Arts & Cultural Organizations

Below are Berkshire County arts & cultural organizations that are affiliated with BRAINworks. Click through to their websites to learn more about their mission and educational programs

Our 12 key Partner Organizations are denoted with an asterisk

Arrowhead

Literature

Since its founding in 1962, the Berkshire County Historical Society has preserved and shared the memories of our communities.  Photographs, manuscripts, artifacts, and oral histories all illustrate the amazing histories of this region. And for over forty years, the Historical Society has also preserved Herman Melville’s Arrowhead. Arrowhead is a National Historic Landmark. berkshirehistory.org

Education Programs: Fall 2020 exhibitions, book clubs, and tours

Artist Book Foundation

Literature, Visual Art

The Artist Book Foundation (TABF), founded in 2012 as a nonprofit organization, celebrates the lives and work of contemporary and historic artists. Its core mission is to document and share vital information encompassing our visual and artistic culture through publications, events, exhibitions, educational programs, and book donations for the benefit of students, scholars, collectors, historians and anyone interested in making art part of their life. artistbkfoundation.org
 

Arts in Recovery for Youth

Visual Arts

Arts in Recovery for Youth (AIRY) is an arts and skills based suicide prevention program for youth ages 13-26, designed by art therapist and attempt survivor, Marney Schorr. airyedu.com

Aston Manga Music Festival

Music

The Aston Magna Foundation works to to enrich the appreciation of music of the past and the understanding of the cultural, political, and social contexts in which it was composed and experienced. Their goal is to reach a larger public through the use of historical instruments and practices in performances, recordings, and workshops, and through innovative interdisciplinary educational programs, publications, and electronic media. astonmagna.org
 

Barrington Stage Company *

Theatre

Barrington Stage Company’s educational programs strive to awaken the minds, imaginations, and creative power of children, teenagers, and young adults by providing opportunities for them to experience the joy of live theatre as performers, writers, technicians, and audience members. barringstonstageco.org

Education Programs: Playwright Mentoring Project, KidsAct!, and KidsAct! Jr.

Berkshire Athenaeum

Library

The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s public library, exists to initiate, nurture, and feed a passion for knowledge and learning. The Children’s Library is full of resources and programming for children (of all ages): our collections range from books, audiobooks, and ebooks to magazines to databases to STEAM kits to ukuleles; programming includes weekly story times, regular children’s programming, additional vacation week and summer vacation week programming, summer reading, and more. pittsfieldlibrary.org

Berkshire Botanical Gardens

Nature

Berkshire Botanical Garden offers age and grade-appropriate programming for schools, homeschoolers, youth organizations, preschoolers, and daycare centers. BBG programs cultivate scientific discovery through inquiry-based instruction and memorable hands-on activities that allow students to draw upon prior knowledge and extend learning into new areas. berkshirebotanical.org

Education Programs: Fall 2020 Young Learner Programs

Berkshire Children's Chorus

Music

The Berkshire Children’s Chorus is a not-for-profit community chorus comprised of children in grades 1-12 from western Massachusetts and northwestern Connecticut.  Founded in 1990 by Nancy Loder, the chorus provides excellent choral music training to dedicated and passionate young singers under the direction of Julie Bickford, Artistic Director. The repertoire of the chorus is not replicated in schools, making it possible to expand the children’s horizons to more classical and challenging musical experiences. In addition to exceptional choral music training, the BCC provides opportunities for children to form mentoring relationships and life-long friendships. berkshirechildrenschorus.org

Berkshire Choral International

Music

Based in Sheffield, Massachusetts, Berkshire Choral International (BCI) was founded in 1982 as a not-for-profit educational institution with a unique purpose: to provide amateur singers with professional-level choral immersion experiences. During weeklong singing experiences at culturally rich U.S. and international locations, knowledgeable amateurs study, rehearse, and perform masterpieces of the choral repertoire under the direction of world-class conductors, with professional symphony orchestras. In-depth workshops and courses with our professional staff round out the educational experience. berkshirechoral.org

Berkshire Dance Theatre

Dance

Berkshire Dance Theatre is dedicated to providing the highest quality dance and performing arts education. Students gain joy, confidence, and mutual respect our that enhances their communities and continues to guide them throughout their lives. berkshiredance.org

Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative *

Media Arts

Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative creates educational, workforce, and production opportunities in the film and media industry as an economic initiative for the western Massachusetts region. berkshirefilm.com
 

Berkshire Museum *

Museums, Visual Arts

The Berkshire Museum brings people together for experiences that spark creativity and innovative thinking by making inspiring educational connections among art, history, and natural science. berkshiremuseum.org

Berkshire Pulse

Dance

Berkshire Pulse Performing Arts Program uses a creative youth development model, teaching young people an artistic discipline centered on creative inquiry and self-expression and using it as a vehicle to develop the personal, social, and intellectual skills and capacities that are important for growth and success. Young people have the opportunity to explore their own creative language while challenging their intellectual, technical, and artistic abilities. Traditional values are met using current techniques, an approach that reflects their interdisciplinary philosophy. berkshirepulse.org

Berkshire Opera Festival

Opera

Berkshire Opera Festival works to entertain and enrich the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds throughout the Berkshire region by providing accessible and affordable performances of a broad range of operas with the highest artistic standards. berkshireoperafestival.org

Berkshire Salsa

Dance

Berkshire Salsa is a space where both students and instructors have the freedom to be creative as they have fun learning a dance style or stay healthy while taking a fitness lesson. Berkshire Salsa offers group and private lessons in a variety of dance and fitness lessons such as salsa, ballroom dance, Zumba, wedding dance lessons, and P90X. Berkshire Salsa’s motto is ‘dance + wellness + fun.’  berkshiresalsadance.com

Berkshire Theatre Group *

Theatre

Berkshire Theatre Group’s mission is to support wide-ranging artistic exploration and acclaimed performances in theatre, dance, music and entertainment. The organization’s celebrated four stages reflect the history of the American theatre; they represent a priceless cultural resource for the community. Berkshire Theatre Group’s vision is to be a center for creative work that enriches, educates, invigorates, transforms, and strengthens our community for the better. berkshiretheatregroup.org

Education Programs: BTG PLAYS! Year-Round School Programs

Bidwell House Museum

Musuems

The Bidwell House Museum is a New England heritage site providing a personal encounter with history, early American home life, and the Berkshire landscape through its land, house and collection. The Museum offers education programs for students of all ages, including an on-site field trip program and a colonial history resource kit that can be borrowed for use in the classroom. bidwellhousemuseum.org

CATA (Community Access to the Arts)

Performing Arts, Visual Arts

Through a rich array of arts workshops—in painting, dance, theater, singing, drumming, juggling, yoga, creative writing, and more —CATA artists tap into their potential, explore new talents, and share their unique points of view. Public events including their annual performance and year-round art exhibits bring the whole community into the act—shining a light on the ability within disability. cataracts.org

Education Programs: CATA in the Schools

Center for Peace Through Culture

Mindfulness, Education, Community Arts

The Center for Peace Through Culture (CPC) LifeSchool™ program works with children and adults, helping them develop core life skills including self-awareness, self-expression and self-regulation in order to lead more mindful, peaceful and compassionate lives. CPC’s new complimentary offering, Coaching for Educators, addresses the overwhelming stress created by the COVID-19 pandemic by personally supporting pre-K through 12 Berkshire teachers so they can perform at their best for their students. Resilient teachers foster resilient students. CPC offers a variety of programs and workshops for teachers, parents and children. centerforpeacethroughculture.org

Chesterwood

Museums, Visual Arts

Chesterwood is the former summer home and studio of Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), sculptor of the Minute Man and Lincoln Memorial Abraham Lincoln statues and a leading artist of his era. The site, located in idyllic Stockbridge, Massachusetts, includes: French’s home and studio; museum collections of objects owned or created by him; an archive of historic documents and photographs (The Chesterwood Archives are located at the Chapin Library at Williams College); outbuildings; and 122 acres of designed and wooded landscape. chesterwood.org

Close Encounters with Music

Music

Close Encounters with Music began as a chamber music group and today both performs and commissions work. A core group of leading artists appear regularly as guests at Close Encounters concerts. Choreographer David Parsons and actors Richard Chamberlain, Jane Alexander, and Sigourney Weaver have also appeared as guests, weaving narration and dance into the fabric of the musical programs. cewm.org

Common Folk

Community Arts

Common Folk’s mission is to inspire creativity, strengthen local and emerging artistry, and positively contribute to our communities. They support artists and folks who facilitate art as well: producers, arts administrators, creative entrepreneurs, and more. Their contribution to their communities takes many forms: from volunteering and donations to working with youth, housing Appalachian Trail hikers, or promoting wellness. As an organization, Common Folk often helps fundraise or collaborate with organizations to infuse art into community development. commonfolk.org

Flying Cloud Institute

STEAM Education

Flying Cloud Institute’s mission is to inspire young people and educators through dynamic science and art experiences that ignite creativity. flyingcloudinstitute.org

Greenagers

Nature

Greenagers provides employment and volunteer opportunities for teens and young adults in the fields of conservation, sustainable farming, and environmental leadership. Through vocational-environmental programs and community engagement, Greenagers prepares youth for success in their education and work. greenagers.org

Hancock Shaker Village

Museums, Visual Arts, Nature

Hancock Shaker Village is a living-history museum open to the public: with 20 authentic Shaker buildings, rich collections of Shaker furniture and artifacts in rotating exhibits, a full schedule of activities and workshops, a mile-long hiking trail and picnic areas, store and cafe, and a working farm with extensive gardens and heritage-breed livestock. hancockshakervillage.org

Housatonic Heritage

Nature

The Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area (Housatonic Heritage) exists to illuminate the diverse, rich identity of the Upper Housatonic River Valley region and to preserve and promote its historical, cultural and natural resources. The organization supports, stimulates and advances the region’s economic vitality and quality of life, looking towards a sustainable future for the benefit of residents and visitors. This National Heritage Area facilitates collaboration with regional organizations, working as a catalyst for regional thinking. housatonicheritage.org

Images Cinema

Media Arts

Images Cinema, a non-profit community movie theater, presents a wide range of independent, foreign and classic films which impact filmmaking and our culture. Images Cinema is dedicated to the exploration of film as an art form, a source of entertainment and an educational tool. imagescinema.org

IS183 Art School of the Berkshires *

Visual Arts

Founded in 1991, IS183 Art School of the Berkshires is a non-profit community art center, offering experiences in the visual arts year-round for people of all ages, means, and skill levels. IS183 offers studio-based classes and workshops in a variety of disciplines - ceramics, painting, drawing, fiber arts, collage, metal arts, and more! IS183 works to connect local artists to our community through artist talks, professional development, artistic events, and out-of-school engagement programs. IS183’s Learning Through Arts Program, launched in 2007, bringing the studio art experience directly to the desks of our county’s K-12th grade students. IS183’s classes provide opportunities for our community to feel what it’s like to create the art seen in our local museums, to connect with local artists, and to be empowered to make something with their own hands. is183.org

Jacob's Pillow *

Dance

Jacob’s Pillow is a National Historic Landmark and national center for dance. The organization offers many community and educational programs. Their long-running in-school program, Curriculum in Motion® draws upon K-12 academic topics as source material, and choreographic works are developed by students through a co-teaching process between classroom teachers and the Pillow’s roster of prominent Artist Educators. jacobspillow.org

Kripalu/RISE Program

Mindfulness, Education

The RISE program impacts individual and organizational performance through yoga and mindfulness-based practices. Anchored in the science and practice of mindfulness and positive psychology, RISE is specifically designed to support greater clarity and resilience, improved situational awareness, better decision making, work/life integration, and superior long-term performance for individuals and organizations. For the past 10 years, RISE (formerly known as the Kripalu Approach to Healthy Living) has delivered this life-changing program to frontline providers and leadership in some of the most critical social institutions in North America: human services organizations, K–12 schools, correctional facilities, law enforcement, and healthcare. kripalu.org

Lichtenstein Center for the Arts

Community Arts

The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts is a community arts center housed in a historic building in Pittsfield’s Upstreet Cultural District.  The Center is home to an exhibiting art gallery and performance area, workshops, working artist studios, a ceramic studio and a darkroom. Located at 28 Renne Avenue off of Fenn Street, the gallery hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11am to 4pm.  cityofpittsfield.com

Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center *

Theatre, Music, Dance, Media Arts

The Mahaiwe’s education programs offer world-class theatrical experiences to students from throughout the tri-state region. Mahaiwe provides both in-school workshops and residencies, and live performances of dance, theater, and music at the theater as field trip events. Supporting the community by incorporating arts and humanities into education outreach is an important component of the Mahaiwe’s mission. The Mahaiwe offers events and performances focused on literary and curriculum goals including, arts, music, theater, movement, social and emotional wellbeing as well as providing teachers with study guides specific to each event and performance. mahaiwe.org
 

Mass Audubon

Nature

Mass Audubon’s mission is to protect the nature of Massachusetts for its people and wildlife. Mass Audubon’s educators are skilled at helping students PreK-12 develop environmental literacy using an engaging hands-on/mind-on teaching approach. Whether the programs takes place at school, a local nature area, or one of their wildlife sanctuaries, students will experience science and nature through fun and meaningful standards-based lessons. massaudubon.org

Education Programs: Programs for Schools

MASS MoCA *

Museums, Visual Arts, Performing Arts

With 250,000 square feet of gallery space and one-of-a-kind outdoor areas, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art embraces all forms of art. MASS MoCA’s award-winning Kidspace is a child-centered art gallery and hands-on studio that offers in-depth art education through curricular-based classroom programs with local schools, as well as free public admission all year round. massmoca.org

Education Programs: Fall 2020 exhibitions for students

The Mastheads

Literature

The Mastheads is a public humanities project in Pittsfield, Massachusetts seeeking to connect residents to the literary history of the region, create a forum for thinking about place, and support the production of new creative work. Founded in 2016 upon the legacy of five American Renaissance authors who wrote in Pittsfield, The Mastheads is at once an urban architectural experiment, a literary research initiative, a writers’ residency, and an educational program. themastheads.org

MCLA'S Berkshire Cultural Resource Center

Community Arts

MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) delivers cultural experiences that embrace a wide range of aesthetic and conceptual points of view to support a diverse and vibrant North Adams. BCRC is engaged in the way cultural experiences are presented, positioned and developed in the region and advocates for, nurtures, and facilitates a diverse, vibrant cultural community at MCLA and in the greater region. BCRC’s work bridges the campus and greater community and engages creatively and critically with a wide range of visual and performing arts experiences programmed by BCRC in collaboration with community partners and students. mcla.edu/bcrc
 

The Mount

Literature

The Mount is a National Historic Landmark and cultural center that celebrates the intellectual, artistic, and humanitarian legacy of Edith Wharton. The Mount is maintained and operated by the Edith Wharton Restoration, Inc., which was founded in 1980, and engages a diverse audience by providing context to Wharton’s life and achievements through interpretive and public programs, and preservation of her historic estate. edithwharton.org

Moving Arts Exchange

Dance

Moving Arts Exchange (MAX) is dedicated to deepening personal connections and enhancing the vibrancy of our community through inclusive dance education for all ages and performance space for youth and local artists to share original work. MAX expands the accessibility of arts education through collaboration with regional organizations, schools, and participates in local community events. Rehearsal and performance space is provided to regional artists in and around the Berkshires and provides a place for young emerging teen artists to create, perform and be heard. movingartsx.org

Music in Common

Music

Music in Common empowers youth against hate through collaborative songwriting, multimedia and performance. Programming brings together teens and young adults from diverse backgrounds to discover and celebrate their common ground. Since 2005, the organization has directly served thousands of people in more than 300 communities across the globe and across religious, ethnic, cultural, and racial sectors. musicincommon.org

Naumkeag/The Trustees of the Reservation

Nature

With its gracious house, magnificent gardens, and panoramic views, Naumkeag is a quintessential country estate of the Gilded Age, maintained by The Trustees of Reservations. The Trustees preserve, for public use and enjoyment, properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts: enjoying and caring for more than 100 special places–nearly 25,000 acres–all around Massachusetts. The Trustees are actively building an extended family of friends and neighbors across the state that can help in their different ways. thetrustees.org

Norman Rockwell Museum *

Museums, Visual Arts

Norman Rockwell Museum’s interactive programs are designed to provide students with meaningful, Common Core curriculum-based experiences that use original works of art to encourage discovery relating to the visual arts, history/social studies, and language arts, emphasizing distinct learning connections. The Museum can even customize their programs to meet the specific needs of a group. nrm.org

North Adams Public Library

Library

The North Adams Public Library works to collect, provide, and conserve resources that educate, entertain, and inform our citizens with a special emphasis on literacy and local history. The Youth Services Department is full of programs, student and teacher resources, databases, booklists, and science resources to explore and share.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)

Community Arts, Education

OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College, is a vibrant member-led organization that provides exciting educational, social and volunteer opportunities designed especially by and for people over fifty years old. OLLI offers over 80 classes and programs a year in history, literature, the arts, politics, sciences and more, including four semesters of courses throughout the Berkshires; their Distinguished Speakers Series from May through October; and special events, trips, and programs throughout the year. berkshireolli.wildapricot.org

Roots Rising

Nature, Farming

Roots Rising empowers youth and builds community through food and farming. Its vision is to lift up teenagers as community changemakers and strengthen the local food system through the transformational power of meaningful work. Roots Rising’s Farm Crew hires teens to work on farms and in food pantries. Their Market Crew runs the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market, the first teen-run farmers market in the region. rootsrising.org

Sculpture Now

Visual Arts

Sculpture Now’s mission is to expand the experience and knowledge of art in general and sculpture in particular in the Berkshires through exhibitions, presentations, and free workshops in public schools. They offer free guided tours to the general public, students, and vision-impaired visitors and their exhibitions provide opportunities for sculptors to develop their careers. Sculpture Now participates in the cultural economy of the community. sculpture now.org

Shakespeare & Company

Theatre

The mission of Shakespeare & Company is to deliver a sustainable, integrated, and vital program of Performance, Training, and Education for the audience, the artist, the Company, and the community. They embrace the classical ideals and visceral experience of Shakespeare’s work: collaboration, commitment to language, physical prowess and the embodied voice. Shakespeare & Company also offers bespoke school residencies for elementary through high school age students. shakespeare.org

The Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute *

Museums, Visual Arts

With a dual mission as an art museum and a distinguished center for research and higher education, the Clark Art Institute offers stunning art galleries and a prominent research library on 140 pastoral acres. Since it first opened to the public in 1955, the Clark Art Institute has become one of the most beloved and respected art museums in the world, and strives to advance and extend the public understanding of art for adults, children, educators, and scholars. clarkart.edu

Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum

Museums, Visual Arts

The Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to preserving the birthplace and raising public awareness of the wide-ranging legacy of the great social reformer, Susan B. Anthony, who was a pioneering feminist and suffragist as well as a noteworthy figure in the abolitionist, opposition to Restellism (opposition to abortion), and temperance movements of the 19th century. As part of its mission, the Museum highlights the familial and regional influences which shaped Ms. Anthony’s early life, by displaying the textiles and furnishings of that period, as well as the literature and other memorabilia associated with her later career. The Museum offers group visits for school groups as well as Traveling Walls that bring pieces of the exhibits into the classroom. susanbanthonybirthplace.com

Tanglewood *

Music

The BSO’s Education and Community Engagement department leverages the BSO as an artistic and civic resource to strengthen their communities through collaborative, mutually beneficial relationships, shared artistic experiences that build connections with and between community members, including youth, and innovative, relevant programming geared towards creative thinking and emotional engagement. Their programming includes Youth Concerts, Family Concerts, Days in the Arts at Tanglewood (DARTS), and Concerts for Very Young People. The BSO provides curriculum support to schools to enhance the experience of attending Youth Concerts. bso.org

Ventfort Hall Mansion and Guilded Age Museum

Museums

Ventfort Hall, built in 1893 in Lenox, MA, is a Gilded Age cottage open to the public for tours and events. Since the beginning of restoration work in 1997, Ventfort Hall has been exhibiting the process of restoration and the Gilded Age in Lenox. The house is open daily year-round and offers a wide variety of events for all ages ranging from school tours and children’s workshops to lavish Victorian teas, Murder Mystery dinners, and more. gildedage.org

WAM Theatre *

Theatre

Every time an audience comes together for a theatrical event, a community is formed. WAM Theatre engages that community by 1) producing theatrical events for everyone, with a focus on women theatre artists and/or stories of women and girls 2) donating a portion of proceeds from those theatrical events to organizations that work to benefit the lives of women and girls in our communities and worldwide. WAM Theatre aims to provide a safe and supportive place to develop young peoples’ aspirations through focused and imaginative empowerment activities. wamtheatre.org

Williams College Museum of Art

Museums, Visual Arts

The Williams College Museum of Art is a vibrant center for the arts at Williams that makes dynamic art experiences to incite new thinking about art, museums, and the world, and embodies the potential for the liberal arts to catalyze our ability to think creatively and critically. It is a vital hub for deep student learning and participation; for taking risks and testing creative, future forms of scholarship and teaching; and for boldly affirming the relevance of the history of art and the arts broadly. Partnering closely with art department faculty and others, WCMA aims not just to sustain but to revitalize the college’s world class legacy in the visual arts for generations to come. wcma.williams.edu

Williamstown Theatre Festival

Theatre

Williamstown Theatre Festival’s mission is to produce classic and new plays with distinction and verve, and to present artists with production opportunities and challenges seldom available elsewhere, provide a training program in which emerging theater talents collaborate with accomplished mentors in a vital, professional, and educational atmosphere, and to create and present programs that serve and engage a diverse community. wtfetstival.org

WordXWord Festival

Poetry

Festival activities take place in a variety of borrowed spaces in partnership with business owners and key cultural partners. WordXWord events include Poetry and Story Slams featuring local performers; Young+Brave, an evening showcasing the work of local teens; and feature events with nationally-recognized performance poets. The common element to all performance events is the focus on work from a personal perspective, specifically intended for oral, live presentation. WordXWord is a lively week at times humorous, at others serious, always honest, thought provoking, engaging and entertaining. wordxwordfestival.com

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