A Sleepy City Reawakens…..

The rebirth of the city of Pittsfield comes in the form of new energy and life being channeled into old spaces. There couldn’t be a better example of this than the renovation and re-purposing of the historic Notre Dame Church at 40 Melville Street. The Chronicle interviewed local businesses, including our very own Crispina Ffrench, for a piece on the artistic renewal happening in our city. Click Here to be taken to the video!

Living the Change

We are proud to have been a part of the first ever “Living the Change” sustainability fair, held on May 7, 2016 in the upper level of 40 Melville Street. The fair offered educational information on sustainability in everything from organic gardening to clean energy sources. There were many speakers, panelists, interactive tables, vendors and documentaries accessible to the community throughout the day. Plenty of information on environmental health and sustainability was discussed and it was rounded out with a dance party! Click here for the full article in the Berkshire Eagle. In addition, more information on the organization, Living the Change in the Berkshires, can be found on their facebook page by Clicking here.

Creating a Makerspace

“It sort of re-imagines and redefines the days of community woodshops and kitchens, and goes beyond your typical knitting or quilting circle. Today’s makerspaces tend to offer the shared use of high-quality tools and equipment for hand-built design projects and production of goods, combined with on-site experts and instruction, and collaborations and idea-sharing through the organic process of connecting with other like minds using the space.”

Just a snippet from a beautifully written article about of what goes on in our space. Jenn Smith of the Berkshire Eagle was able to interview some of the people responsible for the inner workings of Shire City Sanctuary. The result is a great read if you are curious about what we’re up to and what some of our community goals are.  Click here for the full article!

Artist of the Month!

Barbara Ellison is our May 2016 artist of the month. If you haven’t made your way to our BINGO! gallery yet, you still have time. Her stunning installation of Trois Visages de Fleurs- Three Faces of Flowers  will be on display until May 31.

Barbara Ellison has been fortunate to be able to combine five loves – photography, art, gardening, travel and teaching – into her work. While a Pro-Market Representative for Canon USA for twenty-six years, she traveled throughout the US, lecturing and instructing on various photographic topics such as botanical and macro photography, printing and alternative processes. Her upcoming show at the BINGO! Gallery located in Shire City Sanctuary’s makerspace will showcase these life long passions. Through three different methods of presentation, you will see the unique features of the botanical portrait, from the traditional print to the pastel enhanced work, and finally the alternative art paper prints. Each group is unique in its emphasis of maintaining the theme of the simple flower. Shire City Sanctuary will be hosting an opening reception on Friday May 6th at 5pm with music and refreshments.

Barbara will be teaching a photography workshop in Shire City Sanctuary’s permaculture garden on the 25th of June from 9am to 1pm. Students will learn how to isolate and focus on botanical subject matter. All experience levels welcome. Students must supply their own camera and have basic operating knowledge. Tuition is $100 and includes a critique of selected pieces.

Carri Skoczek is our October Artist.


Artist statement: My work has always been about portraiture. I am fascinated by personality and human behavior. My work is a reflection of the world around me: a world of fashionistas, posturing wannabes, empowered bimbos, drunk girls, lonely men and aging hipsters. Most recently I’ve culled my subject matter from fashion magazines, pulp fiction book covers, and vintage pin up posters. I’ve been exploring female sexuality as a power tool.


We are hosting an opening reception from 5-8 pm on Friday, October 2nd with refreshments and a meet and greet with the artist. At 7, we will be continuing our partnership with Bazaar Productions for Fringe Music, the free monthly music series. Our October performers are The Hands Free, an acoustic quartet comprised of James Moore, Nathan Koci, Eleonore Oppenheim, and Caroline Shaw. Their music draws from a twisted array of folk, jazz, and classical traditions to create lush sonic textures, intricate compositions, and wild improvisations.

FODfest is coming to Shire City Sanctuary

Shire City Sanctuary is excited to collaborate with Music In Common, Inc.: a non-profit focusing on music as a means to strengthen, empower, and educate communities, to bring you the 10th Annual FODfest. Music In Common was founded in 2005 by Todd Mack, a musician, writer, and producer, in honor of his 29147_402023414510_3645167_nfriend Danny Pearl, who was abducted and killed by terrorists in Karachi, Pakistan while working on assignment for the Wall Street Journal. FODfest is one of Music In Common’s main events.

FODfest (Friends Of Danny) honors the life of Daniel Pearl and features several musicians in a unique format that is part concert, part song swap, and part jam session. Often the musicians are meeting for the first time on stage. FODfest is free & open to the public and takes place each October as a registered event of Daniel Pearl World Music Days. Danny worked hard to live his life as a journalist who reported on Middle East relations. In addition to working for The Wall Street Journal, he also worked for The Berkshire Eagle.


Music In Common’s Founder, Todd Mack at FODfest.

On Saturday October 10th, Daniel Pearl’s birthday, Music in Common will host dozens of musicians and bands on three outdoor and indoor stages – NON-STOP MUSIC from noon – 10PM at Shire City Sanctuary in downtown Pittsfield, MA.

The Wanda Houston Band
Rev Tor Band
8-Foot River
Caroline Mack
Soul Prophet & The Faithless Few
Chad Hollister Band

There will be food.
There will be beer.
There will be you!


Take a look back at 10 years of FODfest on Music In Common’s YouTube Channel:https://www.youtube.com/user/MusicinCommon

You can learn more about the event through Music In Common, Inc.’s website: http://www.musicincommon.org/, as well as the Daniel Pearl Foundation website: http://www.danielpearl.org/.

3rd Thursday

Walk a Mile In Her Shoes, and walk a mile towards us….just kidding. But we do hope to see you at 3rd Thursday! Pick up your October events calendar, check out what we have going on, and just say hi. We’d love to see you!

October Workshops are here!

Whoohoo! What a fun month ahead of us here at Shire City Sanctuary. October is the start of our series of workshops on Saturdays! Find one you love, bring a friend, and come have fun! We’d love to have you join us.

Workshops cost $25/person or $35/pair (or to bring a child with you). There are limited spots so sign up soon!! All workshops are at Shire City Sanctuary. Any questions? Contact Deanna Boucher, Shire City Sanctuary’s Super Ninja, at 413-236-9600 or deanna@shirecitysanctuary.com.


Cider Press WorkshopSplitShire-2257

October 3rd: 2-5 pm
Come use a cider press to make your own apple cider! Bring your apples, bring your containers, and bring your excitement! Come by yourself or invite a friend, partner, or children! Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Sign up on Etsy here!


09.08.15.WorkshopLearn to Sew Workshop

October 17th: 2-4 pm

Come learn to sew with Crispina ffrench! This is perfect for individuals looking to finish up some last minute Halloween costumes or just learning the craft in general. Bring your materials, patterns, projects, etc. and learn how to complete them. We have machines, thread, and scissors available to borrow, as well as thread and scissors available for purchase.

This workshop is ideal for any beginner sewer! Come by yourself or bring your partners, friends, and children. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Sign up on Etsy here!


Learn to Screen PrintIMG_2787

October 24th: 2-4 pm

Learn to screen print with Crispina ffrench! Come learn the process of screen printing in our very own screen printing shop! Learn how to choose a good image to be screen printed, how to choose the inks, what goes into printing, and more!
Come by yourself or bring a friend, partner, or children! Children must be accompanied by an adult.


Sign up on Etsy here!


Look for more workshops in November!


Susan Pettee, Permaculture, & Fringe Music!

Postcard FrontOur September First Friday event was our most successful yet! Kicking off with our garden tour in the early evening with Matt Lamb and Jay Allard of Berkshire Earth Regenerators, the party then moved inside for Susan Pettee’s stunning watercolor illustrations. As the opening reception continued, The Berkshire Fringe then presented Fringe Music, a new collaborative effort to bring more free music to The Berkshires. This month featured bassist Eleonore Oppenheim, who’s from Manhattan. Her performance showcased works from new composers, and she was a delight to watch!

If you missed out on the festivities—don’t fret! Susan Pettee’s work is in our BINGO! Gallery through the end of the month! Stop on by: Tuesday through Saturday 11-7.

Kickstarter Campaign!

We have been collaborating with the Berkshire County Technology Group to develop a Kickstarter 09.08.15.Kickstarter Kickoffcampaign focusing on bringing more technology resources to the makerspace! This campaign, set to launch within the next few weeks, will raise funds to contribute to more long-term goals of the space, including purchasing a laser engraver, a computer lab, and a digital video production studio. The guys from BCTG have been so great to work with! Their innovative ideas have really helped us imagine the growth possible for technology offerings in the makerspace. Keep your eyes peeled for more information!