Last Thursday, MASS MoCA's Club B10 buzzed with activity as creative people of all stripes filtered in from various corners of the northern Berkshires. A total of 115 artists gathered to share their current projects, discuss what our creative community needs to continue growing and thriving, and to simply make time to meet each other.
As artists stood up and introduced themselves, it confirmed what we all know: that the region has been attracting amazing artists for 20+ years. Some artists shared stories of growing up in town, while others expressed their reasons for relocating in recent years. The event served as a much-needed opportunity for these varied groups to begin to share ideas and resources.
The planning committee consisted of staff from MASS MoCA's Assets for Artists Program, Common Folk Artist Collective, MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, and other members of the local creative community, bringing together a range of dedicated arts organizers to work towards the collective goal of building a stronger artist community.
Through low-pressure networking in small groups, artists had the opportunity to share more about why they choose to live in the area and what they're seeking in an arts community. More in-depth conversations emerged about people's current projects and creative undertakings, allowing participants to find commonalities within the group and make connections with those craving or creating similar projects and opportunities.
The evening culminated with a chance for everyone to post their needs as individual artists, along with ideas of what they can offer to the creative community. These needs / offerings were organized into four categories: Skills & Services; Equipment, Space & Supplies; Collaborations, Community & Audience; and a Wild Card category. The results will be compiled and shared amidst this new creative network. It's up to members of the community to take the next steps and reach out to build & expand on new connections.
All told, the event was a great success -- and hopefully this is just the beginning!