(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – The final DownStreet Thursday of the season will feature seven new exhibition openings, including a milestone retrospective show by local artist Gregory Scheckler in MCLA Gallery 51 and a site-specific exhibition of ceramic objects, drawing, paint and video curated by Pittsfield’s Ferrin Gallery owner Leslie Ferrin in The Artery.
The evening also will feature special events, including an MCLA Presents! performance, as well as several music and performance happenings. DownStreet Thursday, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Thursday, Sept. 29 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Live music will include songs by C. Ryder Cooley and spoken word with Sarah Falkner at XMALIA, 18 Holden St., at 7:30 p.m. This performance will offer a sneak preview of the 70-minute musical-theater event to happen on Jan. 25, 2012, as part of MCLA Presents!
Other music will happen throughout the event when three street musicians perform in front of Berkshire Bank, Mike Martin plays his ukulele in front of MCLA Gallery 51, and the Drury High School Jazz Band performs under the Mohawk Theatre marquee.
In MCLA Gallery 51, 51 Main St., North Adams artist Gregory Scheckler will unveil new allegorical paintings in what will be his 100th exhibit. “Remixed Messages: Artworks by Gregory Scheckler from 1990-2011” will feature drawings, paintings and photographs that span 21 years.
Work created by Molly Hatch, Giselle Hicks and Sean Capone and presented courtesy of the Ferrin Gallery will be on exhibition in The Artery, 26 Holden St.
In “Pattern as a Language,” the artists use their primary mediums of ceramics and video to fully envelope the space with imagery based on traditions sourced from decorative art history.~Expanding on symbolic iconography of decorative scroll, foliage and floral patterns, the artists reinterpret history using color, movement, scale and graphic silhouette. A conversation with the artists will happen at 6:30 p.m., during the exhibition’s opening reception.
In the back rooms of the MAYA IV gallery space, 49 Main St., MCLA Presents! will offer an evening of performance and interactive video and sound by performer and choreographer Polly Motley, video artist Molly Davies, with music by composer Paul Geluso. “Drawing from the Body” consists of two works, “Autopsy” and “Dressing.”
The performances, co-presented with the Williams College Dance Department as part of DownStreet Art, will take place at 6 and 8 p.m. and will include two works – “Autopsy” and “Dressing.” “Autopsy” features live video feed mixed by Davies with a performance by Motley. “Dressing” is an interactive, three-monitor installation of a four-minute, three synchronous work. Tickets may be reserved by calling MCLA Presents! at 413.662.5204.
Another performance will take the form of a rolling ice cream pushcart as artists Mark Mulherrin and Kristen Warming present “Art on Stick,” from 6 to 9 p.m. on the downtown sidewalks. They will distribute, free of charge, “artsicles” created by a variety of North Adams artists. They will not melt.
Among the new exhibitions to open will be an “MCLA Alumni Art Show” at Adams Co-Operative Bank, 31 Eagle St., curated by Kristen Parker. An opening reception will be held, 5-6 p.m.
At the North Adams Public Library, 74 Church St., 5-8 p.m., artist James Fissel will display his paintings. A self-taught artist, Fissel was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 14 years ago. Since that time, his painting and art-making practice has grown increasingly prolific. Working in several different mediums – including acrylic, watercolor and paper collage over the past decade – Fissel has created a significant body of work centered on his lifelong fascination with the orb.
From 6 to 9 p.m. in the NAACO Gallery, 33 Main St., “Quantum Oasis: The Work of Anna Rowinski and Diane Sullivan” will be on exhibit. Rowinski is a painter and Sullivan is a ceramic sculptor. They will come together to create art to uplift the public, with the goal that every body of work has its own alchemy – be it vibrating with color, evoking an emotion or creating a space that allows mystery to enter.
A video work by Lonwabo Kilani in the PIP Postal Instant Press Gallery will be on view 24 hours. A South African artist based in Johannesburg, Kilani’s “Pixilation” includes a video and an animation to be featured in the windows at 53 Main St.
Through this exhibit, “Pixilation,” Kilani looks at ways in which Western culture has sought to document and visualize race and cultural distinctions, while at the same time constructing sensational ways of looking that are in themselves constructed by race and ethnicity.
In the PRESS Gallery, 105 Main St., curator Melanie Mowinski will present “This One Goes to ELEVEN, Part 2.” The exhibit will feature pressure prints, linoleum prints, prints with moveable type, as well as book art and paste papers that have been created by the various artists of and those who have worked in the PRESS space over the summer.
Ongoing exhibitions through Sunday, Oct. 16, include those in XMALIA, the Sheer Madness Gallery and the Grass Gallery. XMALIA offers surreal visions of vanished creatures and human-animal relations with sound, video, drawings and taxidermy. The gallery also is hosting art assemblages and mysterious dream-like boxes by artist Dennis Herbert.
Herbert has made art assemblages from found materials for over 10 years. A self-trained artist, he lives in a church rectory in Hudson, N.Y., and spends his free time creating mysterious, dream-like boxes, as well as free-standing sculptures.
In the Sheer Madness Gallery, 81 Main St., the installation features three video pieces by Molly Davies, in collaboration with David Tudor, Jackie Matisse and Polly Motley.
The Grass Gallery, 107 Main St., presents two shows: “The Art of Dissent,” curated by Ann Scott, and “Little People From Here,” by Claire Fox.
DownStreet Art Thursday is a city-wide celebration of the arts that happens every last Thursday of the month, throughout the summer. Events include gallery exhibition openings, street musicians and specials at local businesses. The event is free and open to the public.
Tickets to the MCLA Presents! performance on Thursday, Sept. 29, are $10 for general admission. Tickets for MCLA alumni are $8, $5 for staff and faculty, and members and students are free. They may be reserved by calling MCLA Presents! at 413. 662.5204.