Annual 10x10 festival fills city with arts
The city's annual 10x10 Upstreet Festival kicks off today and runs through Feb. 26, taking advantage of President's Day weekend and the winter break for area public school students.
The 2017 edition of the downtown cultural celebration features newcomers and original crowd pleasers, such as Barrington Stage's 10x10 New Play Fest, all capped by a fireworks display Feb. 25 at The Common on First Street.
Jen Glockner, director of the Pittsfield Office of Cultural Development, noted that plays at Barrington Stage spawned the 10x10 festival six years ago.
Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival makes its 10x10 Upstreet debut Feb. 25 with a dance for social justice workshop and lecture/demonstration by Danza Organica, a Boston-based contemporary dance theater company.
"We're excited to ... bring Marsha Parilla and her company to the Boys & Girls Club," said Jacob's Pillow Director Pamela Tatge. "We need the bridge-building and healing power of art and artists now more than ever."
Jacob's Pillow made inroads in Pittsfield last summer, twice participating in the city's monthly Third Thursday downtown block party.
"It's always a welcome edition to have the world-renowned Jacob's Pillow in Pittsfield," Glockner said.
Other first-time events include Dottie's Coffee Lounge hosting a 10x10 Chairity Auction. The misspelling is intentional, as it refers to old, broken chairs no longer in use at Dottie's transformed by local artists. Organizer/artist Diane Firtell turned her chair into a toy chest. Another artist made a vanity with all pieces on display at the coffee shop from Friday through March 3, when the auction ends.
"I'm completely blown away by the creativity, the ingenuity and the commitment of the artists," Firtell said.
A portion of the auction proceeds will benefit the newly formed Pittsfield Education Foundation.
Visual art lovers can also take a chance on 10 original works by area artists during the Berkshire Art Association Real Art Party taking place Feb. 23 at the Berkshire Museum.
"It's always a fun community event that brings out the best of our local artists as well as some friendly competition from the crowd," said BAA President Danielle Steinmann. Go online to www.berkshireartassociation.org to obtain raffle tickets.
Charter members of 10x10 continue to grow with the festival, trying to reach a broader audience.
The Berkshire Museum's 10 Days of Kids Play has expanded throughout the South Street venue. The museum is reaching out more to preschoolers and adolescents, according to Craig Langlois, its director of education and programming.
"We've built an early education center that will have a 'Fidget Wall' of knobs and such for kids to play with. We also have magnetic blocks for building," he said.
Older children can explore the Tinker Lab in the Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation.
Another returning 10x10 favorite includes a collaborative photo exhibit of 10 artists at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield and the Sohn Fine Art Gallery. The Berkshire Historical Society and Berkshire Athenaeum are joining forces for "Through the Historic Lens: 10 Pittsfield Perspectives," a display of society works from its permanent collection being shown at the city's public library.
The festival offers ways to exercise the body as well as mind. They include Berkshire Yoga Dance and Fitness' free yoga and Berkshire Running Center's group runs of one to 10 miles the next two Saturdays.
For a day-to-day festival calendar and more information, visit www.discoverpittsfield.com/10x10 or call 413-499-9348. For regular updates, like the 10x10 Festival on Facebook.
Reach staff writer Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.
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