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North Adams Arts Commission Give OK to Eagle Street Metalwork
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:20PM / Thursday, October 19, 2023
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A maquette of the metalwork art piece Peter May is proposing for the pocket park on Eagle Street.

Peter May makes his pitch to the Public Arts Commission. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Peter May is hoping to add more art to the pocket park he made possible on historic Eagle Street. 
The Public Arts Commission is recommending that his metal work — "A Dream Come True" — be situated within the park or another suitable location. 
The commission's main concern was the placement of the piece, which would be about 8 feet long and nearly 5 feet high. May's presentation showed it in the middle of the pavers in the park and there was a suggestion it could be put farther to the side and into the grassy area. 
"My only concern about putting it forward on the grass is was when I went to hear the music, I sat right about over there," he said, noting other people would sit on the grass as well. The bands or musicians have been using the portable park as a stage so people tend to congregate in the pocket park to hear them. 
"You're going have gatherings there, people are going listen to music. They're definitely more in the front than the back. Then if you throw it in the back, it gets lost."
May did note in going smaller, it could be easier to fit into the park and would cost less. The piece, of which he has a version on his lawn at home, is estimated to cost about $18,300. That includes $4,000 in aluminum plate; $3,600 for cutting, welding, finishing and sanding; delivery, rigging, mounting, and sitework for the balance. 
Commissioner Bryan Sapienza pointed out that the city had done the foundation for the statue at the North Adams Public Library and might do the same for May since the piece is going into a public park. As to the cost of the work itself, May said, "I'm doing it the old-fashioned way, I'm going to appeal to the community and I'm going to go to friends and family and I'm going to write a grant."
May had owned the building at that location with Eric Rudd. It housed Tropical Gardens until a fire in 2008 after which it was demolished. Rudd and May donated the land to the city as secondary access to the Mohawk Theater and with the idea it would become an art park. 
That idea was rejected and the park itself didn't become a reality until the NAMAzing Eagle Street Initiative brought it to fruition a decade later with the help of a MassDevelopment matching grant. 
Commissioner Emily Johnson asked if he envisioned the piece in the Eagle Street park "because the park has significance to you?"
 "Yes, very much so," he responded. "Last thing I ever thought on this planet is I would be standing before an art commission asking for permission of an art installation of anything that I ever made. Sure it's meaningful for me to have it here, for sure. You got some better ideas ... ."
In his presentation to the commission, May said he had started working in metal a couple years ago and was using found items and later took some metal shop classes at the Old Stone Mill in Adams. 
"Over time I moved away from found art and starting to making things. It all started with a sheet of stainless steel metal that someone gave me," he wrote. "I am 70 years old and it's the first time in my life that I understand the meaning of the phrase: 'It's the process.' I don't know how long this acute onset of a creative streak may last but I'm having way too much fun along the way."
Chair Anna Farrington moved that the commission recommend the installation with notes that there were some questions about a more appropriate scale and but that the location in the park be preserved. 
In other business, Andrew Fitch came to thank the commission for its approval for the Eagle Street mural finally painted a couple weeks ago and inquired about the potential for painting electrical boxes, as has been done in Pittsfield. The commissioners advised that he find out if the city owns the boxes. 
The commission voted in Johnson as chair and Nina Keneally as vice chair. 
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