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Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Ta-Nehisi Coates. Nikki Giovanni. Bill McKibben. National and international figures come to visit the students at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. On a quiet evening in early spring, Tunisian singer and musician Emel Mathlouthi (who now lives in New York) performed here not long after she sang solo at the ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 2020, MCLA has been ranked in the top 10 public colleges in U.S. News and World Report and appears in U.S. News’ list of Top National Liberal Arts colleges. In a quiet corner of the state’s smallest city, some 1800 undergraduate and 420 graduate students study here between the mountains and the old mill buildings and the Parlor Cafe.

The college’s Gallery 51 and Berkshire Cultural Resources Center bring free art exhibits ad artists from across the country. They also curate the monthly Downstreet Art festival in the summer and fall, and visiting artists have painted vast murals across town — dancers in crimson robes, and winged Egyptian spirits in turquoise.

In 2019, MCLA founded the Institute for the Humanities to encourage a broad understanding of diversity and equity on campus, in North Adams and throughout the Berkshires, opening with a symposium in June. The college has also become known for the national journalists who come to present its annual Hardman talks and for a rare graduate program in Arts Management, one of the few in the country, interacting with the culural workd around it.