Down Street Art opened to much fanfare last night in North Adams… about a thousand people made their way around the galleries and storefront installations. I walked over from Porches today to check out some of the art on view. MCLA’s Gallery 51 has an amazing show by Sean Riley, who recently renewed his interest in American quilt-making to honor his deceased father’s life by making a quilt (illustrated above) from his father’s clothing – walking up to the quilt, the viewer is enveloped by a collage of fabrics from Riley’s father’s work clothes, Carharts and all. It’s powerful. MCLA’s Cultural Resource Center teamed up with Art for Change in NYC for a show entitled Haiti: Beyond Mountains There Are Mountains. Rather than focus on the devastation and suffering of Haiti and its people following the recent earthquake, this show explores the political, economic and social landscapes of Haiti post-earthquake. This is the first of several exhibitions and events exploring the compelling art, music and culture of a country that has been shaking things up culturally and politically for over two centuries. A portion of all sales will be donated directly to the relief efforts in Haiti.
I asked MCLA’s Jonathan Secor if he sees a theme running through the shows and he commented that it’s all about community. Down Street Art brings together a variety of media, styles and cultures, but they all have some kind of commentary on their communities and the artists’ places in it. Here’s a link to a map showing how easy it is to walk Down Street Art – more on this summer-long event soon!