An activity that’s great for any of the Berkshires’ four seasons: Gallery-hopping.
The Berkshires are home to an abundance of artists of a variety of media. The galleries give their work a home, and are a rich treasure trove for collectors as well as more casual buyers.These include the WIT Gallery, the Church Street Art Gallery, Devries Fine Art Inc., the Lenox Gallery of Fine Art, and the Sienna Gallery all right here in Lenox.
Here is an excellent list of additional galleries to expand your gallery tour. They carry works by smaller, local artists, by internationally recognized creators like Dale Chihuly and everything in between. Here is a supplemental list/additional source…and here are some suggestions and reviews by Travel and Leisure Magazine.
The Berkshire Visual Arts website also offers a substantial list of artists who call the Berkshires home, offering information about the artists and their work. Explore the works of Peter Dudek, multi-media architectural sculptor, the allegorical 2-dimensional pieces by Walton Ford, and whimsical upcycler Danny O’s menagerie of creations.
Visit these sites to get a feel for which galleries and artists may be most of interest to you, make a list, and begin your journey.
I used to go to my grandparents' house all the time and play the piano – the 1929 Steinway – that was my grandmother's piano. She knew how much I loved the piano and understood its place in history, so she bequeathed it to me when she died.
My grandmother, Rosalyn Elkan, was an opera major at Indiana State and moved to Macon, Georgia upon her marriage to my grandfather. For more than three quarters of a century, she was the unquestioned Grand Dame of classical music in Macon.
She received the piano as a wedding present from her father-in-law, Eli Elkan in 1929.
When she arrived in Macon, it was a relative backwater. In 1937, she founded the Macon Concert Association, and she started presenting concerts at Wesleyan Conservatory (incidentally, the oldest women's college in the country). In addition to her work with the Concert Association, she also was in charge of the auditions for the Metropolitan Opera in Atlanta every year. Eventually, she ended up on the national board of the Metropolitan Opera in NY.
Through the years, she became very friendly with all the classical music and opera stars of her era. Back in those days, these artists would travel by train or car. They would play in Atlanta and then she would convince them they should play Macon as they headed to Florida and elsewhere.
She attracted to the stage in her town, names that were ordinarily way too big for Macon, but her connections got them there. Most of them would stay at her house. If they stayed in a local hotel, at the very least, she would have a reception for the artist in her home. Over the years, the list of visitors to her home included every major Metropolitan Opera and classical
star including Robert Merrill, Claudio Arrau, Marilyn Horne, Roberta Peters, Jerome Hines, Artur Rubenstein, Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Richard Tucker, Emanuel Ax, as well as conductors like Robert Shaw and Arthur Fiedler.
I met many of these artists and in fact I came upon Arthur Fiedler in her kitchen one day – eating sardines out of a can. I also watched a Yankees game with Emanuel Ax in her bedroom. Jerome Hines wrote an opera on this piano. He spent a couple of weeks sequestered in Macon, writing the piece.
Many of these artists signed the pin block of the piano.
Yet others signed performance programs for me:
• Lenus Carlson, baritone, with Linda Jones at the piano, 1976
• Van Cliburn, 1976
• Robert Shaw, conductor, with Lillian Kallir, pianist, 1968
• Arthur Gold & Robert Fizdale, pianists, 1969
• John Williams, August 2011
Last summer, Jerry Williams and his wife Shirley stayed with us at the inn for a week. His brother, the legendary John Williams, dropped in a couple of times to visit. On one of those occasions, he played the piano. Jerry recounted to John the many stories of the piano.
Jerry and I were in agreement that, without documentation, the legacy of this piano would be lost in a generation or two. For example, short of a signature on the pin block, there was no way of knowing that John Williams had played the piano. A week later, a letter arrived from John Williams, who also acknowledged the importance of documenting the legacy of the piano.
The Steinway is in perfect condition, and even more than a notable piano, it’s an important family heirloom. My grandmother left it to me, knowing that I would fully appreciate its importance and keep it maintained appropriately – and it will be passed down through generations with all of those names on the pin-block, names on the programs, and the documentation of its unique clientele.
According to a tidbit we caught in the Boston Globe, Lord Julian Fellowes, creator of the PBS series "Downton Abbey", English actor and writer of the screenplay for "Gosford
Park," will be honored at the Nov. 3 Edith Wharton gala at the Harvard Club of Boston. 2012 is the year of Edith Wharton’s 150th birthday. It’s probably not too much of a stretch to guess that
Fellowes is a Wharton admirer. He will be presented with the Edith Wharton 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award. Past recipients include Martin Scorsese, Eudora Welty, and Alice Munro.
And here’s another Wharton-commemorative event as her 150th birthday year moves toward a close: the Berkshire WordFest 2012. WordFest is “a biennial celebration of words and ideas in one of the most beautiful settings in the Berkshires. Organized by The Mount, WordFest brings together acclaimed writers and passionate readers for talks, readings, conversations, and discovery”. This coming weekend, September 14 though 16, Wharton’s literary legacy will be honored with this meeting of the wordy minds. Included among the participants:
This year's participants, among others, will include:
• Harold Augenbraum
• John Berendt
• Kate Bolick
• Alexander Chee
• Adam Gopnik
• Angeline Goreau
• Francine du Plessix Gray
• Heidi Julavits
• Alison Larkin
• Mary Morris
• Suketu Mehta
• Claire Messud
• Nancy Novogrod
• Matthew Pearl
• Roxana Robinson
• Mary Jo Salter
• Jonathan Santlofer
• Elissa Schappell
• Dani Shapiro
• Noreen Tomassi
Enjoy this collection of classic quotes from the birthday gal...