The Commonwealth Center for Change (C3) is a nonprofit that provides office and program space, shared resources and capacity building programs to local progressive nonprofits and artists so they can do their work more sustainably, effectively and collaboratively. Storefront ART is a new Commonwealth Center for Change program that supports local artists by working with building owners to creatively use vacant downtown storefronts as temporary artist studio, gallery and performance space. I am currently one of several curators for the future art that will happen in these spaces.
The kick-off event for C3 happened on Friday June 13th, and featured work from all of the curators plus some performance artists. It was held at the brand new "Windows" gallery on Main St in Northampton which is run by the non-profit arts organization A.P.E. (Available Potential Enterprises, Ltd.). The event went perfectly, and we are all very proud of the work we did and the turnout.
We started with a parade through Northampton featuring local dixieland band The Primate Fiasco. We had hula hoopers and my friend Gina Gaetz in a frog costume, and caused quite a commotion downtown. People just love a parade, even when it is on the sidewalk! The security team at Thornes weren't amused when we marched through the mall, but was nearly as fun getting chased out as it was making a ruckus inside (I should mention that this was a spontaneous idea, and nothing that we had planned with C3).
The show itself kicked off at 5pm and featured performances by folk singer Dave Dersham, modern dancer Vanessa Anspaugh, the Serious Play! Theater Ensemble, youth video art group Video Vanguards and a hula hoop performance by myself (billed as "The Human Centrifuge") and the lovely Hoop Master Sass. The event ended with an amazing performance by the FemmAesthetik female hip hop crew.
Visual artists in the show included Martha Fleming-Ives, Julia Handschuh, Megan E Labonte, Oceana Shawanda and Brettney Young. Jenny Orozco set up a really cool sound installation piece which was a gold tent people could lay inside and listen to music on headphones. I debuted a new approach to showing my farm animal photographs I called "Reason". The photos of the animals were displayed in a horizontal row of 11x14 clip frames with text on them answering the commonly asked question "Why are you a vegetarian?" in a variety of poetic ways. In a vertical row of more decorative but smaller frames running through the center of the animal photos I had photographs of meat that gave reasons I have heard people espouse for eating flesh. I just came up with the idea in the last couple of weeks and I am hoping to expand on it in future shows and projects.
I got lots of great response both on my photos and on the hula hoop performances. The whole event was documented by Northampton Community Television (NCTV) so hopefully there will be some video soon. Thanks to everyone who came out and made it a great night!