15th Year Party: What We’re Wearing

By Julia Melnick
Photos by Olympia Shannon

Sometimes the hardest part about going to a party is figuring out what to wear. Is it casual, business- casual, or semi-formal? Who knows what that means anyway? Lucky for you, MASS MoCA staff members have got you covered with some tips about what they’ll be wearing for the celebration of our 15th anniversary. Our party happens on Saturday, May 24, right here in North Adams because that’s MASS MoCA’s home. We want you to come out in whatever makes you feel the best. One thing’s for certain, though–whatever you wear, make sure you bring your dancing shoes.

Laura Thompson, Director of Education and Kidspace, has been working at MASS MoCA for 12 years. She’s wearing a bright, colorful Lilly Pulitzer dress and her winter boots because you never know if it’s going to be wintery or summery in the Berkshires. A favorite MASS MoCA memory is mowing the lawn around the sculptures in one of the first exhibitions she curated in 2004. Laura is looking forward to the party because it’s fun to go down memory lane with old friends.

Kathryn Tufano can’t wait for the party, in large part because of this awesome pantsuit she found in a second-hand shop on a trip to Phoenix last month. It’s Oscar de la Renta and you will most likely find her showing it off on the dance floor. Kathryn has been at MASS MoCA for over two years as the Manager of Foundation and Corporate Giving. One of her favorite memories in that time has been dancing to Lake Street Dive at FreshGrass last September, and working with the lovely volunteers who helped make the festival possible. As far as the 15th year celebration is concerned, Kathryn can’t wait to see Teresita Fernández’s exhibition, As Above So Below. “I’ve made a conscious decision to to wait until it’s up to go into the gallery. I want to see it revealed at the opening in its entirety.”

Thomas Huston is a Visual Arts Intern who has just reached his one year mark here at the museum. A favorite memory is singing and dancing at Karaoke at the Mohawk Bar last summer. It was accompanied by live music courtesy of Bang On A Can faculty and fellows, at least one of whom will be joining us at the end of May. The multi-talented Mark Stewart will be performing a pop-up show somewhere around campus and you can be sure you’ll find Thomas front and center. He’ll be wearing a black silk sweater, a white button-down shirt, cream linen pants, and his favorite beat-up Converses; however, after learning one of the food trucks is bringing chicken tandoori, he’s rethinking the linen pants.

Matt Guyton is the Master Electrician at the museum and he’s responsible for the mood lighting up in Club B-10 and the awesome light shows at our Hunter Center concerts. Currently in his fourth year at MASS MoCA, Matt had a favorite night with the internationally-acclaimed contemporary dance company Chunky Move. “It was the coolest show and they were really nice and interesting people to work with.” Matt is going to be working hard at our 15th celebration, but hopefully he can catch some of Red Baarat’s set because they were “freaking amazing” when they were here a few years ago. His go-to outfit is black pants with a black shirt, but if we’re lucky he might change it up and surprise us. 

You may recognize Jane Burns from any one of our music, theater, or dance events from the last year and a half. As MASS MoCA’s videographer, Jane is always at the show with her camera snapping footage. She’s looking forward to the 15th year party because she can’t wait to see all the outfits. She will be wearing her Jeffrey Campbell shoes with bright socks, a funky jean jacket, and a sassy new pocketbook. Jane describes her outfit as “muted with pop accessories.” She remembers Dan Deacon’s live 4/20 show in 2013 as one of the craziest events held at the museum in recent years. We can only hope that Jane will bring some of that wild and frenetic energy to the dance floor for sets by DJ Rekha and Red Baraat. 

Art McConnell has been working on the MASS MoCA campus before the museum itself even existed. He was here in North Adams when Sprague closed in 1986, and he’s still here today as Operations Manager of the museum. His favorite exhibition to date was Xu Bing’s Phoenix. “It was interesting to recognize all the tools in the Phoenixes and to see how it was all pieced together. Xu Bing was an interesting guy and he was here a lot, so I enjoyed watching him work.” Art is looking forward to mingling in the lobby at the 15th year party while wearing his signature polo shirt,  and spending time with people he has known for 20 years, who helped make MASS MoCA what it is today.

We hope you will celebrate your museum with us on Saturday, May 24. It all starts with an opening reception for  Teresita Fernández: As Above So Below from 4pm to 6pm. DJ Rekha plays at 7pm, Red Baraat takes the stage at 8:30pm, and then DJ Rekha is back for another set at 10:30pm to help us close out the evening. Top that off with food trucks and cheap beer galore and this is bound to be an unforgettable night.  Can’t wait to see you in the galleries and on the dance floor!

Posted May 14, 2014 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Dance Parties, Music, Parties, Red Baraat, Staff, Uncategorized
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Did you love Beer Garden last year? Look what is in store this summer!

We hope you had the pleasure of visiting The Chalet: a bar/art installation by Dean Baldwin over the Oh, Canada opening weekend.  Dean built and outfitted a fantastic A-frame inside our Building 8 and served drinks to Canadians and Americans alike last Friday and Saturday. As was the case last year when our dear friends from Bureau for Open Culture  ran the Beer Garden, it proved to be a popular spot for socializing.

We’re delighted to announce that the tradition continues. Starting June 21, The Chalet will be open every Thursday from 6 – 9  PM (with special appearances by Dean himself, on occasion!). A full bar will be available and you’ll be able to sit under the trees along the river to enjoy your beverage of choice.

Please stop by for the kick off on Thursday, June 21.

We start summer gallery hours then too, so you can visit the galleries until 6 and then relax at the bar before attending Here Lies Love in the Hunter Center.

See you there eh?

Posted June 5, 2012 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Here Lies Love, Oh Canada, Parties, Secrets of MASS MoCA

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Get ready for ReadNex: Interview with FreeFlowin

This Saturday, July 2nd, ReadNex poetry squad will be taking over MASS MoCA’s Courtyard C, bringing an electrifying Hip Hop Dance Party. Just to give you a run-down on who these awesome party-throwers are, ReadNex consists of DJ H20, and four poets, Decora, FreeFlowin, Jarabe Del Sol and Latin Translator.

Forming in 2001, the members met during an open-mic night at Middletown’s Orange County Community College, and have continued to jam since then. While focusing on creating verses and beats that revolve around social change, education and confidence, the group matches their message with a thrilling dance party. But that’s not all folks…the group also facilitates workshops for youth empowerment, using hip-hop and poetry to address issues such as race, gender, injustice, and poverty.

Although they have been hitting the road lately (or airplanes for that matter) the group member, FreeFlowin was kind enough to take some time during the squad’s recent tour in London, to answer some questions for us:

MM: Chronogram Magazine described your group as “…an out-and-out activist machine…” Could you talk about your major influences, both musically and in terms of activism?

FF: We are influenced by a variety of sources. Life and experience is our greatest influence. There are too many people to list as far as influences go but to name a few they would have to be: Michael Jackson, Ghandi, Bob Marley, Nina Simone and Audrey Lorde.

MM: I understand that workshops, such as “Hip Hop and Poetry Saved My Life” are a major part of your mission. Was that something the group always wanted to do from the beginning of the formation, and how did these workshops develop over time?

FF: When we formed the group our main goal was to Perform in as many places possible. However, our main goal has been evolving and expanding since the inception of the group. After several years of performing at open mics, clubs and colleges we began to get approached by middle schools and high schools to perform for their youth. These performances later grew into lectures/ open forum discussions and these became the core elements of our workshop.

MM: In your 2010 Chronogram interview, you mentioned one of the elements of Hip Hop is Graffiti; do you combine that artistic genre or other types of visual arts in some of your performances?

FF: We don’t personally create visual art at our performances but we never turn down the opportunity to feature visual artists during our live performances. In fact at as many shows as possible we try to involve as many of the five elements that we can.

MM: During the Hudson Valley Clearwater Festival in 2009, your squad teamed up with Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, American Folk singer Pete Seeger’s grandson, which seems like a unique and inspiring combination. Have you done collaborations like that before or plan to do more in the future?

FF: We love rocking with Tao Seeger and his band and since that show we have performed with them on numerous occasions and he is even on our latest album. Song number 8 America Bolivariana the reflection of Self Revolution is an example if the fusion of genres with Tao Seeger. Interestingly enough that was not the first time we collaborated with folk music. In 2008 we were in Whitesburg Kentucky where we had the honor to jam with some really dope folk musicians. We love all genres of music so any opportunity to perform or collaborate on a project with different artist we jump on it.

MM: For this MASS MoCA event, you will be featuring a Hip Hop dance party; can you give our readers some insight into what they should expect?

FF: They should expect to dance until their legs fall off literally!!!!!


…So, you heard it from the group themselves, get ready to dance all night this Saturday out in one of MASS MoCA’s unique factory courtyards. Tickets are still available, $15 in advance, $19 the day of the show, and only 10 bucks for teens and kids! Doors open at 7, so get here early to get a perfect spot to dance all night.

Posted June 29, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Music, Parties, ReadNex Poetry Squad
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Spreading the Love on FREE DAY with Red Baraat!

On January 29, MASS MoCA was crawling with 2,639 patrons on FREE DAY!

After Free Day we had the Bhangra Funk Dance Party with Red Baraat.

We talked to the band and they were beyond pleased with our energetic audience.

Thanks to everyone who made this possible!

Also! Don’t forget to check out the photo booth pictures of the day. They can be viewed at these links…

Click on thumbnails to view the full-size image!

Thank you to the lovely, Danelle Cheney, for the photos!!

Posted January 31, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Dance, Free Day, Lickety Split, Parties, Red Baraat
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YouTube Preview Image

Check out this video of Meta & the Cornerstones Reggae Soul Dance Party on September 4.

Posted September 16, 2010 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Parties, Reggae Soul Dance Party
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Farewell to a dear friend


Just as we were deeply inspired by the life of, we are saddened by the passing of one of our most devoted ushers and fans, Evelyn Gallese. Evelyn passed away last week at age 92.

If you came to events at MASS MoCA you certainly recognize Evelyn. Frequently the usher at the door, she welcomed thousands to MASS MoCA. Her specialty was dance parties, where, after the greeting was done, you were sure to find her busting a move on the dance floor.

She took to the stage in June 2002 as one of the “Sprague ladies” in Martha Bower’s Dream Life of Bricks .  The photo above from that performance captures their show-stopping kick line. No surprise, its easy to pick out Evelyn, she’s the second from the right, kicking the highest.

Here are some remembrances from MASS MoCA staffers:

Of course we’ll miss Evelyn’s graceful and always cheery presence as a volunteer usher.  But what I’ll miss is her dancing.  Evelyn was a superb dancer, energetic, stylish, and such a fun partner.  We’ve hosted something like 40 big dance parties over the years, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted February 22, 2010 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Dance, North Adams, Parties, Volunteers
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