Arts Briefs Nov. 27 to Dec. 11 

  • Printmaker and painter Amanda Barrow will be among close to 30 artists at Cottage Street Studios in Easthampton opening their studios for visitors Dec. 4, 5 and 11. Courtesy Amanda Barrow

  • The Pioneer Valley Symphony will offer its second virtual concert this fall on Saturday, Nov. 27. Live performances are scheduled for the spring. Pioneer Valley Symphony

  • “Evening Grosbeaks” is part of an upcoming exhibit of prints at Hosmer Gallery that’s designed to draw attention to environmental threats to North American birds.  Image courtesy Zea Mays Printing

Published: 11/25/2021 3:58:13 PM
Modified: 11/25/2021 3:57:57 PM
Emerging writer fellowship

The Straw Dog Writers’ Guild is seeking applicants for an Emerging Writer Fellowship that will be awarded to a woman or gender expansive writer of color who writes fiction, is in the early stages of a career, and lives in western Massachusetts.

The fellowship, which will run for one year beginning in May, includes a $3,000 stipend to cover writing-related expenses; access to mentors who can help the person write, publish and promote work; access to a professional website designed and hosted for three years by another regional group, Valley of Writers; and public reading opportunities.

The fellowship, now in its second round, was created to help emerging writers negotiate barriers that may prevent them from accessing mentorship and pursuing publication of their work.

Applicants should be 18 years old or older and self-identify as a woman or gender expansive writer of color; candidates must demonstrate a passion for writing fiction but cannot have published a book or have one under contract.

Applicants must also currently live in either Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden or Berkshire counties.

Completion of an application and submission of a writing sample are due by Dec. 30. For more details, visit strawdogwriters.org.

Open studios in Easthampton

Artists at Cottage Street Studios, unable to observe a longstanding tradition last December because of COVID-19, are back in business this year: Over 25 artists in the restored mill building at 1 Cottage Street will be opening their studios to visitors on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4 and 5, and on Saturday, Dec. 11. The hours for all three days are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A wide range of art is expected to be on view: painting, ceramics, fine clothing, photography, woodworking and more. Many holiday sales will be featured, and artists says they’re grateful for the support community members have shown them during the pandemic and are looking forward to reconnecting in person.

All participants in the event are required to wear face masks and observe social distancing as much as possible; open windows and and vent fans will help circulate fresh air.

Symphony offers second concert of new season

The Pioneer Valley Symphony continues its 83rd season, a “Season of Rebirth,” virtually on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. with a program of music broadly connected to the concept of time.

“Movements in Time” opens with the overture to Giacchino Rossini’s “Barber of Seville” and is followed by contemporary composer’s Mary D. Watkins’s “Soul of Remembrance,” which “encapsulates through music a journey through the dark times of our history and ends with a resolute optimism for the future,” according to program notes.

The concert concludes with Franz Schubert’s revolutionary “Great Symphony (Symphony in C D.944).”

It’s the symphony’s second online performance this fall; the group plans one additional virtual concert for December and three live performances in the spring, beginning in March.

The Nov. 27 concert can be viewed in two ways: via stream on a smartTV or other Internet-connected device, or via Zoom for a community watch party and a post-concert talkback. There will be a pre-concert talk at 6:15 p.m. with Professor David Schneider, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Music at Amherst College.

Tickets for streaming concerts are by donation, with a suggested donation of $15. Tickets and more information can be found at pvsoc.org/tickets.

Comrades aid Springfield Symphony musicians

The Musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MOSSO) have received a $10,000 donation pledge from their counterparts at the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), members of the Springfield group say.

Members of MOSSO, an independent group of players from the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO), have been in an extended contract fight with SSO management, which has not yet scheduled a 2021-2022 season, saying concerts cannot be planned without a new agreement in place.

Members of MOSSO have disputed that argument, and last month they staged their own concert at a sold-out Springfield Symphony Hall that was led by former conductor Kevin Rhodes, whose own contract with SSO was not renewed this spring.

In a statement, violinist and MOSSO co-founder Beth Welty said the group’s members “are deeply moved and grateful for this wonderful gesture of solidarity.”

“BSO musicians are giving this gift not just to MOSSO, but to all of our audience members here in western Massachusetts,” Welty said. “They know how vital our presence is for the economic and cultural well-being of our community — just as theirs is for the Boston area.”

Principal trumpeter Thomas Bergeron of Amherst, another MOSSO co-founder, said the group has also received $43,000 from more than 130 donors since September. Those funds are earmarked for more live music, he said, including a holiday brass concert Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Church, at 335 Longmeadow St. in Longmeadow.

Print exhibit at Hosmer Gallery examines loss of birds

Members of Zea Mays Printmaking in Florence and other printmakers are offering an artistic response to the loss of North American birds in “Canary in a Coal Mine,” an exhibit at Hosmer Gallery in Northampton’s Forbes Library that will run Dec. 2-30.

Participating artists were asked to promote awareness of avian species facing eradication due to climate change. According to Zea Mays, North America has lost 30% of its bird species since the 1970s, while two-thirds of North American birds face extinction from rising global temperatures.

Artists have selected birds from The Audubon Society’s list of 389 threatened species and created prints using an upcycled printing plate. By reusing printing plates, Zea Mays hopes to lessen the impact of its own art making on the earth’s resources.

The Hosmer Galley exhibit is also a fundraiser; proceeds from sales will be shared by the Mass Audubon Arcadia Sanctuary in Easthamopton, the National Audubon Society, and Zea Mays’ Technical Research Program.

— Steve Pfarrer 


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