Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
M/cloudy
61°
M/cloudy
Hi 62° | Lo 48°

Around Florence: Completion of mural kicks off upcoming art event

  • Martin Bridge, Jim Gipe and Justin Norris  in front of the mural that Gipe was the conceptual artist for and Bridge and Norris painted in Florence on Maple street.<br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS

    Martin Bridge, Jim Gipe and Justin Norris in front of the mural that Gipe was the conceptual artist for and Bridge and Norris painted in Florence on Maple street.

    CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/> Justin Norris working on a  mural that Jim Gipe was the conceptual artist for and Martin Bridge and Norris painted in Florence on Maple street.<br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS


    Justin Norris working on a mural that Jim Gipe was the conceptual artist for and Martin Bridge and Norris painted in Florence on Maple street.

    CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/> Justin Norris working on a  mural that Jim Gipe was the conceptual artist for and Martin Bridge and Norris painted in Florence on Maple street.<br/><br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS


    Justin Norris working on a mural that Jim Gipe was the conceptual artist for and Martin Bridge and Norris painted in Florence on Maple street.


    CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Left Martin Bridge, and Justin Norris work on a  mural that  Jim Gipe was the conceptual artist for and Bridge and Norris painted in Florence on Maple street.<br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS


    Left Martin Bridge, and Justin Norris work on a mural that Jim Gipe was the conceptual artist for and Bridge and Norris painted in Florence on Maple street.

    CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Martin Bridge, Jim Gipe and Justin Norris  in front of the mural that Gipe was the conceptual artist for and Bridge and Norris painted in Florence on Maple street.<br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS
  • <br/> Justin Norris working on a  mural that Jim Gipe was the conceptual artist for and Martin Bridge and Norris painted in Florence on Maple street.<br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS
  • <br/> Justin Norris working on a  mural that Jim Gipe was the conceptual artist for and Martin Bridge and Norris painted in Florence on Maple street.<br/><br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS
  • <br/>Left Martin Bridge, and Justin Norris work on a  mural that  Jim Gipe was the conceptual artist for and Bridge and Norris painted in Florence on Maple street.<br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS

The unveiling of a 14-by-70-foot mural in downtown Florence Friday evening served as the unofficial kickoff for the inaugural Florence Night Out art event planned for Thursday.

The as-yet untitled mural covers the side of the Pivot Media photography and digital imaging studio at 70 Maple St.

Pivot owner Jim Gipe said he and a team of artists had been working on the mural for about two years, but thought having it finished in time for the first Florence Night Out would tie the two together.

Gipe said he came up with concept and enlisted the help of artists Martin Bridge, Justin Norris, Carl Bridge and Libby Madden, who completed the painting in about four days.

The mural portrays a bird tugging on the end of a worm that transforms into a chain being dragged by three men, over a backdrop of the view of the Deerfield River from Sugarloaf Mountain facing south.

The mural was completed by painting the background first, Gipe said, then having the images of the men and the bird projected against the wall as a template.

He said the image represents, at its simplest, “man against nature,” though he’s been excited to hear other people’s takes on its symbolism.

“What I’ve enjoyed the most is keeping my mouth shut, leading them out and waiting for them to tell me what they saw in it,” he said.

Gipe said most people get the juxtaposition of the natural and industrial images, but one person in particular, he said, saw the image as a struggle between the eastern and western parts of the state, which was something he hadn’t considered when designing the piece.

Though the project was two years in the making, Gipe felt it was appropriate to have it ready this week for Florence Night Out, which will feature artists, photographers, writers, musicians, dancers and other performers in a celebration of Florence’s artistic community.

Gipe has been a part of that community for abut 13 years, the three most recent at Pivot’s Maple Street location, and said nothing like this has been done in Florence before.

Gipe said he knew most of the visual artists in town, many of whom are clients of his, but was surprised at the number and variety of musicians who will be a part of the celebration.

In addition to introducing people to the amount and variety of art in Florence, Gipe said he hopes the event will bring those artists closer together.

“If old friends unite because the event drew them together, I think that would be a great outcome,” he said.

Florence artist Donnabelle Casis is the organizer of Thursday’s event. She said she was inspired by similar events at her former home of Seattle and by Northampton’s own Arts Walk. She said plans are already under way for another night out in the spring and hopes to make it a twice-yearly affair.

Casis said she knew there was an active art scene in Florence and felt it just needed an outlet to bring it into the open.

“I knew it was here, we just had to tap into it,” she said. “This is as local as you’re going to get.”

Casis said she was impressed by the amount of excitement over the night out from prospective attendees.

“The community is looking for something like this,” Casis said.

Florence Night Out will feature events and presentations on North Maple Street, at Pivot Media and at the Florence Civic Center. Downtown cafes Cup & Top and Cafe Evolution will feature art and music and several businesses will also hold special events and sales throughout the evening.

Events begin at 5 p.m. For a list of scheduled events and locations, stop by businesses in downtown Florence or the event’s Facebook page.

•••

Antique show

The annual Florence Antique Show and Flea Market is in the works for Sunday, Oct. 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Florence Civic Center, 90 Park St. Admission is free and food and refreshments will be available. For dealer information contact Roger or Peggy Clapp at 586-1242. For all other information, contact Mary Clark at 584-9595.

•••

Rag Shag on horizon

Fall may have just begun, but that’s no excuse for dragging your feet figuring out what Halloween costume to put together this year. The date for the annual Rag Shag Parade has been set for Thursday, Oct. 31. As is customary, marchers will form up at Trinity Row Park about 5:30 p.m. and will step off about 6 on the route toward the Florence Civic Center for festivities and treats.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@gazettenet.com.

Legacy Comments0
There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.