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Connecting Point at The Mount

We are delighted to share with you this piece featuring The Mount that aired yesterday on WGBY’s Connecting Point series. Watch and enjoy!

 

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Notes from our visitors

Every year, we welcome tens of thousands of visitors to The Mount, including many students and teachers who come on school field trips.

Last week, we had the pleasure of meeting Gabriela Sheehan and her students from Herberg Middle School in Pittsfield. We were equally thrilled this week to receive the thank you notes they sent after their visit! We’re touched, and we’re sure Edith Wharton would agree: there’s still something very special about handwritten notes. 

Herberg Middle School Thank-yous 004 Herberg Middle School Thank-yous 003 Herberg Middle School Thank-yous 002 Herberg Middle School Thank-yous 001

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Mount Launches Author Interview Series This Summer with Kate Bolick as Host

Featuring conversations with Andre Dubus III, Joanna Rakoff, Scott Stossel, and Jennifer Finney Boylan, the new “Touchstones” series will premiere in August

Lenox, MA—This summer, The Mount, the home of Edith Wharton in Lenox, Mass., will premiere a new interview series featuring celebrated journalist Kate Bolick in conversation with leading authors. Debuting in August, the new “Touchstones” series will include writers Andre Dubus III, Joanna Rakoff, Scott Stossel, and Jennifer Finney Boylan. The one-hour conversations will begin at 6 pm on four successive Friday evenings: August 8, August 15, August 22, and August 29.

Kate Bolick’s 2011 cover story in The Atlantic, “All the Single Ladies,” sparked a national conversation and led to a headline-grabbing book deal. Her much-anticipated book—part memoir, part biography, part cultural criticism—explores how women’s roles, expectations, and personal goals have shifted over the last two centuries. It will be published by Crown next spring.

The “Touchstones” series will feature Bolick conversing intimately onstage with her guests about the defining moments that shaped their creative lives, from disastrous setbacks to grand triumphs, and all the small decisions and twists of fate in between. “Artists are among their own best creations, Wharton herself being a prime example,” says Bolick. “To talk with my favorite living writers about the forces that shaped them, while at the home of one of my personal literary heroes—it’s incredibly exciting.”

“We are delighted to welcome to The Mount this lineup of literary all-stars,” says Susan Wissler, executive director of The Mount. “Kate brings high energy and great depth to everything she does; this series promises to be engaging, entertaining, and thought provoking.”

In recent years, The Mount has become the literary hub of the Berkshires. The cultural non-profit regularly hosts esteemed writers—including novelists, poets, biographers, scholars, and journalists—for readings and discussions. Other writers who have appeared at The Mount include Tom Reiss, Megan Marshall, Stacy Schiff, Simon Winchester, Mary Jo Salter, Adam Gopnik, Claire Messud, Mark Strand, Heidi Julavits, Matthew Pearl, Susan Orlean, John Berendt, Kati Marton, and many others.

A longtime admirer of Edith Wharton, Bolick forged a connection with The Mount after hosting two writer interviews in 2012. She recently spent time at The Mount as a writer-in-residence while she was writing her book. In the book, Bolick revisits the lives of Edith Wharton and five other women whose intellectual ambitions were considerably more pronounced than their marital ones—an attribute shared today by millions of American women, including Bolick, who have chosen to remain single.

The Mount is located at 2 Plunkett Street in Lenox, Mass. For more information or to purchase “Touchstones” tickets, visit EdithWharton.org or call 413-551-5100.

The “Touchstones” events are as follows:

Friday, August 8, 6 pm (Doors open 5:30)
Touchstones: Kate Bolick in conversation with Andre Dubus III

The Mount welcomes journalist/author Kate Bolick for a series of interviews with leading writers. The August 8 program will feature Andre Dubus III, author of six books, including House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days and his memoir, Townie. Tickets and information at EdithWharton.org. $18 general; $15 Mount members.

Friday, August 15, 6 pm (Doors open 5:30)
Touchstones: Kate Bolick in conversation with Joanna Rakoff

The Mount welcomes journalist/author Kate Bolick for a series of interviews with leading writers. The August 15 program will feature Joanna Rakoff, author of the novel The Fortunate Age and the soon-to-be-released memoir My Salinger Year. Tickets and information at EdithWharton.org. $18 general; $15 Mount members.

Friday, August 22, 6 pm (Doors open 5:30)
Touchstones: Kate Bolick in conversation with Scott Stossel

The Mount welcomes journalist/author Kate Bolick for a series of interviews with leading writers. The August 22 program will feature Scott Stossel, editor of The Atlantic and the author of My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind and Sarge: The Life and Times of Sargent Shriver. Tickets and information at EdithWharton.org. $18 general; $15 Mount members.

Friday, August 29, 6 pm (Doors open 5:30)
Touchstones: Kate Bolick in conversation with Jennifer Finney Boylan

The Mount welcomes journalist/author Kate Bolick for a series of interviews with leading writers. The August 29 program will feature Jennifer Finney Boylan, a widely praised author and professor. Her 13 books include three novels, a collection of short stories, three memoirs, and six young adult books. Her most recent book, Stuck in the Middle With You: Parenthood in Three Genders, is a memoir about the differences between fatherhood and motherhood. Tickets and information at EdithWharton.org. $18 general; $15 Mount members.

This series is generously sponsored by Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Mass.; The Amy Clampitt Fund, a fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Fund; and the Xeric Foundation, Inc.

About The Mount:

The Mount is a National Historic Landmark and cultural center that celebrates the intellectual, artistic, and humanitarian legacy of Edith Wharton. We engage a diverse audience by providing context to Wharton’s life and achievements through our educational and public programs and the conservation and preservation of her historic estate and gardens.

Each year, The Mount is host to over 40,000 visitors. Daily tours of the property are offered May through October, with special events throughout the year. Annual summer programming includes a joint exhibit with SculptureNow, Wharton on Wednesdays, Music After Hours, and the celebrated Monday Lecture Series. Exhibitions explore themes from Wharton’s life and work.

For more information, please visit EdithWharton.org.

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Sculpture June 2014

 

Sculpture Mag coverSculpture

June 2014

Review of “SculptureNow 2013 at The Mount”

 

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Berkshire Magazine June 2014


Berkshire Mag June 2014Berkshire Magazine

June 2014

“Edith’s Words to Live By”  

 

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Eagle 5-27-14

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 11.32.35 PMThe Berkshire Eagle

May 27, 2014

      “Good Food is Always in Style in Edith Wharton’s Kitchen at The Mount” 

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Spotlight: Julie Quain, volunteer extraordinaire

Julie Quain (right) helps Nicole Knapp with Community Day 2013 preparations

Julie Quain (right) helps Nicole Knapp with Community Day 2013 preparations

Julie Quain has been a loyal, hardworking volunteer at The Mount for the past seven years. We value her and her contributions tremendously, just as we value all of the people who donate their time and skills so generously throughout the year! We took a few moments to ask Julie about her personal connection to The Mount, and why she continues to dedicate her spare hours and boundless energy. Here’s what she said:

Q: How did you become familiar with The Mount? 

A: Ah, the not-so-unusual answer: I was an English major in college, was familiar with Edith Wharton’s writings, and was intrigued by being able to visit The Mount.

I also attended the Monday Lecture series when I was up in Lenox on my vacations. My mother then started to volunteer, helping with the tea after the lectures.  Once I was able to be up in Lenox for the summers, I started to help with the teas, as well.  I’ve also volunteered for WordFest [a literary celebration] and for Community Day.

Q: What was your most memorable volunteer experience?

A: I think “meeting and greeting” people from all over the country–and sometimes the world–is what makes volunteering at The Mount so interesting!  Being able to chat briefly with some of the authors who present at the Lecture series is wonderful.  Last year, I transported one of the WordFest authors from Hudson to Lenox, and being able to talk with him about The Mount and The Berkshires (he had not been up in the area before) was one of the more memorable times.

Q: Why do you volunteer at The Mount?

A: Because it’s an amazing place to spend time!  Knowing that it’s the actual place where one of America’s great authors lived, being able to walk on the same paths that she walked, is inspiring. Besides, it’s a beautiful place and it’s fun!

Q: And… Why should others volunteer for The Mount?

A: This is an easy question –because of the staff!  They are all friendly and they make it an easy place to volunteer. And all the work and programs that are done by The Mount are important, and they maintain a level of fun intellectualism!

Thank you, Julie, for sharing your thoughts and compliments. We’re grateful for all you and the other volunteers do to help us advance our mission!

If you’re interested in volunteering at The Mount, click here for more information. We welcome any and all inquiries!

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The Mount Will Host 2014 SculptureNow “Common Ground” Exhibit

Lenox, MA–This summer SculptureNow will once again collaborate with The Mount—the spectacular home designed by the great American author Edith Wharton in Lenox, Mass, with a new exhibit titled Common Ground, where art meets nature.

The show will feature 25 large-scale, outdoor sculptures by regional and nationally recognized artists, including Taylor Apostol, Peter Barrett, David Boyajian, Jamie Calderwood, William Carlson, Fay Chin, Gene Montez Flores, Mary Annella Frank, Anthony H. Garner, Fritz Horstman, Ann Jon, Nicholas Kantarelis, Elaine Lorenz, Philip Marshall, Lydia Musco, Gary Orlinsky, Barry Parker, Chris Plaisted, Laura Reinhard, Henry Richardson, Susan Ferrari Rowley, Konstantin Simun, Robin Tost, John Wilkinson and Allen Williams.

The sculptures vary widely in concept, style and medium. Thus you may see cast glass framed in a steel, an organic steel form moving in the wind, a cast cement piece inspired by canyons, a playful pod with rubber balls, a 5 foot diameter glass sphere, a steel arch with an inside seat and many more.

Guided tours of all the sculptures are scheduled for July 13, August 17, September 14 and October 12, all at 11:30 a.m.

The exhibit opens on June 1 and continues through October 31, 2014. Admission to the exhibit is free with admission to The Mount, located at 2 Plunkett Street in Lenox, MA.

A free opening celebration is scheduled for June 15, starting with a guided tour at 3 p.m. and followed by a reception 5-7 p.m. on the terrace of The Mount.

“If you love contemporary art, timeless writing, historic architecture, and beautiful gardens, The Mount is the place to come to” said Ann Jon, SculptureNow’s director. “Sculptors and art collectors meet here, and visitors are arriving from near and far to enjoy this enriching experience in the Berkshires.”

“We are so happy to welcome SculptureNow back to The Mount with their new show and to build on the success of last year’s collaboration,” said Susan Wissler, The Mount’s executive director. “The exhibit will undoubtedly draw new audiences to The Mount, and we know it will captivate our regular visitors in fresh and exciting ways.” 

About SculptureNow

Founded in 1998, SculptureNow aims to expand the knowledge of art in general, and sculpture in particular, in the Berkshires through exhibitions, presentations and workshops. Besides producing an annual juried exhibit at selected locations in the Berkshire region, SculptureNow offers sculpture tours and hands-on workshops to students in our community.

Each year, for 17 years, SculptureNow has presented works by 16-32 regional, national and international sculptors. Our juried shows have been sited at the Berkshire Botanical Garden, the Norman Rockwell Museum, and in the streets and parks of Becket, Great Barrington, Hinsdale, Housatonic, Lenox, Lee and Stockbridge.

For additional information about SculptureNow please visit sculpturenow.org. For information about the show and for high-resolution photos, please contact Ann Jon at annjon@bcn.net or call 413 623 2068.

About The Mount:

The Mount is a National Historic Landmark and cultural center that celebrates the intellectual, artistic, and humanitarian legacy of Edith Wharton. We engage a diverse audience by providing context to Wharton’s life and achievements through our educational and public programs and the conservation and preservation of her historic estate and gardens.

Each year, The Mount is host to over 40,000 visitors. Daily tours of the house and gardens are offered through October 31st. with special events throughout the year. Annual summer programming includes, Wharton on Wednesdays, Music After Hours, and the celebrated Monday Lecture Series. Exhibitions explore themes from Wharton’s life and work.

For more information, including hours, tour times and our admission packages, please visit EdithWharton.org or call 413-551-5111.

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The intersection of literature and gardening

Beatrix Farrand's perspective of the kitchen garden at The Mount

Beatrix Farrand’s perspective of the kitchen garden at The Mount

Yesterday’s New York Times review of the New York Botanical Garden’s “Groundbreakers: Great American Gardens and the Women Who Designed Them” exhibition calls to our attention important Gilded Age themes that played a dominant role in literature and design created during that time. “Is it only a biographical curiosity,” asks critic Edward Rothstein, “that [Beatrix] Farrand was a niece of Edith Wharton’s?”

In addition to her landscape work for the Rockfellers featured in the exhibit, Beatrix Ferrand worked closely with Wharton on the kitchen gardens and the entrance drive to the house at The Mount. As an avid gardener and authoritarian on European landscape design, Wharton herself took the lead on the rest of the property. The results were spectacular then, as they are today in their fully restored glory.

The Mount's Formal Garden today

The Mount’s Formal Garden today

“I was amazed at the success of my [efforts],” wrote Wharton to Morton Fullerton in 1911. “Decidedly, I’m a better landscape gardener than novelist, and this place, every line of which is my own work, far surpasses The House of Mirth.”

Whether you’ve seen the “Groundbreakers” exhibit or not, we invite you to visit The Mount to experience one of the best living examples of early 20th century landscape gardening. Guided garden tours begin Memorial Day weekend. Materials are available for visitors who wish to take self-guided tours at any time during normal daily operating hours (10 am to 5 pm through October 31, except on early closing days).

 

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An Intern’s Journey

This post was contributed by Zara Williams-Nicholas, who interned at The Mount in 2013-2014. 

Zara Williams-Nicholas

Zara Williams-Nicholas

In September of last year, I enrolled at Miss Hall’s School and began my first year in the school as a junior. I was coming to Miss Hall’s from Jamaica – a little Caribbean island where temperatures below 72 degrees are rare. I began working at The Mount through the school’s Horizons internship program, which provides students with volunteer opportunities in and around the Berkshires. In my first few weeks at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s life and literature began to come alive –I was fascinated by her personal life and by her writing style, and I was interested to learn more about her humanitarian work during World War I. Wharton’s extensive knowledge of languages intrigued me, as did her relationship with her husband, Teddy.

However, what I learnt at The Mount was hardly limited to literature or history. The outdoor sculpture exhibit by SculptureNow last year initially made me think: “What? Why?” But, as I learnt more about Edith’s interests in design and decoration, it started to make sense. I gained insight about the decoration of The Mount and of its grounds through listening to tours or helping with them. I began to appreciate Edith’s love of symmetry and admired the intricacy with which the renovators refurbished The Mount. I also loved the feel of the grounds and the way the grounds and nature seemed to complement the house. Taking in these detailed allowed me to developed a greater appreciation of the décor and aesthetics, which I hadn’t even noticed before.

As an international student, the experience of working at The Mount may was also a lesson in American culture. This was my first year in an American high school, and this was also my first internship. I learnt pretty quickly that one sweater just wouldn’t cut it during the New England winters. I learnt that tissues needed to be on hand at all times during the winter. I observed my co-workers and their behavior in a business setting, which was professional but always friendly. I was also happy to discover that at least one person at The Mount always has a dog by their side (like Wharton!).

During my time at The Mount, there were some memorable moments as I worked with many of the different departments in The Mount, and I had many wonderful experiences. These included:

Boots

Boots

1)     Setting up my own workspace

2)     Hiding in one of the sculptures

3)     Almost getting lost in the house about 40 times

4)     Spending over a hour pouring over Edith’s personal library

5)     Meeting and forming an invaluable friendship with Boots, the house dog

6)     Spending a morning sorting hundreds of news articles about Edith from the last year

7)     Discovering the joys of a toasty radiator

Working at The Mount has been an incredible journey for me, not just in terms of business but also in terms of life experiences. I am so grateful that I’ve been able to offer my help to my co-workers, and I’m very happy to have been a part of The Mount’s family.

Zara, we are very happy that you were part of our family, too! -The Mount 

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