MCLA

Final DownStreet Art Thursday of the Season to be Held Sept. 30th

09/24/2010

NORTH ADAMS, MA - DownStreet Art will wrap up its season of Thursday events with a full-fledged street party celebrating the arts in the city. On Thursday, Sept. 30, there will be gallery openings, bands on the street, puppet parades, specials at local businesses and lots of opportunities for all to create their own art - from the creation of a "Grand Doodle" to the reimagining of the downtown. 

The event will take place 6-10 p.m. throughout downtown North Adams. The evening is part of DownStreet Art, a program of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Berkshire Cultural Resource Center.

Exhibition openings include those at MCLA Gallery 51, Avalon Seafood Gallery, NAACO Gallery, Local Color, Be Your Own Placebo, BAC Gallery, a working demonstration by the Store Front Artist Project in Pittsfield, an exhibition of art by students participating in the Northeastern Conference of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), and two exhibitions showcasing the work of Northern Berkshire School System students.     

There will be musical performances throughout downtown North Adams, including the folk punk band Mail Myself to Thoreau, the Conor Meehan Jazz Quartet, Kusika (African percussion), Noise Nomads, Tumble Cat Poof Poofy Poof , Accordianists Ben Seagrave and Tom Leidenfrost, a drum circle and Mike Martin on the ukulele. 

Artist Liz Nofziger will be in her installation work "The Artery," inviting all to help work on the piece and to add their own inspirations.   

For children, there will be a chance to work with the staff from Kidspace at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) as they create a parade float for the Children's Parade for the upcoming Fall Foliage Weekend. 

At the "Grand Doodle," visitors will be encouraged to doodle, along with the Local Color artists, on a roll of paper wrapped around the Local Color Gallery. Materials will be provided, but all are free to bring their own collage materials. During Open Studios weekend, on Saturday, Oct. 16, and Sunday, Oct. 17, the collage will be cut up into smaller pieces of art, using frames to map out a desired artwork.  

"Quantum Spectrum," an exhibition of artwork with roots in graffiti or no-permission art, is one many exhibitions that will open as part of DownStreet Art's Last Thursday. The exhibit is curated by Brooklyn, N.Y., artist John Breiner for MCLA Gallery 51. "Quantum Spectrum" includes works made for the gallery that were created with the same passion as work made in train yards, derelict buildings and freeway structures. The art works utilize skills, aesthetics and ideas that were formed in the raw, free environment of the urban wilderness.

Avalon Seafood Gallery, at 7 Holden St., will present "The North Adams Downtown Makeover." The show re-envisions the physical space of North Adams and invites the public to imagine the ideal of a very small city. The exhibition will use blueprints of the existing downtown as the point of departure for a show incorporating hand-drawn plans for a revised downtown, three-dimensional models, photographs and wall text.

The brainchild of North Adams artist Andrew Davis, the exhibition aims to jump-start the public's imagination. The exhibition opens on Sept. 30 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 24.

Artist Michael Vincent Bushy and Julia Dixon, Storefront Artist Project (SAP) director and artist, will relocate to North Adams for the evening to make artwork in 53 Main St., a now-vacant storefront that formerly housed PIP Printing. Meet the artists and learn about SAP's nomadic Artist Residency program. SAP provides local, regional and international artists with temporary studio, installation, and exhibition space in vacant commercial storefronts throughout downtown Pittsfield. 

District High School students will present a window installation of their work at 28 Eagle St.

The installation is a collaboration of DownStreet Art, MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, North Adams Open Studios, Develop North Adams, North Adams Public Schools, Bart Charter School, Gabriel Abbott School. In addition, Erica Manville's 7th graders at Brayton Elementary School will work on three large, outdoor paintings for the 17 Eagle St. brick building.

The students' artwork will be on view until Oct. 17, courtesy of building owners Paul Grimshaw and the Manuel Family.

Jarvis Rockwell has put aside his own art until next month and is pleased to show "Javanese Folk Art: Reverse Glass Painting" at the back of the Berkshire Artists Colony at 107 Main St.  

This art is a collection of reverse glass paintings of the 1930s and '40s from the island of Java. It features borrowed characters from the Mahabaharata that depict popular clown-servant figures. With their strange exaggerated features, they are portrayed in contemporary dress mixed with Javanese patterned attire often mingling with ordinary citizens in a variety of ordinary and sometimes humorous situations. 

Also during Last Thursday, the BAC Gallery will host an art talk on Bruce MacDonald's "Crucified Stuffed Bunny," at 7:30 p.m.  

"Crucified Stuffed Bunny" has been visible in the window of the BAC Gallery throughout this past summer. While the work has been admired by a number of visitors to the gallery, others have expressed dismay at the religious symbolism in the painting. This art talk will explore both the theological and artistic issues that the piece raises with a panel of local religious and art leaders who will speak on their reactions to the work from the perspective of theology, social commentary in the arts, theology in the arts, and more. The talk will conclude with a discussion with the audience. 

The Northern Berkshire Ex-Smokers' Hall of Fame will celebrate the stories of local people who were successful in quitting smoking, and who now want to inspire others to quit. The display, at Tangiers, includes each Hall of Famer's story and photo. These stories represent an increasing number of local residents who have quit smoking for good.  

The Hall of Fame is a partnership between North Adams Regional Hospital and the Berkshire Area Health Education Center (AHEC), with funding and support from the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program.   

Although this event will be the final Thursday event of the season, MCLA Gallery 51 will continue to hold exhibition openings each month. In addition, Open Studios weekend will take place on Oct. 16 and 17. 

DownStreet Art is a project of MCLA's Berkshire Culture Resource Center, partnering with the City of North Adams, Develop North Adams, Orbit Visual Graphic Design and Scarafoni Realty.  The program is made possible through lead sponsorship support provided by Greylock Federal Credit Union and Greylock Investment Group.  Additional support is provided by: Adams Co-Operative Bank, Berkshire Bank, the City of North Adams, Gramercy Bistro, Hoosac Bank, The Hub Food and Spirit, Doug Morin MD, Papyri Books, The Party Place, Petrino's Café, The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA , Supreme Pizza and Wings, Taylor's and TGL Photoworks.

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 to showcase what other local arts organizations have to offer. For more information about DownStreet Art and the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, go to www.downstreetart.org and www.mcla.edu/bcrc