Sidewalk Sam Projects for North Adams
Matisse Blossoms on Holden Street
By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 26, 2010
Not that long ago the legendary artist, Sidewalk Sam, was invited by Phil Sellers, the Chair of Open Studios, to meet with a planning committee in North Adams. Attending the meeting were Joe Thompson, director of Mass MoCA and Mayor Dick Alcombright.
The discussion focused on the possibility of creating an enormous, site specific work, possibly a world record for its vast scale, to be executed next summer in the parking lot owned by Mass MoCA across the street from its campus.
It is an ambitious undertaking that will take considerable time, cost and energy.
To give a sense of what the project entails and to assist in long range fundraising it was suggested that there might be a smaller scale event to take place during the annual Down Town celebration which took place yesterday, August 25.
Given the short lead time involved it is remarkable that Sellers and his wife Gail, with the cooperation of Sidewalk Sam and his wife Tina, were able to pull off the successful event on such short notice.
Enough money was raised to cover expenses including sufficient paint to cover Holden Street. There were many in kind donations. Courtesy of Porches the visiting couple were comped for two nights. Taylor’s donated dinner for two. A lot of grass roots folks and organizations got behind this to make it happen. Including the volunteer artists who sketched out the design of a Matisse painting.
Behind an array of paints Tina, an expert in this process, doled out colors into small cups. There was a big stack of brushes.
The idea to connect with the Down Town celebration was brilliant. There were a couple of thousand people projected to visit. It didn’t take much to entice an army kids and the young at heart to fill in the blanks. Call this a modern update of Tom Sawyer charging folks to help him paint a fence. Although in this case you got to paint for free. Neat trick.
From his wheel chair Sam supervised and bombarded visitors with good cheer. I was greeted as a long lost friend. We hugged for a photo op. We have actually known each other since the ‘60s and it was good to have him come to North Adams for his world renowned public art projects.
The event was an enormous success. A great time was had by all. It also helps public awareness and the fund raising efforts for an even bigger, no, make that Huge, event next summer.
Below is a note from Phil Sellers. He thanks all who helped with this project.
There are so many people to thank for helping make this magical moment. Your energy and support made this happen and will help as we move forward to next summer. It was so wonderful to see so many kids painting on the street and so many watching their children and grandchildren.
To Marie, Connie & Jaquie for helping with registration!
To Dawn, Larry, David, Bill, Erica, Jane-Ellen for layout and prep
To Annette, Brian, Leanne & Paula on brush duty
To Vin my paint man and Michelle
To Steve & Dan for recording the event
To Shannon & Deliah for helping everywhere
To Charles for introducing me to Sidewalk
To Dick & Joe for your excitement & positive energy
To the City, Police Dept. & Public Safety
To Lucas for helping us and his Dad
To Brian Miksic & DNA
To Jonathan & Valeria
To Rod and the Office of Tourism
To Michelle Alcombright
To City Council
To the Community of North Adams for making this a night to remember.
Very Special Thanks
To Glenn & Dawn, your energy and vision in helping make things happen was invaluable and will be a great asset.
To Tina & Sidewalk your energy, guidance and passion for art made this happen. I am looking forward to next year.
A very, very, very special thanks to my biggest supporter! Your passion, your energy, your vision, your guidance and encouragement Gail, are what make you special to me.
Hopefully there hasn’t been any one left out but thanks to those who may have. Please feel free to pass this on to the Council , Police and Public Safety
I will keep you posted as we move forward to next summer. There is a lot to be done!!!!
243 Union St. #103
North Adams, MA 01247
River Hill Pottery
Chairman North Adams Open Studios