Whitney Center for the Arts
Located in the Historic 1865 Thomas Colt House
Former home of The Women's Club of the Berkshires
Located at 42 Wendell Avenue in Downtown Pittsfield, the Whitney Center for the Arts, a presenting and producing arts center, has two world-class art galleries and presents Comedies, Dramas, Musicals, Concerts, Opera Nights, Cabarets plus events for teens and children in an intimate performance venue.
The Whitney Center for the Arts was established by Pittsfield native Lisa Whitney in 2012, saving and creatively reusing the historic 1865 Thomas Colt House in Pittsfield's Upstreet Cultural District. Named in honor of her parents, the 'Whit' also has space for rent for special events, event/party rentals, and also has upstairs offices/studios for rent.
Ghazi Kazmi, Executive Director
Ghazi Kazmi is the founding Executive Director at the Whit.
Founder of The Whit
Tammara Leminen, Gallery Manager/Co-Curator
After training at the Baseler Kunstgewerbe Schul in the late 1970’s, Tammara Leminen returned to the US and spent three decades raising a family while painting very straightforward, pictorial landscapes and wildlife portraits, and equally detailed, naturalistic illustrations. This led to illustrating children’s books, and in the process her drawings took on an increasingly fanciful bend. While her first run through college was in the era when “cut and paste” actually meant scissors and glue, the advent of Adobe Photoshop influenced her art in a very big way; she began producing a unique brand of surreal, non-realistic, computer-generated collages and combined those graphic design elements with paint, canvas and a wide assortment of found objects. A gallery of her work can be found on-line at: www.growingupwilde.smugmug.com.
As her work has progressed, it has become more painterly and more three-dimensional, while continuing to pull heavily from her fondness for Victorian-era illustrations and a fascination with dream-like, symbolic and whimsical imagery. That journey of artistic discovery was significantly enhanced by her education at the highly-regarded Savannah College of Art and Design. Tammara was a featured artist in the June 2017 issue of Artful Mind magazine; you can https://issuu.com/theartfulmindartzine/docs/the_artful_mind_for_online_june_201
Tammara is also an Appointed Representative for the Northern Berkshires chapter of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and she currently is producing more art in her studio at The Whitney Center for the Arts, where she has been a curator since 2014.
Leo Mazzeo, Co-Curator
Leo Mazzeo is a noted painter, photographer, curator, online gallerist, web designer, blogger, and Berkshire native. His oil paintings have been recently featured at the Berkshire Artist Museum, the Berkshire Community College Intermodal Gallery, the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, and the Whitney Center for the Arts; he studied business in addition to art in college, and thus has also worked as a Curator and Gallery Manager. A devoted advocate for local art and artists, Mazzeo has served on the board of the Berkshire Art Association, filled the position of Publicity Chair and served as Vice President for the Housatonic Valley Art League, and is currently the New Ashford Representative to the Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire. He is the founder of arts indie and the co-founder of Pittsfield’s First Fridays Artswalk. Mazzeo is also a professional website and graphics designer and, as such, serves as the webmaster for arts indie, regional artists of note, and various businesses.
Nayana LaFond, Curator, Director of Online Exhibitions & Online Arts Academy
Longtime resident of Massachusetts Nayana studied fine art at Greenfield Community College in Greenfield MA and Fine Art Photography at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston MA. Nayana has written articles for various arts publications, Managed and curated for galleries around new england for over 15 years. Nayana is an award winning artist and was part of the founding members and former chief Curator of The Whitney Center for the Arts. After a hiatus for severe medical issues Nayana is in remission from Leukemia and returning as Curator, director of Online Exhibitions and Online Arts Academy for the Whit. Nayanaarts.com
Monica Bliss, Artistic Director
A resident of New Lebanon, Monica studied opera at the Hartt School of Music and theater at both Berkshire Community College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She graduated from Wahconah Regional High School in Dalton. A soprano in the Berkshire Opera Festival Chorus and the Soprano Soloist/Section Leader at the Stockbridge Congregational Church, Ms. Bliss has performed with many local music and theater groups including Shaker Mountain Opera, Berkshire Concert Choir, Berkshire Lyric, Town Players of Pittsfield, Ghent Playhouse, BCC Players and Berkshire Theatre Group. Monica's past roles include President and Publicity Chair of Town Players of Pittsfield and as a Sales Manager for Barrington Stage Company.