MASS MoCA: What we do and why we do it…

Since opening in 1999, MASS MoCA has become one of the world’s premier centers for making and showing the best art of our time. With annual attendance of 120,000, it ranks among the most visited institutions in the United States dedicated to new art. More than 80 major new works of art and more than 50 performances have been created through fabrication and rehearsal residencies in North Adams, making MASS MoCA perhaps the most fertile site in the country for new art. The museum thrives on making and presenting work that is fresh, surprising, and challenging.

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01. Visual Arts

MASS MoCA exhibits work by many of the most important artists of today—both well known, and emerging—focusing on large-scale and complex installations that are impossible to realize in conventional museums. Our broad, soaring galleries with 110,000 square feet of open, flexible space and their robust industrial character have proven both inspiring and empowering to artists.

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02. Performing Arts

An essential and integral part of MASS MoCA’s mission are the more than 75 performances staged year-round, including popular music, contemporary dance, alternative cabaret, world music dance parties, outdoor silent films with live music, documentaries, and avant-garde theater.

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03. Education

MASS MoCA’s Education Department offers a wide-range of learning opportunities for students, teenagers, teachers, adults, and families. Programs include: hands-on art classes; lectures; Art Assembly performances for schools; artist talks; guided tours; art camps; after school programs; and Kidspace, a child-centered art gallery and hands-on studio.

Economic and Commercial Development
To offset operating costs and stimulate job growth in our region, MASS MoCA develops and leases space to a wide range of exciting business, including restaurants, publishing companies, law firms, photography studios, and computer-generated special effects. We also collaborate with many partners across the county to strengthen regional tourism, improve infrastructure for small business development,and attract and retain residents. Much of this work has been documented and analyzed by our partners at the Center for Creative Community Development, a national research and policy organization operated by Williams College and located on our campus.

Mission Statement

MASS MoCA seeks to catalyze and support the creation of new art, expose our visitors to bold visual and performing art in all stages of production, and re-invigorate the life of a region in socioeconomic need.

Or if you’re looking for a fuller statement:

If conventional museums are boxes, MASS MoCA strives instead to be an open platform – a welcoming environment that encourages free exchange between the making of art and its display, between the visual and performing arts, and between our extraordinary historic factory campus and the patrons, workers and tenants who again inhabit it. That is, we strive to make the whole cloth of art-making, presentation, and public participation a seamless continuum.

MASS MoCA’s performing arts residencies offer well-equipped and professionally staffed technical facilities and stages, and a sophisticated, diverse, and sympathetic audience for new work — especially technically complex work that requires generous allocations of time and space impossible in conventional theatrical settings. MASS MoCA’s vast galleries and expert fabrication staff offer visual artists the tools and time to create works of a scale and duration impossible to realize in the time and space-cramped conditions of most museums. We take every opportunity to expose our audiences to all stages of art production; rehearsals, sculptural fabrication, and developmental workshops are frequently on view, as are finished works of art.

If MASS MoCA’s mission is to nurture and present exciting new art of the highest quality in all media — and in all phases of its production — we work equally hard to leverage the arts as a catalyst for community revitalization: the creation of new markets, good jobs and the long-term enrichment of a region in economic need are all part of our driving purpose. We at MASS MoCA are convinced that advancement of the arts, increased tourism, deeper community participation, and regional economic redevelopment are all mutually reinforcing and inextricably linked. We act forcefully on that belief.

The arts create and bestow community identity. A strong identity rallies confidence, hope, productivity, and economic vibrancy. These are base conditions for a healthy community; they cannot be created, however, without risk, adventure, and the willingness to embrace the new