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Lift Ev’ry Voice celebrates diversity in The Berkshires

The Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival is bringing a variety of cultural events to the area.

“We are thrilled to bring back the 2013 Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival,” said Don Quinn Kelley, a co-chair of the festival steering committee. “After the festival made its debut in 2011, the significance was clear: this was an opportunity to not only entertain, but to enrich as well.”

The goal of Lift Ev’ry Voice is to present programming from youth groups to art exhibits to concerts and plays, events which celebrate African-American heritage and traditions.

This year’s festival started on June 15 and has included a “Faith and Freedom Walk” in downtown Pittsfield and workshops and performances with acclaimed poet Nikki Giovanni throughout The Berkshires.

This week, three of the festival’s highlighted events are taking place.

On Friday (July 5), “Portraits of Berkshire County Elders” will open at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield with a reception from 5-8 p.m., as part of the city’s First Fridays Artswalk series.

“We are honored to host this exhibit and celebrate the rich African-American heritage here in The Berkshires,” Pittsfield Director of Cultural Development Megan Whilden, who is also a member of the festival steering committee, said. “It’s important to us to honor all of the many members of our community, young and old.”

The photo exhibit features portraits by Jane Feldman, Ken Green, Jennibeth Gomez, Julia Kaplan and Susan Geller, as well as personal histories written by historian and MCLA professor Frances Jones-Sneed, Ph.D.

“Working on the Lift Ev’ry Voice elders photography project has been a great honor,” Ms. Feldman said. “Much of my work as a photojournalist has focused on the telling of stories that historically have been kept from us. I am proud to help bring the faces and stories of the African-American community to light with our exhibit at the Lichtenstein.”

On Saturday (July 6) in North Adams, area youth and young adult spoken-word poets will perform during gallery hours (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) at MASS MoCA as part of the “Dare to Dream” event. A reading of Frederick Douglass’ legendary July 4 address is featured. A concert from R&B singer Bettye Levette will also take place at 8 p.m.

After the weekend wraps up, Lenox gets in the action with “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue” at The Mount on Thursday (July 11). The event, which runs from 5-8 p.m., features trombonist Craig Harris and the Tailgaters and food by MadJack’s BBQ Restaurant of Pittsfield.

“We have worked diligently to partner with various community partners throughout the county to provide a rich array of signature events that will continue this mission,” Dr. Kelley said. “There is something for everyone in this festival.”

The 2013 Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival runs through August 4, when Esperanza Spaulding performs at Ozawa Hall on Tanglewood’s campus. For more information on the festival, visit

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Posted by on July 5, 2013. Filed under Arts and Entertainment,Community Events,News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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