51 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Poetry to Potluck. Homesteading to Oceanography.

The self-guided Asparagus Pottery Trail will weave you through the Hilltowns and surrounding areas and allow you to visit with some of Western MA's most talented ceramic artists. Love pottery? Learn more at our post, Discovering History Through Pottery-Based Learning!

The self-guided Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail will weave you through the beautiful springtime landscapes of the Hilltowns and surrounding areas and allow you to visit with some of Western MA’s most talented ceramic artists. Love pottery? Learn more at our post, Discovering History Through Pottery-Based Learning!

Pottery to potluck. Homesteading to oceanography. Civil engineering to a cappella. These are just a few of the community-based 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 community highlight this week: Living history museums and events provide interesting insight into the ways in which we engage with historical information. Renaissance fairs first emerged in the United States in the 1950s, as part of a larger interest in medieval culture and music. Living history challenges actors and attendees to think about history beyond events, learning about customs, dress, accents and behaviors. On Sunday, May 1st, from 11am-4pm,  The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies hosts its 14th Annual Community Renaissance Festival! Attendees of all ages can learn about jewelry making, pottery, weaving, and woodworking. There will be sword demonstrations, juggling, Tarot reading, dancing, and music. As part of this festival, The Theater Truck will be performing Commedia Grab Bag! in the Big Tent at 11:30. This interactive theatrical performance will allow audience members to determine what scenes and characters are played in a choose-your-own-adventure style performance. The book sale will allow for continued historical learning after the event. The full event schedule can be found on the The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies website. 413-577-3600. 650 E Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

PlacemakingCollaborative ConsumptionCommunity MealHomesteadingGardeningNutritionArts & CraftsOrnithologyAnimal HusbandrySTEAMNature StudiesCitizen ScienceOceanographyService-based LearningCivil EngineeringRenaissanceMusic StudiesAnimationPerforming ArtsStorytellingPotteryCultural StudiesParenting

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Community Connections

Saturday, April 30, 8:30am-2pm
Do you have outdoor gear you don’t need anymore? Have you been looking for a tent, stroller, or other piece of outdoor gear? Help keep these items out of the waste stream by selling and buying through consignment with All Out Adventures. As a seller, you will get 70% of the profits, and your outdoor gear will find a good home just in time for Spring adventures! As a buyer, you will save money and promote sustainability. Items will include recumbent trikes, tag-along bikes, jogging strollers, clothing, boots, tents and more. 413-584-2052. 214 State Street, Northampton, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

Saturday, April 30, 1pm-4pm
Co-housing is a concept which encourages community and neighborly cooperation through architectural planning and intention setting. Co-housing can take various forms involving a combination private and shared spaces. Rocky Hill CoHousing will be offering an open house with tours of their facilities and information as well as fun activities for kids including a bounce house, games, and nature walks. Learn about the emotional and practical benefits of cooperative housing. 100 Black Birch Trail, Florence, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, May 1, 12pm-4pm
Celebrate May Day with face painting, pony rides, food, raffle, prizes, games, a bounce house and more at Pelham Elementary School’s Spring Fair. Proceeds from this event will help purchase needed equipment for the school, fund educational field trips and cultural enrichment programs. Contact hanson9@charter.net with questions. 413-253-3595. 45 Amherst Rd, Pelham, MA. (<$ – $$ activities)

Friday, May 6, 5:15pm-6:30pm
Join other families with kids ages 0-6 to welcome the Sabbath at Tot Shabbat, offered by Beit Ahavah Reform Synagogue. The kids enjoy music and activities led by Marlene Rachelle and Rabbi Riqi Kosovske, then share a veggie potluck dinner. Adults socialize and relax. Interfaith and GLBTQ families, nursing moms, babies and siblings of all ages, grandparents and special people, new members, first-timers, and friends all welcome! 413-587-3770. 130 Pine Street, Florence, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, April 30, 8:30am-3:30pm
There are many reasons to want to get involved in the homesteading movement, a trend towards self-reliance in daily living. Homesteading is multi-faceted and can cover topics such as horticulture, agriculture, textiles, cooking, and carpentry. In learning about these subjects you can also be engaging a host of personal skills such as patience, mindfulness, dexterity, and even chemistry and other S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills. The HAY Conference is a wonderful introduction to many topics for homesteading, as well as the exploration of career paths for teens and adults. Teachers and homeschooling parents will gain ideas for engaging lesson plans. Please register online and indicate which sessions you wish to attend. A list of all sessions and workshops can be found at the Hawlemont Elementary School Facebook page. Call 413-339-8316 for more information. Charlemont, MA. ($ – $$$)

Saturday, April 30, 2pm-5pm
You don’t have to be a beekeeper to attract pollinators to your backyard or garden. You can help reverse the decline in honeybee and native pollinator populations with strategic gardening. Certain plants will naturally attract beneficial insects, which will beautify your garden in a mutually beneficial relationship with the plants. Join instructor Tom Sullivan for his workshop, “Supporting Pollinator Habitats on the Homestead,” provided by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Massachusetts. Please register by contacting Dan Bensonoff, Education Events Organizer, at dan@nofamass.org or 860-716-512. 195 Chapman Street, Greenfield, MA. ($$)

Watch this bumblebee perform “buzz pollination,” a technique that they use to dislodge pollen from some plants.

Saturday, May 1, 1pm
Want to learn about wild edible plants and useful herbs? Join the Northampton/Amherst Herbal Meetup Group on a wild food walk. You will learn about local plants and how to forage them for personal use in a sustainable way. You will be able to take some plants home with you for cooking. The group will meet at the Green River Recreation Area. For more information, join the group on Meetup and contact the event organizers. Nash’s Mill Rd, Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, May 3, 4pm-5pm
Getting children involved in obtaining and preparing the foods they eat can have a positive impact on dietary choices. Gardening and farming make vegetables fun, and instill in children the importance of understanding where food comes from. Families with children ages 5-12 are invited to attend a series of workshops on gardening and nutrition at New Lands Farm. Each week will cover a different topic, and participants will get to work in a community garden plot. Call 413-787-0725 x422 for more information. 334 Birnie Avenue, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Arts & Crafts

Monday, May 2, 5pm
The Harry Potter series has been enchanting children, teens, and adults since the mid 90s. J.K. Rowling’s books appeal strongly to otherwise reluctant readers, and are rare in that the books become more challenging as the characters age. Participants between the ages of ten and eighteen are invited to the Sunderland Public Library to decorate mugs in a Harry Potter themed way. 413- 665-2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, May 4, 5pm
Star Wars has been a pop culture sensation for decades, spanning generations. If you know a teenager who loves Star Wars, you can use their fandom to encourage their participation in a craft, and possibly gardening! Participants between the ages of ten and eighteen are invited to the Sunderland Public Library to decorate Flower Pots to resemble their favorite Star Wars character. 413- 665-2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Animal Studies

Saturday, April 30, 7am-10am
There is more to the phenomenon of bird chirping than simple mating messages. Bird songs evolve socially. Although species sing the same song, individual birds learn songs from their fathers and dialects develop regionally. You can learn about migratory patterns of birds on a guided walk with bird song and ornithology expert John Green. This event is for beginning and intermediate birders. Meet at the entrance to the Great Falls Discovery Center. Space is limited so please register by calling 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 30, 10am-4pm
The opening up of Hancock Shaker Village to visitors brings many educational opportunities for children and adults. Starting April 16th and running every day, 10am-4pm, through May 8th, you can meet newborn lambs, piglets, calves, goats, chicks and ducklings in the Round Stone Barn. Learn about the biology of these animals and their significance in the context of farming life. Through the topic of sheep shearing, visitors also find out interesting facts on the anatomy and physiology of sheep and gain insight into Colonial life. In addition to history and biology, many people who visit Shaker Village are interested in the architecture of the Round Stone Barn, built in 1826 as a cow stable. On the weekend of April 30th-May 1st you can view hands-on textile demonstrations. Through the entire run of this season, animal paintings will also be on display. Hancock Shaker Village has something for everyone: art, history, science, and baby animals! 413-443-0188. 843 West Housatonic St. Pittsfield MA. (Children 12 and under FREE. 13-17 <$. Adult $)

Saturday, April 30, 11:30pm-1:30pm
For this S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art and math) event at the Meekins Library, children will learn about biology through an introductory lesson on spring peepers. Participants will hear what these small frogs sound like, learn about their life cycle, and make a peeper puppet! After learning about the frogs’ sounds, make time to listen for them in the evenings in your own yard, neighborhood, or on a special outing. 413- 268-7472. 2 Williams Street, Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, May 1, 9am-4pm
With Spring in the air, you may find yourself wondering about bird calls and sounds. What is the purpose of the sounds they make? How come some birds just seem to vocalize simple chirps while others have elaborate, melodious songs? Bird songs evolve socially, and although species sing the same song, dialects develop regionally. “Bird language” is a term referring to the combined chirps, songs, and behaviors which allow birds to communicate with each other. Humans can learn these cues too! This workshop at the Mass Audubon’s Berkshire Sanctuaries and Flying Deer Nature Center will teach participants about bird language through storytelling, lecture, slideshows, outdoor activities and field exercises. There will be activities for adults and teens, as well as a separate day of activities for kids ages six through twelve. 413-637-0320. 472 W Mountain Road, Lenox, MA. ($$$)

Learn how to memorize bird songs using visualization, with a little help from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Bird Song Hero!

Wednesday, May 4, 7am-9am
Do you love to watch birds? Can you name some of the species that are frequently found visiting backyard birdfeeders? Would you like to know more, or to simply enjoy some time connecting to nature? Bird watching is a wonderful way to get outdoors early in the morning while the world is especially peaceful. Jonathan Pierce, caretaker of the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, runs this weekly bird walk for beginning and advanced birders. Learn new bird species as you explore the sanctuary. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road, Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Nature Studies

Saturday, April 30, 8am-2pm
Do you want to learn about trees, plants and forest ecology, while encouraging your pre-kindergarten through eighth grade children or students to learn as well? Aimee Gelinas, director and naturalist of Tamarack Hollow Nature and Cultural Center, is hosting this tree identification and nature studies workshop free of charge. If you wish to buy the Project Learning Tree guide, it costs $20. For more information, questions, or to pre-register, please contact Aimee at Aimee@gaiaroots.com. Workshops to be held at the Notchview Reservation and The Tamarack Hollow Nature and Cultural Center Windsor, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 30, 9am-3pm
Elms College is throwing a Bioblitz at Chicopee Memorial State Park. Teachers, students, parents and friends of all ages are invited to team up with scientists to identify as many of the park’s living creatures as possible in a single day. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet people working in scientific fields and ask them questions about science in general or about their careers specifically. Participation can get community members interested in the biodiversity of their local lands, and as a result make them more invested in conservation efforts. Documenting of local species can give scientists clues for further research. You never know what you’re going to find until you look! Please register online at the Elms College website. 570 Burnett Road, Chicopee, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, May 1, 2pm-4pm
Have you ever seen a strangely shaped tree and wondered why it grew that way? Environmental events such as storms can cause trees to grow in a bent direction. Tom Wessels, author of Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England, will be giving a workshop on interpreting the history of a forest. Clues such as tree shapes, scars in bark, and various forms of decay can tell you about the natural history of the land. Come to this workshop at Hawlemont Elementary School to learn more. 10 School Street, Charlemont, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, May 4, 9am-4pm
Go explore a natural area with your child and intentionally follow his or her lead. See what they discover, what engages them, what questions they ask, and what comments they offer. You will both learn a lot! Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary’s trails cover forests, meadows, and wetlands, allowing visitors to enjoy scenic views and learn about local wildlife. Berkshire residents can enjoy free admission on the first Wednesday of the month! Registration is not required. Please bring valid ID. 413-637-0320. 472 W Mountain Road, Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, May 4, 3pm
Although more than half of planet Earth is comprised of oceans, they remain largely an unexplored mystery to humans. Deep sea exploration has made large strides in recent years, revealing a diverse and previously unknown biota. You can learn a little of what we know, and don’t know, about deep oceans from oceanographer David Gallo’s talk at the Berkshire Museum. His presentation, “Deep Ocean, Deep Secrets: What Do the Oceans Mean to Us?” is included with regular museum admission. Seating is limited; please call 413-443-7171 ext. 360 to reserve your seat. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($. Under 18 <$. Under 3 FREE)

Service-based Learning

Saturday, April 30, 10am-2pm
Do you love the Great Falls Discovery Center? Give back by volunteering your time to help clean up the park. Volunteers will help spread mulch for garden beds, and clean up leaves and trash. Bring a friend and meet other nature lovers. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 30, 10am-12pm
Parks, trails, forests, and public beaches are not only fun and relaxing places to spend your time. They can be used as resources for learning about topics such as zoology, biology, ecology, habitat and life cycles. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation is holding its annual Park Serve Day at various locations across the state. You can help clean up Norwottuck Rail Trail and prepare it for the summer season. 413 586-8706 ext. 12. 446 Damon Road, Northampton, MA. (VOLUNTEER)

Saturday, April 30, 10am-5pm
The William Cullen Bryant Homestead is an iconic architectural piece which allows visitors to learn about the poet and journalist’s life in a fun and memorable way. You can help bring Bryant’s summer home out of winter hibernation by helping The Trustees at this rare, behind-the-scenes opportunity to clean the iconic collections, prepare the home for seasonal tours and learn with Curator of Collections, Mark Wilson. Come and volunteer for part of the day or the full day and expand your interest in local history while giving back to the local community. To sign up, visit The Trustees website or call 413-532-1631 x3110. 207 Bryant Road, Cummington, MA. (VOLUNTEER)

Tuesday, May 3, 8am-4pm
Wednesday, May 4, 8am-6pm
Thursday, May 5, 8am-3:30pm
Friday, May 6, 9am-4pm
The Walk for Massachusetts Children is a fundraising event which supports the overarching goal of getting adults and families to volunteer their time in order to support a child in their community. The ten day walk covers 136 miles and 26 towns. The walks raise money for family centers, child bereavement centers, and support systems for homeless children. On Tuesday, May 3, the walk will begin in Belchertown and end in Northampton. The walk will begin and end at different locations each day, so please check that detail ahead of time. For more information, visit the Walk for MA Children website. You are invited to participate for all or some of the day. Please register by emailing scranewalks@gmail.com. 413-265-8217. Federal Street, Belchertown, MA. (VOLUNTEER/DONATION)


Saturday, April 30, 10am
The Allen timber dam may be one of the oldest dams of its type in Massachusetts. The Allen Dam, along with the Bartlett Dam, were removed to promote ecological restoration of the brook and to address public safety issues. You can learn more at Bartlett and Allen Historic Dams: Our Industrial Past and the Ongoing Restoration of Amethyst Brook, a presentation at the Pelham Library. Speakers including will guide you through the history of the dams, their removal, and how the stream is responding. Topics will include sea lamprey, stream ecology, See the full schedule on the Pelham Historical Society website. 413-695-1797. 2 South Valley Road, Pelham, MA (FREE)

Why is concrete often the material of choice for dams? Learn more about its unique properties here:

Saturday, April 30, 10am
For those who are not too put off but the dark subject matter, gravestones allow for interesting insight into history. They are a form of sculpture, a cultural tradition, and provide centuries’ old information on people who lived in a particular time and place. You are welcome to join the Association for Gravestone Studies’ Western New England Chapter where speakers will cover several aspects of the topic including the green burial movement, and a photographic history of gravestones for men who were killed during construction of the Hoosac Tunnel. Please RSVP to Andrea Carlin, anduruna@hotmail.com. Hatfield Congregational Church, 41 Main Street, Hatfield, MA. (DONATION)

Sunday, May 1, 11am-4pm
Living history museums and events provide interesting insight into the ways in which we engage with historical information. Renaissance fairs first emerged in the United States in the 1950s, as part of a larger interest in medieval culture and music. Living history challenges actors and attendees to think about history beyond events, learning about customs, dress, accents and behaviors. The 14th Annual Community Renaissance Festival hosted by The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies will be highly entertaining and educational. Attendees of all ages will have the chance to witness and learn about jewelry making, pottery, weaving, and woodworking. There will be sword demonstrations, juggling, Tarot reading, dancing and music. As part of this festival, The Theater Truck will be performing Commedia Grab Bag! in the Big Tent at 11:30. This interactive theatrical performance will allow audience members to determine what scenes and characters are played in a choose-your-own-adventure style performance. The book sale will allow for continued historical learning after the event. The full event schedule can be found on the The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies website. 413-577-3600. 650 E Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Music Studies

Saturday, April 30, 1pm
The Amherst College Women’s Chorus Spring concert will take you all the way from the compositions of Brahms, to those of Canadian bluegrass trio The Wailin Jennys. The group will also perform renditions of songs by Irish composer Fergus O’Farrell. A light brunch will be served around noon. For more information call 413-542-2484. Buckley Recital Hall. 53 College Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 30, 2pm
Singing releases both endorphins and oxytocin, leaving the singer more relaxed. Oxytocin also causes a feeling of bonding with others. Combine singing with a sense of community and you are bound to experience a strong sense of belonging. The Sunderland Public Library is hosting a community sing, for all ages and abilities. Participants will sing
Oldies, new music, seasonal songs, folk, pop, traditional, and personal requests. 413- 665-2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, May 3, 6:30pm
The Spring Choral Concert of the Northampton Community Music Center will feature vocal music from high-definition, Ku’umba Women’s Choir, and Berkshire Hills Music Academy Chorus. Enjoy a variety of choral sounds and compositions! The concert will take place in Edwards Church of Northampton. 413-585-0001. 297 Main Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, May 4, 6:30pm
Are you a beginner mandolin player? Bring your mandolin to the Storrs Library for this three-part series of mandolin lessons! For those who don’t know, the mandolin is a string instrument in the lute family. This instrument originated in Italy. In the United States it is often utilized to play folk, celtic or bluegrass music. One Wednesday a month, April 6, May 4th and June 1st, join other beginners as you grow into more knowledgeable and skilled musicians together. Seth Roberts of The Blueberry Hill Boys will be running these sessions. Email questions to: asethroberts@gmail.com. 413- 565-4181. 693 Longmeadow St, Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, May 5, 7pm
Amherst College Department of Music’s annual “Concertofest” will showcase various Senior instrumentalists and orchestra leaders performing some of their best work. Come witness the culmination of years of effort as these students perform music from composers such as Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms. You will hear violins, horns, and more. Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center. 53 College Street, Amherst, MA. ($. Seniors <$. Children 12 and under and five college students with ID FREE)

Film Studies

Saturday, April 30, 10am-3pm
This screening of family-friendly, short animated films at the Berkshire Museum allow children and adults to learn about art, film, biology, and natural history. Filmmakers and journalists capture science and natural history on with paper-puppet animation techniques. This screening is free with regular museum admission. Be sure to check out the ArtZoo exhibit for further learning about animals and art! 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($. Under 18 <$. Under 3 FREE)

Wednesday, May 4, 5:30pm-6pm
The Star Wars saga has captured die-hard fans for generations since it first screened in May 1977. The film may be modern in some of its concepts, but the core of the plot is a classic mythological tale. The hero must go on a dangerous quest to fulfill his destiny, overcome obstacles and discover his true self. The Star Wars series can be an entry point for understanding the tradition of mythological storytelling and its cultural purpose. Star Wars fans of all ages are invited to the Westfield Athenaeum to screen the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens (PG-13) and engage in crafts and other activities. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street, Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Performing Arts

Saturday, April 30, 4pm and 7:30pm
Performing music, theater, or comedy in front of a supportive audience and as part of a team can help teenagers and children achieve high self-esteem and a sense of belonging. Theater allows actors to express themselves creatively through various characters, while becoming more in-tune to emotions through their performance training. The skill to project your voice and articulate your words is useful for many career paths. The Drama Studio provides youth with the opportunity to intensively study theater through after school programs and vacation camps. Come to their Cabaret performance to witness a showcase of acting, comedy, stage combat, dance and musical theatre. 413-739-1983. 41 Oakland Street, Springfield, MA. ($. <$ Students.)

Saturday, April 30, 2:30pm and 7:30pm
This lively musical production is based on the beloved children’s classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Telling the timeless story of a world famous candy man and his quest to find an heir, Willy Wonka, a family-friendly musical, is sure to bring back wonderful chocolate-filled memories for adults and entertain children like never before! The show features cast members ranging from age 6 to 70 with an orchestra and engaging choreography. This rollicking performance will encourage children to seek out the rest of Roald Dahl’s quirky and imaginative stories and encourage all ages, perhaps, to become involved in their local community theater. The show is presented by Greene Room Productions and performances will be held at The Academy of Music Theatre. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street, Northampton, MA. ($$)

Sunday, May 1, 1pm-4pm
You can witness ballet, belly dancing, drumming, choir, brass, a capella and more in one afternoon at the UMass Fine Arts’ Center plaza. This all ages event will also include crafting, free face painting, interactive family music and dance lessons! This is a great opportunity for parents to help their children identify artistic interests, and for adults and lifelong learners to enjoy professional performances. For a full list of performances, visit the UMass Fine Arts’ Center website. 413-545-3671. 151 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Mountain River Taiko drummers are one of many performers you can see at this great event!

Tuesday, May 3, 6:30pm
How can music tell a story? What instruments or methods sound sad, uplifting, urgent, or confused? Musician and storyteller Andrew Rangell will perform Babar the Elephant, a concert based on the 1989 French Canadian children’s series, at Immanuel Lutheran Church. Families can enjoy an engaging story as well as renowned piano playing. Help your child learn to connect sound to personal expression, a wonderful understanding to develop! 867 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, May 5, 7:30pm
Friday, May 6, 7:30pm
With its musical roots in hip-hop and salsa, In The Heights took audiences by storm when it hit Broadway in 2008. This play tells the story of residents in Washington Heights, a neighborhood in Upper Manhattan, as they struggle to make lives for themselves despite poverty, oppression, and gentrification. To help the student cast better understand the origin of this production, Williston theater director Emily Ditkovski took her students to New York City in January to learn about the play’s development first hand, while having lunch with members of the original Broadway cast! The students then toured Washington Heights. Preparing for this play has been a journey of discovery for these students. The performances are the result of extensive study and cultural immersion, giving this show a unique and vibrant authenticity. In The Heights is said to be a beautiful celebration of family, love, and the resilience of the human spirit. Performances will be held at The Williston Northampton Theater. 413-529-3000. 19 Payson Avenue, Easthampton, MA. ($)

Visual Arts

Saturday, April 30, 10am-5pm
Sunday, May 1, 10am-5pm
Pottery appears as a cultural artifact of all corners of the Earth. It can be revered and studied as an art form, a functional object, and a historical artifact. (You can read more about discovering history through pottery in this Hilltown Families post from 2015). You are invited to view pottery in historical and contemporary styles on this walking tour of the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail. In various clay studios you will see tableware, sculptures, and architectural tiles made by nationally-known artists and makers. For more information call 413-824-6506. Studios are located across the pioneer valley in: Northampton/Amherst; Greenfield and the northern Valley; and the Mohawk Trail village of Shelburne Falls. (FREE)

Love pottery? Listen as this artist describes her process in creating art from beach clay.

Saturday, April 30, 3pm-9pm
Some works of art require passive enjoyment, for example, a painting in a gallery which you are not allowed to touch. Other art forms invite interactive, audience participation. FIGMENT North Adams is a group which encourages the latter. This all ages event at Windsor Lake will showcase accessible, participatory works of art. 200 Windsor Lake Road, North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, May 1, 10am-5pm
Every first Sunday of the month, The Clark Art Institute offers free admission! The Clark Art Institute, located in north Berkshire County, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. On this free admission day, visitors can enjoy an outdoor percussion performance, gallery talks, Irish folk music, floral arrangement demonstrations, and special flower-themed crafts! 413-458-2303. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA (FREE)

Wednesday, May 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)

Friday, May 6, 3pm-8pm
Where art is located or performed may influence the way we think about it. Artwork preserved in a temperature-controlled gallery may affect viewers differently than art placed outdoors. Mobile Art Boxes mix elements of both gallery and outdoor artworks. These works of art are created in and around DIY Mobile Boxes, 8’x8’x16’ storage units. As such, they are partially enclosed, yet mobile. The Mobile Art Boxes at Florence Night Out 2016 will be placed all over downtown Florence, allowing for the chance of being stumbled upon by accident as well as sought out by attendees of the event. Each box will contain the work of a single artist, using experimental installation, video, sculpture, painting, dancing, graffiti and sound performance. Connect with Florence community members as you explore these unique works of art. For a complete schedule, please visit the Florence Night Out website. Contact Joshua Braska at 413-330-5462 with any questions. Florence, MA. (FREE)

Cultural Studies

Saturday, April 30, 11am
This year, Ukrainian Easter will be celebrated on May 1st. Participants ages 12 and up can celebrate by learning how to decorate eggs in the Lithuanian style at the Whately Public Library. Lithuanian sisters, Carol Dailida and Lorraine Dailida Starr will demonstrate techniques and be able to discuss this beautiful, intricate cultural tradition. 413- 665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Rd, Whately, MA. (FREE)

What is it about eggs that beckons people to adorn them? The techniques and designs we find on crafted eggs seem boundless. Have a look at these zoetropic (simple animation) eggs as an example of yet another way to decorate them!

Sunday, May 1, 10am-4pm
Have you ever been curious to check out the Yiddish Book Center? This resource for Jewish cultural preservation offers digital and physical collections of oral histories and Yiddish literature. At their free open house, you can participate in guided tours at 11am and 1pm. Oral history films will showcase Yiddish literary figures and their descendants. At 2pm, a talk by Adam Kirsch: “Is There Such a Thing as Jewish Literature?” will explore formal and literary patterns in Jewish literature. 1021 West Street, Amherst, MA (FREE)

Sunday, May 1, 1pm-6pm
May Day, approximately halfway between the Spring equinox and Summer solstice, is celebrated with rituals and festivals. In gaelic tradition, these rituals served to protect people, animals, and crops at a time when livestock were driven out to pasture. You can engage in a symbolic celebration of Spring and growth at the EarthSpirit Open House. Attendees will walk the land, gather around the Maypole, and gather for a potluck supper. For directions and information, email openhouse@earthspirit.com or call 413-238-4240. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, May 5, 7pm
The narrative nature of folk music makes it an interesting vehicle for learning about culture and history. Adam Miller is a storyteller, musician, and expert on American folksongs and folklore. He will be showcasing his interactive, musical performance, “Singing through History!” at the Holyoke Public Library. His performance can be easily connected to some of the folk tales available at the library, for those who wish to continue exploring this topic in the future. 413-420-8101. 250 Chestnut Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, April 30, 9am-3pm
Gifted students in public schools sometimes exhibit behavioral issues stemming from boredom and lack of stimulation. Teachers who recognize gifted students as such and provide them with activities and resources enable them to thrive in the classroom. Parents may be more likely to recognize their child as gifted but may need to advocate for the right education for their child. This Conference On Gifted Children will address the academic and emotional needs of gifted children in the classroom and in the home. Network with other parents or teachers and get great advice to support your child’s abilities. Register at the Mass Gifted. website. Academy Hill School. 413-788-0300. 1190 Liberty Street, Springfield, MA. ($$)

Tuesday, May 3, 6:00pm-7:30pm
Parenting can require unprecedented feats of empathy in order to relate to the range of emotions children experience on a daily basis. Sometimes these emotions are hard to relate to and lead to difficult behaviors. Getting at the root of the issue can help prevent or de-escalate outbursts in the future. Parents at the Belchertown Family Center will discuss these strategies in their workshop, “Why Do They Do That?!” 413-283-7594. 720 Franklin Street, Belchertown, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, May 5, 6pm-8pm
It can be difficult to openly discuss parental challenges and difficult decisions. But second opinions, commiseration, and laughs are a huge help to anyone trying to raise a happy, healthy child. Parents of children ages birth to eight years are invited to meet, chat, and share experiences over the course of this three-part workshop. Meetings will take place at Easthampton High School on Thursday April 28, Thursday May 5, and Thursday May 12th. Registration is required through the Collaborative for Educational Services website. 413-586-4900 x5568. 70 Williston Avenue, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

[Photo credit: (cc) Tom Cole]

Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Blandford, Bernardston, Chesterfield, Erving, Holyoke, Montague, Montgomery, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Springfield, Warwick and Williamsburg Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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