MASS MoCA Friend
These thoughts on Â Massachusetts Governor Argeo Paul Cellucci were penned by MASS MoCA director Joe Thompson. Â
Governor Cellucci passed away last weekend.
Paul Cellucci was a great friend to MASS MoCA, and, with his wife Jan, a secret supporter of contemporary art in general. Nobody in North Adams will ever forget that it was Paul who finally delivered the check for MASS MoCAâ€™s first major construction work in 1996. But at the same time, only a few know that when Paul liquidated his various campaign funds, he and Jan distributed a very generous gift to MASS MoCA, at a time we sorely needed it.
When Governor Cellucci was named Ambassador to Canada, and he and Jan moved into the US Embassy, Paul had visions of decorating the Ambassadorâ€™s residence with beautiful Hudson River School and American Impressionist paintings. Jan thought otherwise, and suggested they invite living artists â€“ specifically those from MASS MoCA’s inaugural exhibition â€“ to loan work to the Embassy. Jan curated a great show. Paul later confessed to Jennifer and me that at first he was somewhat reluctantâ€¦heâ€™d been dreaming of living with great American landscapes from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But after the new art was up â€“ the artists were all very generous â€“ he came to love it, and said it sparked all kinds of unexpected and meaningful conversations with visiting dignitaries, not the least of which was the opportunity to extol MASS MoCA, and the hometown of his friend and future governor, Jane Swift.
Paul had an open, flexible, generous mind that absorbed the world in all its complexity: we were saddened by his death, and send our heartfelt sympathy to his family and those lucky enough to have known him even better than we did.