwork on view throughout Pittsfield's Upstreet Cultural District. All are welcome!”


Local artist John Townes will be making his First Fridays Artswalk debut at Kinderhook Realty inside Crawford Square. His landscape paintings and prints reflect the physical qualities and intangibles of Berkshire County and the Hudson River Valley, as well as  the more universal relationships of land, light and color. He creates his landscape paintings art using a unique combination of traditional and digital media and techniques, starting as hand-drawn sketches. His primary inspirations include the Hudson River School, Luminism, American Impressionists, George Innes, Winslow Homer and contemporary expressive landscape artists.

Gallery 25/Mary's Carrot Cake Cafe at 25 Union Street also features an artist new to Artswalk: Bonnie White, whose folk art paintings tell stories that will transport you back to a simpler time.  Her work has appeared in and on the covers of magazines and catalogs such as The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles, Early American Life, Berkshire Green and Bits and Pieces Catalog, and in 2007 Bonnie was chosen to design an ornament for the Blue Room Christmas tree at the White House, where it remains in their permanent collection. Her jigsaw puzzles, calendars, prints and greeting cards are sold worldwide, and these items will also be available during November at the gallery.

A baker's dozen of contemporary fiber artists from as far away as Italy are featured at the Whitney Center for the Arts this month. All but one are making their First Fridays Artswalk debut. They include Ann Harwell, Brian Jewett, Carolyn Halliday, Emily Felderman, Glenda Richardson, Jennifer Davies, Leisa Rich, Leslie Groff, Lori Lupe Pelish, Manuela Toselli, Marlene Glickman, Shari Boraz, and Wendy Rabinowitz.  The show includes mixed media, art quilts, paper, knit wire, embroidery and more.

Also new to Artswalk is painter Robert Logsdon, who practices a colorful and luminous style of painting inspired by Rudolf Steiner called Lazure. His work will be on display in the Brothership Building Window at 141 North Street.

And a new venue for Artswalk, joining in for the first time this month, also features an artist new to Artswalk. Relish restaurant at 117 Fenn Street hosts an opening reception for a show of work by Chip Schnackenberg, who studied at the Savannah School of Art and Design in Georgia.


In the former TREEHOUSE storefront at 305 North Street, Alchemy Initiative, a local community organizations that promotes sustainability and creativity, presents Alchemy Handmade, a pop-up gallery showcasing and selling the work of New England artisans juried in to Alchemy Initiative's 5th annual Handmade Holiday Festival, to be held December 7 & 8. Check out handmade wares, both traditional and cutting edge, ranging from jewelry, ceramics, and watercolors, to silk-screened apparel, wooden cutting boards, glass ornaments, and more!. Alchemy Homemade will also be open Saturdays in November from 12-4 and by appointment.

Featured artisans include Ben C. Evans Ceramics, Diane Firtell Designs, Elena Mansour, Erin Kaukas Designs, HA Designs, Jess Fitzgerald Studio, JK Custom Furniture & Design, KnitSquid Fiber Arts, Liz Daly Fougere Ceramics, Maplewood Fiberarts, Michael Boroniec, Miss Hall's School Arty Party, Moho Designs, Mountain Ash Design, The Petal Collection, Popko Shop, Shima, Stacie Mincher Designs, Summer Mondays, Toil and Trouble, and Toomey Glass.


The city-owned Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, located at 28 Renne Ave, host an opening reception for a show of photographs from They Dance For Rain, a dance-making project that works with arts-for-social-change organizations in Nairobi, Kenya. It is created and directed by action-based dance artist Stefanie Weber in collaboration with fine art photographer Monika Pizzichemi, both based in Pittsfield.

Since January of 2012,  They Dance For Rain has brought Tap shoes and the art form of Tap Dance to people with an interest and need for this unique kind of artistic self-expression. They also bring hoops to dance with and teach others the skills of making long-lasting dance hoops. They bring visibility to an otherwise unrepresented population of slum and ghetto dancers and residents through photography and film.

Says They Dance for Rain founder Stefanie Weber, "In this area of the world, tap dance is still quite young and the eagerness to learn it is immense. Through this continuing global exchange of artistic dialogue They Dance For Rain inspires a new generation of tap dancers. These dancers will innovate the form through use of their own culturally distinctive ideas and styles.”


Pittsfield's First Fridays Artswalk is held on the first Friday of the month all year round, featuring art openings and receptions for local and regional artists in galleries, shops and restaurants throughout downtown Pittsfield's vibrant Upstreet Cultural District. Held from 5pm to 8pm and free and open to all, the First Fridays Artswalk is a favorite of visitors and residents alike.  And most of the featured art shows can be enjoyed throughout the month.

ext month's First Fridays Artswalk will have a holiday theme and feature small works and artisanal gifts. It will be held on Friday, December 6th, the same evening as the City of Pittsfield's annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on Park Square.

First Fridays Artswalk is the largest year round monthly visual arts event in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. The lead sponsors are Berkshire Money Management, Gallery 25, the Berkshire Art Association, The Berkshire Eagle and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Other sponsors include Berkshire Bank, Berkshire Medical Center, Downtown Pittsfield Inc, WJ Blueprint, and the City of Pittsfield. For more details about First Fridays Artswalk call 413-443-6501 or email