Downtown Pittsfield has become a magnet for all things art and nowhere is this more conspicuous than at the Whitney Center for the Arts. The Thomas Colt mansion, on Wendell Avenue is the current home to what locals like to affectionately call, The Whit. This stately building has been transformed into a brilliant venue for art shows and performances. Bringing a bit of NYC to the Berkshires, The Whit hosts chamber music concerts, cabaret nights, opera and staged music, in addition to the always present art exhibits. Artists from around the globe and throughout the Berkshires have been featured in these galleries.
Recently, I attended a cabaret night at The Whit. A lovely production created by local talents, Ron Ramsay and Samantha Talora called A Sondheim Trilogy Part 1. It was their tribute to legendary contemporary composer, Stephen Sondheim. Set in a bistro type setting amidst rich, red cafe tables, the talented duo of Ramsay and Talora delighted the audience with their harmonious vocals and witty humor. As I sipped a glass of wine and enjoyed a light appetizer the pair performed some of Sondheim’s most famous and relevant pieces. From West Side Story to songs from Sweeney Todd, the pair flawlessly entertained their appreciative audience. The addition of musicians on string and brass instruments admirably rounded out Ramsay’s piano, making for a splendid way to spend an evening in Pittsfield.
Owner, Ghazi Kazmi, is an enthusiastic ambassador to downtown Pittsfield, tirelessly promoting the area and its cultural events. The Whitney Center for the Arts is a focal destination after events such as Pittsfield’s Third Thursdays and First Fridays Artswalk. Kazmi hosts after parties on these nights, often coinciding with a new art opening or band performance. Many charity events have also taken place at The Whit, demonstrating their dedication to supporting the community. It is definitely an inviting space and one that I would highly recommend to anyone who is looking for something a bit different in the Berkshires.