WFCR Honors Arts Luminaries This Week

Nick Spitzer, host of American Routes, on WFCR and many other stations, will be honored at the Log Cabin on Tuesday night.
Nick Spitzer, host of American Routes, on WFCR and many other stations, will be honored at the Log Cabin on Tuesday night.

Every May, WFCR has held a gala event that honors members of the community in the Pioneer Valley who stand out for how they’ve helped foster the arts. The list of the 2016 recipients is impressive–Tracy Kidder, Maria Luisa Arroyo, Community Access to the Arts, and my all-time favorite movie theater, the Amherst Cinema.  And another luminary who is not from the Valley but who definitely has an impressive record of supporting and promoting roots music, Nick Spitzer, host of American Routes the radio show heard on WFCR.

Kidder is known to many here in the Valley for the book he wrote about building a house in Amherst, Home Town, that not only provided interesting details about how a home is built, but lots of backroom anecdotes and a look at his adopted home town of Northampton.  He’s taken on many more important topics, such as the life of a physician in Haiti and he’s just released a new book with fellow Valley writer Richard Todd about writing non-fiction. No pair are more equipped to write on this topic.

Nick Spitzer has a long and impressive resume not only as the show host but as a professor of anthropology and American Studies at Tulane. He’s not a Valley guy, but his voice is familiar to many of us who tune into this meticulously researched program that covers so many roots musicians every week.

Maria Luisa Arroyo is a Puerto Rican poet and teacher who has written in anthologies and journals about childhood abuse and domestic violence. She is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Springfield, Mass and she’s organized community based poetry workshops and readings since 2004.

The Amherst Cinema–anyone who has been there can attest–is the gem of Amherst and envy of Northampton, now that it’s the only art cinema on either side of the Connecticut River. With impressive community outreach programming, an eclectic and never-boring slate of compelling foreign and domestic lesser-known movies, Amherst Cinema is a joy for anyone who loves film. And with its comfortable seating, convenient parking and great snack bar including wine and beer, if you haven’t ever seen a movie there, you’re missing out!

The last honoree is the Community Access to the Arts, a Great Barrington-based group that provides experiences for disabled people in visual and performing arts all over the region.  Get tickets here or contact Vanessa Cerillo at or call 413-735-6605.