Journal Article

Building community through the arts: the North Adams story

Abstract: In North Adams, the walls of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) form a dividing line between the highminded art within and the struggling postindustrial city without. ; But outside the 13-acre complex, the erstwhile mill town boasts its own arts community, comprising artists who arrived after MoCA and institutions and residents who predate it. Creative placemaking (shaping the character of a geographic area around the arts and culture) provides a useful paradigm for exploring the synergy between the two creative spheres. By framing North Adams as a prototypical \\"creative place,\\" we can consider the ways in which major arts-development projects intersect with preexisting community assets. This approach replaces the superhero fallacy of arts-oriented development with models that respect community institutions and affect the lives of low-income residents in a more meaningful way.

Keywords: Quality of life - Massachusetts; Community arts projects - Massachusetts; Museums - Massachusetts;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Part of Series: Communities and Banking

Publication Date: 2013

Issue: Winter

Pages: 17-19