North Adams Transcript
January 15, 2009

"Gallery 51 sets ambitious effort in creativity"
By Jennifer Huberdeau

NORTH ADAMS -- Two years ago, a group of 20 artists spent four days and nights at MCLA Gallery 51 cutting, sewing, painting, splicing and pasting together their art as they raced against the clock to complete their pieces in 100 hours.

The popular marathon collage event, "100 hours in the Woodshed," which drew hundreds of visitors -- who were able to interact and watch the artists as they worked -- to the gallery on a daily basis, returns to the city tonight with 40 artists and twice the space.

"When we did the first event in 2007, we talked about it being an annual event," Jonathan Secor, MCLA director of special programs, said Wednesday. "The artists were all pumped up about it, but the staff was exhausted. It's like having 40 people come to your house for Thanksgiving and having them stay five days. They're your family, but you need time to recuperate. So, we decided that we'd try for a biennial event."

The premise is to arrive with nothing and at the end of the 100 hours have created work that will be on display at the gallery, he said. Visitors are encouraged to visit the gallery and its annex throughout the five-day creative process.

"Woodshed II: The Next Hundred Hours" begins tonight, with a "Meet the Artists" reception from 6 to 8 p.m. in MCLA's Gallery 51 on Main Street. Following the reception, the artists will begin setting up in either Gallery 51 or at the Gallery 51 Annex located at the corner of Holden and Main streets, where they will work in an open-studio environment until Monday. The marathon will culminate in a gallery show of the same title, which will open on Tuesday with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. The show will run through Sunday, Feb. 22.

"I think many of the artists will arrive with some sort of vague idea of what they will be doing," said Ven Voisey, the gallery manager and a participating artist. "They're all bringing a set amount of materials, so they definitely know what they'll be working with. Many of them look forward to the shift of their environment and use the time to do something new. Others view it as a chance to create something they haven't had the time to do."

He said a majority of the artists who participated in 2007 are returning for the second session, including Lana Z. Caplan of Boston. Another artist scheduled to return is Carla Michel of South Hadley.

For more information, call 413-664-8718, or go to www.mcla.edu/Gallery51.