The good, the amazing, the M.Ward fiasco… Summer 2011

On her last day our wonderful marketing intern Kathryn offers these reflections on her summer at MASS MoCA.

Family dinner


The summer is coming to a close, and I cannot believe how fast my time at MASS MoCA came and went. I still feel like I just sat down at my desk for the first time, with a lovely note from the previous intern Marissa. Yet, in reality I’ve experienced a ton of new things, seen some amazing art and performances, and best of all, I’ve met some truly incredible people (especially my fellow Summer Interns of 2011: Porkshire Edition)

Interns as fish


As per some highlights, pictures (and maybe a bummer) of the summer:


Wilco! From day one, all of the interns were warned of work for “Wilco Weekend”… but it was actually great. The days were long, but the experiences were amazing. Such as the two early morning radio shows on the Friday of that weekend. Being a huge fan of public radio, especially WAMC Northeast Public Radio, I was psyched about listening and watching the cast of the roundtable. Interviews with MASS MoCA director Joe Thompson, some members of Wilco and other great bands, and the live private concert by Liam Finn were all really special and something I will always remember. Aside from the rain, the rest of the Solid Sound Festival was a blast. From the food vendors, which were delicious, to the amazing stage sets, the festival certainly had a mix of art, music, and a fantastic relaxed feel. However, I am not downplaying the amount of work that all, and I mean ALL of the MASS MoCA employees put into the weekend, which ultimately made the festival a total success. It sure did feel good at the end of the Sunday evening performance, to be thanked by the festival-goers on how well MASS MoCA organized and executed the weekend.

Liam <3

Another highlight of the summer, was giving public tours. Although at times the tours were hectic (like every rainy day) overall the enthusiastic patrons truly reinforced how special this institution is. For me, it always came down to the art. No matter how many to-do lists I had, the art always brought me to calm place. As soon as I would get to Nari Ward’s exhibition on my tour, I would be reminded of the capability of art and space working in a unified manner. Not to be too corny, but the reason why I became so interested in MASS MoCA came down to the mission statement. “If conventional museums are boxes, MASS MoCA strives instead to be an open platform – a welcoming environment that encourages free exchange between the making of art and its display, between the visual and performing arts, and between our extraordinary historic factory campus and the patrons, workers and tenants who again inhabit it.” To me, this statement couldn’t be truer. We (and I will include myself in this) are an open platform, for all types of art and audiences. For my tour, when I would reach Nu Colossus, by Ward, nothing else mattered. That piece is a true representation of what MASS MoCA is to me, the unconventional form of what art, artists and museums have the capacity to be. So thank you to all my tour go-ers, I hope you enjoyed the art as much as I have this summer.

Nari Ward's Nu Colussus


One incident that was the only real bummer of the summer was M.Ward canceling his show, only a few days prior to the scheduled performance. Selfishly, I was really pumped up for the show, as a fan of his music; I was excited to see him in such a unique setting as MASS MoCA. Unfortunately, after all the hard work we did in promoting and preparing for the show, Ward decided to cancel on us. He disappointed a lot of people, from staff to patrons, but sometimes that’s how things go. Luckily, we were able to quickly put together a movie showing of the 80s rockumentary, This is Spinal Tap. Go team!

My desk

A final great experience I had this summer was at Downtown Celebration, which is like a big block party for the folks of North Adams. Every year MASS MoCA heads to Main Street underneath the old Mohawk theater marquee. Run by the interns, our part in the celebration helps with connection to the community. Now I haven’t experienced a previous Downtown Celebration, but I must say that this year’s had to have been one of the best. After weeks of planning, we interns decided on a live DJ set of all vinyl, Sol Lewitt wall drawing-face painting, a Nari Ward bean bag toss which featured an image of Nu Colossus from the current exhibition, and a fantastic flash mob that really got the crowd moving. I had a great time making the bean bags (full of lentils and drew little fish on them!) It really felt like the people of North Adams enjoyed our activities. The first little kid, who was probably about five years old, who got his face painted, was great. We showed him the Lewitt wall drawings to choose from, and he said with confidence, “Oh yeah, I know this guy!” I thought it was wonderful that this little five-year old already knew about Sol Lewitt and what type of art he created.

Also, we had a number of people who loved the bean bag toss. One couple ended up winning the grand prizes of admission to the galleries as well as free bike rentals from our new MASS Transit program. The best part was that they actually came to MASS MoCA the very next day to see the galleries and ride the bikes, after telling us that they never had been to MASS MoCA before. It was  great to see the connection of MASS MoCA to the community and how reaching out can really make an impact on the surrounding areas. We even made the front page of the newspaper!

Rosemarie loves dancing and pizza


This summer has flown by, and I can’t believe we are already seeing some leaves change color! But the time I had at MASS MoCA was great. From the friendships I made, to the art I was surrounded by, MASS MoCA has proved just how great it is in my eyes. Getting to work with some amazing people certainly made this whole experience worthwhile! So thanks to all the people I met this summer, to my department, and to all the lovely visitors who helped remind me of how great art can always impact your day in a better way.



Posted August 25, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Interns, Nari Ward: Sub Mirage Lignum, North Adams, Staff, Wilco Solid Sound Festival
No Comments »

Digg | | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit

Leave a Comment

HTML Cheat Sheet
Bold: <strong>Text</strong>
Italic <em>Text</em>
Link: <a href="http://url" target="_blank">Link</a>