This weekend, MassMoca celebrated its ten year anniversary.  Its impact on the region, and on North Adams in particular, can not be overstated.  Without MassMoca, there is no Porches Inn.  There is no Gramercy Bistro or Taylor’s Fine Dining.  There is likely no stadium style movie theater in North Adams.  There would not be a viable future for a restored Mohawk Theater.  There certainly would not be a DownStreet Art gallery tour, an initiative that has turned a bad economy into a positive local enterprise by doubling its utilization of vacant downtown space in just one year.  (It’s just a shame that all of the MassMoca-spurred development occurred subsequent to the criminally stupid “urban renewal” that destroyed much of North Adams’ historic downtown in favor of a strip mall …).

Kudos to MassMoca founder Thomas Krens ’69 and founding (and current) Director Joseph Thompson ’81, two Ephs who had the vision to see something spectacular where everyone else just saw blighted, abandoned factory buildings in a town decimated by industrial upheaval.  It is a testament to the strength of their vision that, only ten years later, the notion of repurposing industrial buildings in blighted or rural communities as a means of economic revitalization has become almost trite.

And MassMoca continues to be a pioneer: with its recent highly-regarded Sol Lewitt installation, its partnership with the Clark, its continued integration of commercial and municipal space into its complex, its outreach to kids, and its environmental initiatives.  All in all, the museum is arguably the largest contribution Williams and its alumni have made to the greater Berkshire region in recent memory.

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