Guided Walkabouts Explore Melville-Themed Public Art in Downtown Pittsfield

C.R. Gray's "Great White Whale"

(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Walking tours of Artscape, the public outdoor art exhibition in this city, begin on Saturday, June 23, 2012, at 1pm. The 90-minute tours of public sculpture, conducted by artist and educator Craig Langlois, leave from the Pittsfield Visitors Center located at the Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street.

The new 2012 sculptures follow the nautical theme embodied in Pittsfield’s “Call Me Melville” summer festival. Other works included in the tour are selections from some earlier Artscape installations, as well as previous projects and initiatives.

Free of charge and made possible by a grant from the Pittsfield Cultural Council, the tours will take place on one Saturday each month through October, starting at 1pm. The dates are June 23, July 21, August 25, September 15 and Oct. 6.

An experienced arts educator, Langlois will lead informative and entertaining tours for the public to discover the remarkable array of sculptures and other public art installations located in the city. He will guide participants on their walk through historic downtown Pittsfield to enjoy and discuss some of the nearly 50 pieces of public art including sculptures, mixed media installations, and murals.

Artists selected for this year’s installations come from the mid-Atlantic and New England region, including three from the Berkshires. Each work has its own distinct personality and appearance, with notable installations including:

  • a large representation of Melville’s pen, with flowing ink forming the shape of a whale (City Hall garden on Allen St.);
  • twin octopi flying from a light pole at the Colonial Theatre. Lighted by LEDs, the work takes on an especially dramatic look at night; and
  • a figure of Moby-Dick itself, in the planter on Bank Row.

Artists chosen for this year’s new installations include C.R. Gray, whose “Sail” is made of New England fieldstone, steel and limestone; C.R. Gray also has a sculpture called “Great White Whale” made of white granite; Matt Thomases, a bronze bust of “Ahab”; Mark Hanford and Bill Tobin (of Pittsfield), a “Breaching Whale” made of welded steel; plus the above-mentioned: Paul Angiolillo (“Melville’s Pen”), Donna Dodson (“Moby Dick”), and Marissa Dipaola (“Twin Octopi”).

In addition to these juried items, there will also be a special downtown bench that will be wired so as to read a random passage of Moby-Dick whenever someone sits down on it. The passages are being recorded with a wide variety of local people from all walks of life; the work is being created by Berkshires composer Evan Lurie and sculptor Joe Wheaton.

Langlois has been teaching and working within the arts for more than ten years. Formerly a professor of visual art for Long Island University’s School of Visual Arts he currently presides as the Coordinator of Public Programs for Berkshire Museum and is co-owner of Shack Pottery. His art has been extensively collected and exhibited both nationally and internationally. His work is included in permanent collections at the MoMA and the Victoria Albert Museum, London, among others. He holds a BFA in Art Education and a MFA in Sculpture and Ceramics.

An activity of the city of Pittsfield’s Department of Community Development, Artscape’s mission is to enhance the downtown’s character and attract visitors by installing and promoting works of art in various outdoor locations accessible to the public throughout the downtown area. Artscape includes sculptures, murals, and street signs that energize and add beauty to the city. The exhibition has been ongoing for 12 years, with new additions coming into rotation each year. A brochure describing the installations is available at several locations in Pittsfield, including the Berkshire Athenaeum, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, City Hall, the Pittsfield Visitors Center, and online at Artscape.




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