Saturday, June 28, 2014


Today has been one day of rest.  I needed it.  After the whirlwind of activity of the past couple of months and weeks and days I have been worn out.  My adventures took me North this week to the Downtown Arts Festival in North Adams, MA.

In the first 3 minutes I found a new favorite artist in the window of the first gallery which we walked by.  My friends were rough on me and tried to make me wait to come back to the gallery.  I reluctantly gave in and we turned the corner and the first 5 minutes I saw 5 people I knew and we arrived early!

We grabbed maps and I went inside to grab a schedule of the performances, both of which in hindsight were unnecessary the way the evening happened.  While I was obtaining the schedule a door away from the table where I left my friends (and after a quick look at the Art on the walls of the gallery I was in) I went outside only to find myself missing my friends.

I said "Hello" to a friend of mine from the neighborhood I grew up in and he said "Jen, come on, I want to show you this cool Gallery."  Since he lives there now, and I have not been North in a few years, and never really walked around town, I took advantage of losing my friends and said what the hell and went along for the ride.

Not more than a block from our starting point, we ran into another classmate, and musician, Dave Lincoln, getting ready for a gig at the show.  The three of us caught up a little, or rather they did as they hadn't seen each other in quite a while.  I reminded them both of our upcoming 30 year reunion and we departed for the Gallery up the road.

The windows had a pretty blue design on them and the Gallery was abuzz with activity.  I liked a few pieces and made note to make sure my friends checked this one out ~ if I ever found them again!  So I was getting nervous about losing them and I tried each of their phones unsuccessfully.

I left my friend with a hug after he offered his hand for a handshake ~ considering we have been in school together since elementary and lived in the same neighborhood and hung out in the Park together the handshake was a bit too formal.

I backtracked towards where I left my friends.  Of course I could not find them and they were still not answering their phones.  I went back to the first Gallery and decided to peek inside, in case they were in there.

I spotted a couple of artists, including the amazing work I had seen in the window and a few more by Lydia Johnston and another, Jill Pottle in the North Adams Artists' Co-Op Gallery.  Of course my phone rang while I was inside and low and behold New Orleans Dave decided to phone me back and tell me they were outside sitting on a bench.

I walked out the door and spotted them, they knew right where I was, Dave guessed in about two seconds. I laughed when I told him I was only looking out of one eye but that they should come in and check it out for sure!  He said "Later" again, and I headed outside.

No photos could be taken in the gallery but they had a wonderful assortment of jewelry, paintings, pottery and glass.  I did meet Lydia while I was in the gallery just before my phone rang and told her I would be back with my friends, but by the time we got back there she had departed herself.

The word of the night was separation.  It was a night of trying to locate one or two of the three of us, someone was always disappearing with the other two wondering where the hell the rest of the group was.  I didn't realize until the following day just how much that messed us up, instead of looking at the map and checking out the Art, we were looking for each other and it seems we missed about 50 places and all of the street performances and the big new Mural on top of that.

We did find the Rudd Gallery and low and behold, I got to see one of my favourite Michael Rousseau paintings, and the curator said he was going to have three more pieces in and they are also some of my favourites ~ unfortunately my memory will have to stand in for the real deal since I probably will not be making it back up North in time.

We found this cool painting in an alley which from the sidewalk was unclear, but as you walked from right to left the picture unfolded into an amazing Berkshire Scene of woods and water.  I was quite impressed by that little trick.  Oh to be an artist!

After the mural we crossed the street and there was a glass shop open so Lisa and I popped inside.  Glass does impress me, but the jewelry did more so.  I found a cool pair of earrings for under $20. which I felt I could not live without since I still hadn't gotten my retail therapy in from the week before (is it the 1st yet???)

So we made our way back down to Main Street with Lisa saying it was bigger in previous years (again, MAP), and how it was a little disappointing.  We headed back towards whence we came and I snatched a cookie from Grier Horner who was in front of the Berkshire Eagle.

Douglas Paisley was inside the building next to him and had a whole room full of amazingly cool artwork like only Doug can do.  I was unaware it was his work, as a piece caught my eye from across the room.  I love things that change depending on your view and in one glance figures became clear and I had to ask if I could take pictures, which of course was fine, but better to ask indeed!

There was a cool band playing next to the Co Op  Gallery  and we stopped to listen before heading inside to check out the art.  They were a cool rocking Reggae band out of Northampton area.  I had to grab one of their C.D.s ~choosing which one would have been difficult but Garret made it easy by cutting deals and I was able to get all three for $20.

Art and Music ~ what more could a girl, particularly me, want?  Absolutely nothing!  I was quite satisfied with the entire affair, until I looked at the map the next day and now I am wondering what I missed in those other galleries!  Live and learn and the lesson of the day was CHECK THE MAP!!

We stopped and got a bite to eat at Pedrins Dairy Bar.  I will just say that the menu is very misleading and when my steak and peppers was finally ready it was not a Cheese Steak like I pictured, but a simple HAMBURGER with Green Peppers.  Talk about not getting what you want!

My friends refused to let me complain.  They must read my blog.  I almost left the tray on the picnic table in protest, but they would have just figured I was being an ass, so I brought the tray back and let the girl know how misleading "STeak and Peppers" is on the menu when it is indeed a simple hamburger (and not a very good one at that!)  I did not go crazy, I did not yell, I just let them know that it was misleading in a slightly unpleasant manner and I only swore once!  My kids would have been so proud of me!

When I got home, Thomas was waiting for me.  I wasn't sure if he would be there since he had called me looking for his key, telling me not to worry if he wasn't home when I returned. (Why does that make me worry?)  His bike had just been brought back in new good repair, new shifter and tires ready to be ridden.

On the drive home, I had called his brother to see if he was over there, figuring that is the only other place he would go.  To my surprise he wasn't there and hadn't been there.  I was surprised to find him home at his computer when I arrived, but he told me proudly that he rode his bike around Silver Lake twice!

That is good!  I am so glad A.  He got some exercise and B. He left the house alone!  Moving up in the world, even if it is just a street away from our house.  They just put in new sidewalks and made a walkway around the lake after they put a cap over the contaminated soil.

You have to love progress,  this is a clear case of "you can look, but just don't touch" as far as the water goes.  I have spoken to too many people who think that the water is safe and yesterday when I drove by, there were children in swimsuits on the shoreline with an adult.  That is not my worry however.  But I feel bad for the people who are catching fish and will probably eat them, the animals and children and people who do not realize the danger the lake has.

So, Thomas and I went for a walk to the store and got an ice cream along the way.  It was nice to have some quality time out of the house with the boy, and some company for the walk.  I passed on the ice cream myself, having had indulged myself way too much that day.

I was bone tired by the time I got home and settled down for the evening.  In reality it has been two days of limited activity, since I slept in yesterday and did absolutely nothing except take a ride to Dalton when I ran into a friend of mine who offered me a ride home two blocks away.

It is always nice to get out of the city and the temperature is always cooler out of town as well.  Since I am never in cars, I feel like I have been on vacation the past two days, going to North Adams and Dalton within 24 hours of each other. (my attempt at humour).

I am only half joking however, and getting out and about only goes to remind me of how limited my life has become over the past several years.  Although, on the other hand, over the past couple of years, despite the fact that I haven't had transportation, I have been doing more, being more active and involved despite my lack of transportation, thanks in part to the wonderful work Pittsfield is doing to incorporate art, culture and community.

I am babbling now, so I am just going to run up, grab the camera and download the pictures from the fun time in North Adams.

Pics by Jennifer M. Gallant




BY Nava Atlas

Nava's Hubby and Michael
work by Mr. Atlas




Be sure to check out DownStreet Art Openings ~ June 26, July 31, August 28 and Sept 25!  Who knows ~ maybe I will see you there!  

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