Eight more artists from around the country have taken the leap, made the move and decided to call North Adams home! Two artists already established in the community further committed to growing their creative practices in our fine city. Together they make up our 2017 North Adams Project cohort. Now that everyone is here and working with A4A, we are pleased to introduce these 10 amazing individuals! Keep an eye out for their creative pursuits throughout town!
Zoey Hart is a multimedia artist, educator, and collaborator living with chronic autoimmunity. Inspired by a history of health travails, her work challenges perceptions of imperfection. She does this through the collection and manipulation of images and found environmental materials. Using alternative printmaking methods, meditative drawing, and multimedia collage, her work seeks to engage audiences on a multi-sensory level, making use of texture, process and space to challenge cultural stigmas surrounding wellness, diversity and disability.
Relocating to North Adams from Brooklyn, Zoey is excited to offer workshops to residents and visitors. Zoey teaches workshops in Creativity and Mindfulness, Mixed Media Collage, Beginner’s Drawing, Drawing on site, Visual Journaling, Socially Engaged Art, and Intro to Zine/Bookmaking.
For Ashley Williams, painting is an attempt to remember ancient landscapes, dream of new ones, and to preserve memories that allow us to imagine different ways of interacting with nature. Her paintings depict conglomerations of geologically familiar yet imaginary matter, blurring the line between the natural landscape and landscape of the mind. Worlds of rock, flesh, moss or hair hover in ethereal landscapes as if they exist somewhere possibly accessible through telescope or microscope.
Ashley relocated in 2017 from Colorado, where she had been developing her career as an exhibiting painter and teacher. With her work gaining traction, the move to North Adams has allowed Ashley to embrace her goal of transitioning to a life fully supported by her creative projects. She is moving full steam ahead with her painting career and actively expanding her studio practice here in North Adams.
Carolyn Clayton’s work seeks to cultivate an enhanced awareness of our shared lives with things. She is interested in the traces that humans leave on material objects. This has positioned her to ask whether object history is retained in the material fragments of everyday things, which she explores by collecting, photographing, pulverizing and reassembling second-hand objects, as well as building machines that playfully attempt to extract their essence.
After a three year stretch in Michigan while pursuing her MFA, Carolyn has embraced the move back to her home state and is excited to now call North Adams home. Since relocating, Carolyn has teamed up with her partner Ben Westbrook, investing in a building downtown to house their studios and residence. They hope to start hosting artist residents, exhibitions and workshops in the near future.
When steel is heated, it becomes malleable, like a very stiff clay. By swinging a hammer, constraining angles and momentum, Benjamin Westbrook shapes hot steel into a variety of forms, making cold rigid steel appear organic and flowing. Working as a blacksmith since 2003, he forges a wide variety of household objects - bottle openers, planters and lamps - along with larger architectural ironwork for commercial and residential clients.
Ben thrives on providing mentorship in his craft, community-building, and cooking breakfast for friends. Since relocating to North Adams with his partner Carolyn Clayton, he has set up shop in the garage space of their new downtown residence and is eager to expand his teaching, hosting, and workshopping efforts in the area.
Ashley Strazzinski’s work as an artist and maker is defined by her desire to understand and investigate systems of information and human behavior. She explores, deconstructs, and critiques various aspects of herself along with societal expectations, and preconceived notions of art and its institutions. Photo-graphy is at the core of Ashley’s work, but she takes a create-by-any-means-possible approach to making that results in artist books, writing, collage, and installations.
Ashley moved from Brooklyn last summer and is working to create a space in North Adams that is a hybridization of a coffee shop and co-working space. This new social workspace will be open “after hours”. The mission is to provide a comfortable environment where people can work independently—on their computer, reading, writing, sketching, etc.—while simultaneously encouraging a sense of community and the exchange of resources and skills. In addition, Ashley is working to set up and maintain a wet darkroom in downtown North Adams and will continue to work on two artist book projects that contain photographic images and text.
Jessica Sweeney, aka Sweens, is a visual artist, musician, producer, and consultant living and producing local concerts in North Adams. She dedicates a great deal of artistic energy to the ROOTS Teen Center and Common Folk artist collective, two organizations she is actively building in town. Right now she is in the process of securing a space in North Adams that will be suitable for the artists of Common Folk to live, work and grow. In addition to her valuable commitment to the local arts community, she has recently taken a strong liking to playing the ukulele and making jewelry out of up-cycled materials.
Music and aerial silks are Melanie Glenn’s two main art forms, but this multi-faceted artist is also a yoga instructor, event planner, permaculture designer, web designer, voice coach, and community organizer.
Melanie performs with the nationally touring seven-piece band Upstate Rubdown. While touring requires her to have a mobile lifestyle, Melanie has recently chosen to make North Adams her home base. She has since become an active member of the Common Folk Collective and has started working on a solo album.
Violinist, composer, educator and tech-nologist Todd Reynolds is known as one of the founding fathers of the hybrid-musician movement he calls ‘present music’, expanding the violin beyond its classical and ‘wood-bound’ tradition and into digital practice and invention. Co-founder of the string quartet ETHEL and a long-term member of Bang on a Can, he has worked with some of music’s greatest progressive heroes such as Steve Reich, Yo-Yo Ma, and Meredith Monk.
The Bang on a Can Summer Institute has brought Todd to North Adams each summer since 2001. He made his first solo record in the area before eventually moving to NYC, where he resided since 2011. The search for a quiet place to work and the opportunity to create a recording studio have inspired him to make a permanent move back to North Adams. Todd is excited to join forces with the strong and growing artistic community that is developing.
Nicholas Tamas is a sculptor and designer whose work explores the relationship between humanity and technology. His sculptural work provokes dialogue around how technology can be used to supplement and enhance the human condition. Recently he has shifted to industrial design, allowing his work to move into the utilitarian realm. He hopes to create functional objects that not only highlight but progress the relationship between people and technology.
Nicholas relocated to North Adams from Tennessee in 2017 and has since begun building a business oriented around sculptural consumer goods. As he transitions towards industrial/ product design, he is also reorienting his work to encompass more objects that can only be created through digital means, using 3D modeling software, 3D printers and laser cutters.
Sarah Sutro uses natural inks, watercolor and oils to express the energy of landscape, at times mimicking natural processes. She starts with drawings and photographs and then moves on to canvas where she applies brilliant and muted skeins of color, working in thick oils contrasted against thin washes of paint. Applying, scraping and intuiting color abstractly results in her own filtered interpretation of the energy, light and colors of nature.
After living in Boston, Bangkok and Oakland, Sarah went looking for a new place to settle that had the perfect balance of both city and country life, while still having great arts offerings. In 2011, she found what she was looking for in North Adams. Sarah lives and works at the Eclipse Mill Loft building, where she has a great studio and community of artists. She serves on various committees and participates in gallery shows. As a new member of the growing NA Project crew, she plans to use the opportunity to really hone her business skills and apply what she learns to her studio practice and career.