North Adams' DownStreet Art To Feature Murals
Organizer Jonathan Secor presented the plan for this year's festival.
The annual effort to use art to bring people to the city's downtown kicks off on June 28 and this year it will include mural paintings on four of the city's walls.
Murals will be painted on back of the Mohawk Theater, Juvenile Court, on the underpass of the Memorial Bridge and on a Holden Street wall to go with the series of exhibitions and open galleries.
The effort, now in its fifth year, is a collaboration of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the city, local artist and businesses.
"Our goal is to use great art as a catalyst to bring people with dollars to downtown North Adams," said Jonathan Secor, director of special programming at MCLA, on Friday when he gave an preview presentation of the summerlong event.
DownStreet Art typically occupies empty downtown storefronts but in the last year many of those have been filled. The group then sought out experienced muralists. One mural will be "unveiled" on the last Thursday of each month of the summer. The month prior to the official unveiling, people will be able to see the artist working on the project, Secor said.
"For us, we're definitely breaking new ground," Secor said. "We wanted to make sure we had people who know what they're doing."
The event will still have six "pop-up" galleries with the most interesting one being the Mohawk Theater's entryway. Secor said the entryway to the theater will be transformed into an art gallery and people will be able to see into the deconstructed theater.
The other pop-up galleries include 107 Main St., the Adams Community Bank, the Jarvis Rockwell Gallery, the Blackinton Gallery at 18 Holden St., and the Artery at 26 Holden St.
The temporary galleries, murals, the city's permanent galleries and local attractions will all be marketed together with pamphlets and maps.
Secor said the annual effort has been highly successful in increasing foot traffic downtown and that is show by an increased number of art sales, increased business to other downtown companies and storefronts — many former DownStreet Art galleries — are now being filled.
Mayor Richard Alcombright said he was skeptical when he first heard the idea five years ago, but now sees the impact it is having downtown.
"It's been such an awakening for me," Alcombright said. "It just all feels so good."
DownStreet Art will kick off on Thursday, June 28, from 6 until 9 p.m. with exhibit openings, live performances and some businesses will be open late with special deals.
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