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BERKSHIRES, BERKSHIRES, MA MA

DESTINATION BERKSHIRES, MA

J

ust two and a half hours west of Boston is one of New England’s most treasured destinations—the Berkshires—offering a serenity and charm that’s unparalleled for the traveler, in any season. Touching Vermont to the north, Connecticut to the south and New York to the west, this vast area is a magnet for culture vultures of every persuasion. Galleries, museums, theater, outdoor sports and an outrageous farmto-table dining scene await. It’s ironic, many travel here for R & R yet realize they can’t sit still once they arrive. Art New England’s “artinerary” will help you plan and prepare for an amazing summer experience. If starting from points north, begin in North Adams, home of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, commonly known as Mass MoCA, which in 2017 will be the largest contemporary art museum in the United States. Located on a 13-acre compound of 19th century factory buildings, you’ll find, on any given day or weekend, an endless array of exhibits, music and performances. Spend a full day or more, if possible, it’s such a treat. A short walk from Mass MoCA is the Rudd Art Museum, founded by Eric Rudd to highlight the thriving Berkshires art scene. The museum is housed in two old churches complete with soaring ceilings, a cathedral tower and original stained glass. The 25,000-square-foot space features permanent galleries displaying five decades of Rudd’s own work as well as two exhibition galleries for new artists. The current exhibit That 70s Show looks at the artistically turbulent 1970s through the lens of Berkshire artists, including Stephan Hannock, Warner Friedman, Joe Goodwin and Julio Granda. From the Rudd Museum, pop over to the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) on Church Street. The campus itself is teaming with art, from student works to gallery spaces and murals. MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center started DownStreet Art, a public art project that encourages a dialogue between the North Adams community and the arts. On the last Thursday of every month all DownStreet Art galleries and venues are open late for receptions, exhibits and performances. During May and June the college’s Gallery 51 will display Two Natures Talking, an

46   Art New England    M a y / J u n e

2015

The foyer of Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio. Courtesy of the museum.

exhibit exploring the exchange between artists and poets, which includes a collage of text fragments, brushstrokes and paper shapes. A short drive west on Route 2 is the Williams College campus, otherwise known as Williamstown, where local art blends with an idyllic small town setting. It’s hard to deny that “I’d love to go back to school” feeling while roaming the campus, watching students biking

to a summer class or overhearing their feisty conversations in the Tunnel City Coffee shop on Spring Street. While here, be sure to wander into the Williams College Museum of Art. Hailed as one of the finest college art museums in the country, the WCMA holds more than 14,000 works spanning from Egyptian to contemporary. And you’re in luck. On view through midAugust is Warhol by the Book, an array of Andy

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Destination: Berkshires, MA  
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