NORTH ADAMS -- Main Street was flooded by residents and tourists Thursday night, as the sixth annual kick-off of DownStreet Art celebrated the opening of several new galleries and public performances.
"It's a beautiful turnout," Jonathan Secor, director of the MCLA Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, said Thursday evening. "We're about half an hour in, and already the streets are full, the galleries are packed."
Secor said new additions to the kick-off include performances by "dysFUNKcrew," a step team made up of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Dance Company alumni, a community reading of Frederick Douglass' "The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro," and a world music dance party.
"But the baseline is still the art," he said. "We just had nine exhibition openings of really beautiful work."
One new space that held its grand opening Thursday night was CAFE: Community Arts for Everyone at 107 Main St., a project of Art About Town.
"This is going to be a place for people to come, play, and find their creative side," organizer Phil Sellers said.
On Thursday, CAFE allowed children to create street art on the closed-off Main Street, and invited the public to draw messages on the gallery windows in washable marker.
"There's a lot of energy and a lot of excitement," Sellers said of the event. "I've never seen this many local people out and about."
A new pop-up gallery at 53 Main St. will host an exhibit titled "The True Cost of Coal," consisting of work created by the volunteer network of artists known as the Beehive Collective.
Artist Erin McKelvy of Gill explained the large fabric banner was created over the course of two years with a staff of 10 artists. The incredibly detailed and politically charged piece was created using hours of interviews from residents and activists in Appalachia whose lives were effected by the industrial process of strip mining.
Ceramic artists Geoffrey Booras and David Kaufmann collaborated on an exhibit titled "False Apex," on display at the Branch Gallery at 18 Holden St.
"The title references the misconception of a peak of technological advancement from two different perspectives," Kaufmann said.
Booras gestured to three large ceramic drill bits modeled after the ones use in hydraulic fracturing, a controversial technique used to extract natural gas from shale rocks. Each piece represent a drill in various stages of its lifecycle, he said.
Kaufmann created 12 ceramic tablets reminiscent of tablet computers, each featuring a pattern representing how someone would interact with the device.
Other galleries featured included "Other Hudson Chapter 2," the second exhibit showcasing work by collaborative duo Richard Selesnick and Nicholas Kahn, and folk artist Dennis Herbert living in the Hudson Valley.
The North Adams Transcript office at 85 Main St. hosted "Diary of a Mad Shutterbug: A collection of images exclusively from Northern Berkshire," featuring the work of local photographer Daniel Morgan.
DownStreet Art runs through Oct. 31, and new exhibitions open the last Thursday of July, August and September. For more information, visit www.downstreetart.org.
To reach Edward Damon, email firstname.lastname@example.org.