NORTH ADAMS, MA—DownStreet Art 2012 season continues with an arts and culture celebration on Thursday, August 30, from 6 to 9 p.m. The downtown will fill with pop-up and permanent gallery openings, live performances, viewings of the new murals, happenings, trolley rides and businesses open late with DownStreet Art specials.
All events are family friendly, free and open to the public.
So far this summer there have been two ‘DownStreet Art Thursday!’ events which have both been highly frequented and have received positive feedback from locals and tourists. Local business owner Keith Bona of Berkshire Emporium & Antiques stated that DownStreet Art builds a bridge between MASS MoCA and the downtown by offering complimentary galleries and art exhibits. “The ability to draw visitors of the museum to local retailers and restaurants is essential in making our local creative economy work.” He continued, “DownStreet Art is one of a few elements that clearly can do that by making empty store fronts and bland walls attractive and inviting. When there are more people walking the sidewalks looking at art, there are more people entering our stores, and more sales.”
For the upcoming ‘DownStreet Art Thursday!’ gallery opening receptions include:
Throwing Paint and Composing Pots at North Adams Artists Co-Op—33 Main St.—The North Adams Artists Co-Op, or NAACO, will be exhibiting the work of local artists Katherine Borkowski Byrne and Linda Siska. This show highlights their dynamic processes and emphasizes the physical engagement that art-making requires. On her work, Borkowski comments that she “wishes to prove contemporary paintings can be alive, timeless and universal and can add a changing vista and interest to any environment.” Siska views her pottery as a result of a “dialogue” between her and the clay, as she claims that her medium is “full of possibilities.”
Conversation with Jarvis Rockwell: an Experiment with Inspiration at the Jarvis Rockwell Gallery—49 Main St.—This gallery will continue to exhibit the world renowned toy installation art of Jarvis Rockwell as well as his work in progress collages on the walls of the gallery. In a third gallery space, entitled Gallery X, Associate Gallery Manager and MCLA student Christina Stott has had the unique ability to curate and organize exhibitions. Artists for the upcoming show were encouraged to have a conversation with Jarvis Rockwell and then create work that draws inspirations from the aforementioned conversation. Resulting work will be the product of Jarvis Rockwell’s creatively wild demeanor combined with artists’ own inspirations and interests in varied mediums.
Compendium by Richard Criddle at MCLA Gallery 51—51 Main St.—Richard Criddle is highly regarded for his ingenuity in his daytime role as MASS MoCA’s director of fabrication and installation. Criddle will be exhibiting his sculpture, which he states “demands a high degree of resourcefulness.” According to the artist, he finds “joy in discovering, extracting, blending, articulating, manufacturing, building, sharing, and showing his work.” His work reflects his quick-witted sense of humor. The characters and narratives in his sculpture are created from a wide range of materials including “scrap metal, industrial hardware, old furniture, and found objects.”
Transcend: art as activism in the Occupy Movement at Branch Gallery—18 Holden St.—MCLA student Emily Breunig is curating an exhibition of art and other forms of creativity which have been actively used as informative and inspiring outreach and activism. This exhibit will feature works of various mediums created by Occupy Wall Street (OWS) art working groups as well as individual artists. The title of the show is in reference to a Howard Zinn essay titled ‘Artists in Times of War’ who made the point that people should utilize their skill and resources to contribute to society and involve oneself in politics.
Art into Life, Life into Art: by Matei Bejenaru and curated by Izabel Galliera at The Artery—26 Holden St.—This exhibition will feature several works by the Romanian artist Matei Bejenaru within a post-communist European context. The individual works aim to act as collective critical inquiries into our contemporary everyday precarious conditions by opening discussion, for example, on the social, political and economic marginalization of the worker under the local and global impact of neoliberal capitalism. While the artist’s works presented in the exhibition most often emerged from within the Romanian transitional and post-1989 European contexts, issues raised by Bejenaru’s projects connect in intriguing and provocative ways to the location of the exhibition in North Adams, where economically and politically marginalized populations struggle to survive in a city abandoned by once booming industries and factories. Bejenaru will be in residence during the month of August and as part of the exhibition, he will develop a site project involving the direct participation and collaboration of several residents from North Adams.
Mostly Watercolors at Wendy James Studio—22 Holden St.— This exhibition will show work by North Adams artists Wendy James, Sarah Sutro,and Wilma Rifkin. The works on canvas will demonstrate the artists’ shared interest in exploring the expressive and narrative qualities of abstraction.
Meghan Foley 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 photography of Transcript reporter Meghan Foley. Foley’s photographs delve into the natural topography and personality of the northern Berkshires, examining both landscapes as well as close ups.
Postal Pinacotheca at PRESS Gallery—105 Main St.—In August of 2011, six artists came together to participate in a mail exchange project. These women are print makers, book artists, and, despite very busy lives, continue to make artwork. Artworks were due every two months finishing first in September, then November, January, March, May and July. Each round began with a theme chosen by one of the artists. The themes respectively were: Money, Inside/Outside, Travel, Habitat, Weather, and Animal-Mineral-Vegetable.
This show, Postal Pinacotheca, features the work that was exchanged throughout the course of the yearlong project.
Imagining North Adams at Gallery 107—107 Main St.—According to curator Jennifer Krouse, “this exhibition will be a festival of images, idea and initiatives with a place making mission. Through artwork and participatory events, the festival invites participants to imagine North Adams as a “canvas for our daily lives.”” Over the course of the month there will be three permanent components to the show, “A Model City” installation by James Rojas, “Picturing North Adams” art exhibition organized by guest curator Jaye Fox of studio21south, and the “Project Lodge” which will be a space dedicated to support local place making efforts.
Adams Community Bank—31 Eagle St.—An exhibition curated by MCLA graduate Kristen Parker.
Black and White (more or less) at studio21south—Eagle Street—Usually located within the historic Beaver Mill, studio21south has moved to downtown North Adams for the DownStreet Art season. They will continue to exhibit Black and White (more or less), a mostly-monochrome selection of prints, drawings and paintings by gallery artists. The show will feature a new installation of 150 abstract mixed-media drawings by Karen Walter, charcoal streetscapes by Bob Lafond, and a fantastic selection of prints by master printmaker, Columbia County’s own Frank Curran. Studio21south willalso be highlighting some great vernacular cityscapes by Thor Wickstrom, as well as some great work by gallery favorite Eric March.
Martha Flood Design—38 Eagle St.—Flood is an artist and veteran surface designer for the wall covering, fabric, and laminate industries. Based in North Adams, she provides creative services to individuals, businesses and the interior design trade.
DownStreet Art is excited to continue with its fifth season of various happenings, exhibitions and more in celebration of art as a part of what Secor said will be of the most exciting, and groundbreaking, seasons yet.
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. For more information about DownStreet Art and the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, go to www.downstreetart.org and www.mcla.edu/bcrc .