North Adams Transcript
January 19, 2009

"Artists show their drive"
By Jennifer Huberdeau

NORTH ADAMS -- Settled into the back corner of MCLA Gallery 51, Lana Z Caplan, a Boston-based artist, quickly changed the reels of film on a large 16 millimeter film projector Friday, as the artists around her cut, glued, painted, sewed and sketched.

They were working non-stop as part of a 100-hour collage marathon that ends tonight.

"I'm not sure at this point what will come to fruition, but I'm thinking I'll have a sweet little love poem by the time I'm done," Caplan said. "I'm using this 16 millimeter film footage, which I'm going to collage into my own film."

Caplan, who participated in the gallery's original "100 Hours in the Woodshed" in 2007, said she was excited to be asked back for "Woodshed II: Another 100 hours," which began Thursday evening and will culminate with a month long show at Gallery 51.

An opening reception to celebrate the work of the 40 artists participating in the event will take place at the gallery from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

"It was a really great experience last time," Caplan said. "It's one of my favorite art-making experiences. There's great energy and great people in a great place. You're also seeing old friends. In the last two years, there have been two babies born, two engagements and one marriage amongst those of us who've returned. A lot can happen in two years.

"Maggie Hunt, another artist from Boston, was participating in the marathon for the first time."I'm making something I call 'stuff-a-hump,'" she said as she traced her shadow on a piece of red satin. "It's a large body pillow in the shape of a person. I give them to my friends as wedding presents -- a man and a woman -- so they have someone to sleep with when their partners away."

Over the last four days, visitors have been able to walk through the "live studios" at Gallery 51 and the MCLA Gallery 51 annex on the corner of Main and Holden streets, and witness art-making in progress.According to Jonathan Secor, MCLA director of special programs, the premise of the event is to arrive with nothing and at the end of the 100 hours have created work that will be on display and for sale at the gallery.

Local artist Daniel "Danny O" O'Connor originally proposed the idea of holding a "collage party" to Secor after attending one at the ZieherSmith Gallery in New York City's Chelsea art district during the summer of 2006. As part of the show, artists created their pieces for the exhibit in the gallery, which was open to the public for the 100 hours they had to make the artwork."

Danny is a strong force when it comes to gathering people together," Josh Jefferson, of Boston, said as he worked at Gallery 51 with recycled magazines, posters and postage stamps. "This is my first time here, but I've been to some of the original gatherings like this back in the day. It's great to work around other artists."

New to the event this year was a musical component, as several musicians composed a work together. "Hopefully we'll record something by the end of the 100 hours," artist and musician Max Jeffers said as he changed the strings of his guitar. "One artist plays the drums, a couple others play the sax and there are a couple others who play guitar or bass."

Over in the annex, three MCLA students majoring in art or arts management honed their craft among the professionals."I'm working on several different projects at once," said Merritt Fletcher of North Adams as she looked over a table filled with paper scraps, doll heads and paint supplies. "It's a sort of synthesis of found objects, painting and print-making. This really fits in with my art making style."At another table, senior Sara Sambrook, an arts-management major and intern with B-HIP (Berkshire Hills Internship Program), created post-card sized pictures from magazines she had collected at several arts conferences, newspapers and "random items" from her room."You are a very strong addition this year," O'Conner told the students as he checked in with them. "The last time we were here, the students were here more on an intern basis, where you guys are hands-on. You're the next generation of artists.

"The event brought together artists from Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, California and Wisconsin. Gallery 51 is at 51 Main St. and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The MCLA Gallery 51 annex is at 65 Main St. For more information, call 413-664-8718 or visit www.mcla.edu/Gallery51.