Saturday, June 29, 2013

I Would Fly There If I Could: Lift Ev'ry Voice Photography Show

Lift ev'ry voice and sing
'Til earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of liberty!

Rev. Louise Williamson
This is a little different from what I normally post here on the blog, but it is fully aligned with the blog's mission: to celebrate the beauty of the world and to share art with eveyone.  I am happy and thrilled to share this art with you today.  The following was written by Megan Whilden, the Director of Cultural Development for the City of Pittsfield, MA.  My hometown has got it going on!

Lift Ev'ry Voice Photography Show Features Portraits
of African-American Elders in the the Berkshires

Elaine and Clarence Gunn
Group Show at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts 
Opens During First Fridays Artswalk 

Pittsfield, Mass. -- Two years ago, as part of the first Lift Ev'ry Voice Festival celebrating African-American culture and heritage in the Berkshires, a group of volunteer photographers began making portraits of African-American elders throughout Berkshire County, to visually document and celebrate those who have been through so much in their lives.  

Fanny Cooper
 Those photographs were featured at the Celebration of the Elders held in July 2011 at the Mahaiwe Theatre. Now, as part of the 2013 Lift Ev'ry Voice Festival, the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts will host a group photography show of these portraits, to open on July 5th, during the First Fridays Artswalk.  The show features photographs by Jane Feldman, Ken Green, Jennibeth Gomez, Julia Kaplan and Sue Geller, as well as brief personal histories by historian and MCLA professor Frances Jones-Sneed, Ph.D.

James "Smitty" Smith
 Megan Whilden, Director of Cultural Development for the City of Pittsfield and a member of the Lift Ev'ry Voice steering committee, said, "We are honored to host this exhibit and celebrate the rich African-American heritage here in the Berkshires. It's important to us to honor all of the many members of our community, young and old."
Kathleen Edwards
Jane Feldman, one of the featured photographers, noted "Working on the Lift Ev'ry Voice elders photography project has been a great honor. 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 in July."

Frances Duval
 An opening reception will be held during Pittsfield's monthly First Fridays Artswalk on Friday, July 5th, from 5pm to 8pm. The reception is free and open to the public. The gallery is open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 12pm to 5pm. The exhibit closes on Saturday, July 29th.

Evelyn Halle
The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts is a city-owned community arts center located in Pittsfield's Upstreet Cultural District at 28 Renne Avenue.  The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts is home to changing art exhibits in its gallery space, nine working artist studios, a ceramics studio and community room, and a range of performances, classes, workshops and other events serving the Pittsfield community and beyond.

Sylvia Davis

Lift Ev'ry Voice: Celebrating African-American Culture & Heritage in the Berkshires is a countywide biennial festival first held in 2011, celebrating the rich traditions of African-American community, arts and culture, history and heritage found within Berkshire County and across the nation. 

Issac Crawford, Jr.
The 2013 Lift Ev'ry Voice Festival events include popup youth poetry and a concert by Bettye LaVette at Mass MoCA in North Adams on Saturday, July 6th and "Struttin' With Some Barbeque," a free outdoor jazz concert with Craig Harris on the grounds of Edith Wharton's the Mount on Thursday, July 11th. For more information visit

Press Contact: Megan Whilden, Director of Cultural Development,