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Two rows of paintings by Drury High School art students hang on the Grimes Street side of the Cascade building in North Adams.
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More Drury Student Art Added to Cascade Building

By Rebecca DravisiBerkshires Staff
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Art teacher Phoebe Pepper poses with one of her student artists at the Cascade building in North Adams.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The masterpiece painting collaboration between Drury High School and Cascade School Supplies has turned a corner.


After five years of large artwork being displayed on the street side of the old Brown Street factory building, two years' worth of slightly smaller but still colorful paintings now hang on the south side of the building along Grimes Street, near Cascade's front entrance.

The second row of another 20 paintings was unveiled with a small ceremony on Thursday, marking the seventh year the students of Drury art teacher Phoebe Pepper have seen their remakes of masterpieces by artists from O'Keeffe to Klimt hanging in another example of public art in the city.

"Our vision was to improve the look of our 100-plus-year-old building and to fit into the emerging culture of our city," Cascade President Pete Cote said. "There are now 110 individual replications of masterpieces on our building. I guess you could call that one very large canvas."

Pepper's students actively seek out the class because they know their art will be hung on the building. They take a small photograph of the art they would like to reproduce, creating grids on the photo and on the board used for a canvas, and then interpret how to transfer the art onto the board.

Pepper said the students "agonize" over their choices and often second-guess themselves, but she said other students are always quick to offer assistance to help them complete their own masterpieces.

"They really successfully represented a true replica of the masterpiece they chose," Pepper said, adding that she remains thrilled with the collaboration between her class and Cascade to give the students a place to display their paintings. "Which is, after all, what an artist wants to do — show their work."

Julia Dixon, chairman of the North Adams Public Arts Commission, said the city is happy to add the students to the list of public art.

"Public art is incredibly important to this city. It provides visual recognition of our collective dedication to the arts as well as the  impact our robust creative economy is having on the community at large," she said. "I can say from experience that students who publicly display their artwork or create site-specific installations are bold, creative and civically engaged by this practice, and the Public Arts Commission is proud to support this project, which so handsomely and impressively showcases the wonderful talent these students possess and are willing to share. 

"The artwork always blows my mind," she said.

Tags: artwork,   Drury High,   North Adams,   public art,   

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