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Berkshire Museum partners with Pittsfield High to amplify voices of Class of ’20

PITTSFIELD — A brand-new exhibition showcasing the work of talented student artists has arrived at the Berkshire Museum. Visual Voice: Portfolios from Pittsfield High School opened to the community Monday, June 15, as part of Berkshire Museum@Home. This exciting partnership between Pittsfield High School and the museum will remain on view through July 31, 2020.

Visual Voice: Portfolios from Pittsfield High School showcases the senior portfolios of ten skillful artists in Pittsfield High School’s 2020 AP Art class. The virtual show includes glimpses into the lives of local youth, insightful commentaries on the world through their eyes, and depictions of friends, strangers, idols, and the artists themselves through a variety of media – from black and white photography and pencil drawings to colorful paintings and collage.

In any other year, these portfolios would have been presented in a physical exhibition hosted by the students themselves, but pandemic precautions including digital classrooms and social distancing forced Lisa Ostellino, the AP Art instructor at PHS, to find a creative solution for her gifted student artists. “Art students at the AP level are committed to their craft. Most have taken four or more art classes in high school, and the annual art exhibit is a rite of passage and something they look forward to every year. It was important to me to give them a platform to show their work and add a sense of normalcy to this turbulent year,” said Ostellino.

Berkshire Museum Executive Director Jeff Rodgers saw this challenge as an opportunity for the museum to lend a hand. “We are continually looking for new, creative ways we can serve our community, especially now, when live interactions are impossible. These talented young artists worked hard all year and their work deserved a platform.” Rodgers added, “Virtual exhibitions have their limitations, but they also have their advantages; I encourage you to share this student work far and wide, so that everyone knows that the arts are alive in the Berkshires.”

Members of the community are invited to explore each student’s portfolio individually by viewing ten unique collections of 2D images or entering a 3D digital model of the Berkshire Museum’s galleries to view selected works installed on the virtual walls in a self-guided tour. Both experiences can be enjoyed at explore.berkshiremuseum.org/visual-voice-portfolios-from-pittsfield-high-school.

Select works are also on view in downtown Pittsfield storefronts for the enjoyment of passers-by. Lisa Ostellino teamed up with Jen Glockner, Director of the Office of Cultural Development for the City of Pittsfield, and Pittsfield Superintendent of Schools Jake McCandless to secure spaces in empty storefronts and the Adult Learning Center an allow her students to showcase their art in the physical world. Works can be found at 78, 90, and 141 North Street through the end of July.

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