NORTH ADAMS -- Over the last month, the public has been able to watch the first of four public murals come to life in sections of vibrant colors on the back of the Mohawk Theater.
"It's about personal change and the beauty you have inside you," artist Marta Gil said Monday of the mural, which follows a woman's transformation into a poppy.
Gil, and fellow artist Estibaliz Vera, are part of Muralismo Publico, an artist co-op known internationally for its public murals. They traveled to the city from Vitora, Spain after being selected from a large pool of applicants for the mural -- the first of its kind in the city.
"For the first time in the history of this public art project [DownStreetArt], we will have public art in public spaces as well as private spaces," Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at MCLA, said.
The mural will be "unveiled" Thursday at 6 p.m. during the first DownStreet Art Thurs day, which will include numerous gallery openings and events from 5 to 9 p.m.
Galleries hosting openings on Thursday include: Marshall Street Space at 24 Marshall St.; Gallery 107, MCLA Gallery 51, PRESS Gallery, Window@111, the North Adams Artists Co-Op Gallery, Jarvis Rockwell Gallery and the North Adams Transcript Gallery, all on Main Street; the Branch Gallery and The Artery Gallery on Holden Street; and Friends of Freiheit, Adams Community Bank Gallery, and studio21south on Eagle Street.
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"They shared the story with us, which was given to North Adams artists, who were asked to create sketches and drawings based off of it," Secor said. "Some of those sketches -- birds and trees -- were incorporated into the background. Some of the artists who sent work to Spain that has been incorporated include Mark Mulherin, Gregory Scheckler, David Lachman and Karin Stack."
Secor added, "We also had the use of the boom lift donated to us from Francis ‘Biggs' Waterman, which saved us about $3,000 for this project."
In addition, local artists, students from MCLA's Berkshire Hills Internship Program (BHiP) and its associate gallery manager program have assisted with painting.
"The community has been very happy to support us," Gil said. "There is a strong community of artists, curators and gallery men and women here. I'm amazed by the artistic movement that is here. What really surprised me, though, was there was no outside, public art. We're very happy to be the first."
Vera added, "The people of this community help to motivate us. They say very positive things about the mural, especially that they love the colors."
Beginning with a white primer, the pair began working on the wall at the beginning of June, plotting out the mural with a grid. From there, they began systematically applying colors to the brick wall.
"We need to do it in layers," Vera said. "It gives us control. It helps shape the painting and makes the colors and portions more exact."
Gil added, "When we are finished, we'll add a layer of varnish over it. It's an important step because it will allow it to be more long-lasting."
For more information on DownStreet Art, visit www.downstreetart.org.
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email email@example.com.
DownStreet Art kicks off its fifth season with a series of gallery openings and events Thursday, from 5 to 9 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.
* Ribbon Cutting, "Bus Stand", by installation commissioned by Kidspace@Mass MoCO with artist Victora Palermo and Mayor Richard J. Alcombright, south side of Main Street, 5:30 p.m.
* Unveiling of Muralismo Publico, back of the Mohawk Theater, 6 p.m..
* Boston painter and performance artist Jessica Gath will perform "For You I Feel Lucky" outside of the Verizon Wireless Store at 43 Main St. at 7:30 and 8:30.
* Marshall Street Space, 24 Marshall St., will host an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. for "Shards," the work of internationally renowned photographer Virginia Ines Vergara.
* Gallery 107, at 107 Main St., will host an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. for "Lynn Richardson: Arctic Garden." Richardson, who is featured in Mass MoCA's "Oh Canada" show, will host an artist's talk at 6 p.m.
* Window@111, next to 107 Main St., will feature "Flow," the works of Erin Ko and Alex Chouls.
* PRESS Gallery, at 105 Main St., a hybrid gallery, workshop and studio space will host a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. for "Ink in the Blood: Printed Works on Paper."
* North Adams Transcript Gallery, 85 Main Street, will feature the works of Transcript Photographer Gillian Jones.
* MCLA Gallery 51, 51 Main St., opening of "VS.," works by Ven Voisey, from 6 to 9 p.m.
* Jarvis Rockwell Gallery, 49 Main St., will open for another season with a retrospective and a new wall installation of nostalgic toys, with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m.
* North Adams Artists Co-Op Gallery, will host the opening of "People I Know: Figurative Painting Sculpture," with works by Julia Dixon and Phyllis Miller Lee.
* The Artery Gallery, at 26 Holden St., will host a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. for the opening of "Beyond the Blue Mountains," showcasing the work of video artist Molly Davies.
* The Branch Gallery, 18 Holden St., will host an opening for "The Phylogeny Projects," a group show curated by Derek Parker and Anne Roecklein.
* Friends of Frieheit, a gallery at 24 Eagle St. by Canadian artist Craig Leonard, hosts weekly openings.
* Adams Community Bank Galley at 31 Eagle St. will host an opening reception from 5 to 6 p.m. for an exhibition of photographer Kay Canavino's work.
* studio21south, has come from the Beaver Mill to 40 Eagle St. and will open with a reception for "Summer," a group show, from 6 to 9 p.m.