Another Berkshire Cultural Collaboration Forms Amid Possible Funding Cuts | WAMC

Another Berkshire Cultural Collaboration Forms Amid Possible Funding Cuts

May 3, 2017

Amid concerns about cuts to state and federal funding, five more cultural organizations are teaming up this summer to encourage Berkshire County residents and visitors to support the arts. 

IS183 Art School of the Berkshires, Only In My Dreams Events, Berkshire Theatre Group, Norman Rockwell Museum, and Stonover Farm want Berkshire County residents and visitors to dance for the arts.

Yes, dance… for the arts.

After a slate of dance parties this summer, the collaboration will donate proceeds to support statewide arts lobbying.

The new partnership in South County comes on the heels of a similar coalition coming together due north.

In April, MASS MoCA, the Clark Art Institute, the Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and the Bennington Museum in Vermont collaborated to highlight the region's cultural attractions. 

“This unique collaboration came about because the Art School, the Norman Rockwell Museum, and Berkshire Theatre Group and Only In My Dreams Events were speaking a couple of months ago that we all have these events coming up and we were all worried the current climate that is going on in the country could dramatically impact each of us in terms of national and state funding,” IS183 Executive Director Hope Sullivan says.

So they’re going to collaborate on each of their parties.

“We decided that rather than being competitive we would work together to make each of our events even more successful,” Sullivan says.

Events include IS183's gala dance party on May 20th, Only In My Dreams Events and Berkshire Theatre Group's dance party and cabaret on June 3rd, and Norman Rockwell Museum's Studio 54 after-party on June 10th.

Participants will get a free pass to the wrap party on August 31st at Stonover Farm. 

IS183 Art School’s gala theme is The Factory at The Stationery Factory in Dalton.

“Our galas are really amazing, over-the-top creative affairs,” Sullivan says. “They're usually is an installation art project of decorating. People come in costume. The factory theme is going to be interpreted in ways I can’t even imagine. But certainly Andy Warhol's factory, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Lucille Ball is in a factory — people will come as widgets, I'm sure.”

The gala supports IS183 Art School’s learning through arts program, which visits schools across the county to engage children in academic curriculum goals and social-emotional learning.

Next is the Berkshire Dance Party and Cabaret at Pittsfield’s Colonial Theatre.

Only In My Dreams Events founder Oskar Hellig says it’s a celebration of all things, but specifically LGBTQ Pride Month. He says alongside Berkshire Theatre Group, they are focusing on using the theatre to promote social change in the community.

“Personally I feel like it is an opportunity for people to accentuate the positive,” Hellig says. “Go out and feel good about who they are with people who are who they are, and celebrate that rather than necessarily simply always fighting. I mean, I know this is a time when we feel like we always need to fight hard for a lot of things that are important to us. And I think this provides an opportunity for people to go out and simply have a night of celebration and remember we are together. We are all one big community.”

There will be performances from local artists and talent, and people in drag.

The 2017 Legends Gala and Studio 54 After-Party at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge will pay tribute to Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol, and their art’s impact on the 20th Century.

The museum’s Jeremy Clowe says people can meet Norman Rockwell’s grandson Geoffrey Rockwell and Andy Warhol’s nephew and fellow illustrator James Warhola, whose work will be on display.

“Norman Rockwell was all about community,” Clowe says. “He lived here in the Berkshires. Warhol as well brought many people together – many interesting characters together – and so, I think all of our organizations are trying to be proactive and sort of strength in numbers in not only celebrating the arts, and all of this creativity we have in our region, but also to assist each other.”

All of the proceeds from the 2017 Summer Wrap Party “Berkshire Club Kid Revolution” Karaoke Lounge Evening at Stonover Farm Barn in Lenox will be donated to MASSCreative, the state’s advocacy group for the arts, cultural and creative community.

MASSCreative says the Berkshires are the epicenter for arts and culture in the state. The state’s third-largest industry, arts and culture has created about 135,000 jobs and generates more than $1.3 billion in tax revenue for Massachusetts.