24 Community Highlights: Middle Eastern Textiles to Victorian Clothing. Big Band Music to Holograms.

Sugar season is an integrated part of New England culture. Whether you’re visiting or have lived here all your life, get out into your community during the first harvest of the year and enjoy the many cultural opportunities that celebrate maple syrup! This week we are featuring Maple Day at Hager’s Farm Market in Shelburne. On Saturday, March 22nd, there will be demonstrations, an old fashioned sap boiling, maple cream and maple candy making, as well as tons of maple-y treats (tons!). Enjoy this delicious springtime New England treat and learn about its history and how it’s processed.

Middle Eastern Textiles to Victorian Clothing. Big Band Music to Holograms. Mud Season to Maple Syrup

These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week: Performance artist Kandie Carle will be at the Storrs Library to perform her free one-woman show, “Victorian Lady,” on Monday evening, March 24th. Carle will use authentic Victorian and Edwardian clothing to interact with the audience and to take them on a journey into the past through fashion. She will discuss the history and significance of each item of clothing in order to give audience members an idea of what fashion, etiquette, and lifestyles were like during the Victorian and Edwardian era, including interesting anecdotes and ‘myth busting’.


STEMFashion StudiesEnvironmental ScienceCulinary ArtsLocal HistoryMaple SeasonAnimal StudiesGovernmentArtDance StudiesParent WorkshopsMusic StudiesWritingFilm/Video


STEM

Science for everyone! Come to Amherst Brewing Company for this month’s Sci.Tech.Café on Monday evening, March 24th! The topic this month is “Holograms and Tractor Beams.” Learn all about how holograms and tractor beams work with Professor Ward Lopes of Williams College. Those interested in physics will enjoy this talk, which is designed for community members without science backgrounds.

Fashion Studies

Learn about women of Islamic culture at “Threads that Bind,” a Middle Eastern textile exhibit at Westfield State University’s Arno Maris Gallery. Examine the differences between a traditional abaya, a robe-like dress worn to Mosque and for entertaining friends and family at home, and a salwar kameez, loose, pajama-like trousers with tunic shirts. A free reception will be hosted on Thursday afternoon, March 27th and will be on display until April 5. Come ask the curator questions about her display and learn about Middle Eastern culture and these unique and beautiful textiles.

Performance artist Kandie Carle will be at the Storrs Library to perform her free one-woman show, “Victorian Lady,” on Monday evening, March 24th. Carle will use authentic Victorian and Edwardian clothing to interact with the audience and to take them on a journey into the past through fashion. She will discuss the history and significance of each item of clothing in order to give audience members an idea of what fashion, etiquette, and lifestyles were like during the Victorian and Edwardian era, including interesting anecdotes and ‘myth busting’.

Environmental Science

Screening of Play Again at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment in Amherst on Tuesday evening, March 25th. Play Again is a moving and humorous documentary that follows six teenagers who, like the “average American child,” spend five to fifteen hours a day in front of screens. Play Again unplugs these teens and takes them on their first wilderness adventure – no electricity, no cell phone coverage, no virtual reality. At a time when children play more in front of screens than outside, this film explores the changing balance between the virtual and natural worlds. Is our connection to nature disappearing down the digital rabbit hole?

A free screening of the Elemental will take place at he United States Fish and Wildlife Service in Hadley with Laurie Sanders on Wednesday evening, March 26thElemental is a breathtaking film that tells the story of three individuals united by their deep connection with nature and driven to confront some of the most pressing ecological challenges of our time. Separated by continents yet sharing an unwavering commitment to protecting nature, the characters in this story are complex, flawed, postmodern heroes for whom stemming the tide of environmental destruction fades in and out of view – part mirage, part miracle.

Culinary Arts

Pioneer Valley Bread House in South Hadley is holding a community bread-baking event that’s open to everyone on Monday evening, March 24th! Come learn how to bake bread from scratch and share, learn, and create with community members. Baking bread is a fun and useful skill and this is a perfect event to help you get started! Takes place at Five College Women’s Studies Research Center. Gluten free breads are also made.

Local History

Exploring New England history through the lens of furniture is a unique way to study local trades and how it furniture making fits into the context of local history. Historic Deerfield presents, “The Furniture of Western Massachusetts: Tradition, Innovation, and Regional Identity,” a lecture by Joshua Lane on Sunday afternoon, March 23rd. This is part of their free winter lecture series, “Furniture Masterworks: Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture.” Older students interested in New England history and furniture can come to the Deerfield Academy’s Garonzik Auditorium in Deerfield for this free lecture.

Do you know what potash is? Did you know that there was once a potash industry here in Western MA? Ralmon Jon Black presents, “Colonial Asheries: An Eighteenth Century Industry Unrecorded and Forgotten” at the Wistariahurst Museum as part of their Made in the Happy Valley series on Monday evening, March 24th in Holyoke. Black will discuss the colonial potash industry and its effect on the economy in the 1700s, as well as its lasting ecological impacts.

Emily Dickinson spoke of her bedroom as a private and creative space, but bedrooms weren’t always such places. On Thursday evening, March 27th, the Emily Dickinson Museum presents a free talk, “Status and Comfort: Glimpses of Early Bedrooms,” at the Jones Library in Amherst with Jane Nylander, President Emerita of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. Looking at the historical evolution of domestic spaces can shed some light on what life was like and how it has changed since the nineteenth century. Older students can use this lecture to learn about the history of society and the changes that ensued from a unique perspective.

Maple Season

Sugar season is an integrated part of New England culture.  Whether you’re visiting or have lived here all your life, get out into your community during the first harvest of the year and enjoy the many cultural opportunities that celebrate maple syrup! This week we are featuring Maple Day at Hager’s Farm Market in Shelburne. On Saturday, March 22nd, there will be demonstrations, an old fashioned sap boiling, maple cream and maple candy making, as well as tons of maple-y treats (tons!). Enjoy this delicious springtime New England treat and learn about its history and how it’s processed.

Animal Studies

Ask your child what animals carry their home on their back… a turtle would be the most obvious guess for most kids. But what about a hermit crab? Or a snail? Ask them to think about the benefits to animals having hard shells in which to tuck themselves. Did they grow their own shell? What do they do when their shell gets to small? Does it grow with them? On Saturday morning, March 22nd, young children can come to the Carnegie Library in Turners Falls to learn about animals that carry their own homes through free fun hands-on activities. Ask questions, learn more and then get them excited to look for these critters in their natural surroundings this summer!

Enjoy an hour-long evening walk through the woods to call and listen for owls on Saturday evening, March 22nd with  the Dickinson Memorial Library for an Owl Prowl as part of their free “Learn and Explore Indoors and Out” series of events in Northfield. The series features programs focused on Northfield’s forests, meadows, and wildlife, and helps community members of all ages discover the wonders of nature. Tom Wansleban of Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust will lead the owl prowl in the woods of the Northfield Mount Hermon School. Enter into their habitat and travel through the woods calling and listening for owls.

Government

Do you know who is your congressional representative?  Does your teen? The United States House of Representatives is supporting teen artists… but first teens have to know which who represents their district! Once they have learned who they should be in contact with around issues that are important to them, teens are invited to participate in “An Artistic Discovery,” the annual nationwide Congressional Art Competition. Local Congressional representatives conduct the competitions in their districts, and the winning piece from each district goes on display in the United State Capitol in Washington, DC! This competition allows teens to showcase their art and be recognized for their talents. A variety of mediums are accepted, although restrictions and guidelines do apply. Entries are due by April 17th, 2014. For more information on the competition and to see past winners, please see the Congressional Art Competition webpage. Not sure of your congressional district or who your member is? Find your representative at www.house.gov.

What are the different roles of a State Senators, Town Selectmen and State Representatives? How do they represent the people in their town, district and state, and what inspires them to take this role in our community?  On Sunday afternoon, March 23rd, come to Lenox to ask questions and learn more about local and state government at “Local Government: Making the System Work for You,” part of the Lenox Library‘s  Distinguished Lecture Series.  Students interested in learning about government can bring their questions and have them answered by state and local legislators, including; David Roche (Chairman of the Lenox Board of Selectmen), Smitty Pignatelli (Massachusetts State Representative), and Benjamin Downing (Massachusetts State Senator)!

Art

Realism, precisionism, expressionism… discover modern American art this Sunday afternoon, March 23rd, at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield during a docent-led “mini-tour” with Muriel Kowlessar, titled “Modern American Art.” Using art work in our local museums to learn about these various styles supports an interest in art and appreciation of community resources!  Put down the art history books and get out into your community to learn while supporting our museums!

Dance Studies

Celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of mud season at the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage’s Mud Season Day of Dance on Saturday afternoon March 22nd in Greenfield! Green River Tap and Die of Western Mass and Handsome Molly of Princeton, NJ will perform a Molly dance, a form of English Morris folk dance traditionally performed by ploughboys and “factory lads” during the midwinter.  This free seasonal celebration brings community members together to enjoy music, song, and dance, while seeing winter off and welcoming spring. The Museum itself will also be open to the public on this day where families can view and discuss several exhibits on Franklin County’s industrial history, including “Textile Town: Conway’s Industrial History” and “Industry and Innovation: Franklin County’s Unique History.”

Parent Workshops

Music Studies

The Williams College Elizabethans are coming to the Holyoke Public Library on Saturday afternoon, March 22nd, to perform a free program highlighting the music of the Renaissance. The six-voice vocal ensemble will sing sacred and secular choral music from the Middle Ages to the present. The group will perform Croatian, Dutch, English, French, German, and Latin selections in period costumes. Older students with audience skills who are interested in music and European history will enjoy this performance.

Big band music originated in the United States, a musical ensemble that is associated with the Swing Era that usually consists of 12-25 musicians. Since 1969, the United States Army Jazz Ambassadors band has been performing one of America’s great original art forms all around the world! This 19-member ensemble, will perform big band swing, bebop, Latin, contemporary jazz, standards, pop music, Dixieland, and more at the historical Colonial Theatre on Sunday afternoon, March 23 in Pittsfield. Music-lovers of all ages will enjoy this exciting big band performance.

Amherst Survival Center’s Music for the Soul is a free concert and discussion series centered around a free community meal at the Center. Each concert features music from different cultures and aims to engage new musical audiences and raise awareness about poverty in the Pioneer Valley. On Thursday evening, March 27, come hear and learn about the history of rock ‘n roll with John Sheldon, Bob Weiner, and Smith College Professor Steve Waksman, who will lead the discussion. Music for the Soul events work to engage community members of all ages in music and the work being done by the Survival Center in North Amherst.

What is Latin-Caribbean music? Come find out at a free Latin-Caribbean concert at the Community Music School of Springfield on Thursday evening, March 27th. Students with audience skills interested in jazz, Latin, and Caribbean music can come enjoy a performance by Joe Velez and Creacion, with Tony Messina on vocals, at Robyn Newhouse Hall.

Pianist Stephen Porter will perform “Late Styles: A program of final masterpieces by Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, and Debussy” at the First Congregational Church of Amherst on Friday evening, March 28th. Students with audience skills and an interest in classical and piano music and experience performances that support these interests at this community concert.

Writing

If you found a letter tucked under the floor boards of an old house, or in an old corked bottle washed up on the bank of the Mill River, what would it say? Is it a love letter? A call for help? It could say anything you want when you participate in the Odyssey Bookshop’s 21st Annual Writing Contest for kids in grades 1-5! Kids can practice their creative writing and illustration skills through this annual contest, while also learning about writing from a prompt. Stories will be judged on originality, creativity, writing quality, spelling, punctuation, and grammar, and must be completed independently and can be embellished with illustrations! An Odyssey Bookshop gift certificate will be awarded to the first, second, and third place winners in each grade level. Writing contests are a great opportunity for kids to practice expressing themselves and writing creatively, while also learning more about what it takes to write well, and the importance of spelling, punctuation, grammar, and a story well told! More information on the contest, entry forms, guidelines, and the prompt can be found on the Odyssey Bookshop website. The deadline for entries is Thursday, April 10 by 7pm.

Film/Video

Exploring where you live this time of the year can include a search for signs of spring rewarded with exciting discoveries of bulbs pushing up out of the ground and the formation of vernal pools.  It can also be thinking about the historical buildings and old mills near where you live and wondering what life might have been like for residents and workers living here 100 years ago following a long cold winter. What are you excited for spring? You can share your favorite things about spring in a short film/video for the May 1st Florence Night Out. Making movies can engage teens to think about where they live. It’s also an excellent opportunity for parents and children to work together on a creative project. The creative possibilities in the field of film and video are seemingly endless – from the initial ideas and outlines, all the way to the editing stage, young and aspiring filmmakers and videographers can use their imaginations to create original and inventive films. Your spring-themed video must be under two minutes long and submitted online by April 14. If selected, your video will then be screened at the VFW downstairs lounge (18 Meadow Street, Florence, MA) on May 1, from 5pm-8pm during Florence Night Out.

List of Weekly Suggested EventsFind out about these events and many other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events. All of our listed events are “suggested.” Please take a moment to confirm that these events are happening as scheduled, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before heading out.


Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Ashfield, Bernardston, Charlemont/Hawley, Chesterfield, Conway, Heath, Leyden, Montague, Montgomery, South Hadley and Shutesbury Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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