MCLA

Downstreet Art Invites All to Get Down With Fresh Exhibitions, New Public Art and Musical Happenings

07/16/2013

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Berkshire Cultural Resource Center's (BCRC) DownStreet Art is gearing up for the second of its DownStreet Art Thursdays, a series of downtown celebrations for the arts festival's summer season.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Thursday, July 25, from 6 to 9 p.m. The celebration will include eight new exhibition openings, mural unveilings, a range of family-friendly activities, and an array of musical and art performances.

"This month's DownStreet Art is particularly awesome because of its diversity in theme and media," said Leeya Rose Jackson,  the B-HIP intern who is serving as the DownStreet Art coordinator.

"We have theatrical dance, music and visual arts events that all have edgy and eclectic nuances to them," Jackson continued. "Plus, more fantastic murals will be unveiled to the public."

For this event, the stage will be in the Holden Street parking lot, leaving Main Street open for vehicular traffic. The line-up will include a musical performance by dark glam opera band, Timur and the Dime Museum, as well as a performance of Bang on a Can fellows and faculty, by the Found Sound Nation project, and by MCLA student Melody Rolph '14.

Japanese-born choreographers Eiko and Koma will present their butoh-inspired dance performance "Caravan," recently on view at the New York Museum of Modern Art, which Koma will perform on Holden Street as part of the DownStreet Art Thursday festivities.

Eiko and Koma have created a unique and riveting theater of movement out of stillness, shape, light and sound," Jackson said. Their goal is to transform downtown North Adams into an environment that challenges visitors to activate their imagination biologically and artistically.

Koma's performance is an extension of the "Caravan Project" exhibition, which will open on July 24 at 69 Union St.,from 6 p.m. to 8p.m., It will showcase the choreographer's work from the past four decades.

Along with the performances, July's DownStreet Art Thursday will include the opening receptions and artist talk-backs of eight new exhibitions, as well as "pop-up" artist booths on Main and Holden streets, and an unveiling and mural "crawl" of the commissioned public murals for the 2013 season.

To be installed in six different locations around North Adams, Peter Dudek's mural series are architectural cartoons in which different forms of housing represent a world where buildings not only have a consciousness, but also the desire and ability to perpetuate. Some of the mural locations will include the corner of Main and Holden streets, behind the back entrance of MCLA Gallery 51, and next to the entrance of the Public Eat+Drink.

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 unveil their  public mural based on Albrecht Dürer's famous 16th century woodcut, "The Rhinoceros." This mural will be in the Main Street alley, between Shear Madness Salon and Eagle Street.

Highlights of theDownStreet Art Thursday opening exhibitions include Pakistani artist's Ibrahim Quraishi's "Dreaming Arizona" at MCLA Gallery 51, as well as Iranian artist, Solly Kh's "Messages From Iran" at Gallery 53.

Local artist Tatiana Klacsmann will show her work at Gallery 105, PRESS Gallery will exhibit printmaker Valerie Carrigan's "Liminality," and the Branch Gallery will showcase Michele Lauriat's "Spot Pond" drawings.

The opening receptions for the exhibitions will take place Thursday, July 25, 6-9 p.m.  They will remain on display until Aug. 25. For more information about the upcoming gallery exhibitions please go to www.downstreetart.org .

DownStreet Art Thursdays occur every last Thursday during the summer months. The upcoming DownStreet Art Thursday performances for the 2013 season are as follows:

On Thursday, July 25, 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. 

Also performing will be The Vermont Joy Parade, a seven piece ensemble featuring banjo, trumpet, accordion/piano, guitar, upright bass and drums/percussion, playing a fervent and eclectic blend of Americana, indie-rock, old-time, country blues, Dixieland, Cajun, jug, and klezmer known as "all-time music" or "suspender fusion."Their alchemical blend of alternately rambunctious and soulful tunes has been received with enthusiasm by people from all walks of life all over America and Europe.

On Thursday, Sept. 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, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Orbit Visual Graphic Design.

The program is made possible through lead sponsorship support provided by Excelsior Printing, Appelbaum-Kahn Foundation, Berkshire Bank, Scarafoni Associates, the Porches Inn at MASS MoCA, Public eat+drink, and North Adams Chamber of Commerce. Additional support is provided by: Williamstown Motel, Limelight Productions, Luma's Muffin & Mug, brewhaha!, Adams Community Bank, Sushi House, China Buffet, Berkshire Emporium and Antiques, Mediterra, I Got Goodies, Christo's Famous Pizza, Desperados Fresh Mexican Grille, Jack's Hot Dog Stand, Lickety Split, MountainOne, O'Connell Oil Associates, Inc., Eagle St. Music, Shear Madness Salon, Bark N' Cat, Shima, Verizon Wireless Zone, Bascom Lodge, The Hub, Freight Yard Restaurant and Pub, MASS MoCA, The Party Place, and Persnickety Toys.

An initiative of MCLA's BCRC, DownStreet Art 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.