February 22, 2016 at 3:00 pm (Art, art history, Berkshire County, Hilltown Families)
Tags: Art History, Art Studies, Cultural Studies, google cultural institute, museum education, on-line learning, web based learning, web based resource
Norman Rockwell Museum Shares Norman Rockwell’s Civil Rights Era Works on Google Cultural Institute
“Most people view Norman Rockwell as synonymous with American ideals, yet few are aware of his later career shift to illustrate human rights issues,” says Norman Rockwell Museum’s Director of Digital Engagement and Learning, Rich Bradway.
In celebration of Black History Month, Norman Rockwell Museum has partnered with Google to share artworks and artifacts from its permanent collection, that illustrate Norman Rockwell’s dedication to civil rights. Available through the Google Cultural Institute website, “Norman Rockwell In The Age of the Civil Rights Movement” presents Rockwell’s paintings, rarely seen studies, reference photos, and correspondence relating to his important works created during the period; the online exhibition joins over 4000 new items –including 80 exhibits and three expeditions—that document different moments throughout African American history.
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September 9, 2015 at 3:00 pm (Amy Meltzer, Food, Holidays)
Tags: Cultural Studies, Jewish Holiday, Jewish New Year, Nutritional Anthrology, Rosh Hashanah
Symbols & Rituals of Rosh Hashanah
From our archived column, “Not Your Grandparents’ Shtetl: Exploring Jewish Culture in Western MA,” Amy Meltzer shares different symbols and rituals of Rosh Hashanah. Also known as the Jewish New Year, or the first day of the traditional Jewish lunar calendar, this year Rosh Hashanah takes place sunset, September 13 – nightfall, September 15, 2015.
SWEETNESS OF ROSH HASHANAH
One of the themes of Rosh Hashanah is sweetness. (A traditional greeting is “May you have a good and sweet new year.”) Apples and challah (Jewish egg bread) dipped in honey symbolize that sweetness. Before Rosh Hashanah, we make a trip to a local apple orchard to collect several varieties of local apples. On the holiday we sample the apples, and sweet recipes made from the apples…
December 3, 2014 at 10:59 am (Art, Hilltown Families)
Tags: Cultural Studies, google cultural institute, museum education, on-line learning, web based learning, web based resource
Web-based Resource Brings You Global Learning
The National Museum of the Romanian Peasant is one of the institutions that you can access through Google Cultural Institute, an in-depth web based learning resource.
Web-based learning just became more fascinating thanks to Google Cultural Institute! Providing an in-depth look at art, culture, architecture, history, etc. from all over the world, Google Cultural Institute provides endless educational opportunities and extensive information on each topic it covers. Explore the institute to see what fascinating cultural gems you can find!
In our parents’ childhoods, international travel would’ve been a requirement for learning about some of the world’s most beautiful and interesting cultural treasures. In order to tour a European art museum or an Asian architectural wonder, we would’ve needed to physically visit the actual location– meaning a strong commitment to learning about the particular place, as a visit would require hours of expensive travel before and afterwards.
Nowadays, however, the wonders of the world are easily accessible – thanks to Google Cultural Institute! A web-based resource providing in-depth, up-close-and-personal looks at the contents of museums and archives from all over the planet, Google Cultural Institute provides the richness of cultural treasures without the extensive travel. Offering opportunities to learn about everything from the collections of the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant to wartime memorials in Ireland, Google Cultural Institute provides incredibly extensive information, diagrams, and photographs about each subject, location, or artwork included in the institute.
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September 2, 2014 at 9:00 am (Hilltown Families, Suggested Activity)
Tags: Cultural Studies, Culture Box Exchange, Culture Box Swap, Diversity
Culture Box Swaps Offer Children the Collaborative Experience of Sharing and Learning about Different Cultures.
What would you include in a box to swap with someone from a different culture that best represents where you live? A western MA family could include maple syrup, a leaflet to an agricultural fair, an apple cutter, post cards from our many small towns, pictures of native animals, press local wild flowers… what else would you include? Think about what best represents your local culture that could easily be shared with someone wanting to learn more about life in your region.
Families in western Massachusetts are lucky to live in such a culturally diverse area, where communities are filled with opportunities for folks to learn about, and share cultural traditions. Engaging children in cultural studies – whether formally or informally – is a wonderful way to teach them about the many different traditions, histories, and world views that make up their own community and the entire world. Exploring a culture that’s different from your own can help children to try on many different metaphorical hats – they can test out different worldviews, consider the belief systems behind a variety of religions, and imagine existing in a community that’s vastly different from their own. Equally as meaningful as learning about different cultures is teaching others about your own. In working to explain the importance of certain things within their own family or community, culture can help children to better understand themselves, their community, and the roots of the traditions and belief system they share.
Families can engage in a combination of both of these activities – learning about other cultures and teaching about their own – by taking part in culture box swaps. Culture box swaps are similar to participating in international pen pal relationships, except that the exchange takes place only once, and instead of letters, families send actual items that they’ve collected. Items included in culture boxes are intended to teach recipients about the culture from which they’ve emerged. While families must always be careful to obey international mailing rules, boxes can be filled with a wide variety of items to show families abroad what family culture is like here in western Massachusetts. Conversely, families who create and send boxes teaching about their local culture will receive a culture box in return, filled with a collection created by another family to showcase important parts of their own culture – wherever it may be from! Read the rest of this entry »
September 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm (Art, Hampden County, History, Springfield, Springfield Museum)
Tags: American History, Cultural Studies, Diversity, Exhibit, History, Immigration, Jewish History
“From Shtetl to Suburb: One Hundred Years of Jewish Life in the Valley”
Illustrates Jewish Experience in the Pioneer Valley at the Springfield Museums
Through March 2nd, 2014
“The story of Jewish immigrants and their work to develop a thriving community over the last century is a fascinating tale of courage, hard work, and perseverance,” states Guy McLain, Director of the Wood Museum of Springfield History. “Their story is unique, but also emblematic of the challenges faced by so many immigrant groups throughout America’s history.”
The Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History, in conjunction with several noted local organizations and guest curator Dr. Stuart Anfang, invites you to learn about the history of the Jewish community in Western Massachusetts from the late 19th century through the present. By combining artifacts, photos, film, and personal histories, the exhibition offers multidimensional insights into the experiences of Jewish immigrants fleeing the pogroms of Czarist Russia in the late 19th century. The exhibit also illustrates the growth of their community in the North End of Springfield, the eventual decline of such inner-city neighborhoods in the aftermath of World War II, and the 1960’s relocation of Springfield’s Jewish community and synagogues to Longmeadow and other parts of Western MA following a major urban renewal project in the North End…
July 24, 2013 at 10:00 am (Art, Berkshire County, Cultural Events, Hilltown Families)
Tags: Arab, Arab Countries, Art, Berkshires, Contemporary Islamic Art, Cultural Studies, Eid, Eid-ul-Fitr, Islamic Art, Jorban, Lebanon, Middle Eastern, Middle Eastern Music, Morocco, Pakistani, Palestine, Pittsfield, Ramadan, The Other Half of Tomorrow, Whitney Center for the Arts, Women's Studies
Contemporary Islamic Art & Events in the Berkshires
Art Exhibit, Documentary, Music & Eid Celebration
The art exhibit, Islam Contemporary, is just one of several featured events in August that celebrate Islamic art and culture. Over the course of the month, there will be a community Eid celebration, a documentary screening and discussion with the directors, and a concert of classical Middle Eastern music. Find out more about these events!
The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts and the Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield are holding a joint art show, Islam Contemporary, for the month of August, opening on Friday, August 2nd in conjunction with the Pittsfield First Friday Artswalk in the Cultural District. The exhibition features twenty-five artists who hail from around the world, some Muslim, some non-Muslim; some emerging artists, some well-established. Included in the exhibition are works by the Berkshires’ own local artist Daisy Rockwell, granddaughter of Norman Rockwell, and Boston-based Pakistani artist Ambreen Butt. The works on display range from reinterpretations of traditional South Asian art, to critiques of the Western media’s portrayal of women, to statements about multidimensional cultural and gender identities, to attempts to use art to connect communities during times of crisis.
This exhibition offers contemporary and varied perspectives on Islamic art, history, and culture. Students of Middle Eastern studies may find this particularly informative, though families are likely to also learn much from the ideas and images on display. Aziz Sohail, the curator of the exhibition, says, “…this exhibit provides a platform for authentic and diverse voices that grapple with an ever-changing heritage. We hope that the show dispels stereotypes and sparks discussion by facilitating a complex and nuanced look at Islamic heritage and culture.” After (or during) your visit, ask your family to think about the works on display and compare the people and lives that they represent to their own lives. What is similar? What is different? What were they surprised by? What new information were they able to absorb/digest over the course of their visit?
January 9, 2013 at 9:00 am (Art, Berkshire County, Suggested Activity)
Tags: American Art, Art, Art Studies, Berkshire County, Criminal Justice, Cultural Studies, Massachusetts, outsider art, Prison Art, Prison Culture, Stockbridge Library, western massachusetts
Cellblock Visions: Prison Art in America
Art & Cultural Studies at the Stockbridge Library
Friday, January 25th
“For students of art and culture, psychology and philosophy, and human consciousness, the question emerges-how is it that this depth and beauty came from, or through, these particular folks-often times uneducated, unworldly, and untrained,” writes the Stockbridge Library. “Kornfeld points to a new direction… whereby incarcerated people are given the opportunity to reach out to people in need on the outside…” (Find about the Inside/Outside Envelope Project) – Join the Stockbridge Library for this free lecture on Friday, January 25th at 6pm
The Stockbridge Library is offering the community a unique opportunity to learn about a topic not often discussed – the artwork of prison inmates. Art teacher Phyllis Kornfeld, author of Cellblock Visions: Prison Art in America, will share a slideshow presentation of artwork created by inmates. This presentation will be paired with a discussion of their work, common types of art produced, and its place amongst mainstream American artwork.
Inmates’ work ranges from soap carvings inspired by traditional American folk art, to tattoo-style ink drawings. Their art challenges the stereotypes of inmates, serving as a window into the culture and mindset of prisoners, conveying the thoughts, questions, and emotions had by these outsider artists. Their artwork speaks of human qualities that are shared by all, regardless of circumstances.
This lecture will take place at the library on Friday, January 25th, 2013 at 6pm in Stockbridge, MA. Older students can attend the event to learn about prison culture, the universality of human artistic expression, art in America, and other topics related to art, psychology, and criminal justice. For more information, call the library at 413-298-5501. The Stockbridge Library is located at 46 Main Street in Stockbridge, MA.
November 7, 2012 at 6:01 am (Berkshire County, Berkshire Museum, Suggested Activity)
Tags: Arno Maris Gallery, Berkshire County, Berkshire Museum, Chief Konkapot Festival of Native American culture, Cultural Studies, Joseph Firecrow, Native American, Native American Heritage Month, Rethink! Native American Art, Westfield State University
Native American Heritage Month Celebrated Across Western MA
On Saturday, November 10, and Sunday, November 11, 2012, Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield will celebrate Native American Heritage Month with four exceptional performances featuring music, stories, and dance. The festival will feature the rich history and culture of the Mohawk and Nipmuck tribes, conveyed through storytelling, music, and ritual. The performers are Jerry Thundercloud McDonald, Joseph Firecrow (pictured here), Larry Spotted Crow Mann, and Sandy Rhodes. For more information, visit www,berkshiremuseum.org or contact the Berkshire Museum at 413-443-7171. (Photo credit: David Carnes)
Fall is often a time when students learn about the history of America and the American Revolution – topics that lend themselves to studies of Native American history and culture, as well. Students’ learning about Native American ways of life during Native American Heritage Month can be supplemented by a visit to a gallery show of Native American artwork – either at Westfield State University or the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield!
The Berkshire Museum’s exhibit, Rethink! Native American Art, features a wide variety of work from Native American groups nationwide, and is open through January 6th. Along with the exhibit, the museum is hosting a series of community events featuring Native American music, dance, storytelling, and more. On November 10th and 11th, the museum will host the Chief Konkapot Festival of Native American culture, offering visitors a chance to see a variety of performances showcasing the traditions of numerous nations from across North America, including:
- Saturday, November 10th at 1pm – Jerry Thundercloud McDonald presents Mohawk music, stories, and dance. McDonald will also speak on the Haudenosaunee Confederacy’s influence on the formation of the U.S. Constitution. ($$)
- Saturday, November 10th at 7pm – Joseph Firecrow of the Northern Cheyenne, a Grammy-nominated Northern Cheyenne musician and master of the traditional Native American flute, will perform a special concert. ($$)
- Sunday, November 11th at 1pm – Larry Spotted Crow Mann, Nipmuck poet and author of Tales from the Whispering Basket, presents Nipmuck stories, songs, and drum with the Quabbin Lake Singers. ($$)
- Sunday, November 11th at 3pm – Sandy Rhodes will be presenting contemporary pow wow culture, dance, and regalia. ($$)
Follow the festival at the museum, the Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield will be hosting a free performance by Joseph Firecrow on Monday, November 12th at 12:15pm, sponsored by the BCC Committee for Diversity.
Westfield State University’s Arno Maris Gallery will host an exhibit of Native American Culture and Tradition through Saturday, December 8th, 2012. The exhibit will feature works from Native American artists Lenny Novak and Dan Shears.
Another opportunity to see contemporary Native American art in Western MA will be at the Arno Maris Gallery in Westfield State’s Ely Campus Center in Hampden County. The gallery is hosting an exhibit of unique, handcrafted dreamcatchers – made in a traditional style that only five people are trained in! Students can learn about the intricate nature of dreamcatcher making, as well as the significance of the pieces in Native American culture. The exhibit runs through December 8th, and admission to the gallery is free.
Both exhibits offer unique learning opportunities, and showcase artwork that is not often accessible. Each show provides an in-depth look at Native American traditions, and highlights the important role that artistic expression plays in Native American culture.
December 7, 2011 at 6:00 am (Amherst, Art, Religion, Suggested Activity)
Tags: Amherst, Art, Christian, Cultural Studies, Folk Art, India, Religion, Religious Studies, University of Massachusetts, western massachusetts
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.