The Berkshires Massachusetts
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Familiar Faces

Summer in the Berkshires always means a full range of options for the cultural arts. This summer it also means there will be appearances by a series of people or images that likely are immediately recognizable to even "non-arts" visitors. These "familiar faces," like those in Norman Rockwell's famous paintings, can be seen on stage, in a gallery, in concert or in person.

     Dutch Dialogues
Through Sept 3 at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
(225 South St., Williamstown,

     Visitors are offered the chance to engage in a series of dialogues that highlight Dutch masterpieces as part of "NL: A Season of Dutch Arts in the Berkshires," a collaboration that showcases the arts and culture of the Netherlands. Among the featured "faces" are iconic paintings such as self-portraits by Vincent van Gogh (oil-on-pasteboard, 1887) and Pierre-Auguste Renoir (oil-on-canvas, 1875). The dialogues will compare and contrast works - in some cases those from the Clark's collection to those on loan from other sources.

     Kid Stuff:
Great Toys from Our Childhood
July 1 to Sept. 3 at Berkshire Museum
(39 South St., Pittsfield, 413-443-7171,

     Sometimes the most familiar faces are those that we grew up with. So with that in mind, does it get any more familiar than Mr. Potato Head and Barbie? Kid Stuff is an exhibition filled with the games and gadgets that have inspired childhood play and imagination for decades. The exhibit features classic toys such as Colorforms and the Easy-Bake Oven, time-tested games such as Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. There's more than 200 in all and, of course, there's hands-on opportunities. Show your young ones what you played with as a kid. Somehow these toys and games are more fun the second time around.

    Rockwell painting A Norman Rockwell Model's Reunion
July 28 at the
Norman Rockwell Museum
(9 Glendale Rd., Stockbridge,

     No faces are more familiar than those that graced the work of iconic American artist Norman Rockwell. In some cases that's because Rockwell painted recognizable faces. In others, it's because his works just projected a familiar feel, even when their subjects were random or anonymous. But in many other cases, it's because those he painted became iconic. The latter case is celebrated here, as some of those who posed for the master will be on hand to share the stories of their experiences, give gallery talks and sign prints.

     Fertile Ground: Berkshire Artists and Writers, 1846-1861
Through Oct. 8 at
Herman Melville's Arrowhead
(780 Holmes Rd., Pittsfield,

     The season's special exhibition here honors famous writers and artists who also were familiar faces around western Massachusetts. Melville, the author of Moby Dick, lived at Arrowhead from 1850 to 1863 and wrote his most famous novel during that time. The exhibition is located in the 1840s barn at Arrowhead, and is open daily (except Thursdays) from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.