Hilltown Families


Fall in Western Mass is when nature literally takes center stage; a destination visitors outside the area flock to because of the gorgeous dynamism of the season. The trees and their changing foliage are great connectors for kids (in a sense they connect to themselves!) to the outdoors and their sense of place. In this change lies a wonderful community-based educational opportunities tied to art and science. Read on to see how you can get your kid hooked on fall by collecting, creating and learning in their own backyards!

From museums and galleries to community-based organizations and art-making spaces, western Massachusetts is filled with opportunities to explore the arts. By utilizing community-based learning opportunities, families can explore the local art scene, as well as art history and art and culture from around the world.

Winter sports are ways to experience nature during the cold months. The winter landscape and its natural beauty have inspired many artists to capture the enchantment of the winter season. Take your camera with you as you explore the winter landscape, and let the images you capture inspire you to paint, draw or write about the beauty waiting to be discovered this time of year.

Each offering unique takes on the art of drawing, upcoming arts-based community events encourage art as creative free play and self expression. In Shelburne Falls, the 2nd annual Hilltown Draw Around offers a space in which to make art everywhere – floor and walls included. In Easthampton, the Circus Sketch Lab connects movement-based expression with the art of drawing, making for an experiment in collaborative creation.

The humanities offer a unique perspective on the natural world, providing a way to define the ineffable experiences we have outdoors.

Centered around the exploration of artists’ books, The Clark Art Institute’s Word Up Family Day invites families to explore creative storytelling in its many forms. Through collaborative activities, book-making, and a special gallery exhibit, this event illuminates storytelling in its many forms.

In honor of the Mexican Day of the Dead, or Dia de Los Muertos, dancers and musicians will lead a vigil through Easthampton and perform a reimagined folk dance on November 1st. Learn about this Mexican holiday and folk tradition at this community-based event.

Clark Art Institute’s Machine Age Modernism exhibition explores groundbreaking printmaking and offers community-based learning opportunity on art history. Exhibition opens February 28, 2015 in Williamstown, MA.

“Rhythms of a Faithful Journey” is an framed exhibit showing at Elms College in Springfield from Feb 3 to 23, featuring African-American artist and author Robin Joyce Miller. The artist herself is a tremendous believer in the transformative power of the arts, and she pays homage to this and her African-American heritage in this exhibit of visual poetry, which is especially appropriate for Black History Month. Read on for a description of the exhibit and some insights offered by the artist.

Fall in Western Mass is when nature literally takes center stage; a destination visitors outside the area flock to because of the gorgeous dynamism of the season. The trees and their changing foliage are great connectors for kids (in a sense they connect to themselves!) to the outdoors and their sense of place. In this change lies a wonderful community-based educational opportunities tied to art and science. Read on to see how you can get your kid hooked on fall by collecting, creating and learning in their own backyards!

A thought-provoking art installation at the Springfield Museums’ Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts is now open! Drawing from the well of magnificent western Massachusetts artists, this take on American domesticity comes from Berkshire resident, Ricky Bernstein. The subject matter is certainly an intrigue that invites discussion on pop art through stereotypically-American domestic scenes. However, since this is an installation that works outside the format of a formal exhibit, we are afforded an opportunity to watch how art works with its space. That is the tantalizing thing about installation art: it takes into account the surroundings it is being shown in. They are generally more labor intensive to exhibit and are a stimulating experience for the whole family to enjoy!

Read more and make plans to visit the many fine art museums we have here in western Massachusetts this summer with your family!

Springfield Museums explore Modern American Masterworks from O’Keefe to Rockwell and how artists in the 20th century depicted the emergence of individuality in America along with the challenge to existing social patterns in a new exhibit, “American Moderns, 1910-1960: From O’Keeffe to Rockwell.”

Use the exhibit as a opportunity to examine the work of many great artists, but also to explore ideas and images that represents periods in time and culture. When visiting this exhibit with your family, see if you can identify symbols of American tradition that are present in the works in this exhibition. Then stop and think what symbols might you use to express changes you’ve seen in your lifetime.

“Steampunk Springfield: Reinventing an Industrial City” opens this Saturday at the Springfield Museums! Originated in the 1980’s, the term “Steampunk” describes a fantasy world where steam-powered technology of the Victorian era merges with elements of contemporary time. Steampunk has since grown into an artistic and design subculture combining science fiction, history, fantasy and technology. A series of ambitious exhibits and events all tied to this unique art genre will be taking place in a citywide collaboration between cultural institutes throughout Springfield through September!

Western MA native, Deborah Baronas, has an exhibit at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, now through April 2014. Baronas will show a body of work that examines the lives of 19th century laborers, highlighting the work of textile mill workers, domestic servants, and tobacco farm field hands. This exhibit is more than an art show; it immerses viewers in history and can be used as an educational tool to recreate the past and delve into the lives and experiences of 19th-century working-class laborers…

“The Hats Off to Dr. Seuss!” exhibition at R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view a selection of original hats collected by Dr. Seuss over a period of 60 years. Special Dr. Seuss Birthday celebration on Saturday, March 1st…

Landscape Photography Exhibition Encourages Visual Literacy From now through the end of August, the Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton, MA will be home to a major exhibition of works by Anne Whiston Spirn. Spirn, a renowned author and photographer, has for decades drawn connections between her photographs and the work she does as both teacher and scholar in the field of landscape architecture. A graduate of Radcliffe College and the… Read More

Art with the under three crowd is messy and scattered. When we introduce art to children in this group it is important to have age appropriate expectations and to be prepared…

This month in “What to Play? Play Ideas for Family & Community,” Carrie shares one way families can take their child’s favorite picture or board book to inspire creative-free play…

The Art Garden is offering free art classes for teens this school year for students in Franklin County. Teens can discover skills and be creative in a relaxed atmosphere with wonderful art facilitators. Deadline to apply for this free program is Monday, October 7th…

Women and Food Photographic Exhibition will be display in Easthampton for the month of September. Local artist and writer Sarah Platanitis’ photographic project, “Women and Food,” has an appeal for a younger audience with healthy role models of local women giving back to their communities, doing what they love to do…

Beginning next week, “Islam Contemporary”, a contemporary exhibit of Islamic art, opens in Pittsfield. This exhibit is just one of several featured events in the Berkshires that celebrate Islamic art and culture in August. Over the course of the month, there will be a community Eid celebration, a documentary screening and talkback with the directors, and a concert of classical Middle Eastern music. Great events to supplement Middle Eastern, Art & Women’s studies…

Families in the Dirt Snow pants, boots and mittens be gone! It’s time for sunny afternoons and mud pies after a spring rain. Outdoor clean up. Digging. Rakes. Water. Hoses. Sticks. Rocks. Shovels. Mud. Now that the younger ones are completely engrossed in dirt play, encourage the older kids to put down their devices and join you for fresh air and sunshine. Their play job this month is to help you design… Read More

Free Draw for Free Play For a few years I was experimenting with effective drawing projects and trying to spread a love and excitement for art with college freshman. I asked each new group of students why they came to art school and why they thought friends stopped drawing and making things. Some had never thought about it. It was just what they did. They assumed others felt the same way whether… Read More

Cellblock Visions: Prison Art in America Art & Cultural Studies at the Stockbridge Library Friday, January 25th The Stockbridge Library is offering the community a unique opportunity to learn about a topic not often discussed – the artwork of prison inmates.  Art teacher Phyllis Kornfeld, author of Cellblock Visions: Prison Art in America, will share a slideshow presentation of artwork created by inmates.  This presentation will be paired with a discussion of… Read More

Backstories: The Other Side of Art on View at The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute December 22nd-April 21st in Williamstown Museums and galleries use more than just the pieces displayed in the exhibits they show to identify them – the stories behind paintings, sculptures, and other creative works are often much richer than they seem at first glance.  Information like signatures, dates, and other notes can often be found on the… Read More

Old Masters in New Frames Film Series Explores the Lives of Artists at The Clark in Williamstown this Fall The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is offering a free film series featuring well-regarded feature films about seven famous artists.  Older students interested in art, art history, and film can learn about artists from varying time periods and artistic styles, and each screening will include an introduction and post-film discussion with museum… Read More

ReUse Rally for the Arts: A Call for Artisans What can you do with old clothes, leftover non-recyclable containers, bits of string, extra drops of paint, and seemingly useless utensils? Make art! The Northampton DPW ReUse Committee is hosting an artisan show featuring work made from recycled, reused, and found materials – titled, “ReUse Rally for the Arts,” the event will both showcase interesting and radical work from local artisans, as well… Read More

World of Adventure with Howard Pyle Family Festival Day at Norman Rockwell Museum Saturday, August 4th, 2012 Explore history, as depicted in artist Howard Pyle’s illustrations, at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA!  The museum’s newest exhibit features nearly 80 of Pyle’s works, created between 1876 and 1910, the subjects of which include Arthurian England, heroes of the American Revolution, and the fate of Scottish so-called pirate Captain Kidd. On Saturday,… Read More

Berkshire Museum presents Rethink! American Indian Art Striking Contemporary Art & Significant Historic Objects The Berkshire Museum presents, “Rethink! American Indian Art,” an exhibit featuring art, artifacts, and educational materials expressing the rich skills and crafting traditions of Native American nations, from July 7, 2012 – January 6, 2013 in Pittsfield, MA. The exhibit features not only a history of Native American artistry, but also includes contemporary pieces showing the evolution of… Read More

50th Anniversary of The Snowy Day The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art presents a new exhibit – The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats.  Opening on June 26th, 2012 the exhibit is made up of over 80 of Keats’ works, including sketches, collages, and drawings, photographs of the author, and some of his less well-known Asian art and haiku, and will run through October 14, 2012. Keats’… Read More

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