What to do in the Berkshires? Music, theater and art — the Berkshires has a concentration of creative life. National and international performers come to our stages, and classic and contemporary artists to museums and studios. They come to visit, and they live here.

Imagine a woman poised in the light. She is leaning taut and ready to move. She could be a bather in a Renoir painting, or an actor playing the first Chinese lady to come to New York, or a bhangra dancer waiting for her cue. You can find all of them here.

Artists and revolutionaries have come here for hundreds of years, because it’s close to people, and it’s quiet and beautiful. And they have found these hills a good place to build a creative life. The first woman to win a Pulitzer prize for her novels wrote them here, and the first man to found a company of men dancers settled here on a mountaintop. The places they built here support artists today, and so do many like them.

And if you’re looking for a hike in the hills, or a good place for a country breakfast with eggs from the farm across the way — or a historic museum celebrating freedom — they’re here too.

Visual Arts

International artists keep studios on back roads, and one of the largest contemporary art museums in the world lives in an old mill. We have museums with international followings. French Impressionists fill a campus designed by a Japanese architect, and illustrators surround Norman Rockwell’s studio. Art comes together here, and you can come up close.

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Theater

Theaters in the Berkshires have brought nationally known playwrights and actors for decades. They foster new work, and they take risks. Plays emerge here before they open Off Broadway, and musicals revive and move on to New York.

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Dance

The dance world has had a hub in the Berkshires since modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn came here in the 1930s to found the Jacob’s Pillow International Dance Festival in Becket, and homegrown and global artists perform on college stages, theaters and concert halls.

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Music

Music in the Berkshires runs deep — in many traditions, from Louis Armstrong at the Music Inn and Janice Joplin opening the summer season of the Boston Symphony Orchestra to classical and contemporary music at Tanglewood, and indy rock and folk at Wilco’s Solid Sound and FreshGrass festivals today.

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Writing

Writers and storytellers have come to the Berkshires for centuries to find a voice and a place to work, from Edith Wharton and Herman Melville to contemporary novelists and poets laureate — Andrea Barrett and Jim Shepard, Richard Wilbur and William Jay Smith, Ruth Reichl and many more.

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Film

Bollywood, or live scores to silent films, or Christopher Plummer accepting a lifetime achievement award — film in the Berkshires can go anywhere. Film-makers and independent films, documentaries and animation come year-round to local museums, colleges and cinemas.

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