DownStreet Art 2013 Launches Sixth Season of Murals, Music & Art


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - For the sixth consecutive year, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) will provide North Adams with a summer of creative events when its annual public arts festival DownStreet Art opens with a downtown celebration from 5-10 p.m. Thursday, June 20. DownStreet Art will run through Oct. 31.

This summer's events, which are free and open to the public, will include gallery openings, a dance party on Main Street, a wandering light show, a community reading of Frederick Douglas's famous Fourth of July address, new murals in the downtown, and musical performances to include Montreal-based, multi-cultural, multi-lingual hip-hop band, Nomadic Massive.

The June 20 kick-off celebration - happening throughout downtown North Adams - will coincide with WILCO's Solid Sound Festival weekend at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA).  Main Street will shut down vehicular traffic for a World Music Dance Party, which starts at 8 p.m.

This year's DownStreet Art program's theme is "Beyond Industry," reflecting a North Adams that attempts to progress beyond its post-factory town and industrial past by using the arts as a catalyst for socioeconomic growth.

The season's exhibition line-up will include a wide array of renowned visual artists whose works tackle the scope of industry, whether within the narrow focus of the art industry or the broader context of industrial structures formed society.

DownStreet Art's initiative for this season additionally reflects the theme of progression, with four new "pop-up" (temporary) galleries and the commissioning of a multi-piece mural project created by artist Peter Dudek, which visitors will discover throughout downtown North Adams.

For "Mural Series: Peter Dudek," Dudek will create an ongoing series of architectural cartoons where different forms of housing represent a world in which buildings not only have a consciousness, but also the desire and ability to perpetuate.

In addition, in "Paint it Big! Paint it Public!," a teen workshop led by local artist Andrew Davis as a program of The Clark, students will create a public mural based on Albrecht Dürer's famous 16th century woodcut "The Rhinoceros." This mural will be formed in the Main Street alley, between Shear Madness Salon and Eagle Street, July 15-17, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

"Once again, we have some truly amazing art and artists," said Jonathan Secor, director of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center. "We had great submissions from around the world, giving our curatorial committee - made up of representatives from MASS MoCA, the Clark Art Museum, the Mount Holyoke Museum, Williams College Museum of Art, Ferrin Gallery and MCLA Gallery 51 - some hard choices.  Over the course of the next four months we will feature 75 different artists in over 30 exhibitions. The great news is that because downtown now has more year-round, permanent businesses than in decades, DownStreet Art is opening fewer pop-up galleries this season."

According to Secor, people literally will be dancing in the street for the first of the DownStreet Art Thursday performance series, as Main Street closes down for vehicular traffic at 8 p.m.  on June 20. Featuring music by the global Hip Hop world music super-group, Nomadic Massive, the dance party in the streets will cap off eight new exhibition openings downtown, other musical acts and roving art happenings.

Last summer, DownStreet Art strove to revitalize the façade of North Adams when it facilitated the creation of three large-scale public murals. The primary focus of the 2012 summer season was to bring art to public spaces that were easily viewable for both residents and visitors alike in the effort to attract more economic flow to Main Street. 

According to North Adams Mayor Richard J. Alcombright, "I smile every time I turn the corner at Main and Holden streets and see that beautiful mural. This sort of thing is what sets our community apart."

Since the creation of DownStreet Art in 2008, its events and exhibitions have attracted more than 100,000 visitors to the downtown North Adams area.

"There are many pieces of the puzzle that must be healthy and grow for downtown North Adams to continue on this wonderful path to a more vibrant future," said Glenn Maloney, president of the North Adams Chamber of Commerce. "DownStreet Art has brought life to one very important aspect of a healthy downtown: culture. In addition, it's brought both visual interest and commerce, but most important of all, DownStreet Art has been a catalyst for other growth and ideas."

The DownStreet Art Thursdays performances are as follows:

On Thursday, June 20, from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., Montreal-based, multilingual, multicultural, super-group, Nomadic Massive will come to North Adams to shut down Main Street with a performance and dance party celebration to prepare the City for MASS MoCA's Solid Sound Festival.

Also performing will be "Wandering Night House," a vehicular light show that will amble along the streets and corridors of North Adams at a very slow pace, dousing street facades with subtle light projections. The performance will be featured during the DownStreet Art kickoff event on June 20, as well as June 21 for North Adams' Late Night.

On Thursday, July 26, Eiko and Koma, Japanese-born choreographer/dancers, will perform in a specially modified trailer to reveal their piece titled "The Caravan Project," which recently exhibited in New York's Museum of Modern Art. Timur and the Dime Museum, a dark glam opera band, also will present North Adams with a galactic multimedia show fusing avant-garde, pop and vaudeville sounds.

On Thursday, Aug. 29, Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin will commandeer MCLA Gallery 51's physical space with "A Marriage: 1 (Suburbia)," a blend of performance art, video, sculpture, drawing, and sound, to create an immersive, building-wide mixed media performance that reveals the artists' experiences of their same-sex marriage and expresses their deep ambivalence towards their new status as a Normal American Couple. 

On Thursday, Sept.r 26, Great Small Works will perform excerpts from their "Toy Theater of Terror As Usual," a news-based series' trajectory from 1990 to 2002. The Great Small Works productions seek to renew, cultivate and strengthen the spirits of their audiences, reanimating the public sphere and promoting theater as a communal activity, a model for participating in democracy. Also, James McBride, an author, musician and screenwriter, who toured as a sideman with jazz legend Jimmy Scott, will cap off the evening with a musical performance.

On Thursday, Oct. 31, Ryder Cooley and Friends will present a macabre All Hallows Eve masquerade performance with live music, projections, costumes, taxidermy and mystical happenings. The audience will be serenaded with sinister accordion, gothic ukulele, chilling singing saw and disembodied voices. 

DownStreet Art will end with a final Halloween celebration on Thursday, Oct. 31, with exhibition openings, performances and more.

DownStreet Art is a project of MCLA's Berkshire Culture Resource Center, partnering with the City of North Adams, Develop North Adams, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Orbit Visual Graphic Design.

The program is made possible through lead sponsorship support provided by Excelsior and Greylock Federal Credit Union. Additional support is provided by: Brewhaha!, Sushi House, China Buffet, Berkshire Emporium and Antiques, Mediterra, I Got Goodies, Eagle St. Music, Shear Madness Salon, Bark-N-Cat, Shima, Verizon Wireless Zone, Public eat+drink, The Hub, Freight Yard Restaurant and Pub, MASS MoCA, The Party Place, and Persnickety Toys.

An initiative of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC), DownStreet Art (DSA) is a public art project designed to revitalize downtown North Adams. By harnessing existing art organizations and events and transforming vacant and open spaces into art destinations, DownStreet Art defines North Adams as a cultural haven, driving tourists and community members.

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

Some of the participating museums, galleries, and other arts destinations for the DownStreet Art 2013 Season include:

MASS MoCA:  One of the world's liveliest (and largest!) centers for making, showing, and enjoying the best art and music of our time. 87 Marshall St. Open daily 10-6.

KIDSPACE @ MASS MoCA:  Contemporary art gallery and studio, with programs for families. "Freedom: Just Another Word For..."opens June 15, 2013 and runs through May 2014.

NAACO GALLERY North Adams Artist Co-op Gallery:  Contemporary fine art and craft gallery. 33 Main St. Mon, Thurs-Sat 11-6 & Sun 12-4

MCLA GALLERY 5:  Featuring exhibitions by: Richard~Selesnick, Nicholas Kahn, and Dennis Herbert, Ibrahim Quraishi, Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin among many others. 51 Main St. Open daily 10-6

GALLERY 53:  Rotating exhibitions featuring: Beehive Collective, "Messages From Iran" curated by Solly Kh, artist Rich Remsberg, and Great Small Works. 53 Main St. Wed-Fri 12-6 Sat. 10-6 Sun 10-4

GALLERY 105:  works by artists Jenny Kemp and Richard Harrington, and a unique exhibition curated by the Contemporary Arts Center of Troy. 105 Main St. Wed-Fri 12-6 Sat. 10-6 Sun 10-4

PRESS Letterpress as a Public Art Project:  curated by Melanie Mowinski. Upcoming shows include: "impress", "Liminality", "The Politics of _", "Markings", and more. 49 Main St. Wed-Fri 12-6 Sat. 10-6 Sun 10-4

BRANCH GALLERY:  Exhibitions include sculptors Geoffrey Booras & David Kaufmann, paintings by Michelle Lauriat, and works by artist Matt Philips. 18 Holden St. Wed-Fri 12-6 Sat. 10-6 Sun 10-4

CARAVAN:  Recently on view at MoMA, this exhibition~involves the installation and utilization of a specially modified trailer by Japanese artists, Eiko and Koma. 69 Union St. Wed-Fri 12-6 Sat. 10-6 Sun 10-4

WILLIAM OBERST STUDIO:  The working studio of realist painter of people and landscapes. 16 Holden St. By appointment. Call (631)-398-4011

TRANSCRIPT GALLERY:  Featured artists include photographer Daniel Morgan, artist Jennifer Huberdeau, and photojournalist Gillian Jones. 85 Main St. Mon-Fri 8-5

CafE: Community Art for Everyone: a community-based center for art-learning, exploration, and growth. 107 Main St. Wed-Fri 12-6 Sat. 10-6 Sun 10-4

RUDD ART MUSEUM Exhibiting:  "A Chapel For Humanity: Eric Rudd's sculptural epic". 150 figures & 54 ceiling panels in a historic church. 82 Summer St. Wed-Sun 12-5 Fall: Sat-Sun 12-5

ADAMS COMMUNITY BANK GALLERY:  Featuring local and regional artists with exhibitions curated by Christina Stott. 31 Eagle St. Mon-Fri 10-4 Sat 10-12

MARTHA FLOOD DESIGN:  Textile gallery and surface pattern design studio. 38 Eagle St. Fri 12-6:30 Sat 12-5 or later

RIVER HILL POTTERY:  Pottery gallery and working studio for artists Phil and Gail Sellers. Eclipse Mill, Studio 104, 243 Union St. Open daily 10-5

ECLIPSE MILL GALLERY: Artist-run gallery featuring works by residents and artists based in the area. Eclipse Mill, Studio 102, 243 Union St. Thurs- Sun 12-6

BRILL GALLERY:  Museum quality paintings, photography, and sculpture. Now on view: "Leonard Freed: The Italians", and "Kaitlyn 5x5", Eclipse Mill, Studio 109, 243 Union St. Fri-Sun 12-6 and by appt.

NORTH ADAMS MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND SCIENCE:  Celebrate the rich history of North Adams. Western Gateway Heritage State Park, Building 5A, 115 State St. Thu-Sat 10-4, Sun 1-4

VISITOR MUSEUM AT WESTERN GATEWAY HERITAGE STATE PARK:  Imaginative exhibits revealing the impact of the railroad industry and the Hoosac Tunnel project. Western Gateway Heritage State Park, 115 State St. Open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

COMMUNITY ART PROGRAM AT NORTH ADAMS REGIONAL HOSPITAL:  More than 200 works of art by area artists displayed on four floors, curated by Sharon Carson. 71 Hospital Ave. Always open. 

The North Adams Public Art that will be available for viewing is as follows:

MURAL: MAYA HAYUK A large, colorful, completely improvised, and totally optimistic, abstract mural. Center St. between Marshall and Holden

MURAL: MELISSA MATSUKI LILLIE An abstract colorful interpretation of the geological makeup of Main Street and its buildings. Corner of Holden St. and Main St.

MURAL: MURALISMO PUBLICO Mural depicting an optimistic and collective vision of change. Back of Mohawk Theater.

ART ABOUT TOWN: PILLARS Images of child mill workers, cloth dolls, and fabric patterns originally produced at the historic Arnold Print Works. Marshall St. overpass. In progress through September, 2013.

BUS STAND combining the functional with the aesthetic, Bus Stand is a permanent installation by [ fcp://,%2318800303/Mailbox/_blank/ ]Victoria Palermo who was inspired by her 2010 Kidspace @ MASS MoCA artist-in-residency. Main St.

WALL OF SOUND A site-specific installation by artists David Poppie and Roger Sayre. 73. Main St., on view 24 hours.

PRIMARY SEPARATION MASS MoCA commissioned work by artist Don Gummer, the first full-scale realization. Outside the T. William Lewis Building on Marshall St.

MURAL: MATT MCWHIRT A scenic interpretation of the Berkshire landscape. Eagle St. alley between Desperados and The Party Place.

The commissioned murals for the DownStreet Art 2013 season are:

MURAL SERIES: PETER DUDEK An ongoing series of architectural cartoons in which different forms of housing represent a world in which buildings not only have a consciousness but also the desire and ability to perpetuate.

PAINT IT BIG! PAINT IT PUBLIC!:  A teen mural workshop led by local artist Andrew Davis as a program of The Clark Art Institute. Students will create a public mural based on Albrecht Dürer's famous sixteenth century woodcut The Rhinoceros. Main Street alley between Shear Madness Salon and Eagle Street. Music. July 15-19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.