NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — North Adams has been selected to receive 1Berkshires' 2017 Putting the Berkshires on the Map award in recognition of the substantial contribution that the community has made to the economy of the Berkshires.
This recognition will be presented at the seventh annual Celebrate the Berkshires event on Thursday, Sept. 14, at 6 p.m. at Bloom Meadows in Hancock.
"While many of the communities in our region are deserving of recognition for their progress in recent years, the national attention garnered by North Adams and the organic way in which the city, business community, [Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art], and other community stakeholders have collaborated has been an amazing thing to observe," said Jonathan Butler, CEO of 1Berkshire. "The community as a whole is a tremendous honoree for the 2017 Putting the Berkshires on the Map recognition.'
There were many reasons for the selection of North Adams said 1Bekshire officials, including that Travel & Leisure Magazine just named North Adams one of the 10 charming American towns that aren't famous yet (but will be soon) citing the fact that in the years since the 1999 opening of Mass MoCA in a converted complex of old industrial buildings, this small city has gradually reinvented itself as a cultural hub that is home to a smart set of galleries, bookshops, cafes, and live-workspaces for artists.
North Adams also was chosen this past winter as one of five finalists out of 3,300 communities nationally that were nominated by The Small Business Revolution as one of America's most inspiring small towns. Although the city was not chosen as the ultimate winner, a great buzz was created through a full week of public voting to determine the winner, during which time the city's cheerleaders and backers sought and received support on social media from celebrities like Elizabeth Banks, a Pittsfield native, and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
The opening of the massive Building 6 at Mass MoCA strengthens the community's status as a top visitor destination, playing a major role in elevating the Berkshire region to No. 1 in its class in the Arts Vibrancy Index. Building 6 is a game-changer for the community and the collaboration between local government, the business community, and MoCA has never been stronger. Nearby, a transformation of another property — the Greylock Mill — into an events space and food production facility has begun. Storefront occupancy in downtown has tripled. To help multiply the impact of the new traffic the museum expansion will bring, a new collaboration –- the North Adams Exchange — has created programs to connect the museum and Main Street.
According to Mass MoCA Director, Joseph Thompson, "North Adams has pivoted, and is looking forward — measuring its prospects by what's unfolding right now, projects on the horizon and the new visitors, residents, and investors that are re-tooling the area. This feels like a generational shift and part of a new Berkshires, which includes dancing on asphalt as well as lounging on lawns, ascending Mount Greylock's challenging north side by bike, as well as birdwatching along the Housatonic, drinking local beer from pint glasses as well as fine wine from crystal flutes.
"It has been tremendously exciting and rewarding to work together as a community to tell the story of North Adams and to make the next chapter of that story be all about revitalization," said Mayor Richard Alcombright. "This award is for every business and individual who shows up every day to do all they can to make North Adams a better place to live, work and play. We are better together and as such we are making great strides. We are so honored to be recognized for our collaborative spirit by 1Berkshire, being the Putting the Berkshires on the Map honoree is truly the icing on the cake to a great year in North Adams."
In addition to honoring the community of North Adams, 1Berkshire's Celebrate the Berkshires will also showcase Berkshire-based individuals and businesses who demonstrate excellence in several Trendsetter Award categories. The entire community is invited to come celebrate these achievements and commitments that have strengthened the local economy and helped the region grow. Tickets for the event can be reserved here.
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