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From left to right (standing) in MCLA Gallery 51 are Isaac Wood '17, Josh Ostraff, Kayla Quinn '16, Jess Sweeney ’11, Joe Aidonidis, Ashley Bushey ’16, MJ Shannon '17, James Jarzyniecki and Mandy Johnson. Kneeling in front, from left, are Samwise Fox '17 and Christina King.

DSA Pairs Students with Creatives in Business Incubator Program

06/15/16

MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center’s Ninth Annual DownStreet Art (DSA) initiative this summer will feature the launch of a new Creative Business Incubator Program, which pairs local artists and creative workers and their pop-up galleries with student interns from MCLA. 

Through this program, the young interns will help the artists create business and marketing plans.

Christina King, an elementary art teacher at North Adams Public Schools, and a clinical psychotherapist who creates expressive paintings in response to people and their environment, will open “Butterfly Effect” at 85 Main St.

King decided to participate because of the energy and enthusiasm created by DownStreet Art and the numerous community celebrations held throughout the summer. To be able to work with an intern, she said, is an "incredible gift.”

“I am good at many things, but marketing is not my forte. I look forward to having someone who is invested in learning and expanding their skills to help me improve my abilities to navigate and promote my creative work,” King explained.

Participating artists also include Mandy Johnson and James Jarzyniecki, who will open their storefront gallery, "Outside," at 10 Ashland St.

According to their student intern, Samwise Fox ’17 of Pittsfield, Mass., the program is something that has the power to change lives.

“This not only enhances my educational experience through strengthening my leadership skills, team-working skills and arts management brain, but it helps to feed my soul and my heart, too,” Fox said.

Dedicated to solo exhibitions by emerging artists, "Outside" will include a small shop of art and design publications.

“As architects, we both have experience in design, curation and project management, but hope to gain a lot of insight regarding gallery management and ‘back-of-house’ through working with an intern who specializes in the field,” Johnson said.

“Our interest and goal in developing this project is to cultivate collaboration and creative community,” Jarzyniecki said. “We’re very excited to continue working with our great lineup of artists and provide them the opportunity to showcase their work."

Art major Isaac Wood ’17 of Norwood, Mass., expects to gain a better understanding of how a small business works by assisting a working artist. This experience, he said, will provide a glimpse of what he might expect in the future, for the letterpress and printmaking studio he aspires to create.

Wood will intern with Joshua Ostraff, a visiting art instructor at MCLA, at "Thin Walls Studio & Gallery," which will focus on two projects.

The first, “Tuesday,” will examine shared experiences through paintings that look at the parallels, differences and simultaneous nature of what’s occurring in the North Adams community within a specific day and time. Ostraff’s second, yet-to-be-titled program will center on an experience he had as a teenager living in the South Pacific Islands of Tonga.

Ostraff said his 87 Main St. location is critical to the development of both projects because accessibility is an important factor for gathering opportunities or narratives that he wishes to access.

“I also like the idea that the community can watch my work in progress, can respond to it, and through that impact instigate an unknown trajectory before completion,” Ostraff explained.

According to Jessica Sweeney ’11, creative director of the "Common Folk Artist Collective," to be located at 33 Main St., the Incubator Program is an opportunity for members of her group to test their ideas, leverage their potential and take their organization to the next level

Common Folk’s intern, Kayla Quinn ’16 of Agawam, Mass., last month received her degree in fine and performing arts. Through this hands-on opportunity, Quinn expects to apply many ideas she gained in the classroom.

According to Sweeney, “We have an opportunity to define what that collaboration looks like, and capitalize on it. I don’t know if we’d be where we are today without the help of the folks in MCLA’s Arts Management program.”

The first DownStreet Art Thursday will launch on June 30 at 5 p.m. Additional Thursday events will continue on July 28, Aug. 25 and Sept. 23.