10x10 Winter Arts Festival, emphasis on outdoor recreation

The City of Pittsfield’s Upstreet Cultural District has a way to cure those winter blues this February; the ninth annual 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival, sometimes referred to at the 10x10 Winter Arts Festival, presented by Milltown Capital, featuring a lively array of music, art, theatre, dance, film, play, fireworks and more from Feb.13-23 in the heart of the Berkshires.

This year’s festival was highlighted at a press conference on Jan. 16 at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary. Organized by the City of Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development and Barrington Stage Company, the festival features 65 events in 20 different venues, highlighting dozens of artists, actors, musicians, playwrights and performers.  The 10X10 festival kicks off on Thursday, Feb. 13 with these events:  The opening reception for the Ten Spot Sculpture Show at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, featuring three dimensional art from artists in the Berkshires and beyond; the Getting to Yes: Women’s Suffrage in the Berkshires and Beyond, a collaborative exhibit with the Berkshire Historical Society at the Berkshire Athenaeum;  The  Mastheads Lit Party at Methuselah; A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer at the Whitney and the first preview night of Barrington Stage’s 10X10 New Play Festival.  The first day also includes these outdoor recreation events:  $10 Tubing Night at Bousquet and A Sunset Stroll with the Berkshire Natural Resources Council at Fred Garner Park.

“Each year, the 10x10 Winter Arts Festival brims with fantastic programs and amazing events, giving us all something to look forward to during this time of year.  I’m thrilled to share that we’re especially excited about this year’s festival as it features a dynamic collaboration between our thriving arts and culture scene and our magnificent natural resources. It’s truly the best of both worlds,” said Mayor Linda Tyer. “This partnership reflects one of the many opportunities that we will embrace to emphasize and enhance Pittsfield’s outdoor recreation economy.”

In Massachusetts, more than of the state’s residents – 59 percent – participate in outdoor recreation each year. Pittsfield’s vision for a robust outdoor recreation economy includes aligning the city’s natural resources and assets with the regional and state outdoor economy, supporting and enhancing opportunities for new and existing businesses, and ensuring that natural resources are accessible to all members of the community.

For this reason, the 10x10 collaboration was a perfect fit, said Jim McGrath, Park, Open Space, and Natural Resource Manager.  “Incorporating winter events into the annual 10x10 festival is a natural fit and will serve to highlight the many opportunities that exist in our city for outdoor winter recreation.  Whatever your interest, there is an event for you!”

The Ten Spot Sculpture Show at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts is an invitational show featuring artists from the Berkshires and beyond.  Each year, ten Berkshire contemporary artists are selected with a different focus, this year is three dimensional art.  The 2020 Ten Spot artists include:  Michael Boroniec; Mike Coyne; Sam Craig; Andrew DeVries; Robert Markey; Michael Melle; Barbara Patton; Bryan Powers; Peter Vacchina and Liz Williams.  The Ten Spot Sculpture Show opens on Feb. 7 during First Friday Artswalk at the Lichtenstein from 5-8 p.m.  The artists’ reception will take place 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13.  The exhibition dates are Feb. 7-28; Gallery hours are 11-4 p.m. Wed-Friday or by appointment.

For the second year in a row, the 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival will feature an ice sculpture.  Artists Peter Vacchina and Robert Markey will be creating a large dragon ice sculpture at the Berkshire Museum on Wednesday, Feb. 19.

Berkshire United Way’s early childhood coalition, Pittsfield Promise is once again partnering with the 10x10 Festival to present 10X The Fun at the Common and the Zion Lutheran Church for two hours leading up to the fireworks.  The free, community wide 10 Minutes of Fireworks, sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union, returns to the Common on First Street at 6 p.m. (dusk) Saturday Feb. 22.

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival joins the 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival once again this year with Such is our soul, a FREE public movement workshop with choreographer Joanna Haigood at the Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires.  Join choreographer Haigood in a workshop for people of all ages and abilities that explores the text of W.E.B. Du Bois, and its relevance today, through conversation, movement, and community.  This event is co-sponsored by the NAACP Berkshire County Branch.  All are welcome, no previous experience necessary.  For more information and to register visit jacobspillow.org or contact 413.243.9919, Ext.161.

“The 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival is a great example of collaboration between art and cultural organizations from Pittsfield and beyond,” stated Jen Glockner, the city’s director of cultural development.  “Each year continues to bring new and exciting partners, increasing the breadth of the Festival.”

The Berkshire Museum will be hopping throughout the 10x10 Festival with daily 10 Days of Play events featuring several community collaborations.  The always popular Berkshire Art Association Real Art Party will take place at the Berkshire Museum, as well as Berkshire Jazz’s Laszlo Gardony, Unaccompanied Piano and  WordXWord’s 10x10 I Have Something To Say.

Berkshire Theatre Group’s Colonial Theatre will host a performance of its BTG PLAYS! 2019-2020 Touring Show Magic Tree House:  Pirates Past Noon.

The Berkshire Athenaeum and the Berkshire Historical Society are joining forces once again, in partnership with Osher Lifelong Learning (OLLI) for Getting to Yes: Women’s Suffrage in the Berkshires and Beyond.  This exhibit examines the history of women’s suffrage in the Berkshires through 10 themes.

Other returning highlights of the festival include: Barrington Stage Company's popular 10x10 New Play Festival, featuring ten new 10-minute plays and Dance Ten, a performance showcase of ten community dance groups and schools from throughout the Berkshires.

This year there are a variety of family-friendly free or low-cost daytime activities, perfect for a week when many schools are on vacation. They include daily adventure play at the Berkshire Museum, including a free community night and community collaborations, a performance at the Colonial Theatre, a dance workshop with Jacob’s Pillow at the Boys and Girls Club, the 10x The Fun family event followed by a winter fireworks extravaganza at the Common and the Dance Ten performance showcase.

About The 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival

The 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival is a winter arts festival located in Pittsfield's Upstreet Cultural District in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, organized by the City of Pittsfield and Barrington Stage Company. Festival partners include:  Berkshire Art Association; Berkshires Jazz; Berkshire Museum; Berkshire Music School; Berkshire Theatre Group; Berkshire United Way and Pittsfield Promise; Hancock Shaker Village; the Whitney Center for the Arts and more.

Milltown Capital is the lead sponsor of the 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival.  Additional support is provided by Greylock Federal Credit Union and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Performances and events will take place every day during the festival. For a day-by-day calendar and more information, visit discoverpittsfield.com/10x10 or call 413-499-9348.  For regular updates to the Festival, like the 10x10 Upstreet Festival on Facebook and follow Arts Pittsfield on Twitter and Cultural Pittsfield Mass on Instagram.