City responds to vandalism, celebrates diversity

  • Seventy people participated in this past weekend’s event, This Is Us, by having their photographs taken, which were then projected onto the former First National Bank building on Bank Row. submitted photo

  • Joe Dulude II in drag. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Linda McInerney  STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 10/8/2019 11:37:24 PM

GREENFIELD — Seventy people dropped by the Hive between 2 and 4 p.m. this past weekend to have their photos taken, which were then projected on the former First National Bank building on Bank Row as part of a response to vandalism and a celebration of diversity.

Linda McInerney, one of the organizers — the Hive maker-space was the other — of This Is Us, who is also artistic director for Eggtooth Productions, said the event was “absolutely amazing.”

McInerney said the event was held in response to the destruction of portraits of Joe Dulude II taken by Wheaton Mahoney that hung on the former bank building for about a month before someone tore them to shreds late on Aug. 1 or early Aug. 2.

Shortly after the incident, Emmy-nominated visual artist and drag queen Dulude and his friends, including Katherine Adler and McInerney, said they wanted to “do something positive” to counter the act.

Not only did the group project photos of people onto the former bank building on Saturday night, but also in the Pushkin Gallery and on the Salvation Army building.

“This was our response to the vandalism — celebrating our diverse community,” McInerney said.

She said four photographers — Sara K. Lyons, Wheaton Mahoney, Anja Schutz and Kate Hunter — participated.

“We also did a live art piece where everyone reflected upon what community means to them,” McInerney said. “I love our community.”

Dulude said he wanted to respond to the destruction of Mahoney’s portraits of him but wanted to do so “with love.”

McInerney said Eggtooth carried out his desire to create portraits of the diverse community in a wide-reaching way and project them after dark the same night.

“So, we did,” McInerney said.

She said the photographers volunteered their time to the project.

“We had such a wonderful group of folks participate from all walks of life, all races and backgrounds, all wanting to build community through art,” McInerney said. “They worked as fast as they could, furiously clicking away. Then, we worked just a furiously to turn the photos into a slideshow movie we projected onto the bank.”

At the same time, Dulude and Adler performed their act, Mr. Drag and Karl, at 10 Forward on Miles Street.

Developer Mark Zaccheo helped by going to the second floor of Hope and Olive restaurant to project out of a window onto the Salvation Army building — the projection was of the original portraits of Dulude taken by Mahoney — while Michael Phillips helped project portraits inside the Pushkin. That slideshow was called Vibrant. Vital. Visible., a show commissioned by Eggtooth last spring with Rhonda Anderson’s and Sara K. Lyons’ portraits of indigenous people.

“How spectacular to live in a community where art for all can spring up in this way,” McInerney said. “A couple hundred people showed up for this event. That says so much about what kind of a community we live in here.”

Some of the responses to Lindy Whiton’s interview about the project — she asked people what brought them to participate in This Is Us, and what community means to them — were “I wanted to be among those making themselves visible for love, respect and dignity,” “Community is sharing the love,” “Positive energy for living a good life for everyone,” and “Supporting each other to make a better existence for everyone.”

McInerney said, “Greenfield is a great little city, and art makes it even greater.”

Reach Anita Fritz at
413-772-0261, ext. 269, or
afritz@recorder.com.




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