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Dream Big Task Force

Hosted by MASS MoCA and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), Summit 4 Teens was a night for local teens in cooperation with MCLA students, to  envision future programs and spaces dedicated their creative practices.

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The night kicked off with participants picking a gesture to introduce themselves, and the group mimicking it back to greet them — think Katniss and District 11.

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We toured the galleries, before diving into some serious art making.

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Look for yarn bombed chairs in Kidspace.

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“Everyone was really open to trying new things.”

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Body percussion!

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“I see a growing community.” – Teen Participant

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The night wrapped up with the Dream Big Task Force session, where we brainstormed future programming and ideas for a teen-centric creative space. As one teen voiced for the group, “We’ve got a great beginning.”

Interested in participating in future Dream Big Task Force brainstorming sessions or teen events? Contact Shannon Toye at stoye@massmoca.org or (413) 664-4481 x8154.

Posted December 4, 2013 by MASS MoCA
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Hall Art Foundation opens Anselm Kiefer at MASS MoCA

The Hall Art Foundation arrived at MASS MoCA by throwing a lively reception and dinner for Anselm Kiefer. The artists’ work is the focus of a 15-year exhibition organized and loaned by the Foundation, installed within a dramatic, exquisitely re-purposed 1 million gallon concrete water tank.  The next day, MASS MoCA celebrated too, by opening the doors of the entire museum — including the Hall Art Foundation | Anselm Kiefer building — free to the public.  Here are a few pictures from the events.

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Hall Art Foundation at MASS MoCA.

 Andy Hall, Christine Hall, Anselm Kiefer

Andy and Christine Hall embrace Anselm Kiefer.

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Crowds gather for the Hall Art Foundation private viewing on Thursday, September 26.

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Emma Hall (l) and Maryse Brand, Director, Hall Art Foundation (r).

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 Stacy Cochran, Joseph C. Thompson

MASS MoCA Trustee Stacy Cochran (l) and museum director Joe Thompson (r).

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Raymond Learsy, Melva Bucksbaum, and Sir Norman Rosenthal, who presented Anselm Kiefer with a freshly foraged Berkshire bouquet.

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Mark Hall with The Women of the Revolution (Les Femmes de la Revolution) (1992 / 2013).

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MASS MoCA’s Special Events and Membership Director, Jennifer Trainer Thompson.

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Christine Hall, Thom Krens, and Daniel, the night’s youngest patron.

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Bruce Josephson, Andy Hall, and Carol LeWitt.

 Wolfgang Laib, Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer greets Wolfgang Laib.

 Jay Jopling, Andy Hall

Jay Jopling and Andy Hall.

 Daniel Zilkha, Jane Wilde

Williams College students, Daniel Zilkha and Jane Wilde.

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 Marty Margulies, Dinka Bojanova, Andy Hall

Marty Margulies, Dinka Bojanova, and Andy Hall

 	Stacey Jensen

 Christine Hall, Andy Hall, Emma Hall

Christine, Andy, and Emma Hall.

Posted October 8, 2013 by MASS MoCA
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Art is an Asset

Assets for Artists —  founded in 2008 by then MASS MoCA Director of Real Estate and Community Development Blair Benjamin —  is a matched-savings and entrepreneurship-training program for low-income artists in all disciplines. If you are a Massachusetts-based artist, you are eligible to apply; Assets for Artists is accepting applications through October 11, 2013.

The program helps artists access additional capital, grow their artistic ventures, and gain the financial stability that promotes creative freedom. This program, born from MASS MoCA’s commitment to community revitalization through the arts, was piloted at home in Berkshire County, enrolling nine local artists during its first year.

Today, Assets for Artists — administered by MASS MoCA in collaboration with ArtHome, the Midas Collaborative, and many local partners — has expanded to serve over 100 artists across the state of Massachusetts and in New York City, Rhode Island, and Portland, Maine., including:

From now until October 11, Assets for Artists is accepting applications from low-income creative entrepreneurs throughout the state of Massachusetts. To learn more and to download the application, visit assetsforartists.org/apply.

Posted October 7, 2013 by MASS MoCA
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Teaching art in a contemporary art museum

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MCLA Art Labs at MASS MoCA

Painter and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Professor of Art Gregory Scheckler talks about his students’ experiences at MCLA’s temporary drawing and painting labs in MASS MoCA’s Building 13.


What is it like to teach college art classes at a contemporary art museum? This year, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts teachers and students are finding out.

As a professor, the opportunity to teach at the museum is a welcome change. Teaching needs revision and refreshment, so why not do that at one of the world’s best contemporary art museums? The overall goals of making more and better art, and gaining critical knowledge, good practice, and technical skills, are, of course, the same as before. The museum environment changes the mood, amplifies it. The art practices are growing more serious, as well as more fun.

For example, I teach a visual arts composition course called Form and Composition. In the course, we review various approaches to understanding and composing imagery. When we reach mid-20th century approaches , we have the largest installation of Sol Lewitt wall drawings to inform the conversation, right outside our classroom door .

Nothing, and I mean nothing, brings art techniques and ideas into more clear focus than seeing work in real life.

Housing such immense projects means that MASS MoCA has a certain bold, sexy quality. It’s refreshing to be constantly reminded of our creative freedoms, to be in the thick of artistic ingenuity in all of its contemporary forms, witness to the great diversity that is the imagination of the arts at work.

Just what exactly will inspire us?

It’s hard to tell. I keep feeling drawn to the rusted-out buildings, which house Stephen Vitiello’s sound installation,  All Those Vanished Engines.

Photo Courtesy Gregory Scheckler

Students have their own favorites. MCLA Junior Ciara Genera, who has found that working at MASS MoCA makes her “feel like a real artist,” discovered inspiration from Xu Bing’s mammoth sculptures. As she put it,  “Xu Bing’s Phoenix blew me away!”

Photo credit: Keifer Gammel

Photo Courtesy Keifer Gammel

MCLA Senior Alberto Roman found technical insight in the “immense texture and roughness” of Anselm Kiefer’s paintings.

Anselm Kiefer at MASS MoCA

Some students find the context of the museum to be a creative driver. MCLA senior Shelagh Conley notes that being “at the museum allows me to work without distractions. We are surrounded by artwork. It is all that my mind is focused on.” Similarly, senior Stephanie VanBramer finds that the experience has pushed her and her “artwork to the next level”.

The students are right, of course. On a regular college campus, when you leave a studio or art lab, you move into a world of  classrooms, and quads. At the museum, when we leave the art labs, we move through galleries. Our quad is the upside-down trees of Natalie Jeremijenko’s Tree Logic.

Posted October 7, 2013 by MASS MoCA
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FreshGrass has taken root.

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All photos by Bill Wright

Over 3,500 happy, exhausted festival-goers filed out of MASS MoCA after The Del McCoury Band’s third encore performance ended FreshGrass 2013. Just three years ago the same band played at the first FreshGrass festival in front of a crowd of 400.

FreshGrass has grown from a fall gathering to a full-fledged festival. Bluegrass lovers filled our courtyards and galleries, picked in every corner of our campus, and enjoyed back-to-back performances on two stages totaling 30 hours of live music.

Enough words… here are some pictures and videos from the eventful weekend.

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(Above) FreshGrass Award winners Cricket Tell the Weather perform a pop-up concert under Xu Bing’s Phoenix. (Below) Cricket Tell the Weather’s winning performance.

Mason Jar Music, a Brooklyn-based creative collective, filmed this intimate performance, along with many others, of returning FreshGrass performer Sarah Jarosz during the festival.

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Bluegrass fans of all ages enjoyed the show.

A train interrupted The Gibson Brothers’ performance in Joe’s Field.

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The pickers’ tent in Courtyard A was always full.

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Lake Street Dive performs in Courtyard D.

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Till next year.

Posted September 27, 2013 by MASS MoCA
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On the Road to FreshGrass

In 2011 MASS MoCA decided to celebrate the onset of fall in the Berkshire hills of northwestern Massachusetts with some bluegrass and roots music. The first year was a small affair – two days, nine bands, and one courtyard stage. It caught on.

Now in its third year, FreshGrass is gearing up for a weekend of killer afternoon and after-dark programming, featuring 25 traditional and cutting-edge bluegrass bands performing on three stages, industry and instrument workshops, and plenty of pop-up performances, on September 20-22.

Legendary local brewery The People’s Pint is busy brewing FreshGrass IPA just for the occasion. The stage in our concert meadow is assembled. Food trucks are lined up, and late night hoedowns, fueled by MASS MoCA’s high-octane moonshine slushies, are in the works.

Tease your ear buds with intimate performances by FreshGrass 2013 artists, produced for the festival by the creative collective, Mason Jar Music.

Posted September 17, 2013 by MASS MoCA
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