Downtown stirring behind the scenes — #berkshireweekend

It feels like a very Berkshire moment, to walk into the Mass MoCA courtyard on a spring afternoon and run across Nicholas Rigger, assistant director of MCLA Arts (and co-founder of Hexagon Bagels), and Molly Rideout, assistant director of Assets 4 Artists … and get an early glimpse of a group art show coming in June.

They are coming together, A4A and MCLA’s Galley 51, to show the work of the first five Iris Residency artists at Mass MoCA. Last year, the Studios at Mass MoCA and The Berkshire Immigrant Center opened a program for artists in Western or Central Mass. who were born in another country, or identify as first or second generation American.

So, on a summer night, we will have the chance to see artwork from Cima Khademi, Clemente Sajquiy, Marina Dominguez, Hanna Sobolieva, and Shailja Patel and dance to live music in the galleries.

I was thinking about all the threads that weave together in our quiet downtowns to make a gathering like this. … And I walked around the corner, into the Bear and Bee, and found the book that gives the show its name — Migritude, by poet, activist and artist Shailja Patel, based on her internationally touring one-woman show.

We have plans stirring. Trees are flowering through downtown. Mass MoCA is fixing the roof over Building 5. Summer is on the horizon, and the afternoon is mild enough to talk outside. I can feel the warmth of it as I wander behind the scenes and find the words of a writer new to me and read a poem recalling moonrise in the Rift Valley.

A sign announces books outside the Bear and Bee Bookshop in North Adams on a sunny day.
Photo by Kate Abbott

A sign announces books outside the Bear and Bee Bookshop in North Adams on a sunny day.


Crabapple trees bloom at the Milne Library in Williamstown, and Gulnur Mukazhanova, a Berlin-based artist, shows fiber art inspired by her native Kazakhstan, in Eluding Capture at Mass MoCA.

Williamstown's Milne Library glows with ligted windows at dusk and trees in bloom.
Photo by Kate Abbott

Williamstown's Milne Library glows with ligted windows at dusk and trees in bloom.

More events coming up …

You can find more in the BTW arts and events calendar

Claude Monet, The Geese, 1874, oil on canvas. Clark Art Institute
Jun 14 2024 @ 10:30 am
Works on Paper invites artists of all experience and skill levels to work closely with thematic selections of drawings from the Clark’s collection.
Robin Frohart, the artist behind The Plastic Bag Store, gives a new meaning to 'walk-in freezer' in her immersive performance. Press photo courtesy of Mass MoCA
Jun 14 2024 @ 11:00 am
Mass MoCA and the Williamstown Theatre Festival present The Plastic Bag Store, an immersive, multimedia experience by Brooklyn-based artist Robin Frohardt.
The full moon glimmers over the reflecting pool and Stone Hill at dusk at the Clark Art Institute. Press photo courtesy of the museum
Jun 14 2024 @ 7:30 pm
The Clark opens their season with a community-wide celebration and a first look at their major summer exhibition for Guillaume Lethière.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

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