DownStreet Art in North Adams takes terrifying turn for Halloween


NORTH ADAMS -- The city married the arts and Halloween on Thursday and ended up with a bunch of adult trick-or-treaters, among other things.

Pumpkins, five Halloween-themed gallery exhibitions, haunted trolley rides courtesy of the city, live music and a pub crawl were all available and free to the ghouls, wizards, undead and who-knows-whats who walked the downtown.

"It's this really fun combination of community and art," said Jennifer Crowell, program director of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC).

PHOTO GALLERY | North Adams holds Halloween themed DownStreet Art event

BCRC put on everything but the crawl, which was organized by the NAMA Prom Committee.

The event, downsized but hardly killed by a rainy evening, represented the final installment of this year's DownStreet Art -- monthly happenings put on by BCRC.

Officials say total attendance this year broke the prior record, topping 16,000.

"We were really psyched DownStreet Art ended up falling on Halloween this year," Crowell said.

So were the 10-year-olds who got to carve or paint their own pumpkins on Holden Street.

Andrew Palamara, a Mass MoCA employee overseeing the "Great Community Pumpkin Carve," pointed out his favorite in a growing patch.

"This double-sided zombie one is probably the most interesting I've seen," he said.

Whitney's Farm Market provided more than 100 pumpkins for the event, which organizers transported in an MCLA van earlier in the day.

BCRC Director Jonathan Secor said the center enjoyed the Halloween theme.

"We said, ‘Let's go for it, celebrate the season,' " Secor said.

At Gallery 51 on Main Street, eerie, machine-inspired art was paired with otherworldly spirits and more -- the work of artists Shannon Taggert, Sarah Falkner and Ryder Cooley.

After trick-or-treating ended at 7 p.m., a flood of more than 200 people swamped the gallery, many of them ending up at local businesses, which stayed open late handing out candy.

Later, Ryder Cooley & the Dust Bowl Faeries played a theatrical show at the BRANCH Gallery on Holden Street.

The show brought in everything from eerie movies and elaborate costumes to taxidermied deer and sheep heads. At one point, Cooley had a member of the audience rearrange the deer for her.

"It's important to look good when you're dead," she said -- appropriately, in a room full of people dressed like gruesome zombies.

At the same time, the pub crawl hit local businesses Desperados, PUBLIC, Freight Yard Pub, Key West Lounge, State Street Tavern, American Legion and Pitchers Mound.

The city of North Adams provided safe transport, and a group of MCLA fraternity brothers and sisters "haunted" the ride, spooking passengers between stops.

To reach Phil Demers:
or (413) 281-2859.
On Twitter: @BE_PhilD


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