Galleries, Music Set for DownStreet Art on Thursday
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — DownStreet Art kicks off its second session on Thursday night with the openings of four new visual art exhibits, live podcasting, musical and theatrical performances, and a night market that features local food and craft vendors.
"This year's 'Meet Your Neighbors' theme spotlights not only the amazing institutional resources available to us, but also the talented artists living and working alongside us here in North Adams and the surrounding community," said Jennifer Crowell, director of the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center. The center, part of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, coordinates the summerlong event.
Part of that neighbors initiative is the return of "Downtown Voices" pop-up podcasting studio at the Night Market on Holden Street. Passers-by can step into the studio, sit down, and contribute their thoughts and impressions of the arts, the event, the city, or anything else to the new, experimental interactive station — a co-production of the BCRC and Greylock Glass, Berkshire County's largest podcast network, run by Jason Velazquez.
Up to four adults can fit comfortably inside the booth, which is equipped with a table, two benches, and a microphone. The microphone is connected to a computer app that livestreams the conversation or monologue. All on-the-spot communication will be translated as it occurs, as a form of publicly and cooperatively created vocal improvisation.
"The installation of this pop-up sound studio during DownStreet Art symbolizes exactly what 100 years of communications evolution was meant to achieve — unfiltered, instantaneous public participation in a creative narrative," explains Velazquez. "Is this an artistic experiment? Definitely. Does it make me a little nervous? Absolutely. Anything that pushes the boundaries of public expression out significantly should. That's how you know you’re on to something."
Starter questions adorn the walls of the studio to provide some startup inspiration; audio contributors are encouraged to aim for five to 10-minute sessions. The studio is open to all ages.
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art's campus will remain open until 7 p.m. and hours also will be extended for Ferrin Contemporary ("EXPOSED: Heads, Busts, and Nudes") and Cynthia-Reeves (artwork of Jaehyo Lee), independent art galleries located on the campus. Both galleries will host "meet the curators" events from 7 to 8 p.m.
John Luther Adams will perform a free, outdoor performance of "Ten Thousand Birds." Bang on A Can also will offer a recital that evening as part of its monthlong residency at Mass MoCA. And Bright Ideas Brewery will continue to host to local artist Paul Chojnowski's "Infrastructure Series," which features drawings that created by burning, scorching and sanding plywood.
On Main Street, there will be music from 5 to 8 p.m. with two performances by Dysfunkcrew, and a surprise guest artist.
"Bad Drama Theatre Club," led by artistic director Joshua Torres of North Adams, will perform an original production under the Mohawk marquee and Common Folk will present live music from Magic Island and Anonymous Animal, at 8 p.m.
Thin Walls Studio and Workshop, 87 Main St., will display works in progress by Creative Business participant and artist Josh Ostraff and Artist-in-Residence Michelle Daly. The public can join Ostraff to screen-print skipjack tuna for his show "OFA ATU," which will be on view in January 2017 at MCLA Gallery 51.
MCLA Gallery 51 opens "Wayfinding" by artist Melanie Mowinski and Berkshire Artist Museum, 159 East Main St., will hold a "Meet the Exhibiting Artist" event from 6-9 p.m. with local artists featured in its Contemporary Artists Center retrospective.
Assets for Artists will open an exhibition in exPRESS Gallery, 49 Main St. The exhibition, curated by Kate Carr, will feature the works of Max Spitzer, Joshua Harriman, Sarah Pike, Michelle Daly, Jim Peters and Kathline Carr.
Creative Business Incubator spaces Common Folk, Outside Gallery, Thin Walls Studio and Workshop, and Butterfly Effect all will be open and on view.
Opening at the Holiday Inn, award-winning photographer Ben Mancino's "Welcome to the Berkshires" series will provide viewers with an insight into the most beautiful locations the Berkshires has to offer.
MountainOne Bank, 93 Main St., will host an early opening, 4 to 5 p.m., with the works of Gwendolyn Bird, an artist who creates work through the use of negative space. Adams Community Bank, 31 Eagle St., will host the work of Don Orcutt and Pamela Acosta.
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