Undergrad curates art gallery
This summer's DownStreet Art project features the work of many, including numerous MCLA faculty, staff and students. But one exhibition has the distinction of being run by an undergraduate student. English major Jamie Mohr, from upstate New York, will graduate from MCLA in December.
With past experience in organizing events, showing her own art and touring with bands, Mohr wanted to bring her friends together to present their art and music to the North Adams community. This inspired her to create "Be Your Own Placebo" (BYOP).
"I'm very excited to bring live music, interactive performances, screenings and costumed feasts to coincide with DownStreet Art openings each month," Mohr said.
Live performances - which are free and open to the public - are a major part of the gallery, which is located at 28 Holden St.
The idea for creating the gallery began at MCLA Gallery 51, where Mohr broached the idea of the space to her friends there. With their encouragement, she wrote up a formal proposal to present to the DownStreet Art committee.
"I believe they were especially interested in the challenging artists and sensory immersive events I had in mind, as well as the aesthetic element that BYOP would be bringing to the diversity of the program," Mohr said.
There's a new art exhibit in the gallery each month. For the next two DownStreet Thursdays, on Aug. 26 and Sept. 30, BYOP will open the new art shows with a reception and featured performances.
"The gallery is a series of shows that reflect that the strength of a community is not mutually exclusive of, but complimentary to the strength a unique individual has," she explained.
For the first show, Mohr decided to install several female forms throughout the gallery. They tower in scale and look directly at the viewer.
"Some figures are more lost or diluted into abstraction, expressing an act of mental or physical absorption into the process of personal transition," she explained. "The show itself is displayed as a winding corridor with several different vantage points, as to convey an endless transition through process and epiphany, confusion, desire and enlightenment."
Upon her graduation, Mohr hopes to earn her teaching certification at MCLA, as well as to broaden her cultural experiences and perceptions by teaching abroad. She also aims to complete a master's degree in art therapy so as to combine her interests in art, psychology, volunteer work and social change.
Gallery hours for "Be Your Own Placebo" are Wednesdays through Fridays, noon to 6 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information about DownStreet Art, go to www.downstreetart.org .