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MCLA's BCRC to Host Next Downstreet Art Thursday on July 31


2014-07-23

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) will host the next DownStreet Art Thursday on July 31 from 3 to 9 p.m. with the opening of nine new exhibitions, open studios by local artists, pop-up happenings and community events throughout Downtown North Adams.

"We are looking at another great evening of music, performances - and most important of all - art and artists," said Jonathan Secor, BCRC director. "Be sure to get down to DownStreet for this very special DownStreet Art Thursday."

A highlight of the evening will be the celebration of the most recent mural in the Mural Project, a new work by Washington-based artist Corwin Levi, who spent the last month creating an intricate set of patterns and connections in multiple shades of black, white and grey on the opposite side of Alaa Awad's "Justice," on Veteran's Memorial Bridge (Route 2 Overpass). The celebration for this new mural will take place at 6:15 p.m.

A lawyer-turned-visual-artist, Levi works in video, sculpture and painting. After receiving his JD from Virginia University and working as a litigator, he is a full-time visual artist working out of Washington D.C.

Levi's mural "Circumnavigate Through," faces the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). According to Levi, "The mural is going to look like the space holding the connective tissue of all our creative energy and also, to borrow a phrase, an infinite sonorous silence."

Through his participation in the DownStreet Art Mural Project, Levi fully embraced the artistic energy found throughout North Adams.

"From what I have seen in my brief time here, the North Adams art community is a vibrant, inclusive space, with a wonderful group of people making exciting things happen," Levi said. "I have seen murals that provide windows into other worlds, heard experimental music while looking at emerging art, and have been painting the whole time with MASS MoCA in my peripheral vision."

Other highlights of the July 31 event will include exhibition openings at all of the DownStreet Art galleries, including MCLA Gallery 51, PRESS Gallery, NAACO, CONcourse Gallery, DIScourse Gallery, Gallery 107, The Berkshire Eagle Gallery, Independent Art Projects and the galleries at Mountain One and Adams Community Banks.

Our DownStreet Art Trolley will run on an art loop, 6-9 p.m., beginning at MASS MoCA, where Independent Art Projects will have its grand opening. The trolley, which will be free to ride, will stop at galleries along Main Street, the Rudd Art Museum, all DownStreet art murals, as well as a crosswalk painting effort and performances.

One of the newest art destinations to the mix is Independent Art Projects (IAP) a gallery space on the MASS MoCA campus that presents contemporary art by mid-career and established artists represented by galleries based in New England and New York City.

Founded by Leslie Ferrin and Cynthia Reeves, the IAP space operates as a project room, providing a forum to show new works, works-in-progress and curated exhibits. The public is encouraged to participate through educational programs and events - including artist residencies, salons and lectures.

July 31 will mark the grand opening of Independent Art Projects, which will showcase the work of Tanya Marcuse, Christopher Russell, Shuli Sade, and Steve Young Lee. The public is invited to attend an opening reception, from 6 to 9 p.m. IAP, at 1315 MASS MoCA Way, is open daily from noon to 7 p.m.

In addition, MCLA Gallery 51 will exhibit the work of Gallery 51 Manager Julia Morgan-Leamon in a three-dimensional and video installment, "Split/Level." This exhibition will investigate the spatial, emotional and conceptual experience of being neither here nor there, neither upstairs nor down, but poised in-between.

PRESS Gallery will showcase the work of Erika Radich and Jaeok Lee in an exhibition that explores the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature. An interactive activity will be unveiled for attendees on opening day. The public is invited to contribute their creativity to September's exhibition "Paper Dresses," at two stations in PRESS.

In CONcourse Gallery at 85 Main St., artist Julia Forrest will present "Illusions." This show will feature women with no distinct identity, who use mirrors to control the landscapes they are submersed in.

"The variety of mirrors I use help them blend into their surroundings, the mirror serving as an illusion to show off their power by changing the landscape at will," Forrest said.

In addition, artist Jarvis Rockwell will continue his work on his latest wall drawing in CONcourse, from 6 to 9 p.m.

DIScourse Gallery has branched into two sister galleries, DIScourse A and DIScourse B.

DIScourse A will feature a rotating exhibition by book artist Nava Atlas. There will be an artist talk at 5:30 p.m., when Atlas will discuss her work and process. Questions are welcomed.

DIScourse B will present the work of Long Island native Monica Chulewicz, in "A Desire to Memorialize," her first solo exhibition as an emerging contemporary artist.

Angela McQuillan will curate "The Vital Flux," a six-person group show at Gallery 107. In August 2013, the six featured artists convened at Little Berlin Gallery in Philadelphia, where they combined diverse mediums into a cohesive exhibition entitled "Growth and Decay." 

The show was focused on biomorphic art, or art that refers to or evokes living forms. One year later, these artists will present another biomorphic exhibition, "The Vital Flux," which showcases new work, including mounted wall pieces, hanging ceiling sculptures and floor installations.

On view at the Rudd Art Museum is "Figuring In," depictions of the human form by various regional artists. The exhibit will be open until Sept. 15. A new memorial exhibit, "Viola Moriarty," will open on July 31.

Mountain One Bank Gallery will host the second installment of Ian Grey's newest project, "Elements," which takes elements from the lives of everyday people to create distinct portraits. There will be an early gallery reception from 5 to 6 p.m.

Adams Community Bank Gallery will showcase the work of emerging artist Chelsea Neveu in "Hinterland." Her work explores the viewing experience of landscapes during a foggy day; visual limitations, stifled breathing and the anxiety of isolation and mystery.

According to Neveu, "I find myself looking for small hints of familiarity to ease the anxiety the atmosphere gives me."

Local artists Martha Flood and William Oberst also will open their studios to the public.

Oberst will present his works in progress and Martha Flood Design will debut Factory Fresh "Harlow Eco-Totes," a collection of eco-fabric decorative pillow, wall decor and bags in collaboration with Dream Green USA.

The window of the Berkshire Eagle Gallery will display the paintings of artist Andrew Amelinckx.

Originally from Louisiana, Amelinckx now resides in the Hudson Valley and works as a crime reporter for the Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield. His window installment will include multiple 5-inch by 5-inch square paintings as part of a larger composition. His work explores the mass culture aesthetic of the Pop Art and the gestural mark marking of Abstract Expressionism.

Art About Town invites the North Adams community to participate in their Crosswalkabout Project, beginning on July 31. Led by artist Phil Sellars and organized by artists and community members, the project is a public art initiative to rejuvenate the crosswalks throughout North Adams.

As part of DownStreet Art Thursday, participants will begin to paint half of the two crosswalks on Main Street. Materials will be provided and all are welcome to pick up paint and a paint brush and participate.

Sellars said, "It takes a community to paint a crosswalk. It takes a community to make it happen. We will need people to help with various tasks. So please save the date and help make this a memorable night. Look for our tents and check in to see how you can help."

The public is invited to join Art About's Town effort, from 4 to 9 p.m.

The streets will be alive with music and stilt walkers as Alex Torres and his Latin Sextet play a blend of Afro-Caribbean rhythms such as Salsa, Merengue, Cha-cha, Bomba, Plena and Latin Jazz, in front of Berkshire Bank on Main Street.

There will be musical performances by indie rock bands Kimono Dragons and Leap the Dips. And the Kids also will join DownStreet Art Thursday, playing their "unconscious existential indie glitter popsicle crisis music," according to Secor.

Bang on a Can will be seen and heard throughout the evening, starting in the St. Anthony's parking lot as part of the mural celebration, and then in concert at the Anselm Kiefer exhibit at MASS MoCA, followed by an after-hours session at the Chalet.

Roaming the streets throughout the night will be Mark Alexander and his Mortal Beastts and Deities.  According to Alexander, "I am looking forward to creating our own special blend of Controlled Mayhem and Earnest Frivolity with a trio of Splendiferous Stilt Dancers!"

This year's DownStreet Art season was funded in part by a $10,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

DownStreet Art, a cultural and economic development program, was organized by the team from MCLA Gallery 51 and the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC).

This year's sponsors include: Adams Community Bank; Appelbaum-Kahn Foundation; Bascom Lodge; The Berkshire Eagle; Berkshire Emporium and Antiques; Brewhaha; Christo's Famous Pizza; City of North Adams; Digital First Media, Excelsior Printing; the Freightyard Pub; Greylock Federal Credit Union; the Hub; iBerkshires.com; I Got Goodies; Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC); North Adams Chamber of Commerce; O'Connell Oil Associates: Once Around the Block Consignment Shop; the Parlor Café; The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA Public; Scarfoni Associates; Shear Madness Salon; the Sushi House; and Susanne Walker and Stephen Green.

For more information about DownStreet Art events and the BCRC, go to www.downstreetart.org and bcrc .