The original of 'Crows Local' on display at the opening reception.
ADAMS, Mass. — Walkers and bikers along the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail have a view of the first of what's hoped to be many art installations along its several miles.
"Crows Local," a murder of crows taking flight against a deepening sky, was unveiled on Friday evening at 13 1/2 Grove Art Works.
"This is one of the first experimental murals," said the artist, Patricia Fietta. "We wanted to try it out on our building first. But the next one is going to be at the water treatment plant in Adams."
The 24-by-7-foot triptych was blown up from a smaller work created by Fietta. The artworks building, a former mill at 13 1/2 Grove being renovated by Fietta and her husband, George Lemaitre, is tucked in behind the auto works on Grove Street and faces the trail.
The initiative is one of many efforts being made by the Adams Arts Advisory Board to stimulate creativity in the Mother Town. The board is also behind the pop-up window displays on Park Street, the recent Berkshire Mountain Faerie Festival and the upcoming Rising of the Corn Harvest Festival.
The idea for larger pieces was inspired by a smaller vinyl, removable installation placed on an empty Victory Street house last year to memorialize the street's World War II servicemen.
The crow mural was digitally printed on weather and UV-resistant vinyl and stretched on frames, making it both inexpensive and relatively simple to hang — although Fietta said it wasn't that easy to install the 8-foot long panels on the side of the two-story mill.
"It was something to hoist it up there," she said, adding that the use of a bucket truck had helped tremendously.
The large scale seems dwarfed by the 12,000-square-foot brick building but it's big enough to be easily seen from the rail trail.
Francie Anne Riley, of the advisory group, said the murals will be able to be moved around and switched out.
"Because they're not outrageously expensive to make, grants tend to be a good number for covering the cost," she said. Art on the Trail also hopes to add sculpture in the future. "That will be case by case along the trail because there's a lot of private land and we're working with the property owners."
The Art on the Trail initiative is being funded by a grant from the Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire; this installation was also supported by 13 1/2 Grove Art Works.
Fietta said there are specific sites already on the group's to-do list, including the back of the Topia Theater, the front of the Adams Visitors Center and the lawn along the Hoosic River off Park Street.
Next up is a 20-foot long by 10-foot high abstract water painting by Francie Ann Riley's husband, scenery designer William Riley. That one will hang on the east side of the waste-water treatment plant facing the Berkshire Scenic Railway. The rail trail will eventually parallel the track as it is extended to North Adams.
As the sun set on Friday night, the mural changed as the slight droop from the sun heating up the vinyl tightened in the cooler evening.
"What's interesting is that inside the building, you see the crows when the light shines through," Fietta said of the covered windows.
The century-old Krutiak mill is under reconstruction as a residence and workshop/studio, with a hoped for completion in 2017.
Friday's reception was attended by a number of local artists, enthusiasts and board members.
"We're thrilled at the opening of the first Art on the Trail project," said Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco. "We're looking forward to having more art along the trail in Adams and even art along the rail route ...
"We're just looking to cover the community in as much art as we can."
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