DVD has chapter breaks, so shorter segments can be selected and shown.
How art can change the spirit of a place
What happens when an impoverished, working-class town decides that its best hope for survival is contemporary art? Can these disparate worlds benefit each other? And why would they try? Downside UP captures the beginnings of America's largest museum of contemporary art, MASS MoCA (the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) and the rebirth of its host-city, North Adams, Massachusetts. Through the eyes of filmmaker Nancy Kelly and her family, most of who worked in the former capacitor factory before it closed, the film renders the subtle changes in the spirit of a region. Downside UP is about hope: the tentative, dangerous notion of hope in a town widely viewed as hopeless. For more information, please visit www.downsideupthemovie.org and the DownsideUP Listening Tour site.
An interesting examination of the economic, social and political aspects of a working class town's personality makeover into a hotbed of contemporary art, this is recommended.
Kelly shot the film over a three-year period, and in this first-person documentary, she has beautifully captured a shift from hopelessness to hope, that took place in her hometown. With a glimpse of a brighter future, those that live and work in North Adams have a new sense of pride and empowerment. This film has many audiences; in an educational setting it may be viewed by students in art, urban planning, sociology, and museum studies. Highly recommended for academic libraries and medium-large size public libraries.
Joan Stahl, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Educational Media Reviews Online
This fascinating video chronicles the decline and eventual rise of North Adams, a Massachusetts town suffering from 'post industrial decay'...This story of hope is also an enticing introduction to contemporary art.
Downside UP is a marvelous testament to the power of community builders to restore hope in seemingly hopeless situations.
Asset Based Community Development Initiative
North Adams and MASS MoCA present a unique story worth celebrating. This gem of film does just that.
Barry Bluestone, Director, Center for Urban and Regional Policy,
Visit the official website for Downside UP