community

Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar and book cover "The Map of Salt and Stars"
Neha Gautam

“The Map of Salt and Stars” is the debut novel by Syrian American writer Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar. It is the story of two girls living eight hundred years apart: a modern-day Syrian refugee seeking safety and a medieval adventurer apprenticed to a legendary mapmaker, showing the pain of exile and the triumph of courage. 

Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood
Sarah LaDuke

The Days in the Arts (DARTS) program is a summer residential program near Tanglewood that provides middle school students with high-quality arts immersion experience, allowing each student to engage with and create art with their peers in a positive, non-judgmental environment.

The program unites students from urban, suburban and rural communities – and has been doing so for 50 years! Each summer since 1968, the BSO operates the Days in the Arts residential education program that invites students from across Massachusetts to gather together to explore the arts. DARTS serves 400 middle school students each summer during eight one-week sessions.

We are joined by the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Executive Officer for Education, Community Engagement, and Inclusion, Zakiya Thomas and the Associate Director of Education and Community Engagement Claire Carr. 

Celebrate Stephentown 2018

Aug 15, 2018

The inaugural Celebrate Stephentown in 2017 was an effort to bring people together to celebrate the rural community. Celebrate Stephentown’s family friendly events showcase the work of artisans, artists, businesses, farmers, musicians, service organizations, and more.

Celebrate Stephentown 2018 will take place this weekend – Friday, August 17 through Sunday, August 19.

Husband-and-wife team Scott Menhinick and Jennifer Peabody are the co-organizers of Celebrate Stephentown, which this year will feature 40 events at 21 different locations over the course of three days in Stephentown, NY. In addition to their work as officers of the Stephentown Memorial Library and Stephentown Food Pantry, respectively, they also run their own consulting business, Berkshire Brand Management.

Shaleena Bridgham has nearly two decades of experience in the specialty cheese industry, with the last five years focused on her family’s own artisan creamery, Four Fat Fowl, which is about to open its newly renovated and greatly expanded production facility in the former Stephentown Elementary School.

Allen Gannett is the founder and CEO of TrackMaven, a software analytics firm whose clients have included Microsoft, Marriott, Saks Fifth Avenue, Home Depot, Aetna, Honda, and GE. He has been on the “30 Under 30” lists for both Inc. and Forbes.

In his book, "The Creative Curve," he overturns the mythology around creative genius, and reveals the science and secrets behind achieving breakout commercial success in any field.

We have been spoon-fed the notion that creativity is the province of genius; of those favored, brilliant few whose moments of insight arrive in unpredictable flashes of divine inspiration. And if we are not a genius, we might as well pack it in and give up. Either we have that gift, or we don’t. But Allen says that isn’t true.

Recent research has shown that there is a predictable science behind achieving commercial success in any creative endeavor, from writing a popular novel to starting up a successful company to creating an effective marketing campaign.

CN Lester is an academic, musician, and leading British trans rights activist. A critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, Lester also works as a composer and classical performer. They consult and educate on trans issues with a wide range of organizations and they've written on the trans experience for various outlets.

In their new book, "Trans Like Me," CN Lester takes a measured, thoughtful, intelligent and approachable tour through the most important and high-profile narratives around the trans community, turning them inside out and examining where we really are in terms of progress.

Rebecca Soffer
Elaina Mortali

When Rebecca Soffer was in her early 30s she lost both of her parents - just a few years apart. While navigating the pain of loss and logistics that accompany death, she kept thinking that if everyone dies -- and everyone does -- why is noone alive talking about how hard it is to lose someone? She partnered with Gabrielle Birkner to create the website Modern Loss and start that taboo conversation.

The site features personal essays about the aftermath of loss that vary widely and show that: there is no right way to to grieve; a lot will come up that one couldn’t expect, both emotionally and practically; and that the sorrow doesn’t disappear just because a year or two passes.

Earlier this year, Harper Wave published Soffer and Birkner’s book which extends the mission of spurring the conversation and this Thursday at 6 p.m. The Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts presents “An evening of Modern Loss storytelling with Rebecca Soffer.”

The event will feature Joey Chernila, Jane Larkworthy, Courtney Maum, Emily Rapp Black, and Hannah Van Sickle.

The Flying Deer Nature Center in New Lebanon, New York is a wilderness school and community dedicated to mentoring children, adults, and families in deep connection to nature, self, and others.

Their educators guide people of all ages in nature immersion and education. Michelle Apland is the Executive Director of Flying Deer Nature Center.

When Mark Zuckerberg changed the mission of Facebook this summer to be focused on community, he hired Jennifer Dulski to lead Groups, at the center of their new strategy, and used by more than one billion people to build meaningful communities around the world.

With a career as a tech executive at Yahoo! and Google, a startup founder and CEO, and a social change leader as president of Change.org, Dulski is now combining her own experience with stories of other inspiring leaders to show how we all have the power to start movements that matter.

In her new book, "Purposeful," she walks through the steps to go from idea to impact and shares specific tips and stories from real movement starters whose movements have created everything from new laws to new companies.

Our Falling into Place series spotlights the important work of -and fosters collaboration between- not-for-profit organizations in our communities; allowing us all to fall into place. Falling Into Place is supported by The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation, Providing a helping hand to turn inspiration into accomplishment. See more possibilities … see more promise… see more progress.

Today we learn about Berkshire Food Project’s Empty Bowl fundraising event which takes place this year on Friday, May 4 with seatings at 5:30 PM and 7 PM inside the First Congregational Church on Main Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Executive Director of Berkshire Food Project Kim McMann, and owner of Jackie Sedlock Pottery Jackie Sedlock join us.

The small village of Norwich, Vermont, has an unusual knack for creating Olympians. Despite only having about three thousand residents, they have sent an athlete to nearly every Winter Olympics in the past thirty years, and three times the athlete has returned with a medal.

But according to our next guest, this unusually high success rate is not the result of tiger moms and eagle dads – it’s the result of a community culture of supportive, hands-off parenting that encourages children to enjoy themselves and try everything, without any emphasis on winning.

Karen Crouse is an award-winning New York Times reporter who stumbled upon this quiet village that has the secret to not only raising better athletes, but happier and healthier kids. Her new book is "Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence."

David Brooks
CNN

David Brooks has a gift for bringing audiences face-to-face with the spirit of our times with humor, insight and passion. He is an observer of the American way of life and a savvy analyst of present-day politics and foreign affairs.

He holds several positions as a commentator, including bi-weekly Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, and regular analyst on PBS "NewsHour" and NPR’s "All Things Considered."

David’s newest book, "The Road to Character," explains why selflessness leads to greater success. He tells the story of ten great lives that illustrate how character is developed, and how we can all strive to build rich inner lives, marked by humility and moral depth.

David Brooks will be at Proctors on Wednesday, January 17th at 7:30 p.m.

Dubbed by the New Yorker as "one of America's very best singer-songwriters," Dar Williams has made her career not in stadiums, but touring America's small towns. She has played their venues, composed in their coffee shops, and drunk in their bars. She has seen these communities struggle, but also seen them thrive in the face of postindustrial identity crises.

In her book, What I Found in a Thousand Towns: A Traveling Musician's Guide to Rebuilding America's Communities—One Coffee Shop, Dog Run, and Open-Mike Night at a Time, Williams muses on why some towns flourish while others fail, examining elements from the significance of history and nature to the uniting power of public spaces and food. Drawing on her own travels and the work of urban theorists, Williams offers real solutions to rebuild declining communities.

O+ was founded in 2010 in Kingston, NY by a small group of artists-activists, doctors and a dentist. It is now a national nonprofit working in cities around the country that builds long-term relationships between creatives and health & wellness providers to help strengthen local communities. 

Their year-round efforts culminate in one-day and weekend-long celebrations, during which underinsured artists and musicians create and perform in exchange for a variety of services donated by doctors, dentists and complementary care providers.

This year’s O+ Festival in Kingston takes place October 6-8 and the line-up includes Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Amanda Palmer, San Francisco-based rock band Deerhoof, songwriter/guitarist Steve Gunn of Brooklyn, New York's White Hills, Baltimore rap artist Abdu Ali along with local favorites The Mammals and The Big Takeover.

You Never Think Alone

Jul 25, 2017

The human mind is both brilliant and pathetic. We have mastered fire, created democratic institutions, stood on the moon, and sequenced our genome. And yet each of us is error prone, sometimes irrational, and often ignorant.

The fundamentally communal nature of intelligence and knowledge explains why we often assume we know more than we really do, why political opinions and false beliefs are so hard to change, and why individually oriented approaches to education and management frequently fail. But our collaborative minds also enable us to do amazing things. This book contends that true genius can be found in the ways we create intelligence using the world around us.

Steven Sloman is a professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences at Brown University. He is the editor in chief of the journal Cognition. Philip Fernbach is a cognitive scientist and professor of marketing at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business. 

The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College has a jam-packed summer of arts and culture – including their 4th annual Frances Day Community Celebration on July 15th, a new season of UpBeat on the roof concerts and great new exhibitions in all the galleries.  Plus a special new book celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Skidmore Summer Jazz Institute and its founder Don McCormack.

Ian Berry, Dayton Director of the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College and Michael Janairo, the museum’s Assistant Director for Engagement  join us to tell us more.

Each July and August the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) produces Summer School, a series of public programs that teases out new ways of thinking about learning, art, community, and museums. This summer, the series offers a playful taste of college culture taking inspiration from unconventional archives and the quirkiest kinds of libraries. It’s a weekly mashup of mini courses, extracurriculars on WCMA’s patio, a lending library, and pop-up programming in the museum’s Reading Room. 

Each week, Williams faculty and local experts lead hour-long mini courses in the galleries. These talks explore the museum’s collection, exhibitions, and spaces through the lens of libraries and archives.

To tell us more – we welcome Nina Pelaez - Assistant Curator of Public Programs at Williams College Museum of Art. 

The last remaining farm within Saratoga Springs city limits is under new management by a team that will use the property as a center for agriculture and education. 

Pitney Meadows Community Farm is ready for summer with Community Gardens, and local farm and food training and education. They’ll be a year-round farm-hub that shares the bounty of upstate New York agriculture and community. The grounds will also provide nature trails and host community events.

Barbara Glaser and Natalie Walsh join us now to tell us more.

Barbara is a leader in open-space preservation in Saratoga Springs since the 1980s, Barbara Glaser has played a key role in the establishment of Pitney Meadows Community Farm. Natalie is the director of the new Pitney Meadows Community Gardens.

  Traditional economics measures the ways in which we spend our income, but doesn't attribute worth to the crucial human interactions that give our lives meaning.

Clair Brown, an economics professor at U.C. Berkeley and a practicing Buddhist, has developed a holistic model, one based on the notion that quality of life should be measured by more than national income. 

Her book is Buddhist Economics: An Enlightened Approach to the Dismal Science.

Peak Joel McHale

Dec 13, 2016

For years, Joel McHale’s stand-up performances have sold out venues across the country, and his role in the beloved cult series Community and as the host of E!’s The Soup have made him a household name in comedy and pop culture.

He currently stars in the new CBS comedy The Great Indoors which is about an adventure reporter for an outdoor magazine when he becomes the desk-bound boss to a team of millennials in the magazine's digital department. 

McHale's submission to the vast world of celebrity tell-all books is Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be.

William W. Goldsmith is Professor Emeritus of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University. He is coauthor of Separate Societies: Poverty and Inequality in U.S. Cities.

In his new book, Saving Our Cities, William W. Goldsmith shows how cities can be places of opportunity rather than places with problems. With strongly revived cities and suburbs, working as places that serve all their residents, metropolitan areas will thrive, thus making the national economy more productive, the environment better protected, the citizenry better educated, and the society more reflective, sensitive, and humane.

Even as US spending on healthcare skyrockets, impoverished Americans continue to fall ill and die of preventable conditions. Although the majority of health outcomes are shaped by non-medical factors, public and private healthcare reform efforts have largely ignored the complex local circumstances that make it difficult for struggling men, women, and children to live healthier lives.

In Dying and Living in the Neighborhood, Dr. Prabhjot Singh argues that we must look beyond the walls of the hospital and into the neighborhoods where patients live and die to address the troubling rise in chronic disease.

Breathing Lights

Nov 23, 2016
Breathing Lights

This month and last, nightly from 6pm – 10pm, Breathing Lights has been illuminating the windows of hundreds of vacant buildings in Albany, Schenectady and Troy. Breathing Lights looks to transform abandoned structures from pockets of shadows into places of warmth. 

Concentrated in neighborhoods with high levels of vacancy, Breathing Lights was a winner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge which engages mayors to collaborate with artists on developing innovative public art projects that enrich communities and attract visitors.

But even after the closure, there will be months of programming and events to continue the conversation surrounding the issues. To tell us more – we welcome project architect Barb Nelson, Lead Artist Adam Frelin and Judie Gilmore, the project director. 

In The Well-Tempered City, Jonathan F. P. Rose distills a lifetime of interdisciplinary research and firsthand experience into a five-pronged model for how to design and reshape our cities with the goal of equalizing their landscape of opportunity.

Rose works with cities and not-for-profits to plan and build green affordable and mixed-income housing and cultural, health, and educational centers. Recognized for creating communities that literally heal both residents and neighborhoods, Rose is one of the nation's leading thinkers on the integration of environmental, social, and economic solutions to the urban issues facing us today.

The O+ Festival is a celebration of art and music that creates a bridge to access health care for artists. O+ fosters complete physical, mental and social well-being by connecting artists directly with a coalition of health care providers and health resources, in a shared vision to nurture the individual and the community.

O+ was founded in 2010 in Kingston, NY – the idea has caught on and festivals have now taken place in cities all across the country. This year’s festival in Kingston takes place October 7th, 8th, and 9th.

To tell us about this year's highlights – we are joined by: Nurse-in-charge Shannon Light, pop-up clinic director; Rocket Scientist Micah Blumenthal, creative director and co-curator of music; and Art Witch Denise Orzo, art director.

  Obie-Award winning performance group, The Secret City, will be playing their third annual gathering in Woodstock, NY this Sunday - July 31st at 12 noon. The theme will be PLAY.

The Secret City is the brainchild of impresario and Byrdcliffe Resident, Chris Wells, who moved to Woodstock three years ago and felt the small town with its cultural history, inclusiveness and love of community were a perfect setting for this tribal art gathering.

The Secret City combines art, food, music, storytelling, meditation, singing, performance and community interaction in an event that is part tent revival, part ceremony, part salon.

For their Woodstock gathering they’ll present musical guest Eric Redd, visual art by Jacinta Bunnell, roller derby troupe The Hudson Valley Horrors, food offering by LaGusta of New Paltz, a performance by Percussion Orchestra of Kingston and Energy Dance Company, a reading by Martha Frankel, songs by The Secret City Singers and The Secret City Band and a story by Chris Wells. We welcome Chris and artist Jacinta Bunnell.

This summer, The Williamstown Theatre Festival brings together professional theatre artists with Berkshire residents to create and perform new work. Born of the belief that theatre is central to understanding, building and maintaining community, this initiative invites the people of Western Massachusetts to be a part of the Festival’s creative process — not just as audience members, but on stage!

Obie Award-winning playwright Lucy Thurber puts a new spin on the Orpheus myth, set in Western Massachusetts. When Orpheus, a teenage girl, realizes that something is amiss in her neighborhood, she embarks on a treacherous journey to save her hometown.

Helmed by Festival Associate Director Laura Savia, and developed in collaboration with community partners, this World Premiere features a cast of 75 Berkshire residents performing alongside Festival actors. Performances are July 14-16 at 7:30PM and July 17 at 5PM.

  Best known of award-winning New York Times and Newsweek columns, Anna Quindlen returns with her eighth novel, Miller's Valley. 

The setting is a farming valley in Pennsylvania during the height of the Viet Nam War. Outside influences like the war and a government plan to flood the valley affect the lives of one family - and the community.

  The Proctors' Key Private Bank Broadway Series has been unveiled. The season includes An American in Paris, The Sound of Music and Cabaret among six touring musicals. Capital Rep's slate of original productions will consist of five shows, from a tribute to Janis Joplin to an adaptation of Homer's Iliad.

In another first, an offering on Capital Rep's season, Beautiful — The Carole King Musical, will be presented at Proctors and will be a touring show, not an original production mounted by Capital Rep. Subscribers to either theater will have the option of adding tickets to the touring production of Wicked, returning to Proctors for two weeks in March 2017.

There is a lot going on and we welcome CEO Philip Morris to tell us more.

  Lauren Groff returns to talk about her new novel, Fates and Furies.  Groff often writes about the tension between the individual and community. This novel shrinks community to just two, a marriage. It is told in two halves, from the opposing perspectives of a relationship.

Fates and Furies illuminates all the small ways we deceive, compromise, or cramp ourselves to sustain a partnership even a happy one, and even within so much intimacy the other partner's experience is so unknowable and mysterious. 

Farm To Canvas

Oct 21, 2015

  This Saturday, Brown’s Brewing and CiviCure will present Farm to Canvas. The goal of Farm to Canvas is to grow the audience for original artwork while supporting the restoration of Hoosick Falls’ Wood Block Opera House.

Since 1880, Wood Block has housed two extraordinary exhibition and performance spaces. CiviCure is leading the effort to restore these facilities to ensure the future of the arts in the community. The Farm to Canvas fundraiser will take place in tandem with a farm to table evening in the beautifully restored mill that houses Brown’s Brewing Company’s Walloomsac Brewery and Taproom in Hoosick Falls.

We are joined by Kelly Brown from Brown’s Brewing Co. and Barbara Sussman, Treasurer of CiviCure.

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