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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

100 Hours Begins At MCLA Gallery 51

By Jen Thomas
12:00AM / Thursday, January 25, 2007

Deaveau, artist Danny O, and MCLA President Mary K. Grant at a "Meet the Artists" reception at the MCLA Gallery 51 on Main Street.
North Adams- It’s going to be a long five days for 18 diverse artists, as they endure 100 hours of collage art, close quarters, and cold Berkshire weather.

The brainchild of famed local artist Danny O, “100 Hours in the Woodshed” intends to bring something new to the burgeoning North Adams art scene. A collaborative effort of artists who hail from all over the Northeast,“100 Hours” is a project rife with friendly competition and creative inquisitiveness.

“The energy of them all working together at the same time, in the same place, is what’s exciting,” said Jonathan Secor, the MCLA (Massachusetts of Liberal Arts) director of special programs and co-organizer of the event.

All of the artists will be residing in North Adams during the next five days, working to create artwork on-site at MCLA’s Gallery 51. On Monday night at 8 p.m., Secor will blow the proverbial whistle and select pieces to curate a show.


Artist Carla Michel's supply box
At a Meet the Artists event this evening, the excitement was palpable.

“There’s a certain kind of competitiveness,” said artist Sam Adams, a Cincinnati native who remained in North Adams after a brief residency at the Contemporary Artists Center in 2004. “There’s an energy to thrive on. You’re forced to create.”

“I want to see what working in a room full of people has to offer,” said Lisa Nilsson, one of the participating artists.

The People, The Places

The inspiration for “100 Hours” stemmed from O’s participation in other "collage collectives." These events bring together artists of different backgrounds and talents to create various forms of collage, with no limitation on what materials are used.

“Collage is anything from paper art, like what Danny O does, to what the DJs are doing in the club scene,” said Secor. “It’s using multiple layers to create something new.”

Most of the artists, like Nilsson and Adams, are sticking to paper, though some other supplies include metal, wood, toy parts, fabric squares, and paint color samples.

“100 Hours in the Woodshed” is an endeavor for the amateur and expert alike.

Carla Michel, of South Hadley, has been working on fabric art for 10 years, but she is eager to debut her newest idea -- a turn of the century approach. She compiled a set of fabric scraps adorned with pictures from an early 1900s health and hygiene book for children, and she plans on constructing a collage quilt with all the pieces.

“The fabric scraps are carefully selected to evoke the era,” she said.

Angela Scerbo, a Williamstown native and student at the University of Vermont, on the other hand, is interested to see what happens in her first foray into the collage world. With most of her experience in painting, she doesn’t know what she’ll create.

“I’m new to collage art,” she said. “I’m hoping for inspiration.”

Ready, Set, Go!

What makes this project exceptional is it’s innovative approach to the artistic process. Rather than concentrating on the finished gallery product, the organizers hope patrons will learn to appreciate the journey of creating. With open displays of the artists’ progress from Friday, Jan. 26 through Monday, Jan. 29, Secor encourages everyone to take part in this unique opportunity.

The opening reception for all the accomplished artists will be on Tuesday, Jan. 30 from 6 to 9 p.m. Pieces will be selected for the month-long gallery.

To see the artists in action, visit Gallery 51 at 51 Main St., Friday – Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Monday. 10 a.m. to 8 a.m..
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