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ERIC Number: EJ792608
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0895-6405
Museum Quality: A New Museum and Recharged College Bring Creative Energy to North Adams, Massachusetts
Grant, Mary
Connection: The Journal of the New England Board of Higher Education, v20 n1 p26-27 Sum 2005
Nestled in the valley between the Berkshire hills and the Taconic range, North Adams, Massachusetts, in many ways is typical of old New England mill towns working hard to create a new identity in the global economy. When Sprague Electric left town in 1985, the city of 16,000 reeled from the loss of 4,000 blue-collar jobs. This article describes how North Adams has been reinventing itself today as a center for arts, culture and the "creative economy." The former Sprague site itself has been transformed into the world-class Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MassMoCA), which has served as a major catalyst in this new economy since opening five years ago. North Adams and surrounding communities have experienced an infusion of artists, writers, filmmakers and others who bring new ideas, new energy, a degree of wealth and a willingness to take risks. This increasingly creative and entrepreneurial economy, driven in part by the array of arts and cultural institutions across Berkshire County, will demand skills and educational levels that are different, but not wholly separate, from those that provided a foundation for success in earlier times. As the old electric supply plant has been reinvented as MassMoCA, the old Normal School has evolved into a modern state college offering a wide range of academic degree programs in the arts, sciences, humanities and business. Among these programs is Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Fine and Performing Arts Program, specializing in arts management, the visual arts, music and theatre. Recently, MassMoCA and MCLA have collaborated on projects and programs including student performances and partnerships with K-12. Leaders from MassMoCA and MCLA, who serve as important stakeholders in the Regional Competitiveness Council, the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce and the recent Northern Tier initiative are proposing initiatives involving public and private colleges from Boston to the Berkshires to prepare students to compete in this new economy. By itself, MCLA generates nearly $90 million for the local economy. Overwhelmingly, driving this vibrant local economy is the powerful and efficient three-cylinder engine of arts, culture and education.
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts