Professor of Economics Steve Sheppard gets a brief mention in a somewhat cheerleading article on the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

Membership to the museum has remained constant, as have the number of visitors and those attending various performances held there.

According to a study based on the home zip codes of visitors to Mass MoCA, conducted by Stephen Sheppard, an economics professor at Williams College, on an average day at Mass MoCA, the community of those who come together to view art in the galleries or see a show there is about as diverse as a typical American city.

“On any given day at Mass MoCA, the racial and economic diversity is dramatically more diverse than North Adams itself,” said Thompson [Director of MoCa]. “We don’t quite know what that means, but it’s fascinating.”

I can’t find a link Sheppard’s artiicle, but I am fairly certain that it would include more caveats than Thompson does in his description of it. After all, the diversity of the zip codes of visitors may tell us nothing about the diversity of the visitors from those zip codes. You might have the richest person from every zip code in the US come to MoCa. Or all visitors might come from a single zip code which happens to include a wide cross section of the US population.

MoCa, and indeed the revitalization of North Adams, has been one of the great feel-good Berkshire stories of the last 20 years. It would make for an interesting thesis in economics, or even in history or political science.

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