Downstreet Art Thursday to Include Exhibition by Award-Winning Photographer and Artist Carrie Mae Weems


NORTH ADAMS, MA - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) will bring new art, performance and live music to the streets of downtown North Adams with DownStreet Art Thursday, July 28, 6-9 p.m.

The event - to feature new exhibition openings, performances and more - is free and open to the public.

DownStreet Art Thursday returns with six new exhibitions, including the work of renowned photographer and artist Carrie Mae Weems, live performances on the street by Bang on a Can guitarist Mark Steward and his orchestra of homemade instruments, and live aerial song cycles by artist C. Ryder Cooley.  

Now in its fourth year, DownStreet Art celebrates the arts community of North Adams. 

"It is great on the last Thursday night of every month to see hundreds of people in downtown North Adams, just like back in the day when payday was the night to go out," said Jonathan Secor, MCLA's director of special programs. "To have contemporary art and performance as the catalyst for those hundreds recognizes a new beginning for the City."

DownStreet Art, in collaboration with Down East Gallery (New York) is pleased to announce the opening of Carrie Mae Weems's "Slow Fade to Black" at Legacy Gallery, 28 Holden St., co-presented with the Williams College Museum of Art as part of the "Lift Every Voice Festival."

In this exhibition, Weems is back with yet another critical takes on the historical drama staging and presenting several interlocking narratives works that play across the historical divide. Whether deadly serious or tongue in cheek, this project explores the slippery slope of memory as it poetically considers the great debates of the 1960s, amongst the likes of Marlon Brando, James Baldwin and William F. Buckley, and the extraordinary females performers, dance and singers from Josephine Baker to Dorothy Dandridge Abbey Lincoln, whose voices both entertained us and provided the backdrop to our very lives.

"The Williams College Museum of Art has enjoyed a long and substantial relationship with Carrie Mae Weems," Interim Director John Stomberg said, "including artist residencies, a traveling exhibition, and the acquisition of her major installation work, 'The Hampton Project.' We also began working with DownStreet Art on the Pepon Osorio exhibition last year. Co-presenting Weems' 'Fade to Black' with DownStreet Art offers the opportunity to significantly extend these productive collaborations and the college museum is honored to participate."

The show will consist of new video projections and rarely seem photographs from still photographs, paintings and video projections with sound designed with the assistance of composer Gregory Wanamaker. 

MCLA Gallery 51 will open a solo show by international artist Erin Ko, "We are the Music Makers," features a variety of tech-infused mediums that combine various traditions and mythologies with science fiction as a means of looking at contemporary culture. This work includes a suite of images that utilize qr codes - commonly found on a variety of advertising - which allow smart phone users to acquire more information from various printed media.

Jarvis Rockwell's gallery, "MAYA IV," will feature works done by Rockwell over the last 40 years, as well as new work created daily on the actual walls and windows of the galleries.  For this opening, works were loaned from collectors throughout Berkshire County, including the Norman Rockwell Museum, Roselle and Alan Chartock and the Fitzpatrick Family at the Red Lion Inn.

At the Sheer Madness Gallery on 81 Main St., Ph.D. a candidate from University of Pittsburgh, Izabel Galliera will present "A Social Geography of Hair: Performing Gender and Identity in Contemporary Art," which documents and creates dialogue on the use of hair as an artistic and communicative medium with regard to beauty, individuality, gender and cultural identity. It will feature a diverse body of works by a younger generation of artists that include Aisha Cousins, Las Hermanas Iglesias, So Yoon Lym and Jonathan Vaughan. Their works will include drawings, paintings, photographs, performance and video. 

Artist Cynthia Consentino will present "Girl with Gun" a site-specific installation in the window of the PIP Postal Instant Press Gallery, 53 Main St., in collaboration with Ferrin Gallery in Pittsfield. The installation focuses on violence and the obsession with guns in our culture, as well as the passive, good-girl role of the female. For this work, Consentino utilizes the figurine tradition, from British Staffordshire to German Hummel, as she represents nightmare and fantasy with a subconscious symbolic wish for the powerful female.  

Bang on a Can, now in residence at MASS MoCA, will do a free performance under the Mohawk Theater Marquis at 109 Main St. The evening will be led by Bang on a Can All Star Mark Stewart. He will play on original instruments made by himself, and Gunner Schonberg. Members of the community will be invited to join.

C. Ryder Cooley will have a show as part of her XMALIA exhibition and performance series at 18 Holden St.  XMALIA is an ongoing music series about human-animal relations, with sound, video, drawing, taxidermy and live music. Cooley will perform in the air with taxidermy extinct animals to honor them and to bring them to life.

At NAACO Gallery at 33 Main St., "Sacred Vessels and Vantages: The Work of Tony Conner and Jessica Putnam Phillips" will feature watercolors by Conner and ceramics by Phillips. In addition, PRESS at 105 Main St. will present "The EXCHANGE," which highlights different processes and themes found in prints created by incoming MFA candidates at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Penn.

In addition, Eagle Street will have the first urban art mural of downtown North Adams. Artists Alexis Grabowski and Ven Voisey will start a conversation about their public art project, presenting several sketches of the work-in-progress. Their mural will be painted during the month of August as a public art performance.

Local historian Paul Marino will give free guide of the City on an historical early last-century trolley, which will loop from downtown to Eclipse Mill and "A Chapel of Humanity" at 82 Summer St., from 6 to 9 pm.

Other galleries and art spaces part of the project in downtown North Adams and at Eclipse Mill will host receptions with artists and curators.

DownStreet Art is a project of MCLA's Berkshire Culture Resource Center, partnering with the City of North Adams, Develop North Adams, Massachusetts Cultural Council and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. The program is made possible through leading sponsorship support provided by Berkshire Bank, The Clark Art Institute, Excelsior Printing, Orbit Visual Graphic Design, Jarvis W Rockwell, Scarafoni Reality and Williams College Museum of Art. Additional support is provided by: Adams Co-Operative Bank, Hoosac Bank, The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA, and The Sushi House.

The initiative was designed to revitalize downtown North Adams by identifying the city as a cultural haven. The program serves not only to increase MCLA's visibility, but also to showcase what other local arts organizations have to offer.

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