Project Elevate Calendar

Project eLEVate Calendar of Required Activities

(11 days from June 19 through August 8)



[required day #1 for eLEVate participants]
Location: Mass MoCA, North Adams


Project eLEVate – Identity Workshop 1

Time: 4P
sponsored by LEV, Mass MoCA, Mass Humanities

This is the first of four workshops led by Frances Jones-Sneed, Ph.D., Professor of History and Director of Women’s Studies at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA). Participants explore their identities poetry, short fiction and art, using themes of forgiveness and justice, immi- gration, and making a difference. Filmmaker Karen Thorsen is a special guest for Workshop 1.

Festival Opening Reception

Time: 7P
sponsored by LEV, Mass MoCA

James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket, Film Screening and Talkback

Time: 8 PM
sponsored by LEV, Mass MoCA, Mass Humanities, Multicultural Bridge

Required for eLEVate Participant; Optional Family Activity

Mass MoCA will host a screening of the award-winning documentary, James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket, by filmmaker Karen Thorsen, who will participate in a talkback after the screening. Using archival footage, newsreel clips, and interviews with writers Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, Ishmael Reed, William Styron, and biographer David Leeming, the film captures the passionate intellect and courageous writing of a man self-described as “born Black, impoverished, gay, and gifted.”


June 20

[required day #2 for eLEVate participants]

Project eLEVate – Identity Workshop 2

Location: Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield
Time: 10A-12N

Grand Opening – Samuel Harrison House

Location: Samuel Harrison House, Pittsfield.
Time: TBA/Private Event

sponsored by Samuel Harrison Society, Mass Humanities

The Samuel Harrison House is a national historic site. It was the home of Reverend Harrison the first pastor of Second Congregational Church in Pittsfield and the first chaplain of the 54th Regi- ment of African-American volunteers who fought in the Civil War.


June 25

[required day #3 for eLEVate participants]

Project eLEVate – Identity Workshop 3

Location: North Adams
Time: 4-6P

DownStreet Art Festival Kick-Off – Blitz the Ambassador**

Location:  51 Main Street (outside), North Adams
Time: 6-9 PM

 sponsored by MCLA and Berkshire Cultural Resource Center

The kick-off of the DownStreet Art Festival features the artist Blitz the Ambassador and his 7-piece band. Blitz is originally from Ghana, “where he’d grown up listening to American soul, the highlife of his homeland, the Afrobeat of Fela Kuti, and the old-school hip-hop of Public Enemy, Rakim, and KRS-One.

** Optional Family Activity

June 27

[required day #4 for eLEVate participants]

Project eLEVate – Identity Workshop 4

Location: Berkshire Community College
Time: 10A-12N

Lift Ev’ry Voice Film Festival at BCC – Quilombo**
Time: TBA; Location: Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield
sponsored by Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at BCC

This is the first of four film screenings and talkbacks with historian and filmmaker, historian and filmmaker, Dr. Don Quinn Kelley is Emeritus Professor, City University of New York, and Co-Chair of Lift Ev’ry Voice.   Quilombo is a fictional account of the creation of Palmares, a republic of 10 communities (quilombos) created by Africans who escaped slavery in Brazil.

** Optional Family Activity

June 29-30

Project eLEVate – W. E. B. Du Bois, Son of the Berkshires

 sponsored bybMass Humanities, W. E. B. Du Bois Center, UMass, Amherst, W.E. B. Du Bois Historic Site, Great Barrington

Tours at UMass, Amherst and at the Du Bois home site are led by Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Ph.D., Director, W. E. B. Du Bois Center, and Associate Professor of Anthropology, UMass, Amherst.

June 29 – UMass, Amherst Seminar and Tour

[required day #5 for eLEVate participants]

Location: UMass, Amherst
Time: All day

This tour introduces eLEVate participants to the national and global significance of W. E. B. Du Bois and to a major resource for research and study about his life and times at both the W.E.B. Du Bois Center and W. E. B. Du Bois Library, UMass Amherst.

Seminar: “Hip-Hop Feminism,” is a conversation about feminism and Hip-Hop culture through music, film, and the written word led by Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Ph.D., Director, W. E. B. Du Bois Center, and Associate Professor of Anthropology, UMass, Amherst.

June 30 – W.E.B. Du Bois National Historic Site, Tour and Seminar

[required day #6 for eLEVate participants]

Location: Great Barrington
Time: TBA

This tour is of the Great Barrington home site of W. E. B. Du Bois, an author, civil rights activist, advisor to international leaders, and a founder of both the National Association for the Advance- ment of Colored People (NAACP) and the Pan African Congress.

The seminar will be led by MaryNell Morgan, Ph.D., who will present an interactive lecture/perfor- mance placing Du Bois into the fabric of African-American culture as existing during his lifetime.


July 2

[required day #7 for eLEVate participants]

Flying to Freedom – Lift Ev’ry Voice Day at Jacob’s Pillow

Location:  Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Becket
Time: All Day

Lift Ev’ry Voice Day at Jacob’s Pillow has activities for Project eLEVate youth and their families. Required activities for eLEVate participants begin at 11am and conclude after a performance in the historic Ted Shawn Theatre, which will begin at 8pm. Participants will observe and have lunch with dancers of The School at Jacob’s Pillow, receive tours of the historic site, picnic on the grounds, and attend a tap dance performance with a live band on stage.

Project eLEVate – Social Dance Workshop

Time: 1 PM

Project eLEVate – Social Dance Workshop. This workshop, led by scholar/historian/performer E. Moncell Durden, in social dance, from Jazz to Hip-Hop, will enable youth to learn dances from the Minstrel Era that remain embedded in current Hip Hop dance forms today.

Project eLEVate – Dance Interactive Seminar

Time: 2:45 PM

Youth will explore aspects of Invisible Wings (about the Underground Railroad, choreographed on the Jacob Pillow’s grounds) where dance segments display steps identifiable in those used by Tap and Hip-Hop artists today.

Project eLEVate – African-American History Tour**

Time: 4 PM

Norton Owen, Director of Preservation, conducts a historic tour of the Pillow’s grounds, focusing on its Underground Railroad history and on the African and African American artists who contribut- ed to the success of Jacob’s Pillow.

** Optional Family Activity

Project eLEVate – The Blues Project**

Time: 8 PM

Project eLEVate – The Blues Project. Project eLEVate and their parents or guardians will attend, The Blues Project, a performance created by renowned tap artist Michelle Dorrance with a score by award-winning musician/composer Toshi Reagon, which will be performed by her blues band BIGLovely.

** Optional Family Activity for 1 or 2 Family Members


July 3

Struttin’ with Some Barbecue, Free Jazz Concert and Barbecue**

Location: The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Estate and Gardens, Lenox
Time: 5 PM

sponsored by The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Estate and Gardens

Struttin’ with Some Barbecue is a community celebration of community and America being free in the gardens of The Mount, featuring the Wanda Houston Band. Wanda Houston is a professional singer, actress and song stylist who has traveled the stages of the world searching for the perfect song and performance.

** Optional Family Activity


July 4

Pittsfield July 4th Parade**

Location: Intersection of South and East/West Housatonic Streets, Pittsfield
Time: 10 AM

sponsored by LEV, Pittsfield July 4th Parade Committee, Office of Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Youth Alive Step Team and Drum Corps

Lift Ev’ry Voice will join with Youth Alive Step Team and Drum Corps to participate in the Pittsfield July 4th Parade. Please join us and be a part of our contingency.

**Optional Family Activity

July 12

[required day #8 for eLEVate participants]

LEV-Martin Luther King Day of Service**

Location:  North Adams
Time: TBA

sponsored by LEVm Martin Luther King Day Committee, MCLA

The LEV-MLK Day of Service combines projects that benefit the community with an extension of a series of community forums began by the Martin Luther King Day Committee on King Day 2015. Facilitator: Thomas Alexander, Student Affairs Officer, MCLA.

** Optional Family Activity

July 16

[required day #9 for eLEVate participants]

“What to the American Slave is Your Fourth of July?” A Community Reading**

Location: TBA
Time: TBA

sponsored by LEV, Pittsfield July 4th Parade Committee, Office of Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Mass Humanities

Everyone is invited to attend – and participate in – this community reading of an excerpt of Freder- ick Douglass’ famous speech on human rights, African-Americans and the meaning of the Fourth of July and the federal Constitution.

** Optional Family Activity

July 25


Location: Pitts Park, 44 S John Street, Pittsfield
Time: All day

sponsored by LEV, Berkshire County NAACP Branch

This family-friendly event is the oldest African-American celebration in the Berkshires. Beginning 45 years ago, this free, fun-filled community event for all ages celebrates the rich cultural traditions and deep roots of the African-American community in Berkshire County.

** Optional Family Activity

August 5

[required day #10 for eLEVate participants]

Remembering Hiroshima: Making Peace Today**

Location: South County TBA
Time: TBA


192,020 is the estimate of how many people died with the first nuclear bombing of Hiroshima on August 5, 1945.  On the anniversary of that event, the Festival hosts an event bringing together people from across the Berkshires, to talk about making peace today, both here in the United States and across the world; program and participants still being determined.

** Optional Family Activity

August 8

[required day #11 for eLEVate participants]

“Who Am I”, eLEVate Multidisciplinary Art Show**

Location: North Adams
Time: TBA

 sponsored by LEV, Mass Humanities

The closing event of the 2015 Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival is a public art show of work completed by youth in Project eLEVate over the period of the Festival. There will be a reception for the youth as well as a certificate ceremony. All are invited.

** Optional Family Activity