Downtown Art Festival Kicks Off in North Adams on Thursday

A busy Main Street during DownStreet Art

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.)  – DownStreet Art’s 2012 season begins with a downtown arts and culture celebration on Thursday, June 28, 2012, from 5 to 9 p.m. There will be live performances, pop-up and permanent gallery openings, public art unveilings, happenings, and businesses will be open late with DownStreet Art specials. All events are family friendly, free and open to the public.

The festivities of DownStreet Art’s Last Thursday Celebration will feature the unveiling of North Adams’ first ever large-scale public mural, to be painted on the back of the Mohawk Theater. Artist collective Muralismo Publico, who traveled to North Adams from their hometown of Vitoria, Spain, are creating a mural that reflects change, exchange, transformation and hope. The unveiling of this work will occur with a ribbon cutting with Mayor Alcombright at 5:30 p.m.

Now in its fifth edition, DownStreet Art will “surprise, engage, challenge and entertain visitors,” said Jonathan Secor, MCLA’s director of special programs. “For the first time in the history of this public art project, we will have public art in public spaces, as well as private spaces.”

The City will continue to witness a transformation of the downtown throughout the summer with a bus stop art installation. Kidspace at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) commissioned artist Victoria Palermo to create a permanent bus stop, entitled “Bus Stand,” to be installed on the south side of Main Street. Palermo, whose work has been shown internationally, will combine color and shape to create functional art.

The evening will feature exhibition openings throughout North Adams, including MCLA Gallery 51, the Jarvis Rockwell Gallery, studio21south, Friends of Freiheit gallery, NAACO Gallery, Pip Gallery, PRESS Gallery, The Artery Gallery, the North Adams Community Bank, the Branch Gallery and Gallery 107.

Starting with Main Street, the evening’s highlights include:

Pip Gallery: The gallery will feature the work of contemporary artist Virginia Vergara, photographs which combine sculptural elements and collage.

muralismo publico North Adams Mohawk Theater mural design

Lynn Richardson at Gallery 107: Currently part of MASS MoCA’s Oh, Canada exhibition, Canadian installation artist and sculptor Richardson will be hosting a solo show at Gallery 107. She describes her work as “built through an exploration of contemporary imagery and architectural representation,” combined with an awareness of the “conflict between industrial and natural environment.”

Vs. by Ven Voisey at MCLA Gallery 51: Ven Voisey is a multi-disciplinary artist and the current MCLA Gallery 51 manager. Through sound compositions, installations, drawings and photographs, Voisey shifts perceptions of common objects and routines by presenting them in a new context, thus questioning ideas of “practicality” and “faith” in constructs of the familiar.

Ink in the Blood: Printed Works on Paper, at PRESS Gallery, will feature artists Julio Granda and Barry Sternlieb, two creative forces in the Berkshires who have joined together for a good three decades of collaboration. This exhibit shows the marriage of their specialties. For these works, Barry has done the prints and Julio the art to make a collection of remarkable broadsides.

Window @ Mohawk: Directly next to Gallery 107, artists Erin Ko and Alex Chouls will install a piece entitled FLOW which will be presented within the window display at 107. Their work “combines traditional art-making methods with new ones” and includes both “video games and new media.”

NAACO: The North Adams Artists Co-op will join DownStreet Art kick off with an exhibition entitled “People I Know: Figurative Painting and Sculpture” with work by Julia Dixon and Phyllis Miller Lee.

Jarvis Rockwell: Pyramid of toys, wall drawings and assemblage reveal the imaginative world of Jarvis Rockwell. Additions this season include two new rooms in the gallery, which will house Indonesian folk tale paintings and other works from his own personal collection as well as work of other local and regional artists.

The North Adams Transcript: The Transcript office will be displaying the work of local photojournalist Gillian Jones, who has captured a number of unique moments in Berkshire County history.

This summer, Holden Street will host:

Branch Gallery (18 Holden St.) Derek Parker and Anne Roecklein will curate “The Phylogeny Projects,” a group show that includes the work of Linda Bernal, John Berry, Alison Byrnes, Kristin Carlson, Brent Fogt, Toby Millman, David Montano and Allyson Smith. Parker and Roecklein recently moved to North Adams and MCLA is thrilled to have the opportunity to feature their work.

Molly Davies at The Artery (26 Holden St.): Internationally renowned video artist Davies will return to North Adams for a solo show at The Artery. Noted for her richly textured work, she frequently uses multi-channel video, monitors and projections to immerse the audience in a meditative encounter with the subject.

On Eagle Street visitors will have the opportunity to walk through several destinations:

Craig Leonard: An artist in the Oh, Canada exhibition on view at MASS MoCA, Leonard returns to North Adams to open a new gallery show called Friends of Freiheit. The exhibit opens on Thursday, June 14, from 6-9 p.m., at 24 Eagle St.

Viewing the work of Jarvis Rockwell at DownStreet Art

Adams Community Bank Gallery: The bank will kick off its participation with an exhibition curated by MCLA graduate Kristen Parker. The exhibit features the work of local professional photographer Kay Canavino. The opening for this show will take place from 5 to 6 p.m.

“Picturing North Adams” at studio21south: studio21south will come downtown when Jaye Fox and Thor Wickstrom join other downtown destinations, bringing to Eagle Street the art and artists represented at their space in the Beaver Mill. As a key component of the Imaging North Adams Festival, which will take place at Gallery 107 in August, Picturing North Adams will encourage citizens and viewers to contemplate the places in which we live and how the built environment affects us. The works on view will provoke a fresh consideration of North Adams’ constructed and natural landscapes. Curated by Jaye Fox, artists will include Frank Curran, Maria Siskind, Karen Walter and Thor Wickstrom.

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