NORTH ADAMS, MA- Inkberry, a North Adams independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the literary arts, is closing its doors. Though solid financially, the organization has been unable to raise enough funds to maintain a paid staff. With several members of their working board stepping down in December, they have likewise been unsuccessful in their efforts to recruit enough replacement board members with the time and skills necessary to carry on the programming as volunteers. On Tuesday, November 10, having exhausted their options, the Inkberry Board of Directors voted to dissolve the organization by year end.
"We are exploring ways to donate dedicated funds to local nonprofits, to keep the Inkberry name and mission alive, although the organization itself will cease to exist." says Linda White, who has served as president of the Inkberry Board since 2006.
Rachel Barenblat, one of the three founders, responded to the news by email, "I'm awfully sad to hear this news, but I think we can still feel good about the remarkable things the organization accomplished during its tenure."
Inkberry was launched in January of 2001 by three Williams College graduates, Emily Banner, Rachel Barenblat, and Sandy Ryan. The founders named the organization after an evergreen holly, native to New England, that is known to be able to put down roots and bear fruit even in poor soil. The metaphor proved to be apt throughout Inkberry's nine-year history as the group repeatedly overcame financial and organizational difficulties to present writing workshops, readings by local, regional, and national authors, and to otherwise promote reading and writing in North Adams, Williamstown and beyond.
Inkberry brought nationally known authors and poets such as Claire Massoud, Donald Hall, Ted Conover, Mark Doty, Rick Moody, Margot Livesey, and Julia Glass, to North Adams as part of their reading series. Their programming also included writing workshops and such special events as an exploration of rural living and a sense of place with New York Times columnist Verlyn Klinkenborg, and Share Our Strength, a workshop offered in conjunction with the Elizabeth Freeman Center for victims of breast cancer.
The Write Stuff, a writing program for middle school students, offered in partnership with MCLA's Center for Service and Citizenship, evolved from an after school program to an in-school mentor program that served students at Conte Middle School and gave volunteers from MCLA and the community an opportunity to contribute to and enhance the educational experience of those students.
Inkberry's Board of Directors is now focusing their attention on moving out of their offices and arranging for the continuation of the organization's programs. They hope to secure homes for the reading series, workshops, and The Write Stuff within the next few weeks. Members of the
Wednesday Night Writers' Group will carry that program forward on their own. Wordplay, which Inkberry sponsored and which has always been hosted by Papyri Books, will continue uninterrupted at the bookstore.
For more information about Inkberry's mission and programs, visit their website at www.Inkberry.org. The history of the organization is preserved on the site under the News tab on the left of the screen. There you will find the complete archive of the newsletter, Inkmail, and copies of many of the stories that have appeared about the organization in local newspapers.
About Inkberry- Inkberry promotes the literary arts in the Berkshires with events and community partnerships that celebrate and support writing and reading. Inkberry is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.