Artists of all media including writers, poets, musicians, actors, sculptors, painters, dancers, photographers, etc. from the Berkshires and adjacent areas are invited to apply to perform at the Arts First Festival West Stockbridge on Sunday May 2 or 9 , 2021. We encourage people of all ages, races, etc. to participate for free. Artists will apply on line on SignupGenius.com and will have the opportunity to audition in the fall and winter of 2020-2021 which will add to our cultural activities in West Stockbridge. These auditions will also be free and open to everyone. We will reach out to local residents and others to volunteer and organize and remind them of their commitment through signupgenius.com. We are inspired by a very successful Arts First program at Harvard University which has been run for many years and are using their format and their experience to help us organize the program. We chose Sunday May 2 as it is during the Massachusetts Arts Week May 1-10, 2020 (we don’t know the exact dates yet for 2021) organized by the Highland Street Foundation and the Boch Center for the third year in a row and supported by the Mass Cultural Council and Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism which provides excellent marketing support and free tools and will help to make this festival a success. Our town is known as a great center of culture and arts celebrating diversity and we wish to expand our programs through this arts festival. We are also expanding our cultural activities to the quiet months of winter and engaging people of all ages in our local schools and cultural organization.
The Vision Committee is sponsoring this project and working with a number of local venues who are participating including The Foundry, Six Depot Café and Roastery, Shaker Mill Books, West Stockbridge Old Town Hall and the Historical Society, A Tap House at Shaker Mill. The previous owner/manager of Shaker Dam Coffeehouse agreed but that venue has closed although a new owner would likely participate. The Guild of Berkshire Artists has expressed interest to cosponsor and would have donated $300 in spring 2020. We will use signupgenius.com, a free online app to collect and manage the artists who are presenting and the volunteers who will help us carry out this Festival.
Celebrate ALL the arts!
Provide free cultural events open to everyone of all backgrounds both the auditions and the festival.
Identify, support, and expand opportunities for creative artists in all media in our area.
Contribute to the cultural vitality of West Stockbridge and the Berkshires by celebrating the creative artists in all media in our area.
Expand the free cultural activities in West Stockbridge during the winter months by providing a program of auditions which expands our events and gives artists the chance to practice and improve their performances.
Involve people of all ages and of a variety of backgrounds, celebrate diversity without discriminating on the basis of race, gender, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, sexual orientation or age.
Spring 2020: identify and get support of venues. Reach out to teachers in creative disciplines. Draft signup genius tools to recruit artists and volunteers.
Fall 2020: Convene committee to support planning. Contact art, English, music, drama departments in local schools and local cultural institutions. Write press releases to recruit artists and volunteers. Draft audition recommendation feedback.
December- January. First auditions of college age students in December. In November and December and January – February auditions of potential participants. Prepare paper publicity if funded.
March: determine who is where and notify participants and volunteers. Volunteer manager for artists at each venue will insure that there are two volunteers at each venue one person to focus on the artist/s, for each of the time slots. Another to focus on greeting the audience and making sure they enter and leave on time. Each performance is 20 minutes in length with ten minutes travel time between venues.
Confirm schedule with each venue. Write up evaluation forms for audience and for artists and for venues and for volunteers.
April: Send out reminders through signupgenius and have manager of the site double check with each site. Artist/s managers confirms the artist/s for their site.
May 3, 2020. Performance Fair and evaluations.
Town is seen as center for diverse arts.
Cultural activities in winter months are expanded and local businesses will then have access to more business at this time.
Children, Teenagers and artists of all ages have opportunities for sharing their artistry and the public for learning about a variety of arts.
We are using the highly successful model used by Harvard university for decades which students from West Stockbridge participated in many years ago.
A variety of cultural institutions will be contacted and encouraged to collaborate.
By auditioning the artists we hope to insure that they are good and have the chance to practice and improve their work. Sunday May 2 could have a blizzard- it has happened in May but it is very rare. It could rescheduled for Sunday May 9 and still be during the time of the Massachusetts Artsweek.
Dear Friends of the Arts in West Stockbridge,
The Vision Committee proposes an Arts First celebration in West Stockbridge on Sunday May 3, 2020 from 2-5pm in the afternoon. We will be inviting people to perform and share all kinds of arts with us. We would expect 10-25 people to attend a series of twenty minute performances on all kinds of arts- music, theater, poetry, dance, creative writing, fiber arts, painting, you name it. There would be ten minutes between each performance to enable people to move on to another performance at another site. We would recruit at least two volunteers for each venue, and a number of other volunteers to help with check-in of the performers. Your responsibility would be to offer a space for six twenty minute performances. Other people would greet, start and end the performances and provide information and deal with any other concerns you might have.
WHY NOW? Why are we asking you a year ahead of time? We want to let teachers know about this NOW so they can begin to encourage their gifted students to become involved. Having been a teacher I understand how busy the beginning of the school year is. This needs time to percolate and inspire. We will need a number of places which are close together and have some inside area in case it rains or is as cold as it has been this year. So that is why we are asking you first. You can decide how many people your space could hold and any other requirements you might have. Some of you might have two spaces which could be used.
WHY May 3? For many years the Highland Street Foundation has provided publicity and coordination for a now state-wide ARTS Week in Massachusetts and that is the week they pick. So they can support our publicity. And they provide lots of tools and ideas on how to organize and publicize the events.
WHO WILL PERFORM? People gifted in all the arts of all ages and backgrounds. We plan to have auditions in the winter so the performers can practice, we can assure quality, and we will all have more fun next winter.
Can this work? With your help, ideas, energy and connections it will! Doane and I were inspired by the model which Harvard has been using for a couple of decades and we plan to use their forms and structure and experience. We even got to know some gifted West Stockbridge young people a long time ago because they performed at Harvard as part of Harvard's Arts First. And they are both STILL in the arts! So it works. We believe that the joy and energy of West Stockbridge should be celebrated. Please let us know as soon as possible if you can share a space for 10+ people on Sunday May 3, 2020 from 2-5pm.