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Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Building Community Pride in Pittsfield
The Mastheads summer lecture series serves as gathering events for the community. Image courtesy of Westside Riverway.

Founded in 2016, The Mastheads offers a range of programs to support its mission. These include a lecture series, a writers residency, mobile writing studios, public educational programming, and the publication of anthologies filled with writings from around the region. In 2019, support from the NEH and Mass Humanities, the NEH’s state affiliate, helped the Mastheads connect local residents to the Berkshires’ literary, artistic, and urban history through a four-part public lecture series. Two programs were focused on work produced through the writers residency and two focused on the Gilded Age and late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century cultural figures who spent time in the Berkshires. This public programming serves as a catalyst for community-wide engagement with Pittsfield and Berkshire County’s shared history and cultural heritage, and helps to cultivate pride in place and community.

“Pittsfield struggles with severe poverty and helplessness/hopelessness. Having real working writers come through is inspiring to the writers and dreamers we have here. It makes art seem reasonable and possible.”

–Survey respondent

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