In response to the many stay-at-home orders across the area as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the local arts and artisan community of the Berkshires has responded in a variety of creative ways. From tangible to imaginative, the Berkshire arts community has come together to provide resources for businesses and residents to protect themselves as well as family activities for stay-at-home and self-quarantined households.
Putting the Imagination to Work while Staying Put
Suzi Banks Baum, an inspirational artist and speaker for Rising Forth and New Illuminations, has introduced a self-guided workshop available for $25, called The 100 Day Primer. The workshop, which was inspired by the #100dayproject on Instagram, is self-determined in length. Baum, who has deep roots in the online artistic community, has had discussions with other artists about how to be a creative first responder. Baum said in a press release, “One of the first things to fall away during times of crisis are the habits that center and ground us emotionally and intellectually. Supporting a daily creative practice with writing prompts and tangible art activities calms our nervous system and heightens our resilience.” The 100 Day Primer is a downloadable EBook filled with 16 unique and intricate ideas about how to spend time in creative exploration. Baum writes, “Life is made of millions upon trillions of beginnings. This is how books are written, how tapestries are woven, how an idea moves from brain waves to tangible expression. This time of challenge is an opportunity to embed a creative practice into your life.” Banks Baum is also co-leading a free online writing workshop every Wednesday with her daughter Catherine. The team leads an average of 50 people online in writing exercises designed to move people through the creative blocks that this period of social isolation can build.
Suzi Banks Baum, photo by Christina Rahr
Molly and Aurel de St. Andre, of Berkshire Four Poster, created and published Let’s Color the Berkshires, a coloring book on sale for $15. The two local authors say they will ship or deliver in Berkshire County. According to Molly via a press release, “Our coloring book is made up of 12 original double page spreads that feature kids enjoying fun Berkshire activities. The pages are thick premium paper, great for any medium-paint, marker, or crayon, etc. And it’s locally printed!” The coloring book is available for sale on their Etsy store. In addition, Banks Baum, the de St.Andres, Cardinale Montano of Lineflax & Roving, and M. Designs have combined their efforts to sew cloth masks that have been donated to health care workers. The mask sewing is a part of a nationwide effort to sew and donate masks, an effort that many Berkshire residents and businesses have championed and participated in. M. Designs Upholstery is manufacturing cleaned anti-droplet masks free of charge to people in need in the community.
For more information on The 100 Day Primer by Suzi Baum visit suzibanksbaum.com/new-products/100-day-primer
To purchase the Berkshire Four Poster Coloring Book visit their Etsy page at etsy.com/listing/644821050/lets-color-the-berkshires