When the 3rd on 3rd Gallery's latest exhibition opens Friday, art and music lovers from the area and beyond will be busy.
Called ''These Are Days: 10,000 Maniacs 1981-2011,'' the exhibition focuses on the band that reached international fame after forming right here in Jamestown.
''It tells the story of the band from their inception all the way through to their current lineup,'' said Len Barry, program coordinator for the Arts Council for Chautauqua County. ''We're going to have different sections of the band's history displayed with large, blown-up photos, narrative wall pieces and then smaller photos and artifacts that will span the band's history.''
10,000 Maniacs were founded in Jamestown in 1981. ‘‘These Are Days:?10,000 Maniacs 1981-2011,’’ an exhibition celebrating the band’s history, will open in the 3rd on 3rd Gallery downtown on Sept. 9.
Len Barry, program coordinator for the Arts Council for Chautauqua County, looks at a rare 10,000 Maniacs book inside the 3rd on 3rd Gallery in Jamestown. Work is currently being done to prepare the gallery for Friday night’s opening of ‘‘These Are Days:?10,000 Maniacs 1981-2011.’’
P-J photo by Scott Shelters
Memorabilia such as a Rolling Stone magazine featuring former 10,000 Maniacs vocalist Natalie Merchant on the cover will be displayed in the exhibit, which will be open through Oct. 29.
P-J photo by Scott Shelters
In Barry's mind, the show offers something for both diehard 10,000 Maniacs fans and those who are casually interested in the band or art and music in general.
''For the diehard Maniacs fans, you'll see some very detailed pieces of the band's history and photos that are rarely published,'' he said. ''We have magazines, like Us Magazine from the 1990s, that have photos of the band that you won't see on a Google search. There's some tour cases and sound equipment in here that the band has used throughout the years. We'll also have one of the late Rob Buck's guitars that's on loan to us.''
Buck, a founding member of the band, died from liver disease in 2000.
Additionally, the gallery will feature a rare publication put out by the band. ''There's a book that was published by the Maniacs in 1990,'' Barry said. ''It's fairly rare from what I've seen.''
For art lovers, the gallery provides a nice introduction to the band beyond their music, according to Barry.
''An art fan will get a lot out of this. This band was heavily influenced by the visual arts,'' he said. ''You have a lot of detail in the artwork of these photos and album covers. Art fans are going to like this. They're going to see how other artists have interpreted the band.''
According to Barry, music enthusiasts, local musicians and those with connections to the area should all find something they're interested in.
''The show opens on the eve of the Local Music Showcase, which ties in really well with this. This is a local band, just like the bands that will be performing (at the Local Music Showcase). They're the most famous band to ever come out of Jamestown. They hit internationally, and you'll see that in the show,'' said Barry, noting that there will be Rolling Stone covers and backstage photos of the band with the likes of Paul McCartney and Jerry Garcia.
''You're going to see hundreds of photos of the band at various points of their career,'' Barry said, adding that there will also be personal, childhood and candid photographs of the band. ''You'll see all of that, and that's just half of the show.''
Gathering hundreds of artifacts, posters, magazines, photos and everything else in the exhibition could not have been possible without a little help from a couple of the band members and some dedicated fans.
''These are almost exclusively from the collection of Dennis Drew and Steven Gustafson,'' Barry said of the elements of the 10,000 Maniacs gallery. ''In recent weeks, we've also had some temporary loans from a few friends of the band and some real hardcore fans of the group,'' he added.
As for Barry's favorite elements of the gallery, one of them came from Drew himself.
''We're going to have (his) traveler's briefcase that he used for several years. It's this old, beat up briefcase. In it, he has hundreds of documents: tour itineraries, interview schedules, fanzines, magazines, contracts, photographs and posters from throughout the band's career,'' he said.
Besides the briefcase, Barry enjoys the candid and unpublished photos. He's not the only one.
''There's a photo that shows Rob in a real playful tone here. You're seeing him in a rare moment,'' Barry said. ''When we showed that to Steve, you could see that affected him. Rob has been gone for 12 years or so. That was a big loss for the band and the community. These people grew up together.''
OPENING RECEPTION TO BE ENGAGING EVENT
Aside from the main 10,000 Maniacs exhibition in the 3rd on 3rd Gallery, the opening ceremony includes several other components.
At 6:30 p.m. Friday, the reception kicks off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the Art Council's main doors at 116 E. Third St., Jamestown. Live music begins at 6:45 in the Reg Studio Theatre, where the likes of Steve Davis, Stephanie Rogers and many others will perform 10,000 Maniacs songs until 10. Also at 6:45, the reception in the 3rd on 3rd Gallery begins before the main exhibition opens at 7:30.
Besides the live music on the first floor and the opening reception for the main gallery up top, the second floor of the Arts Council building will also be a hot spot for 10,000 Maniacs fans.
''In the Wright Gallery, we're going to have a loop of videos of live performances and interviews with the band. It will be set up cinema-style. If you come up here (to the third floor) and enjoy this aspect of the show, you can go down there and sit for as long as you want. We'll have three floors of 10,000 Maniacs celebration here,'' Barry said.
With everything going on at the Arts Council on Friday night, Barry hopes for a strong turnout from the Jamestown area and beyond.
''I'm hoping we'll get maybe (300) or 400 people from the general area,'' he said. ''I'm hoping for another (200) or 300 people from outside the area who are music fans and will travel to Western New York during the greatest time of the year: the fall.''
Admission to the opening reception for ''These Are Days: 10,000 Maniacs 1981-2011'' will be $10. For $18, a special weekend ticket will also be available, granting access to the reception and all of the concerts during the Local Music Showcase. Additionally, beer and wine will be sold with complimentary hors d'oeuvres in the Reg Studio Theatre and the 3rd on 3rd Gallery. Proceeds from the opening ceremony benefit the Arts Council.
''We are trying to reach out more to the public beyond our arts education programs,'' Barry said of the Arts Council. ''We do a lot of our programs in schools. It's not out in the public eye all of the time. The other part of what the Arts Council does is to provide an environment where the arts are visible.''
Barry and the Arts Council staff plan to do just that in the near future.
''We will have several images of the 10,000 Maniacs blown up around our block here. We want to celebrate local history and their part of local history here,'' he said. ''People will see that. We want to engage folks here, particularly adults who we don't see a lot of through our education programs. We want to give them something that they can touch.''
''These Are Days: 10,000 Maniacs 1981-2011'' is made possible thanks to support from WRFA-LP, the Arts Council for Chautauqua County and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.
Admission will only be charged on the opening night. After that, access to ''These Are Days: 10,000 Maniacs 1981-2011'' will be free through Saturday, Oct. 29, when the exhibition closes. Although gallery hours were not available at press time, Barry said they will be posted on artscouncil.com in the near future.