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Berkshire Art Center Opens Second Location in Pittsfield
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:07PM / Monday, October 03, 2022
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Art teacher Jill Gustavis poses with her students' work from her watercolor foundations class at the new Berkshire Art Center space in downtown Pittsfield.

Art lovers and makers attend Friday's grand opening.

Berkshire Art Center has been displaying artwork in the windows of this building for years.

A mural activity set up for the grand opening.

Mural kits and 'pre-loved' arts materials for sale.

Berkshire Arts Center Executive Director Lucie Castaldo and board Chair Michael Zippel cut the ribbon to the new location on Friday.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Art Center — formerly IS183 Art School — cut the ribbon on its Pittsfield location on Friday, increasing accessibility for Central Berkshire residents and beyond.

"For us, being able to be in the heart of Berkshire County is incredible for our programming," Executive Director Lucie Castaldo said.

The new space in the Brothership Building at 141 North St. was bustling with art makers and appreciators during its grand opening reception. 

The satellite studio will offer new classes and workshops for artists of all ages and establish programming from the main location in Stockbridge.

"This is a huge opportunity to have our own space right here in Pittsfield," Program Director Brielle Rizzotti said.

"We will be able to serve a different clientele, people who maybe didn't know about us or weren't willing to take the trip to Stockbridge, and it just makes our classes so much more accessible than they ever were before and really just expands across the county to reach more people."

A series of Arts Night Out events will be available at the new location, which allows participants to experience different art-making activities such as bead making, cyanotypes, printmaking, and ceramics.

To add to the fun, Methuselah Bar and Lounge will offer a 15 percent food discount to anyone who dines there afterward.

Beginning Oct. 14,  BAC will also offer monthly free family drop-ins that feature rotating projects for families to participate in at their own pace with guidance by a faculty artist.

These will be the first Friday of every month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and the third Saturday from 10 to noon.

Rizzotti explained that her starting point with the new location's programming is to offer shorter-term programming, such as single-day workshops and drop-in activities.  

A lot of the classes in Stockbridge are six weeks long and though they will be offered in Pittsfield, the goal is to make it more accessible to people who are new to BAC or looking for a shorter commitment, she added.

"We have been doing programs since 2007 in the Pittsfield Public Schools," Castaldo explained.

"We also offer classes at the Liechtenstein Center and it's amazing to have our own space to be able to do more and have more control over what we're offering. We will have a free middle school program as well that kind of compliments what we're doing in the schools."
Board Chair Michael Zippel said the space will provide visibility and that he loves how it turned out.
"I think being right on North Street here will be amazing for us just to get the word out about what we do," he said.

"Especially the kids' programs, which I think is a really amazing thing that we're doing. So I think North Street is a perfect fit as a satellite office."

BAC will also be showcasing and selling work from local makers and selling used and discounted art supplies in the new space.

The nonprofit organization changed its name from IS183 Art School in June to better reflect its mission.

Castaldo explained that it had been in discussion for a long time and a series of focus groups gave the specific feedback that the name should represent who they are and what they do.

"We aim to be and have been for 30 years the center of visual arts making in Berkshire County," she said.

"And we hope that the change will bring some clarity to what we do and our kind of tagline of growing and sustaining artists in the community."

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