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BWLI Students and Committee

DownStreet Art on Ice

Artists, MCLA Jazz Band join downtown celebration


12/02/2009

DownStreet Art will offer yet another special night of downtown happenings this year as Thursday, December 3, heralds in the holidays. The evening includes the opening of 99 & Up: Art for a New Economy, which will run through January 3, 2010, in MCLA Gallery 51.

Other highlights of DownStreet Art on Ice include gallery-hosted artist receptions, new exhibitions openings, performances, and shopping specials.

"It'll be a fun evening and a chance for all of the North Adams community to come together," says Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at MCLA. "The downtown stores are all staying open late with specials and there should be all kinds of affordable stuff to buy, including affordable art. It's an opportunity for people to buy works they might not otherwise be able to afford."

99 & Up is a mixture of two- and three-dimensional art, priced between 99 and $99. The works include jewelry, pottery, and paintings. All have been specially priced by the artists for the duration of the exhibition. Now concluding its second season, DownStreet Art, a public art project of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, was designed to revitalize downtown North Adams by identifying it as a cultural haven. The program served not only to increase MCLA's visibility, but to showcase what other local arts organizations have to offer.

Despite this year's challenging economy, DownStreet Art sales increased by 25 percent overall as a wide variety of events drew some 20,000 to the downtown-about 5,000 more than the inaugural season.

For the first time, DownStreet Art featured a weekly eblast that listed not only the visual arts happenings, but all of the performing arts events in North Adams. Gallery openings, downtown activities and performances were coordinated for the last Thursday of every month, creating "DownStreet Art Thursdays."

These events were a throwback to when the streets of North Adams were filled with people with their latest paychecks. The monthly events also increased energy and excitement in North Adams and gave people even more compelling reasons to visit the downtown.

DownStreet Art on Ice features a winter concert by the MCLA Jazz Band, which starts at 7 p.m., in Moulton's General Store at 77 Main Street.  And the famous North Adams trolleys will offer rides up and down Main Street the entire evening, from 6 to 8 p.m.

At 5:30 p.m., the North Adams Christmas tree will be lit, and Santa will pass out gifts for the children as the Drury High School band plays holiday music. At 8 p.m., the Main Street Stage will present Marcus is Walking.

99 and Up: Art for the New Economy in MCLA Gallery 51 at 51 Main St. in North Adams, is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (413) 664-8718, or go to www.mcla.edu/Gallery51

For more information about DownStreet Art and the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, go to www.downstreetart.org.