NORTH ADAMS -- Giant hawks and doves will soar through Main Street when Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Berkshire Cultural Resource Center kicks off its first-ever Puppet Fest at the next DownStreet Art Thursday event on Sept. 26 from 5 to 8 p.m.
"Mortal Beasts and Deities: Larger than Life Puppetry and Splendiferous Stilt Dancers," led by Mark Alexander of northwestern Connecticut, will visit the downtown during this event with its signature act, "The Flock of Doves and Hawk."
Other highlights of this upcoming DownStreet Art Thursday event - which is free and open to the public - include art openings, musical performances and more.
"DownStreet Art is alive and well and getting ready for the next DownStreet Art Thursday," said Jonathan Secor, BCRC director.
The event will include the opening of a new exhibition at MCLA Gallery 51.
"As much as we will miss Nick and Jake’s beautiful, artistic exploration of gay marriage here at MCLA Gallery 51, we are greatly looking forward to sharing the work of one of the founding members of the Filipina-American art collective Mail Order Brides. Eliza Barrios’ show will open as part of the DSA Thurday festivities," Secor said.
MCLA Gallery 51 will premiere a solo exhibition of new and cumulative work by Barrios with a free opening reception.
The exhibit will include text-based drawings, single-channel video projections, and photographs from Barrios’ collaborative project, "Mail Order Brides/M.O.B." This mixed-media installation will draw together material from both English and Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines.
In addition, for one night only, artist Jeffery Kitchen will present "Prototype" in The Artery. This "pop-up" exhibition will include 10-plus photographs enlarged onto large posters that will spread across the Artery’s walls.
In the alley between Berkshire Bank and the China Buffet, artists Erin Ko and Alex Chouls will present "Image Flow," an interactive projection. "Image Flow" uses the Google image search API to visualize creative collective consciousness, as people’s thoughts are turned into image clouds and woven together in real time.
Also in the galleries, Gallery 107 will present "It’s a Wrap," to feature the accumulated drawings from those who participated in "Art on the Town festivities" over the summer.
In Gallery 53, it’s the last chance to see local artist Rich Remsberg’s "Historyland," which has been extended through Sept. 29. The Adams Community Bank will present Janet Picard’s "Regarding Nature," also extended through Sept. 29.
In the Branch Gallery, Jamie Franklin, a curator/collector, and artist Renee Bouchard will offer "Alternate Realities." The exhibit pairs Bouchard’s paintings with works by folk/self-taught/outsider artists, which Franklin and Bouchard have collected, both separately and as a couple, over the last seven years.
The self-taught creators come from disparate backgrounds. They range from amateur painters, doodlers and tinkerers to folk artists who work in tradition-bound communities (such as calligraphers and rug hookers), as well as patients at institutions devoted to the care of the mentally ill.
In the PRESS Gallery, an opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. for "Markings," which will feature letterpress prints and artist books by former PRESS interns and volunteers Adriana Alexatos, Hayley Parker, Antoine Scalbert and Leeya Jackson, as well as PRESS founder Melanie Mowinski. Inspiration for "Markings" stems from a quote by Theodore Roethke: "Time marks us while we are marking time." Each artwork reflects time spent in the studio, at the press or the typecase, considering text and image. Each mark on the page is a mark in time, whether a day in the life of an intern, or months at work towards an end goal.
Also in the PRESS Gallery will be a book signing in honor of MCLA’s Dr. Lisa Donovan for her new book, "Integrating the Arts across the Content Areas." Donovan is an associate professor of arts management. This event, from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m., is free and open to the public. Short remarks will be held at 6:45 p.m., and refreshments will be served.
In addition to the "Mortal Beasts and Deities" performance, Mike "Wamba" Martin will serenade those traveling on a trolley between the MCLA campus and downtown North Adams as he plays the ukulele.
DownStreet Art is a project of MCLA’s Berkshire Culture Resource Center, partnering with the City of North Adams, Develop North Adams, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Orbit Visual Graphic Design.