Dance and sunlight at the solstice (#this weekend)

On a sunny Thursdsay afternoon, my first summer intern comes with me to see a new show of paintings and drawings at Mass. College of Liberal Arts. The artist has worked on them for the last year, in residence here. He’s talked with us about teaching and making art in a pandemic, and coming from Ghana to Detroit to North Adams, about traveling and finding home.

Conrad Egyir has gathered a community in this room – the creative and generous community Erica Wall has been gathering in North Adams for three years, even in a pandemic.

And they light the room for me, because he is painting people I know. He knows them as friends, artists he shared meals and playlists with, students in his classes — and I know Erica from afternoons in the gallery.

Joshua Ross, the artist here in this painting in brilliant yellow like the sun at noon, talked with me early last fall. He showed me drawings he was working on in his studio here and talked about myths and portals, visibility and invisibility, dreams and tangible people in contact.

People ask me why I write, and why I write this way, listening to people and sharing their stories. When I’m here in a room full of people who have given me time to listen, I know. When Mythili Prakash dances myths in bharatanatyam on a mountain in Becket, and Dormeshia celebrates a century of tap and jazz in laughing rhythm, and I remember their voices… and when the hayfields at Field Farm are rustling in the wind and a blue heron is fishing in the pond.

This weekend …

Strawberries are ripe at Mountain View Farm in Lanesborough, above, and new art exhibits are opening below — Amy Yoes’ bright cloth at Mass MoCA and Conrad Egyir’s paintings and charcoal drawings in Travalogue, celebrating his friends and students and fellow artists, including photographer and filmmaker Joshua Ross—and Rose B. Simpson’s sculpture, Counterculture, out in the meadow at Field Farm. …

Events coming up …

Find more art and performance, outdoors and food in the BTW events calendar.

John Ruskin, Sunset over the Mountains, c. 1845, Watercolor and gouache with graphite on beige wove paper. Gift of the Manton Art Foundation in memory of Sir Edwin and Lady Manton, 2007. The Clark Art Institute
Dec 6 2022 @ 5:30 pm
Jeremy Melius (University of Oxford) explores the aesthetic and ethical parameters of John Ruskin’s watercolor practice.
The Bear and Bee Bookshop gleams at dusk on a cool night.
Dec 7 2022 @ 10:00 am
North Adams plans to go full Clark Griswold downtown this year, as local shops and businesses hang lights and create a window displays.
Ventfort Hall hangs stockings by the chimney. Photo by Susan Geller
Dec 7 2022 @ 10:00 am
Ventfort Hall is decorated for the holiday season in Victorian finery through the end of the year, decked in evergreen and lights for festive self-guided tours.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

If you’d like to see the website grow, you can join me for a few dollars a month, enough for a cup of coffee and a cider doughnut. Members get access to extra stories and multimedia, itineraries a bookmark tool. Let me know what you're looking for, and we’ll explore together.

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