NORTH ADAMS, MA—DownStreet Art 2012 season continues with a downtown arts and culture celebration on Thursday, July 26, from 6 to 9 p.m.. Downtown will fill with pop-up and permanent gallery openings, live performances, a celebration of a new mural, happenings, trolley rides and businesses open late with DownStreet Art specials.

All events are family friendly, free and open to the public.

Director of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, Jonathan Secor, praised DownStreet Art as it “continues to be the force that drives good art, good people, and good business into downtown North Adams.”

“This DownStreet Art Thursday Night celebration will continue to demonstrate how a small town can be transformed by art and how investing into your community through art is immensely rewarding…and fun!” adds Francesca DeBiaso, DownStreet Art Program Coordinator.

Veronica Bosley, Director of Tourism and Community Events at City of North Adams,  stated that “DownStreet Art has become one of the major attractions in North Adams. It showcases our downtown and gives local businesses a chance to shine. Visitors and residents alike have given me great feedback about these events.”

DownStreet Art Thursday gallery opening receptions include:

If Not This… by Mark Mulherrin at the Marshall St. Space—24 Marshall St.—Local artist Mark Mulherrin will be exhibiting “If Not This…” which is comprised of his most recent artworks.  The paintings are a result of his progression as an artist over the years. For this particular group of paintings, Mulherrin desired to make “simple pictures that are complete environments, places that are emotionally and visually complex while using the least amount of information to achieve that effect.”

Out of the Dust…Back to the Earth: A Dialogue in Ceramics and Oils by Lori St. Pierre and Judith Kniffin at NAACO—33 Main St.— The North Adams Artists’ Co-Operative Gallery, otherwise known as the NAACO Gallery, is an independently member-run organization of nearly 40 active and talented, primarily regional, artists exhibiting works in the fields of fine and applied arts. Kniffin describes her work as “understated, semi-representational compositions in oil and watercolor, recording familiar things” and St.Pierre describes her work as “dynamic, textural, patterned ceramic hand built vessel-forms.”

The TOY as ART custom toy art exhibit at The Jarvis Rockwell Gallery— 49 Main St.—The Jarvis Rockwell Gallery will open The TOY as ART a custom toy art exhibit.  This exhibit will bring together the work of both local and regional “custom” toy makers. This exhibit has been curated by Christina Stott, Associate Gallery Manager of The Jarvis Rockwell Gallery who said the pieces are “hand-crafted and infinitely interesting” and the artists “bring a new meaning to the function and aesthetics of toys”.

Meet Me in the Middle of the Air by Sean Riley at MCLA Gallery 51—51 Main St.—MCLA Gallery 51 will present Meet Me in the Middle of the Air, a solo exhibition of new work by local artist Sean Riley. The exhibition will feature paintings, drawings, and works constructed from fabric. Riley’s recent work derives from a project he embarked on in response to the 2008 loss of his father in which he created a quilt from his father’s clothes. Riley’s ultimate goal with the project is to eventually use his father’s entire wardrobe to create an extensive body of work.

The Phylogeny Projects at Branch Gallery—18 Holden St.—Derek Parker and Anne Roecklein will continue to curate The Phylogeny Projects using the lens of the “North Adams School” to examine the connections between artists. The evening will also include performative and interactive piece by Pittsburgh artist Justin Hopper at Branch Gallery. Hopper will be presenting and manipulating, based on viewer interaction, “Transmission”- an audio and text installation that delves into “dark nostalgia” by mashing cold-war childhood with that of the Black Death. As he describes, “modernist literature collides with Rod Serling and Ronald Reagan; Danse Macabre and Gogol; medieval joie de vivre and, of course, Joy Division.”

Local Color Revisited at Wendy James Studio—22 Holden St.—Local Color Revisited, curated by Wendy James, is a group show of some of the local artists that participated in Local Color in 2010 during DownStreet Art. “Local Color” will focus on supporting, growing and showcasing the community that has existed in the region for decades. Area artist Wendy James will work with untrained artists in North Adams to present this exhibition of their art. This year’s Participating artists are Lee Martinez, Barbara May, Patrice Bolgen, Jon Payne, Bonnie Spencer, Daniel Field, Eileen Gloster, Emily May.

Interludes: Inspiration from bucolic places and literary page by Jennifer Huberdeau at The Transcript Gallery—85 Main St.—One of the more interesting places for a “pop-up” gallery, The North Adams Transcript Office will be exhibiting the work of Senior Reporter/Digital News Specialist Jennifer Huberdeau in a show entitled Interludes: Inspiration from bucolic places and literary pages. Interludes is comprised of a variety of landscapes and fairy tale themed paintings created by Huberdeau over the last five years.

Type High at PRESS: Letterpress as Public Art ProjectType High, an exhibit that presents the work of Wells College Victor Hammer Fellow Katie Baldwin and her students. Katie Baldwin is a printmaker who has traveled to several countries as an artist in residence, including Japan, Mexico and Cuba. Type High is an exhibition of her own pieces, along with work done by students enrolled in her “Art on the Press” class at the Book Arts Center at Wells College in Aurora, NY.

I Don’t Want to Wake U Up but I Really Want to Show U Something by Kristen Parker at the Adams Community Bank—31 Eagle St.—The exhibition entitled I Don’t Want to Wake U Up but I Really Want to Show U Something by MCLA alumni Kristen Parker documents Parker’s  2010 semester abroad in Dundee, Scotland. Parker traveled to England, Paris, Amsterdam, and Berlin. “I grew up with a love for traveling and photographing. Experiencing other people’s cultures intrigues me and reveals elements within my own culture that in normal circumstances would never emerge” said Parker.

Ralph Brill and Louise LaFond—28 Eagle St.—Displaying the work of Ralph Brill’s gallery and Lousie LaFond. This space is an addition to Brill Gallery which is located in the Eclipse Mill (Studio 102, 234 Union St.). Louise LaFond is a world class print maker and is planning on teaching classes in Fall 2012.

Black and White (more or less) at studio21south—44 Eagle St.—This show features paintings, drawings and prints in a generally, if not exclusively, monotone mood. The show features woodblock prints and engravings by  Frank Curran, a series of striking charcoal streetscape drawings by Bob Lafond, and an installation of 150 drawings by Karen Walter. Urban nocturnes and other paintings by Thor Wickstrom will also be on view.

Martha Flood Design—38 Eagle St.—Flood an artist and veteran surface designer for the wallcovering, fabric, and laminate industries. She is based in North Adams, Massachusetts and provides creative services to individuals, businesses and the interior design trade.

DownStreet Art Thursday includes special events at The Artery and Gallery 107:

“A Taste of Italy” reception at The Artery— 26 Holden St.—The Artery will be hosting a “Taste of Italy” reception to accompany Beyond the Far Blue Mountains, a fifty-three minute film by Molly Davies. The tasting will showcase food and drink from the region of Italy where the piece was filmed. Associate Gallery Manager Shanti Sponder said, “The Artery has chosen to enhance the experience of the viewer through multiple senses by fathering the imagination of the audience and allowing them to lose themselves within the breathtaking scenery and alluring music that accompanies the fairy tale.”

Pop-up ceramic art walk at Gallery 107—107 Main St.—Gallery 107 will present a pop-up art walk which will feature work by ceramicist and Keene University professor Paul McMullan. McMillian’s work will be displayed on the sidewalk in front of the gallery as part of an ongoing exhibit Lynn Richardson: Arctic Garden. McMullan’s work plays off the role of traditional garden sculpture through his tongue in cheek guardians of the garden which will stand erect outside the gallery entrance.

Highlights of the DownStreet Art “Happenings” include:

North Adams Art Trolley—As in years past, DownStreet Art will be providing a free downtown arts destination trolley tour lead by local historian Paul Marino.

MASS MoCA’s Bang on a Can summer institute performance on Main St.—Bang on a Can, a summer program of innovative music-making hosted at MASS MoCA every summer, is celebrating 25 years of their “adventurous program” and will be performing during the DownStreet Art Thursday Night.

The official debut of Maya Hayuk’s mural on Center St.—As part of a DownStreet Art’s summer 2012 mural project, a second mural will be on view for the public on Center St. between Marshall and Holden St. Hayuk is an internationally renowned artist from Brooklyn, New York who has worked in fashion design, designed album covers, and has been commissioned to do advertisements for Bacardi. At the core of her practice are her murals, which she describes as “large, colorful, completely improvised, totally optimistic and abstract.”

Art About Town” Pillars—A citizen-based collaborative sponsored by the City of North Adams, DownStreet Art, and Develop North Adams, Inc., along with DownStreet Art artist William Oberst and the after school art program CAMP at Greylock Schooltaught by Christina King, has created a public mural project on the pillars under the Veterans Memorial Bridge on Marshall Street. The “dolls” are reminiscent of the cloth dolls made at Arnold Print Works in the late 1800s. Arnold Print Works resided in the MASS MoCA building prior to Sprague Electric Company.

KIDSPACE @ MASS MoCA—In conjunction with Victoria Palermo’s Bus Stand on Main St., Kidspace will be hosting an event focusing on color and how it reacts with light when used on transparent material. Kidspace intern, Lo Sottile, commented, “In other words, comes downtown to experiment with painting on bubble wrap!”

Join ArtBerkshires for a guided tour with Leslie Ferrin and Jonathan Secor, MCLA director of special programs of installations, exhibitions and the mural project.  Meet at 6:00 MCLA Gallery 51. The tour will be about one hour.

DownStreet Art is a project of MCLA’s Berkshire Culture Resource Center, partnering with the City of North Adams, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and Orbit Visual Graphic Design. The program is made possible through lead sponsorship support provided by Greylock Federal Credit Union, Excelsior, Scarafoni Associates, Waterman Excavation, Berkshire Bank, Transcript, Orbit Visual, The North Adams Transcript, Porches an Inn at MASS MoCA, The Franzoni Family, Public Eat& Drink, Adams Community Bank, The Sushi House, O’Connell Oil Associates, Edward Jones Investments, Berkshire Emporium & Antiques, Hoosac Bank, Persnickety Toys, Jack’s Hot Dogs, Desperado’s, Lickety Split at MASS MoCA, Luma’s Muffin & Mug, Freightyard Pub & Restaurant, I’ve Got Goodies, Verizon Wireless Zone, Shima’s, and The Local.

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.

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