Berkshire Family Fun: April 2018
Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of April. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday!
There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, story hours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.
Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:
Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by grants from the Hinsdale/Peru, Mount Washington, Sandisfield, Washington, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum. 413-743-7121. 67 East Road. Adams, MA.
Abbot School — 56 North Country Road.
Hancock Shaker Village. 1843 W Housatonic St. 413-443-0188
Saturday, April 14, 11am-2pm
ART STUDIES/SLOW ART
Have you ever been at a museum and had the experience of utterly losing yourself within a work of art? Gazing at it intently, getting deeper and deeper into the details of it and finding something inside of yourself that maybe you didn’t know was there. The greatest power of art is that it enables us to see within ourselves and speaks to us in an intuitive language that supersedes time and place. The sad truth, however, is that the museum visitors only spend an average of 10 seconds looking at each piece. There is a sense of pressure to see everything, which ultimately deprives people of the incredible experience of really immersing themselves in a piece of art. Letting it impact them, learning from it, perhaps even letting it change them. Come experience International Slow Art Day at MASS MoCA! A series of guided exercises and tours will give participants opportunities and strategies for experiencing art in a slower, more reflective context. Following these activities, participants can enjoy a cup of coffee together and discuss their experiences. MASS MoCA. 1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA (FREE W/MUSEUM ADMISSION)
North Adams Farmers’ Market 413-664-6180. St. Anthony Drive & Route 8.
Western Gateway Heritage State Park 413-663-6312. 115 State Street.
North Adams Public Library 413-662-3133. 74 Church Street.
MASS MoCA 413-662-2111. 1040 MASS MoCA Way.
Haskins Community Center 413-664-4821. 210 State Street.
Natural Bridge State Park — 413-663-6392. McCauley Road.
Saturday, April 21, 3-4:30pm
FILM SCREENING/ART STUDIES
In his 1908 Notes of a Painter, Henri Matisse wrote, “To paint an autumn landscape I will not try to remember what colors suit this season, I will only be inspired by the sensation that the season gives me; the icy clearness of the sour blue sky will express the season just as well as the tonalities of the leaves. My sensation itself may vary, the autumn may be soft and warm like a protracted summer or quite cool with a cold sky and lemon yellow trees that give a chilly impression and announce winter.” Matisse’s role in revolutionizing modern art may only be surpassed by Pablo Picasso. Early in his career, Matisse was at the forefront of the Fauve, or “Wild Beast,” movement in European art, which was defined by wild, aggressive brushwork and the use of strong colors. Matisse and the Fauves were less concerned with making representational or realistic art and deliberately employed a simplistic and abstract approach. In part, the Fauve movement was inspired by a growing interest in African and Oceanic art. While Matisse eventually moved away from the Fauve movement, he retained a deep commitment to the emotional, expressive qualities of color. Any fan of Matisse’s work won’t want to miss this screening of a behind-the-scenes look at the legendary Matisse exhibit at the Tate Modern, considered the most successful exhibit in the long and illustrious history of the museum. The Clark Art Institute. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA ($)
Milne Public Library 413-458-5369. 1095 Main Street.
Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation 413-458-2494. 671 Cold Spring Road.
Clark Art Institute 413-458-2303. 225 South Street.
Images Cinema. 413-458-5612. 50 Spring Street.
Sweet Brook Farm — 413-884-4246. 580 Oblong Road.
Williams College Museum of Art — 413-597-2376. 15 Lawrence Hall Drive.
Williamstown Youth Center — 413-458-5925. 270 Cole Avenue.
Notchview Reservation 413-684-0148. Route 9. Windsor, MA.
Dalton Free Public Library 0 413-684-6112. 462 Main Street.
Lenox Library — 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street.
Lenox Historical Society — Main Street.
The Mount – 413-551-5111. 2 Plunkett Street.
Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary – 472 West Mountain Road.
Shakespeare and Company – 413-637-3353. 70 Kemble Street.
Ventfort Hall – 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street.
Wednesday, April 11, 10am-1pm
Vernal pools are a vital part of our local ecosystem. These temporary pools, created by spring snowmelt, are an ideal site for many amphibian and insect species to breed due to the absence of predatory fish. These pools are a safe place for young salamander and fairy shrimp, among others. Most of the species that breed in vernal pools spend the majority of their lives hundreds of feet from the pools and then travel down during mating season. Therefore, the areas surrounding vernal pools are equally important for conversation. Come learn all about salamanders, frogs, and other species that rely on vernal pools with this moderate walk at Alford Springs. For more information and directions to the site, please visit Vernal Pools Walk. Pittsfield, MA (FREE)
Thursday, April 12, 5:30-6:30pm
The form of divination known as ‘tarot’ began in Europe in the 15th century as a popular parlour game. To this day, it is the second most popular card game in France. While the rules are extremely complex, they have remained virtually unchanged over hundreds of years. The game resembles other trick-taking games like bridge and hearts. In 1789, French occultist Jean-Baptiste Alliette popularized the game as a form of divination. Alliette drew inspiration for his tarot deck from the legendary Book of Thoth, a mythical book of magical spells, which allegedly included a spell that allowed human beings to speak directly to the gods. If you are interested in tarot, this beginner’s workshop will teach you how to arrange and read cards. New Moon Gifts. 5 Cheshire Road, Pittsfield, MA ($$)
Monday, April 16, 10-11am
MUSEUM ADVENTURES/MUSIC STUDIES
Berkshire Museum is bringing families a weeks worth of fun, educational activities for young children hosted annually during April vacation week by The National Association of Education for Young Children. The activities and events during this program will focus on early learning. Mondays program will be all about music: children will have the opportunity to make their own rhythm instruments together and attend a sing along concert! For a complete list of activities at Berkshire Museum during vacation week, please visit Week of the Young Child at Berkshire Museum. Berkshire Museum. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA (FREE W/MUSEUM ADMISSION)
Tuesday, April 17, 2pm
MUSEUM ADVENTURES/SPRING BREAK
Looking for fun and interesting activities during April vacation week? Look no further! The Berkshire Athenaeum has got you covered. With four days worth of activities, there will be something for everybody. Tuesday’s program will feature a special butterfly presentation, where children can learn all about butterflies and made a cool butterfly shirt to take home afterwards. For more information and a complete list of the week’s activities, please visit Spring Break at the Athenaeum. Berkshire Athenaeum. 1 Wendell Ave, Pittsfield, MA (FREE)
Saturday, April 21, 10am-4pm
LIVING HISTORY/FARM ADVENTURES
Meet the newest additions at Hancock Shaker Village! Explore the hands-on Discovery Barn, try your hand at crafts, stay for story time, and then visit the Shaker Schoolhouse. Tour the renovated Dairy Ell. Play Barn Bingo. Hear about seed saving and plant a seed to take home. Tour our greenhouses where seeds get their start. Meet our merinos and follow wool from sheep to cloak. Walk and wonder on the accessible (stroller-friendly) trail to explore. Compete (for fun) in Farm Games with competitions like the Grain Bag Toss, Moo Juice Squeeze, and more. Pony rides, face painting, balloon art on weekends. Cooking, blacksmithing, woodworking, spinning, weaving, dyeing, and milking demos. There are hundreds of activities. See a full schedule at HancockShakerVillage.org. Pittsfield, MA ($)
The Berkshire Athenaeum 413-499-4809. 1 Wendell Avenue.
Berkshire Humane Society 413-447-7878. 214 Barker Road.
Berkshire Lyric Theatre – 413-499-0258
Berkshire Museum – 413-443-7171 x10. 39 South Street.
Berkshire Music School — 413-442-1411. 30 Wendell Ave.
Colonial Theatre — 413-298-5576. 111 South Street.
Downtown Pittsfield Farmers’ Market. First Street.
First Friday Artswalk — Downtown.
Hancock Shaker Village – 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street.
Herman Melville’s Arrowhead. 413-442-1793. 780 Holmes Road.
Hilltop Orchard — Route 295.
Berkshire Botanical Garden 413-298-3926. 5 West Stockbridge Road.
Chesterwood — 413-298-3579. 4 Williamsville Road
Norman Rockwell Museum – 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183.
The Stockbridge Library, Museum, and Archives – 413-298-5501. 18 Main Street.
Ashintully Gardens. 413-298-3239. Sodem Road.
West Stockbridge Public Library – 413-232-0300 x308. 21 State Line Road.
Saturday, April 7, 10am-5pm
In the years following World War II, sustainable agricultural methods that had been used by human communities all over the world for thousands of years began to change rapidly. The vast majority of farms in the United States are currently practicing industrialized agriculture, defined by monoculture, meaning growing a single kind of food, and heavy use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The consequences of this type of agriculture are devastating both for the environment and for human health. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, an organization founded by MIT scientists in 1969 dedicated to using science to work for a healthier planet and society, the dangers of industrial agriculture for human health and safety include both acute and long term chronic illness due to exposure to chemical pesticides, fertilizer runoff leading to water contamination, which currently costs over 2 billion dollars annually in clean up costs, the massive overproduction of corn and soy products, which play a direct role in America’s obesity, heart disease, and diabetes epidemics, as well as the rapid growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria, which stems from the overuse of antibiotics in raising livestock. For more information about industrial agriculture, visit Union of Concerned Scientists. A huge component in changing farming policies is to inform and empower citizens to engage with agriculture in their own communities. This conference on democratizing the food system will feature panels on agriculture as activism and a tree walk, which will discuss foraging. Bard College at Simon’s Rock. 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington, MA ($$)
Tuesday, April 10, 6-10pm
HEALTH AND WELLNESS/BREATHWORK
In contemporary health and wellness circles, Tummo, named after the ancient Tibetan goddess of fire and passion, refers to a form of breathwork and meditation designed to increase and generate inner heat. In recent years, the Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof has brought worldwide attention to this ancient practice. By using a particular series of breathing exercises, Hof has been able to achieve unbelievable physical feats, including running up Mount Everest only wearing shorts. Even more amazingly, by subjecting himself to rigorous scientific testing Hof has conclusively demonstrated that he is capable of consciously directing his own immune system. Studies on Wim Hof have shown that he seems to be able to adjust his heart rate, adrenaline levels, and blood alkalinity. The claims made by Wim Hof are so outrageous and amazing that they inspired journalist Scott Carney to go study Hof, with the aim of debunking his incredible stories. However, as he documents in his bestselling 2017 book What Doesn’t Kill Us, Carney’s time with Hof in fact persuaded him that indeed, these breathing methods can have profound health benefits. This workshop will explore similar breathwork and meditation techniques from around the world. SRUTI Berkshire Yoga Center. 33 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, MA ($$)
Sunday, April 15, 2-4pm
WORLD CIRCUS DAY/OPEN HOUSE
Come celebrate World Circus Day and the 3rd anniversary of Berkcirque with an afternoon of circus fun! Berkcirque is dedicated to teaching young people athletic, creative, and social skills through circus arts. Learning these kinds of skills in a non-competitive, supportive environment is a great way to build self-confidence, self expression, trust, and physical fitness. Berkcirque offers classes on tumbling, clowning, juggling, and aerial arts. At this special open house visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about the exciting classes offered at Berkcirque, meet the instructors, and even try out some simple circus techniques. Berkcirque. 115 Gas House Lane, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)
Sunday, April 15, 4pm
FILM SCREENING/CHILDREN’S MARCH
Young people have always played a key role in the struggle for justice. Their passion and energy has been hugely influential in popular struggles throughout the world. The Oscar-winning 2004 film The Children’s March documents the role of children in the American Civil Rights Movement. This free screening of The Children’s March is inspired by the #neveragain movement, in support of the National School Walkout Protest planned for April 20th. As filmmaker Bobby Houston remarked, “We have the opportunity to again see the activism of children turn the tide of a political issue in America.” The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)
Saturday, April 21, 7:30-8:30pm
Best known for his plays The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Tennessee Williams is considered, by any estimation, to be one of the greatest 20th century American playwrights. Williams often drew inspiration for his plays from his own life, especially his troubled childhood and struggles with addiction and depression. The character of Blanche from Williams’ Pulitzer Prize winning play A Streetcar Named Desire is thought to be based, in part, on Williams’ sister Rose but critics also speculate that his earlier one-act This Property is Condemned also served as a character study for the immortal Blanche DuBois. The Simon’s Rock Theatre Program will be putting on a performance of This Property is Condemned alongside another celebrated American one-act, Trifles by Susan Glaspell. Bard College at Simon’s Rock. 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)
Thursday, April 26, 6-7pm
April is National Poetry Month so come out and celebrate the beauty of the written word at this Community Poetry Night! As seventeenth century Japanese haiku master Basho once wrote, “In this poor body, composed of one hundred bones and nine openings, is something called spirit, a flimsy curtain swept this way and that by the slightest breeze. It is spirit, such as it is, which led me to poetry, at first little more than a pastime, then the full business of my life. There have been times when my spirit, so dejected, almost gave up the quest, other times when it was proud, triumphant. So it has been from the very start, never finding peace with itself, always doubting the worth of what it makes.” Poetry has this incredible power to put us in touch with the deepest, most personal parts of ourselves and the world. As Basho observes, this process is not without its challenges but the task of the poet is to work through this endless, cyclical journey. Come read your own poem or one written by somebody else and share this incredible gift with your community. Refreshments will be served and participants will receive 10 percent off on purchases of all poetry books! The Bookloft. 332 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)
Saturday, April 28, 9am-6pm
INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE DAY
Do you remember the first time you stepped into an old bookstore? The piles of books stacked up to the low ceiling. The warm, comforting, musty smell of old paper. The feeling of joy, when you realized there was an entire world of ideas, words, and images just waiting for you to explore. This saturday, bookstores across the country will be celebrating National Independent Bookstore Day! Independent bookstores are not just places to buy books. They are gathering places for the whole community. Come join in the fun at The Bookloft, with an entire day full of fun activities, honoring our independent bookstores. The Bookloft. 332 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)
Berkshire South Regional Community Center — 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road.
Great Barrington Historical Society — South Main Street.
The Guthrie Center — 413-644-9288. 2 Van Deusenville Road.
Great Barrington Riverwalk — Church and River Streets.
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center — 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street.
Mason Library — 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street.
South Berkshire Kids – 413-464-5095. 444 Old Stockbridge Road.
Bidwell House Museum — 413-528-6888. 100 Art School Road.
Otis Library and Museum – 413-269-0109. 48 North Main Road.