Film Series Explores the Lives of Artists at The Clark this Fall

Old Masters in New Frames
Film Series Explores the Lives of Artists at
The Clark in Williamstown this Fall

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is offering a free film series featuring well-regarded feature films about seven famous artists.  Older students interested in art, art history, and film can learn about artists from varying time periods and artistic styles, and each screening will include an introduction and post-film discussion with museum curators and art educators.

Topics presented in the films include artist Andrei Tarkovsky and the history of medieval Russia, Italian Baroque painting and portraiture, and the art and life of Vincent Van Gogh (used to illustrate a film adaptation of Irving Stone’s novel Lust for Life).

While the focus of each screening is on a particular artist, their passionate lives and the history of their form of expression and/or the context within which their life and work took place, the film series offers a unique opportunity for older students to learn about periods of history not often included in traditional school history curricula.  The films themselves are also a valuable way to learn – learners who best absorb information when visuals are presented will enjoy the creative and aesthetically pleasing and dramatic ways in which information is conveyed.

Screenings will take place on Thursday evenings beginning September 20th at 7pm, and admission is free.  The Clark Institute is located at 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA.  For more information, call 413-458-2303. www.clarkart.edu

  • September 20 Thursday 7:00 pm: Andrei Rublev.  (1966, 205 min, Russian with subtitles)  Andrei Tarkovsky’s masterful epic explores not just the life and work of the famous icon painter, but the whole cosmos of late medieval Russia, in a cinematic classic of art, faith, and history.  Steve Satullo, film programmer for the Clark, will introduce the series and the film.  For the convenience of viewers, this film will be repeated on Friday 9/21, with Part One at 1:00 pm and Part Two at 3:00 pm.
  • October 4 Thursday 7:00 pm: The Mill & the Cross.  (2011, 95 min.)  Lech Majewski offers a unique portal — through special effects and dramatization — for entering the world of a Pieter Bruegel painting, with the artist himself (played by Rutger Hauer) as guide.  Keith Moxey, Chair of Art History at Barnard College and former Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor at Williams College, will provide context and commentary on the film.
  • October 18 Thursday 7:00 pm: Caravaggio.  (1986, 90 min.)  Derek Jarman’s bold experiment in portraiture tells the story of the scandalous Italian Baroque painter, played by Nigel Terry, with his muse and model played by Tilda Swinton.  Michael Cassin, director of the Clark‘s Center for Education in the Visual Arts, will tell tales about the painter and his world.
  • November 1 Thursday 7:00 pm: Edvard Munch.  (1974, 172 min.).   Peter Watkins’ brilliant docudrama follows the early life and career of the grim Norwegian painter, showing what led to The Scream.  Jay Clarke, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs for the Clark and author of Becoming Edvard Munch: Influence, Anxiety, and Myth, will introduce and assess the film.
  • November 15 Thursday 7:00 pm: Lust for Life.  (1956, 122 min.)  Vincente Minnelli’s adaptation of the Irving Stone novel is an unusually serious Hollywood biopic, imbued with the colors of Vincent Van Gogh’s art and life.  Kirk Douglas gives an impassioned performance as Van Gogh, with Anthony Quinn as Paul Gauguin.  Perspective will be provided by Richard Kendall, Curator at Large for the Clark and author of Van Gogh’s Van Goghs.

NCTV On the Scene During Northampton Draws

Northampton Draws: Encouraging Community Creativity

This past Thursday, July 28th, in the old Dynamite Space at Thornes Marketplace and at the Northampton Center for the Arts, a free interactive drawing festival took place called Northampton Draws.  This family-friendly event invited the community to come and get creative together.

Northampton Community Television was at both of these locations getting video footage of the afternoon events. Here’s their footage of the “Make Your Own Drawing Tool Workshop” lead by Carolyn Clayton in the old Dynamite Space in Thornes Market:

Then they headed over to the Northampton Center for the Arts where fiber artist Deborah Jane Slavitt lead a workshop where families could “draw” using fiber:

Northampton Draws was sponsored by the United Bank Foundation and the Northampton BID, and produced by the Northampton Center for the Arts in cooperation with the City of Northampton and Thornes Marketplace.  Other artists who participated in Northampton Draws included Robert Markey, David Shapleigh, and Michael Townsend.

Arthurian Legends and Gold Dubloons at Norman Rockwell Museum

World of Adventure with Howard Pyle
Family Festival Day at Norman Rockwell Museum
Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Howard Pyle (1853-1911) was one of America’s most popular illustrators and storytellers during a period of explosive growth in the publishing industry. A celebrity in his lifetime, Pyle’s widely circulated images of pirates, knights, and historical figures were featured in dozens of publications and were admired by such artists and authors as  Mark Twain and Norman Rockwell.

Explore history, as depicted in artist Howard Pyle’s illustrations, at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA!  The museum’s newest exhibit features nearly 80 of Pyle’s works, created between 1876 and 1910, the subjects of which include Arthurian England, heroes of the American Revolution, and the fate of Scottish so-called pirate Captain Kidd.

On Saturday, August 4th the museum will present World of Adventure: Arthurian Legends and Gold Dubloons, a family festival day, from 12noon-4pm. Along with opportunities to explore the museum’s galleries and view Pyle’s work, there will be scavenger hunts, performances, art making, and more! The 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry will be sharing a replica of a Civil War encampment, where families can meet soldiers and learn about wartime camp life.  The band Ampersand will perform music from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and kids can meet all sorts of soldiers, pirates, and knights!

For older kids (and parents), the museum will be screening, “Howard Pyle and the Illustrated Story,” a documentary film that follows Pyle’s work through generations of media.  Check out the trailer which gives a glimpse of Howard Pyle’s talents as illustrator, author, and mentor:

World of Adventure: Arthurian Legends and Gold Dubloons, presented in conjunction with the Museum’s current exhibition, “Howard Pyle: American Master Rediscovered,” takes place from 12noon-4pm on Saturday, August 4th – visit to learn about the art of illustration, American history, and legends of knights, dragons, and pirates!  Find out more about the Norman Rockwell Museum at www.nrm.org.

[Image credit: We Started to Run back to the Raft for Our Lives, 1902 Howard Pyle (1853-1911) Oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 16 1/4 inches Delaware Art Museum, Museum Purchase, 1912]

“The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats” at The Carle this Summer

50th Anniversary of The Snowy Day

The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats pays tribute to award-winning author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916–1983), whose children’s book,The Snowy Day,was the first modern full-color picture book to feature an African-American protagonist, published in 1962 at the height of the civil rights movement in America. The exhibition marks the 50th Anniversary of The Snowy Day which paved the way for multiracial representation  in American children’s literature.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art presents a new exhibit – The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack KeatsOpening on June 26th, 2012 the exhibit is made up of over 80 of Keats’ works, including sketches, collages, and drawings, photographs of the author, and some of his less well-known Asian art and haiku, and will run through October 14, 2012.

Keats’ work is significant not only in that his children’s books (The Snowy Day, Whistle For Willie, and Peter’s Chair) have been read to and loved by many families, but is important also in that it features African-American protagonists in run-down urban settings.  In fact, The Snowy Day was the first full color children’s book to feature an African-American protagonist.  The settings depicted in Keats’ work reflect the environment in which he grew up, and the stories portray African-American characters in environments representative of urban life during the 1960’s.

By visiting the exhibit, families can begin a group dialogue about civil rights, urban life, and racial politics.  These themes are best for older students, who are beginning to learn about or have some background knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement, but Keats’ illustrations can be appreciated by kids of all ages!  Older students can also use the exhibit as a means of learning and thinking about how art is used to convey big ideas – not only does Keats provide effective illustrations for his stories, he offers a truthful portrayal of urban African-American life. For more information visit www.carlemuseum.org.


Illustration Credit: Ezra Jack Keats, “Peter, Archie and Willie crept out of the hideout.” Final illustration for Goggles!, 1969. Paint and collage on board. Ezra Jack Keats papers, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi. Copyright Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.

Own the Night: Palmer Library Poster Contest for Teens

Own the Night

Teens are invited to showcase their art and design skills in the Palmer Library’s poster contest!  This year’s summer reading program theme is, “Own the Night,” and the library invites local high school students to create a poster expressing the theme – all entries will be shown at the library, and three winners will be chosen!

Artists can use essentially any medium (or media) that they like, and are asked to keep their work free of copyrighted characters and/or clip art - make it all original -  should also be between 8.5×11 inches and 34×44 inches.  Entries should not only be inspired by the program theme, but should convey what it is through text and images.

The contest is an opportunity for teen designers and illustrators to practice their skills, and to have their work viewed by the community while celebrating the summer reading program!  Entries must be submitted by June 29th, 2012 – pick up an entry form at the Palmer Library or at Palmer High School.

For more information, call Krista Navin at 413-283-3330 ex. 106.

Dance Into Art at the Mead Art Museum in Amherst

Mead Art Museum at Amherst College Presents
Dance Into Art
Pioneer Valley Community Celebration!

On Saturday, April 21, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will host a family-friendly event exploring the art of dance and costume in Amherst’s art collection. The fun-filled afternoon of activities for children and adults of all ages is free and open to the public.

Dance into art at the Mead Art Museum in Amherst!  The museum, which houses Amherst College’s art collection, is currently hosting a special exhibition featuring work from artists Robert Henri and Nick Cave, whose work explores the human form through examination of dance and movement as a form of cultural expression.

The museum will host a family-friendly event on April 21st, from 11am-3pm, where families can see music and dance demonstrations, tour the museum and learn about current exhibits, and take part in hands-on art activities.

Kids can make their own hand puppets and masks inspired by the works shown from Henri and Cave, and can use the performances taking place throughout the day as inspiration as well.

The event offers an opportunity for families to view great art, as well as a chance for kids to learn about ways of using sources of inspiration.  For more information, call the museum at 413-542-2000, or visit www.amherst.edu.

Kids Can Curate an Exhibit for The Clark

Wanted: Museum Curators
Design Your Own Virtual Exhibit for The Clark

Not only will kids get a chance to practice executing their ideas, but the museum will be selecting some of the suggested shows for real life installation!

What goes into designing a museum exhibition?  How do the curators come up with an idea or theme, and how do they manage to bring together works to illustrate that theme or to convey an idea together as a whole?  The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA is now offering a resource that allows kids to experiment with creating their own museum exhibits!

The museum’s website now features a section called Remix, which is a virtual gallery featuring over 400 paintings, sculptures, and other items from the museum’s galleries.  Within Remix is a tool called uCurate, where kids can browse through pieces and design their own gallery shows!  Not only will kids get a chance to practice executing their ideas, but the museum will be selecting some of the suggested shows for real life installation!  Remix and uCurate offer numerous opportunities for kids to learn about art history, techniques of painting and sculpture, are theory, and more!  Check out the site at www.clarkart.edu and start curating! (Note: These applications work best using Google Chrome.)

The Story of Negro League Baseball at the Eric Carle Museum

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball
At the Eric Carle Museum on Feb 7th – June 10th, 2012

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is opening its latest exhibit,“We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball,” on Feb 7th and running through June 10th, 2012.  The exhibit features oil paintings by Kadir Nelson, which were created to illustrate a book of the same name.  The intention of the book is to preserve the history of the Negro League and to offer information in a format that is easily accessible.  Nelson conducted huge amounts of research while creating his paintings- he interviewed former Negro League players, searched through old photographs, collected memorabilia, and even tried on and took photographs in old league uniforms.  His images accurately capture the spirit of the league.  The players faced intense racial discrimination and social inequalities, and were forced to take lower salaries than their white equivalents.  Despite this, they played on, and the determination and dedication that created the spirit of the league is conveyed by the paintings.

A visit to the exhibit can be not only a study of art but a study of American cultural history- it would fit well with a look at the civil rights movement or a discussion or unit on racial inequality.  For more information, call the Eric Carle Museum at 413-658-1100 or visit carlemuseum.org.

10 Tips on Setting Technology Limits for Your Family

My Top 10 Tips on Setting Technology Limit

One of the best things you can do is to ensure the technology is being used for educating and creating, not just consumption.

Many parents are unsure of how and when to set limits on technology use for their children (and themselves).  I believe this is something we all need to think about, adults as well as kids. Setting technology limits is a personal decision based on the values that you have, so there is not one policy that will fit every family.  As a parent and educator who encourages students to use technology in a positive and creative way, but is also aware of some of the downsides to certain types of technology use, I have compiled the following guidelines. With technology more and more ubiquitous in our lives, it’s a good time to think through this issue for our children and ourselves: Read the rest of this entry »

Art Technology and Software: A Review of 5 Programs for Students

Technology, Art and Kids

Students use KidPix to create diagrams of their studies of volcanos.

Students use KidPix to create diagrams for their study unit on volcanoes.

I sometimes hear concerns from parents about technology and their children.  Are they too young to use computers?  Are they using technology too much?  What I have found, in my experience using technology with students for over 20 years, is that it is not so much “how much” and “when” but “what.”  In our work at the Williamsburg Schools, we aim to enable kids to use technology constructively and creatively while also helping teachers meet state standards.  Today, I’ll go over some commercial and free programs and give some ideas of how they can be used at home and in educational settings.   We will look at animation and comic book software in a future column. Read the rest of this entry »

Take a Glimpse Back into French Art and Culture at the Springfield Museum this Winter

Take a Glimpse Back into French Art and Culture at New Exhibit, Old Masters to Monet: Three Centuries of French Painting

"The Duchesse de Poignac Wearing a Straw Hat, 1782," an oil painting on canvas by French artist, Elizabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842) will be on display at the Springfield Museums’ D’Amour Art Museum through April 29th, 2012, courtesy of the Wadsworth Atheneum. The Wadsworth Atheneum, America's oldest public art museum, has never before presented a full-scale survey of its distinguished collection of French paintings. This exhibition of 50 masterpieces provides a history of French painting and includes religious and mythological subjects, portraiture, landscape, still life, and genre painting.

The Springfield Museums’ D’Amour Art Museum is hosting an exciting new art exhibit on loan from the Wadsworth Athenaeum of Hartford, CT titled,  “Old Masters to Monet: Three Centuries of French Painting,” which includes 50 pieces that together provide a survey of the history of French painting and includes works from as far back as the 17th century.

This is the first show of its kind to be presented by the Wadsworth, allowing students a glimpse back into French art and culture.  Over the winter break, take your kids to see the show. While viewing the paintings, ask them if they see any similarities or differences amongst the works of different artists, taking a look at the development of techniques and changes in subject matter over time.

TOURS

A free audio tour of the exhibit will be available for listening to narratives about the different paintings using your cell phone. Selected artwork will have “Guide by Cell” symbols indicating commentary on the painting for your family to hear.

If your youth group would like request a highlighted tour of the exhibit with one of the Museum’s docent’s, call 413-263-6800 ext. 379, or email grouptours@springfieldmuseums.org.

School programs/tours that are align with the MA State Curriculum Frameworks can also be arranged by calling 413-263-6800 ext. 322, or email schooltours@springfieldmuseums.org. — A teacher open house is scheduled for January 11th, 2012 from 4-6pm. Reservations required. Call 413.263.6800, ext. 323.

LECTURES

For older students and homeschoolers, several of the museum’s Museums a la Carte Lectures will support the exhibit with a number of discussions during the exhibit’s stay.  Their lecture Culture or Counter-Culture: Café Society in 19th Century Paris on March 29th will take a look at 19th century French paintings of “seedy bohemian life or scenes of glittering, gilded café concerts, cabarets, music halls and opera are more than charming pictures of a long ago world. They depict a reality unique to Paris,” as explained on the Museum’s web site. “Cafes offered Parisians from all classes a gathering place where sociability was as important as food and drink. For artists, among them Courbet, Monet, Renoir, Cassatt, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, the café became a gold mine of subject matter, a source for lively images of modern life. In this lecture, we will look at the art they made and explore the rich story of 19th century café life in the City of Light.”

The exhibit is open during normal museum hours from December 13th through April 29th.  For more information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org. To find out which local library has free museum passes for borrowing, check our Educational Support & Local Resources page. Springfieldresidents receive free general admission with proof of address.

Cultural Studies: Christian Folk Art from India at UMass

Christian Folk Art from India
Dec. 12th-16th, 2011
Augusta Savage Gallery at UMass

An exhibit from the collection of local, 83 year-old independent scholar of South Asian Studies Georgana Falb Foster at the UMass Augusta Savage Gallery in Amherst, MA. This exhibit features paintings of Christian stories by artists who come from Hindu hereditary castes of story teller/painters (Chitrakars) in Bengal province. Show runs Dec. 12th-16th with an opening reception on Monday, Dec. 12th from 5-7pm

The Augusta Savage Gallery at the University of Massachusetts’ Fine Arts Center will be hosting a show of Christian Folk Art from India opening with a reception on Monday, December 12th from 5-7pm and running through December 16th.

Each piece in the collection is a painted cloth scroll depicting a Christian story or concept- the scrolls were used by Chitrakars, traveling painters/storytellers in the Bengal province of India, and the scrolls were used to help illustrate the stories that the Chitrakars shared with communities.

Also included in the show are works by Christian Indian artist Frank Wesley, as well as other Christian artworks and artifacts.

A visit to the gallery can help students become aware of how Christianity influences and differs within various cultures worldwide, and thinking about this specific art show is a great way to segue into a broader dialogue on religion and cultures.

Norman Rockwell and the Ghost of Dickens in the Berkshires

Norman Rockwell Museum Celebrates the Spirit of the Season with “Norman Rockwell and the Ghost of Dickens”

"Merrie Christmas: Couple Dancing Under Mistletoe," Norman Rockwell, 1928. Oil on canvas. Cover illustration for "The Saturday Evening Post," December 8, 1928. Collection of Bank of America. ©1928 SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.

“Charles Dickens provided a great lexicon of human experience and personality types for Norman Rockwell to explore,” notes Joyce K. Schiller, Ph.D, who curated the exhibition. “He also inspired the artist’s portrayal of Dickensian characters throughout his career. Norman Rockwell Museum is pleased to present this lively visual exploration in celebration of the anniversary of Dickens’ birth, on February 7, 1812.”

Celebrate the holidays as well as the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens with a visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum!

As a child, Rockwell’s father read him Dickens’ work, and it greatly influenced his painting later in life.  The museum is currently displaying an exhibit titled, “Norman Rockwell and the Ghost of Dickens,” which is made up of artwork from both private collections and the museum’s collection.

Highlights in the show include some of Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers and the famous Readers Digest painting, “A merry Christmas to everybody!  A happy New Year to all the world!”

From the exhibit, kids can learn about art and older kids who have read or learned about Dickens’ writing will see his influence on Rockwell’s paintings.

The museum is open from 10am-4pm on weekdays and 10am-5pm on weekends.  For more information, visit the museum’s website at www.nrm.org. To find out which local library has free OSV museum passes for borrowing, check our Educational Support & Local Resources page.

Baking and Architecture Meet Literature in the Berkshires

Lenox Library’s 7th Annual Gingerbread House Competition: Storybook House

Families, groups and individuals are invited to participate! Click on the image to download poster. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Think of your favorite book. Now imagine the house that you think the characters from that book might have lived. Now, imagine that house is made out of gingerbread.

You just designed an entry for the Lenox Library’s gingerbread house contest!

This year’s theme is “Storybook House”- entries can be anything from a traditional gingerbread house a-la Hansel and Gretel to a delicious gingerbread Hogwarts! There will be prizes for many different categories, and after the entries are judged they will be auctioned off to raise money for the library and its programs. This is a great opportunity to practice basic architectural (and baking) skills and exercise your creativity! Deadline to enter is Nov. 16th. More information is available at www.lenoxlib.org.

Design Studies with “Beyond this Window” at D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield

Design Studies at Springfield Museums’
D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts with
Beyond this Window: Paintings by Briana Taylor
on view through Jan 8th, 2012

Taylor’s paintings document the seemingly insignificant architectural details and reflected light that often go unnoticed in ordinary objects. By recording the aesthetic properties – such as shape, form, light and shadow, color and depth – of these everyday artifacts, she preserves images of contemporary material culture.

Paintings by local artist Briana Taylor are currently on display at the Springfield Museums’ D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts.  The subjects of Taylor’s paintings include everyday objects such as glass jars, marbles, and painted surfaces, and her work focuses on properties such as light/shadow, shape, form, and depth.  The show portrays images of material culture and inspires visitors to consider the shape and function of everyday objects.

A visit to the exhibit, accompanied by some discussion of the work (and, for older kids, perhaps some comparisons to other pieces) can be used as a way to introduce children to the principles of architecture, art, and/or design.

For more information, as well as museum hours and admission information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Discover Buddhist Art and Culture in Amherst

Tibetan Art and Sand Mandala’s at Amherst College

On Sunday, Oct. 16, at approximately 2 p.m., there will be a dissolution ceremony at which the deity will be released by the dismantling of the mandala. This underlines the transient quality of life and the Buddhist emphasis on non-attachment. When the mandala is destroyed, the deity’s blessings are said to spread out to all. In this photo, Namgyal monks are completing a sand mandala. Click on the photo to learn more about sand mandalas.

The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College is currently hosting an exhibition of thangka- scroll paintings of Buddhist figures. The scrolls have recently been restored and preserved, and as a celebration, the scrolls are on display! To end the show, monks from the Tibetan Buddhist Namgyal Monastery in Ithaca, NY will be creating a sand mandala at the campus’ Frost Library. A mandala is an intricate design created and devoutly destroyed to demonstrate the Buddhist belief in the transitory nature of life. The mandala will be constructed over the course of 4 days (Oct. 13-16). The dismantling of the mandala will be at 2pm on Sunday, October 16th during a dissolution ceremony- bring the family and come see for yourself what it’s all about! This is a great way to introduce your kids to Buddhist culture.

Sand Mandalas are an ancient Tibetan art form that were used to teach compassion, environmental relations and impermanency. With Tibet being one of the last ancient civilizations, teaching kids the history behind this ancient art form can supplement their global awareness of world civilizations and cultures. Witnessing the making and destruction of one of these amazing sand mandalas joins art and history together into a creative and tactile demonstration.

The video below shows a close-up look at the application of sand to a Chenrezig the Buddha of Compassion Mandala by Tibetan monks, accompanied with Tibetan chanting. I first showed this video to my daughter when she was five years old. The chanting in this video captured her attention immediately, which led to an interesting conversation about sand mandalas and the impermanence of things. Her first inclination was to figure out how to make it permanent. Tape ended up being her suggested solution.

RECOMMENDED TITLES: TIBETAN FOLK TALES & STORIES

ON-LINE RESOURCES

Red Elephant Comes to Amherst

Mo Willems’ The Red Elephant

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA welcomed The Red Elephant by Western MA author/illustrator Mo Willems this past Saturday on the Museum’s terrace. More than 400 folks attended the installation of this 1,500 pound pachyderm sculpture.

“I began my career making small wire sculptures which somehow led to a life as a children’s book maker,” says Willems, “So the opportunity of combining my two passions and placing a large sculpture at a picture book museum is too awesome to pass up.”

Check out Mo’s digital journal of his progress from inception to installation of The Red Elephant.

This newest installation at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art can act as a fun catalyst for young students in their studies of art, reading and science. Mo has several teachers’ guides and event kits available on his website in pdf format.  His newest kit is Elephant & Piggie Event Kit is from his early reader series, Elephant and Piggie.  Other event kits offered on his web site include Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed and The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!

Looking for curriculum on elephants?  The Elephant Sanctuary has two units for grades K-3 and grades 4-8 which include integrated areas of study in each unit (social studies, literature, science and math).
Read the rest of this entry »

Explore Ocean Myth & Habitat in the Berkshires

Under the Sea
At Kidspace at MASS MoCA
Oct 1, 2011–May 28, 2012

Click on image to see the progression of the installation. Opening and meet and greet with the artists is this Saturday, Oct. 1st from 11am-1pm at Kidspace at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA.

MASS MoCA’s Kidspace is now home to a new ocean-themed exhibit, Under the Sea! Visitors to the space will be engulfed in a literal sea of artwork – there are waves, a mermaid, giant photos of sea life, a coral reef, and more! Each piece is made by a different artist and represents a different response to or relationship with marine life. Visiting the exhibit is a great way to not only see wonderfully inspired art, but also is a way to learn about the importance of ocean life and humanity’s impact on it. Bring your kids, do a walk through, and then ask what it made them think of. You can’t see a coral reef made out of bottles without thinking about how many bottles end up in reefs!

On Saturday, October 1st from 11am-1pm, Under the Sea will open to the public with art-making activities and a meet and greet with the artists. For more info, visit kidspace.massmoca.org.

Opening Celebration for Debut of “Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit” this Saturday!

Family-Friendly Opening Celebration
Saturday, February 5th, 2011 from 5-7pm
Cup & Top Café in Florence, MA

A traveling photography exhibit featuring images of life and landscapes in western Massachusetts will kick off celebrations for the fifth anniversary of the founding of Hilltown Families, an online grassroots communication network for families. - All net proceeds from the sale of images will benefit the organization.

An opening celebration for the debut of Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA happens this Saturday, February 5th from 5-7pm at Cup and Top Café (1 North Main St.) in Florence, MA, featuring work by photographer and Hilltown Families’ founder, Sienna Wildfield.

This family-friendly event is open to all to come celebrate the 5th anniversary of Hilltown Families.  Enjoy free appetizers, h’orderves, and Cup and Top Café’s delicious soups.  There will even be birthday cake, including a gluten-free one!  Let your children entertain themselves in the café play space where there will be a screening of The Nields The Organic Farm DVD for the little ones.

All photos in the show have been featured here on Hilltown Families over the years and reflect the beauty and diversity of life in our region.  This opening celebration is an opportunity to bring the community together to celebrate while raising money for the network.  All net proceeds from the sale of images will benefit the organization.

There will also be a GIVEAWAY of 5 gift baskets from 5 local businesses at the opening reception! All of the businesses included in the giveaway have products that are used or sold at the café.  Deadline to enter to win is Friday, February 4th and you must be present to win.  Find out more about the giveaway here.

The exhibit will be on display at the café for the months of February & March.  For more info on exhibit, email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com or call the café at 585-0445.


Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit” is supported in part by grants from local Cultural Councils in Ashfield, Buckland, Chesterfield and Cummington — all local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Lego® Art in Western Mass

The Art of the Brick
Through September 5th at the Springfield Museums

The Lego Art of Nathan Sawaya will be on display at the Springfield Museums from June 16th - September 5th, 2010.

If you build it, they will come. And New York artist Nathan Sawaya has built some amazing sculptures out of common LEGO® building bricks.

The Art of the Brick features 29 whimsical three-dimensional works created from nearly one million colorful pieces. Sawaya’s attention to detail, scale, color and sense of action elevates this common toy to the status of art. He has the uncanny ability to make little rectangular bricks produce curved forms. The exhibit includes portraits and human figures, a 19-foot-long dinosaur skeleton, abstract constructions, and common objects such as a giant pencil and a skateboard. Both beautiful and playful, the exhibit appeals to adults and children alike.

As a child, Sawaya drew cartoons, wrote stories, perfected magic tricks and also played with LEGO. After college at NYU he rediscovered LEGO not as a toy, but as an art medium. He has been featured on national television, including The Today Show, Late Night with David Letterman, and The Colbert Report. In January of this year, there was an entire Jeopardy category devoted to The Lego Art of Nathan Sawaya.

The Springfield Museums are located on the Quadrangle at 21 Edwards Street in downtown Springfield, Mass. Free parking is available in the Edwards Street parking lots. Summer hours are Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. For information, call 413-263-6800 or visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Arts Alive in the Hilltowns

Rosemary Wessel of Cummington, MA writes:

Arts Alive in the Hilltowns is a networking opportunity, a resource, a way to find places to display and see artwork and artists from all the hilltowns, to publicize your shows, take classes, join a critique group, go on studio tours, hear a lecture, see a performance or demo, or just get together with other artists and art enthusiasts, and enrich the Arts in the Hilltowns. Arts Alive in the Hilltowns would serve as an umbrella for all other artistic groups in the Hilltowns.

We are excited about the interest shown in the Arts Alive in the Hilltowns. We planned to hold a gathering of artists and friends of the arts to enable participants to get acquainted with each other, and for Arts Alive in the Hilltowns to inform communities of our purpose. Due to serious scheduling conflicts with other arts events, we will postpone our opening party on June 5th. We will notify you of dates of forthcoming events.

To promote your interests, please go to the Arts Alive in the Hilltowns website (www.hilltownartsalive.org) and sign up. Also, we need your feedback, to facilitate and improve our purpose, ie:

  • classes
  • studio tours
  • critique group
  • lectures
  • performance
  • demo
  • art show
  • other comments

We invite you to join us, tell others about us, and check back for more listings and events.

Let’s work together! Please share this message with interested persons.

Rootsongs: An Art Exhibit in the Hilltowns

Rootsongs: Art Exhibit by Hilltown Artist, Nancy Mahoney
at the Neil F. Hammer Gallery in Williamsburg

Yesterday while visiting the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, their new art exhibit was all the buzz. Hilltown artist Nancy Mahoney’s art show Rootsongs is on exhibit in the Neil F. Hammer Gallery during the month of January, and it’s bewitching! I had noticed the poster up for her show with an image of what looked simply like the displayed root of a sapling. What I didn’t see in the poster that amazed me and my 7yo daughter when we saw the exhibit was the female images she extracts from these roots. I could see on my bedazzled daughter’s little face her mind trying to wrap itself around what she was seeing – a nature spirit, a fairy, sprung to life and form?

Each tree root is unique, rhythmic and beautiful. It often taking Nancy decades to see the female figures singing to be released into form. She shares in her artist statement, “I look at the roots for weeks, even months. I listen to music. Without warning, a song melds with the root and the root comes to life. The music is the starting point. Sometimes it feels completely out of my control… I just let them happen. – It is all about the roots and the music.”

The sculptures are made with polymer clay baked onto sapling roots and finished with mixed media. The proportions all accommodate themselves to the roots and each figure is flawed. “It has to be,” writes Nancy.

ARTIST RECEPTION: 01/09/10 from 2-4pm

There will be an artist reception at the library on Saturday, January 9th from 2-4pm. A great opportunity to have Nancy share with families her process of releasing the magic of female form in the roots she has gathered.

100 Links (October/November 2009)

100 Links (October/November 2009)

Nearly every day I add recommended links to the Hilltown Families bank of on-line resources.  Some of you might find these links well suited for your family, others, maybe not so much.  But it’s a fun and useful list worth perusing!  If you have a link you’d like to share, post it in our comment box.

Where are these links? You won’t find them on your blog reader nor via email if you subscribe to our newsfeed.  But if you visit the blog on-line and scroll half way down, on the left you will find the column, “Links We Recommend,” with a list of our most recent recommended links.  If you haven’t been visiting the site regularly to peruse these great resources, not to worry – below is the last 100 links we’ve posted in the past two months: (you will need to use the “back” button to return to this page).

Archived Lists of 100 Links: If you’d like to peruse our List of 100 Links from months past, click HERE and then scroll up or down.

  • Energy Kids: Resource For Teachers
  • The Olive Press: How Olive Oil is Made
  • Hanukkah Music for Kids: Celebrate the Festival of Lights with Music!
  • Study: Preschoolers watching TV at home-based daycare may spend hours in front of TV screen
  • How to Host a Preschool Christmas Party (article)
  • The New WIC Food Package
  • Handmade Christmas Stockings and Tree Skirts made from Recycled Sweaters (DIY)
  • Eco-Friendly, Handmade Advent Calendar for Green Kids (DIY)
  • Toy for Joy Campaign in Western Mass
  • ThinkGreen.com
  • Braille Bug
  • National Park Service: Archeology for Kids
  • Holiday Food Safety Success On-Line Kit
  • Make a Gratitude Cake
  • Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree: A Fun and Easy Activity For The Kids (article)
  • Parenting 101: Talking about money with your kids and teens
  • Ark of Taste: Growing and Eating Endangered Foods
  • Largest crib recall in U.S. history announced
  • Puzzles.com (Resource for Puzzling on the Internet)
  • The War on Soy (article)
  • Virtual Field Trip: How Wheat Works
  • Moms Against Mercury (advocacy group)
  • American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life (MOMA)
  • USDA Backs Rewarding Schools Serving Healthy Food (article)
  • Massachusetts Home Learning Association
  • eFieldTrips.org
  • 10 No-Sauce Foods (Parenting.com)
  • Ditch The Characters For The Classics (Article from Tampa Tribune)
  • Putting the Book Back in Book Fair (Article from mothering.com)
  • Taking consumerism out of school book fairs (article)
  • Kids Craft Weekly: An Advent Challenge
  • Charity Directory of Massachusetts
  • Shriners Hospital (MA Charity)
  • Children’s Miracle Network (Charity)
  • Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society (MA Charity)
  • American Cancer Society (Charity)
  • United Way of the Pioneer Valley (MA Charity)
  • Raise Healthy Eaters (blog)
  • Carrot Museum
  • Virtual Tour of Cranberry Bog
  • Learning A-Z : Free Flu Resources
  • Getting Boys To Read
  • Hadley Neighbors for Sensible Development
  • Kids Craft Weekly: Fancy Holiday Cards
  • Dr. Goodword’s Word Wizard
  • Earth from Space
  • Video: A Vaccine Primer. Health Professionals Speak Out
  • Rules of the Road for Parents in a Digital Age (article)
  • Mathematics Lessons That Are Fun
  • Read the rest of this entry »

    HFVS Giveaway: “The Tortoise and the Hare” with the London Philharmonic Orchestra

    New Story & Music CD Giveaway
    The Tortoise and the Hare

    Deadline to enter to win: December 9th, 2009

    Maestro Classics sent us their newest release, The Tortoise and the Hare with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the 8th in its award-winning Stories and Music CD series for narrator and symphony orchestra. -  I haven’t been this excited about the orchestra since Bill Harley’s Peter and the Wolf performance last spring with the Pioneer Valley Symphony!  Maestro Classics really does a lovely job of  presenting an educational experience of the symphony orchestra through visual and audio means.

    This delightful adaptation of the classic fable is set to an original score by Stephen Simon and performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.  Combining narration of this classic story with the complex patterns of classical music has great benefits on listening skills.  This CD gives opportunities for children to expand their listening horizons by honing their listening skills, accumulating musical memories and encouraging families to listen together.   Included are six supplemental tracks, including information about the tale, how the music is composed, and a Dixieland rendition of the Pretzel Vendor of Paris and concludes with a family sing-along.

    Also included is a 24-page educational activity booklet that is a great educational supplement to the CD.  The accompanying booklet includes an illustration of the instruments of an orchestra (pictured below), visual illustrations that explain notes and fraction, and time signatures.  And the musical score and lyrics to the Pretzel Vendor of Paris are included, along with games and puzzles.

    A great 24-page supplementary activity booklet included with CD!

    Other titles from the Maestro Classics Stories and Music CD Collection definitely worth checking out include:

    • Click HERE to listen to samples.

    HOW TO WIN

    We have two copies of Maestro Classics newest release ,The Tortoise and the Hare, to give away to two lucky families!  Entering to win is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To enter simply:

    1. POST A COMMENT BELOW (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
    2. FULL NAME and where you
    3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) You must include your town and state to be eligible.
    4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
    5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

    IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 12/09/09 @ 7pm (EST).

    Follow or Fan Hilltown Families on

    Hilltown Artisans Guild Holiday Show

    Members of the Hilltown Artisans Guild Will Host
    A Holiday Show in Worthington, MA

    On Saturday & Sunday, December 5th & 6th, the Hilltown Artisans Guild will have their Holiday Show from 10am to 4pm in Worthington, MA at the Town Hall (Rt. 112 Worthington). Bring the family to meet local artisans while supporting local economy! Offering hundreds of handsome handmade items appropriate for gift giving created by the area’s finest artists and craftspeople. Refreshments served. For more info call 413-238-4418 (days of the show: 413-238-0173).

    ABOUT THE GUILD

    The Hilltown Artisans Guild is a network of diverse professional craftspeople and artists who reside in the hilltowns of western Massachusetts. Members benefit from shared market strategy and opportunities to exhibit and sell their work. Annual events include a juried summer show and a holiday celebration with demonstrations, entertainment and sale of handcrafted items appropriate for gift-giving.

    To see a list of members of the guild and links to their web sites, go to www.hilltownarts.com.

    Arts Walk in the Hilltowns, Nov. 29th

    Conway Village Holiday Arts Walk and Open Studio Tour
    Sunday After Thanksgiving from Noon-7pm

    Conway Village Holiday Arts Walk

    Here is a perfect opportunity to gather the family for an arts tour of hilltown artists and artisans living in Conway, MA, while supporting local economy!

    Conway artists and galleries will open their studios for a holiday celebration and sale. Additional artists will be located at the Town Hall along with children’s activities. Tour maps will be available the day of the event at The Conwaynian Artist Gallery, Town Hall and the Conway Historical Society. Lighting of the town Christmas Tree at 6pm.  Read the rest of this entry »

    Visual Artists Wanted for School Workshops in Hilltowns

    Phoebe Shaw of Williamsburg, MA writes:

    Hi Friends,

    The Williamsburg Schools have Four Fridays in January coming up and need a teacher/artist to volunteer their time.  Four Fridays is a fundraiser for Arts Adventure Day.  We have two visual artists so far.  We need two more artists, especially in the performing arts!   The gig is three Fridays in January and one in February, 3pm- 4:30.    Any leads, please let me know-soon!

    Many thanks,
    Phoebe, shaw.phoebe@gmail.com

     

    WHAT IS FOUR FRIDAYS & ARTS ADVENTURE DAY?

    Four Fridays is a series of after-school, creative workshops available to Williamsburg school children. Teachers, parents and community members offer workshops in the creative arts. Examples of past workshops include dance, expressive yoga, digital photography & video production, theater, knitting and recycled crafts.  Proceeds received from this program are the main source of funding for the hugely successful “Arts Adventure Day” that typically takes place in March. The Williamsburg Cultural Arts Committee is proud to be able to provide financial support to the artists who contribute their substantial, varied and culturally diverse talents to Arts Adventure Day.

    The Williamsburg CAC is currently in need of new members to continue.  Their meetings are very casual and productive.  Please contact Tom Adams at tomadams@gmail.com if interested in joining the Williamsburg CAC.

    Hilltown Arts Alliance Now Forming

    Worthington Cultural Council writes:

    The Worthington Cultural Council (WCC) invites you to a meeting on Nov. 11, 7pm to discuss the formation of a comprehensive Hilltown arts alliance. Worthington Historical Society building (looks like a church), corner of 143 and 112.

    Explanation: the WCC members began a process that we hope will ultimately result in a coalition of HIlltown artists…we sent out a questionnaire and received 30 replies…

    Our current goal is to create a website that will contain a calendar of events, classes, concerts, shows, etc. We plan an “artist of the month”, list classes, open studios, venues available for performances, shows, lectures, and readings. We are in the beginning stage and would appreciate input from you about content and local artists’ needs. We believe that such a website could bring more people to Hilltown events and more revenue to the local, often underserved Hilltown artists working in all disciplines.

    We are looking for people from all Hilltowns who would like to be involved in the planning and implementation of this project. We hope you will be among them. Your input and participation is important to us.

    If you would like to participate, please let us know. If you want to bring a friend who is interested in the arts, please do.

    Thank you ,
    Jan Roby, 238-5593
    Mary Pulley, 238-7747
    Kate Ewald, 238-5556

    If you are interested in this event, please reply to the contact people above; they need to ensure they’ll be enough folks attending in order to have it at the Worthington Historical Society building. (They will have it at someone’s house if there is only a small group).

    DIY: Mexican Sugar Skulls

    HOW TO MAKE MEXICAN SUGAR SKULLS
    A Culinary Folk Art for Day of the Dead
    By Sienna Wildfield

    Making Mexican Sugar Skulls-52.JPG

    In the studio with Hilltown Families Guest Artist Marie Westburg of ArtStar in Williamsburg, MA making Mexican Sugar Skulls for Day of the Dead.  (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    What better avenue for children to explore and discover different cultures than FOOD?!  Right? … We all eat.  And whether it’s a yearly birthday cake, fish on Friday, pancakes on Sunday, or a couple of loaves of challah on a Friday night, most of us routinely and joyfully participate in different food traditions.  The culinary experience of exploring food customs from around the world can bring families an integrated course of study on cultural traditions and arts.

    This time of year in Central and Southern Mexico, in preparation for the Mexican holiday El Diá de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), mounds of Sugar Skulls are sold in open air markets.  The Day of the Dead is on November 2nd and we’ve explored this Mexican holiday in a previous post: El Diá de los Muertos (Video & Resources).  Making Mexican Sugar Skulls with your kids is a creative hands-on project that can aid in the exploration of this traditional Mexican Folk Art while affording an opportunity to discuss and participate in one of the various customs of this Mexican celebration.

    Hilltown Families Guest Artist Marie Westburg of ArtStar, an art enrichment studio in Williamsburg, MA, recently invited us over to make this sweet Mexican culinary folk art.  In her cozy studio our kids got together and crafted skulls out of sugar and meringue powder and decorated them with bags of colorful icings, beads and sequins.  It’s a fun project to make with a group of friends, but give yourself enough time.  The skulls take 12-24 hours to harden before they can be decorated. To follow is a DIY for this fun seasonal activity:  Read the rest of this entry »

    100 Links (August/September 2009)

    100 Links (August/September 2009)

    Nearly every day I add recommended links to the Hilltown Families bank of on-line resources.  Some of you might find these links well suited for your family, others, maybe not so much.  But it’s a fun and useful list worth perusing!  If you have a link you’d like to share, post it in our comment box.

    Where are these links? You won’t find them on your blog reader nor via email if you subscribe to our newsfeed.  But if you visit the blog on-line and scroll half way down, on the left you will find the column, “Links We Recommend,” with a list of our most recent recommended links.  If you haven’t been visiting the site regularly to peruse these great resources, not to worry – below is the last 100 links we’ve posted in the past two months: (you will need to use the “back” button to return to this page).

    Archived Lists of 100 Links: If you’d like to peruse our List of 100 Links from months past, click HERE and then scroll up or down.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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