June 13, 2018
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Beginning on Thursday, June 28, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) DownStreet Art’s 2018 (DSA) season knits together the significant progress that’s been made for the city of North Adams. This year, new businesses, new museums, new tourists and new residents have partnered with DSA to create a series of arts events that go well beyond Main Street, and well beyond your typical arts event.

The 2018 DSA arts events – all of which are free and open to the public – will kick off on Thursday, June 28, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Held on the last Thursday of every month, DownStreet Art will offer plentiful art, music, and fun as it expands to create more hands-on activities, which will be centralized on Holden Street.

As the driving force behind the event, MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) over the years has acted as a de facto welcoming committee as temporary galleries became full storefronts, new artist residencies opened their doors to young creatives, and the Northern Berkshires popped up in high-profile news pieces in the New York Times and Vanity Fair magazine.

There now are more than 20 creative spaces in the downtown that range from new museums to local art collectives, and which attract new neighbors and present events at Design Lab, MCLA’s all-purpose downtown space. At MCLA Gallery 51, an artist who lives at a new Chase Avenue residency already has exhibited their work. And, on Eagle Street, the Roots Teen Center is a direct response to a need for more youth-focused creative programming.

Through it all, MCLA alumni are behind the scenes and in front of the curtain in support of this work throughout the city and the Berkshires, as they manage spaces and programs, and work in the area’s longstanding cultural outposts.

DSA season 2018 highlights include the Vermont Arts Exchange’s “art bus,” a mobile studio and satellite venue, which will be parked at all DSA events. A rainbow-painted piano by artist Danny-O already sits outside MCLA’s Design Lab and is available to anyone who wants to play a few bars.

In addition, a series of artists will head community sidewalk murals, created with community participation at DSA Thursday events, and a season-long sound installation featuring a newly created score based on the first movie played at the Mohawk Theatre in 1938 will provide an ethereal bit of audio nostalgia that links North Adams’ past with its present.

According to BCRC Director Michelle Daly, DSA encapsulates the many ways in which MCLA serves as a long-term partner with North Adams and the greater Berkshire community.

“From partnering with established and emerging cultural organizations to providing critical guidance to artists and students, BCRC acts as a catalyst for responsive creative and community engagement, establishing North Adams as a hub for culture and innovation,” Daly said.

In addition to the Thursday, June 28 event, DSA Thursdays will continue throughout the season on July 26, Aug. 30, and Sept. 27.

DownStreet Art is a program of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) which provides professional development training, resources, and support to the artists, art managers, and creative workers of Berkshire County run by the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, MA. DSA’s goal is to help the economic development of North Adams and encourage the dialogue between our community and the arts. Since its inception in 2008, more than 150,000 visitors have come downtown and through the doors of DownStreet Art’s galleries and exhibits.

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.

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