Learning Ahead: January 4th-10th, 2016

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 14 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.

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Berkshire County

Monday, January 4, 10am-4pm

Harvey Dunn was an illustrator best known for depicting the harsh realities of World War I combat, as well as portraying the healing comfort of life on the prairie. Dunn is also credited for instructing and inspiring a number of successful artists, such as Dean Cornwell, Mead Schaeffer, Harold von Schmidt, and Lyman Anderson, among others. This exhibit, Masters of the Golden Age: Harvey Dunn and His Students at the Norman Rockwell Museum, will feature over 85 paintings by Dunn and his prodigious students. Displays will also include illustrations from prominent periodicals, including Harper’s and The Saturday Evening Post. Harvey Dunn was an influential and vital part of our visual history. His work captivates viewers as it documents the adventure and mystery of the World War I era, while also providing an intimate and historic glimpse of homestead life on the prairies of South Dakota. This exhibit will be on display now through March 13, 2016 at the Norman Rockwell Museum. 413-298-4100. Route 183, Stockbridge, MA. ($$)

Monday, January 4, 11am-5pm

North Adams residents: One of the world’s premier centers for making and showing the best modern art is right in your backyard, and today it’s free. See something new in one of the temporary exhibitions or revisit your favorite permanent works at MASS MoCA on the 4th of the month, when it’s free for 01247 residents. Bring an official ID or utility bill with your address on it. 413-662-2111. 1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, January 6, 10am-1pm

In addition to improving physical health, hiking promotes a feeling of wellbeing that can counter the “winter blues.” Join the Berkshire Natural Resources Council for a trek from Olivia’s Overlook to Monk’s Pond, returning by the Brothers Trail. Enjoy views of the Berkshires and impressive stone work. Easy, three-mile hike with moderate elevation gain. Depending on weather conditions, microspikes or snowshoes may be necessary. Bring water, a snack, and plenty of layers. See website for directions. 413-499-0596. Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, January 6, 1pm
In his January 6, 1941 address to Congress, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt articulated his vision for a postwar world founded on four basic human freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. In 1943, Norman Rockwell was inspired to illustrate the President’s ideas through a iconic series of paintings that toured the nation, helping sell 133 million dollars in war bonds and stamps in the process. In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of The Four Freedoms, Norman Rockwell Museum will present an afternoon talk and performance that pays tribute to President Roosevelt’s speech and Rockwell’s paintings, which are on view and part of the Museum’s permanent collection. Join members of the Berkshire Music School for a performance of patriotic music from the World War II era. Following the music, the Museum’s Curator of Education Tom Daly will offer historical insight into both Roosevelt’s words and Rockwell’s paintings. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE Members, $$ Non-members)

Saturday, January 9

Cross-country skiing provides a low-impact, total-body workout that also invigorates the mind and spirit. Hilltop Orchards offers 30-minute clinics for first-time skiers. Pre-registration required; first-come, first-served. 413-281-2028. 508 Canaan Road, Richmond, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, January 9, 2pm-3pm

The Clark Art Institute presents “Out of the Box,” a performance by the I/O Ensemble of Williams College. Featuring works by Steve Reich, Ryan Ross Smith, James Tenney, Jacob Walls, and David Lang, the program includes percussion, voices, strings, and winds. The concert is part of the Williams College Department of Music‘s I/O Fest ’16, an annual celebration of new music that immerses audiences in the full spectrum of today’s most vital compositional trends. 413-458-2303. Lower Level, 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, January 9, 2pm-4pm

Georgia O’Keeffe was one of America’s most important painters and a significant contributor to American Modernism. Her large-scale, simple flowers and dry desert bones, along with dramatic cityscapes and western landscapes, are easily recognizable. Adults wishing to emulate her style can learn from award-winning pastel artist Gregory John Maichack at his workshop, “Scarlet Poppies: How to Pastel Paint Like Georgia O’Keeffe.” Hosted by the Grace Hall Memorial Library. All levels of experience welcome; pre-registration suggested. 413-862-3894. Town Hall, 161 Main Road, Montgomery, MA. (FREE)

Franklin County

Saturday, January 9, 1pm-4pm

Learn about the fun, health benefits, and social opportunities of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Winter Trails Day at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center. Free 45-minute clinics for first-time skiers at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm. Twenty-minute snowshoeing lessons at 1:30pm, 2:30pm, and 3:30pm. Arrive 30 minutes before lesson start-time to sign in and get equipment. Make this the year your family enjoys winter outdoors! Pre-registration requested. For ages 8 to adult. 800-859-2960. 99 Millers Falls Road, Northfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, January 9, 2pm-3:30pm

Are you a budding fashion designer? Do you have ideas for clothes that you’d like to make reality? Carole Ann Camp, local seamstress and author of sewing and clothing construction books, can show you how at the Sunderland Public Library. You’ll learn to design and construct your own circle skirt. Sewing is a great way to channel your creativity and express yourself. All fabric, sewing equipment, and other materials provided. For ages 11-18. Pre-registration requested. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Hampshire County

Wednesday, January 6, 6:30pm-8pm

If the unexpected happens, will you be ready? You will, if you learn from Frank Grindrod of Earthwork Programs at the River Valley Market. Frank will discuss various emergency situations, from power outages to getting lost in the wilderness or stranded in a car, and how to handle them. He will also help you assess your readiness for emergencies and share his list of the 10 most important items to have on hand. Pre-registration required. 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, January 6, 7pm

There are many truths to be found in fantastical and surreal stories. Imagined worlds help us understand our own. Two authors and one publisher of books based in fantasy will discuss their works at Writing the Fantastical, in the Coolidge Museum at Forbes Library. Part of this year’s reading series, The Modern Real and Surreal: Writers and Artists on Our Age. Appropriate for lifelong learners and self-directed teens. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Friday, January 8, 4pm-8pm

Ponder Powerful Patterns at this month’s Free Second Friday at the Smith College Museum of Art. From 4pm-6pm, learn about the art of bògòlanfini, cloth dyed with clay, and create your own patterned textile like Djotene Diarra’s Women’s Skirt. Then, join a guided gallery talk to explore one of the museum’s art objects. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Hampden County

Thursday, January 7, 11am-12pm

Ice skating builds fitness, strength, and coordination. It also offers social interaction. The Amelia Park Arena is open to homeschooling families every Thursday morning in January. Walkers available for new skaters. 413-568-2503. 21 South Broad Street, Westfield, MA. (<$)

Sunday, January 10, 10am-4pm

In today’s world, anyone with a smartphone and a laptop can make and distribute films. If you have a story to tell on film, then “Shoot, Edit, Upload,” a one-day intensive filmmaker’s workshop at Gateway City Arts may be for you. Filmmaker and digital media strategist Lindsay Van Dyke will cover video production, audio recording, cinematography, editing, and using a website like Youtube to upload and share films. Students need their own smartphones or DSLR cameras with video-taking abilities and laptops with basic video-editing software and will leave with an uploaded short video. Appropriate for adults and self-directed teens. 413-250-6939. 92-114 Race Street, Holyoke, MA. ($$$)

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