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DownStreet Art kicks off its 12th season with storefront art, gallery openings and music on Thursday.

DownStreet Art Kicks Off 12th Summer of Art on Thursday

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — DownStreet Art kicks off its 12th season of gallery openings, exhibits and performances this Thursday. 
The annual summer event is a prelude this year to the Solid Sound Festival at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art that opens on Friday. But while Wilco and the gang have the weekend, DownStreet Art continues with monthly events through the summer. 
Local and regional artists have decked out Main Street storefronts for the occasion, and three locations will host simultaneous gallery openings downtown from 5 to 8 p.m.
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Berkshire Cultural Resource Center coordinates the summer art festival. 
The kickoff features live music from Kids 4 Harmony and DJ BFG, a beer garden in Eagle Street's pocket park, live silkscreening demonstrations by Common Folk and a four-mile community bike tour of the city's murals.
Gallery openings include the Berkshire Art Museum's sixth year with the group show "Not Just Another Pretty Picture," "Dark Matter" and "Death of a Loved One," 1890s fashion from the collection of Greg Lafave, along with ongoing exhibitions from the permanent collection. Opening reception is from 6 to 9 with refreshments and appetizers from Meng's Pan-Asian. 
MCLA Gallery 51 exhibits Jon Verney's "Burning at the Center of Things" through Aug. 24. Verney uses framed photographs, altered polaroids, light-boxes and video projection to embody his experimentation and embracing of chance. 
Installation Space at 49 Eagle St. offers "Time-Link Present," an immersive and experiential installation by Studio HHH on view through Aug. 18. 
And it's a last chance to see "Fused" at Ferrin Contemporary at 1315 Mass MoCA Way. The solo exhibit of "dimensional paintings" using clay by Philadelphia-based artist Lauren Mabry closes on June 30. 
Two new galleries have also been added to the downtown scene: Gallery 28 on Holden Street and Robert Giardini on Wednesday was waiting for final approval to open at 70 Main St. Both pop-up galleries are exhibiting a range of artistic offerings and price points.
Browsers can also view the storefront art projects along Main Street: Gloria Calderon-Saenz' "North Adams with Strings Attached" and Eric Reinemann "Intersections" at 49 Main; Benjamin Lamb's "Torn to Pieces" at 68 Main; Sarah DeFusco and Megan Karlen's "Stratos-Fear" at 101 Main; Emilee Yawn's "Fake Nature" at 105 Main; and Hideyo Okamura's "Abstract" and Sara Farrell Okamura's "Fact vs. Fiction" at 107 Main.
Musical performances will be under the Mohawk Theater marquee with Berkshire Children & Family's Kids 4 Harmony at 5 p.m. and DJ BFG (aka Gabby Squailia), special events DJ for Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, spinning from 6 to 8 p.m. 
Adults can relax at the Eagle Street Beverage Garden in the pocket park with beer from Bright Ideas Brewing or get a margarita at Desperados.
Bike to the Murals is a four-mile ride through downtown North Adams, coordinated by the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition. Meet at St. Anthony's Municipal Parking lot at 6 p.m. and see the murals by bike.
Common Folk Presents will be offering live silkscreen printing demonstrations and an artist showcase and Frog Lotus Yoga will be on the lawn at BAM.
Food vendors will include The VinylDonut and Bounti Fare.
North Adams residents can also learn about woonerfs and the proposal to make Eagle Street a shared vehicle  and pedestrian way. The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission will have information downtown and be taking feedback on the idea. 
Downstreet Art events are held on the last Thursday of every month from June through September and are free and open to the public. In addition to the Thursday, June 27, DSA Thursdays will continue throughout the season on July 25, Aug. 29, and Sept. 26.
DownStreet Art is a program of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, which provides professional development training, resources, and support to the artists, art managers, and creative workers of Berkshire County run by MCLA. Since its inception in 2008, more than 150,000 visitors have come downtown and through the doors of DownStreet Art's galleries and exhibits.

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North Adams' Helme Named Woman of Achievement

Helme last year receiving the PopCares Community Partner Award for her efforts on behalf of local nonprofits and other groups. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city's director of tourism has been named the 2019-20 Woman of Achievement by the Northern Berkshire Business and Professional Women's Club.
Suzy Helme began as the part-time events coordinator in 2015, later becoming the full-time director of tourism and community events. In her role, she organizes much of the city's annual events such as the Downtown Celebration and the concert series at Windsor Lake, as well as coordinating with organizations and institutions such as the Massachusetts  Museum of Contemporary Arts and local charities on affiliated activities within the city.
The club will make the award at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Bounti-Fare Restaurant
in Adams. Networking will begin at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6.
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