(North Adams) 400 km from Montreal, in the heart of idyllic Massachusetts, the small town of North Adams is home to the most important contemporary art center in the United States. Art lover? Curious? Need some nature? A visit is a must.

North Adams and the beautiful Berkshire region once thrived with several industries located in the area along the river and railroad, and since we love nature, the surroundings are majestic, mountainous, and a little rugged when we need to find our way there.

In the mid-1980s, Sprague Electric closed its North Adams plant, resulting in the loss of 4,000 jobs. For a population of about 25,000 at the time, that was a hard blow to absorb. In fact, it may have been fatal, since half of North Adams’ residents had left at the time. But there was an art school there, and we quickly saw the potential of these grand (and numerous) empty red-brick industrial buildings.

The first projects were started at the end of the 1980s and saw the light of day at the end of the 1990s. The projects were mainly funded by the state, which was forward-thinking in supporting this extraordinary approach, especially since it was so risky at the time.

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North Adams is a fairly unassuming town, partly because of its mountainside location. Looking at this sprawling contemporary art campus, one wonders how this is possible, but it quickly becomes clear that the museum relies on the support of a network of valued patrons, which is why MASS MoCa is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.e birthday.

Not just art, but architecture too

The great thing about planning a visit to MASS MoCa (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) is that there is something for everyone, whether you love art or not. It’s hard to remain blank-faced in the face of the stunning restoration of this architectural heritage, so often left abandoned where industry left it. The rehabilitation is amazing. And in its 250,000 square feet, between the special and permanent exhibits, including a children’s area, it’s hard to find something interesting.

Our first advice is to plan to spend a day there: you won’t even need to go out for a meal break, as there are several snack options on-site, including a Mexican restaurant where you can drink mezcal, a previously unrecommended option for the virtual experience proposed by artist Laurie Anderson, which is on display until the end of the year.

At MASS MoCa you can encounter works by well-known artists such as Anselm Kiefer and Louise Bourgeois, as well as works by other artists who have been discovered there.

I especially liked the installation by Kelly Ray Adams that I came across by chance. Your debt foreverIn 2016, the American potter created a small bowl filled with coins that ultimately represents the total amount of the average American student debt: $37,000. The artist is on-site periodically to explain his approach and visitors are invited to join in.

The entrance to the museum features an eye-catching installation by local artist Joseph Grigri: over the course of 30 years, the deaf artist has collected scraps of paper, envelopes and airline tickets on which people had written messages in order to communicate with him.

MASS MoCa is always accessible, as it always has a comprehensive and diverse offer. Before you go, we recommend you browse not only the current exhibitions, but also the entire program. Every Thursday in summer, one of the surrounding courtyards comes alive. beer garden ; and the bluegrass festival in September looks really amazing.

If you want to extend your visit, there are some lovely places to have dinner in the little town center across the street, which is a great idea. Also, if you’re taking a 2-3 day trip to North Adams, incorporate other museums, galleries, and artist studio tours, many of which are located within MASS MoCA.

Despite the hotel being a little far from the city centre the Tourist certainly stands out amongst the accommodation options. Very relaxed atmosphere. Lots of wood, often plywood or grey cedar.

The hotel is between the road and the train tracks so it can be a little noisy at times, but it’s still very pleasant and highly recommended. A little grainy. On the night we visited, Nashville rocker Amelia White gave a solo acoustic performance in the reception pavilion, where drinks, snacks and a delicious lunch were also offered. It’s in the philosophy of this place to provide accommodation for artists in exchange for performances for customers and locals.