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MCLA BERKSHIRE CULTURAL RESOURCE CENTER ANNOUNCES RETURN OF DOWNSTREET ART, NEW INITIATIVES

This year's theme will be "Meet Your Neighbors"

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) announces the return of DownStreet Art with a new theme, new opportunities and the return of DownStreet Art Thursdays for summer 2016.

The Ninth Annual DownStreet Art will feature four DownStreet Art Thursdays, participatory projects at city events between July and October, and also will debut a new creative business incubator program with the goal of supporting local artists beyond exhibition and performing opportunities.  

“Between events at MASS MoCA, city/community events, B-HIP, DownStreet Art and the new Levitt Amp concert series, we’re looking forward to a jam-packed summer of art and culture in North Adams,” said Jennifer Crowell, BCRC program director.

The theme for DownStreet Art 2016 is “Meet Your Neighbors.” In an effort to highlight the talent of local artists, proposals are limited to artists living in or working within 20 miles of North Adams.

“We’re excited to bring these opportunities to the artists of North Adams,” said BCRC Program Manager Michelle Daly. “We believe these changes will enliven downtown North Adams in a sustainable way, creating new opportunities for artists, downtown businesses and the community.”

DownStreet Art Thursdays will continue to be a signature element of DownStreet Art. This year, they will take place on June 30, July 28, Aug. 25 and Sept. 22.

New initiatives

Building on the success of DSA and in addition to DownStreet Art Thursday events, MCLA’s BCRC announces two new artist-focused opportunities that will be available to the growing creative sector through the DSA program this season.

The first new initiative is DownStreet Art (DSA) Projects. These sponsored, participatory art projects, which will engage the audience directly in the creative process and allow members of the community to become co-authors, editors – as well as observers of the work – will be part of city and community events held between July and October.

According to Daly, DSA Projects extends this year’s “Meet Your Neighbors” theme by positioning the arts at the center of community events in the area. It will allow artists and non-artists alike to view, interact with, and participate in arts experiences at signature summer events such as the Eagle Street Beach Party, the Downtown Celebration, Motorama, and the Fall Foliage Parade.

The second new initiative is the launch of the Creative Business Incubator Program, for which MCLA’s BCRC will invite proposals from local artists and creative workers who are interested in activating available spaces in the downtown, using available storefronts as pop-up galleries.  

Through the Creative Business Incubator Program, the BCRC staff will work closely with selected artists to encourage their sustained presence in downtown North Adams.

As part of this inaugural initiative, DSA will provide each artist with a student intern from MCLA, who will work with one or two artists to create business and marketing plans. The artists also will enjoy support from a range of local experts who will serve as mentors.

Applications

This year, applications for DSA Projects, the Creative Business Incubator Program and the call for exhibitions will be accepted online through mcla.submittable.com. Full details about each of these programs, including submission deadlines and requirements, can be found at http://www.downstreetart.org/.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, now through April 15.  Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact Daly at michelle.daly@mcla.edu or 413-662-5253.

DownStreet Art (DSA) is a program of MCLA Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) providing professional development, training, resources and support to the artists, art managers and creative workers of Berkshire County.

Designed as a public art project to revitalize downtown North Adams in 2008, DownStreet Art exists to build economic and social capital and encourage the dialogue between our community and the arts. DownStreet Art does this by enlivening downtown North Adams using art and cultural activities to increase visitorship and enhance resident participation.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

For more information, go to http://www.mcla.edu/.