image description
Mass MoCA announced 17 winners of the Creative Challenge Monday morning. The local artists gathered for the announcement at the museum.

Mass MoCA Announces Creative Challenge Winners

By Andy McKeeverPrint Story | Email Story

Mass MoCA's Director of Retail Operations Jodi Joseph said the museum purchased more than $6,000 of products from the Creative Challenge winners.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts announced 17 winners of the Creative Challenge on Monday.

Local artists John Blair, Claire Fox, April May, Anne Hogeland, Jess Fitzgerald, Stephanie Gravalese, Joan Ciolfi, Stephanie Iverson, Lisa Anderson, Wendy Akroyd, Maureen and Michael Banner, Joseph Katz, Michael Wolski, Dan Bellow, Dai Ban and the students of Community Access to the Arts will sell their handcrafted goods though Mass MoCA's retail store Hardware.

"I was totally thrilled. Mass Moca is a big name so I'm excited to be in here," jewerly-maker Ban said.

The products range from handmade jewelry to wood block prints to leg warmers. Applicants had to submit photos of their work, a brief biography and an explanation on how the product fit in with Mass MoCA. A total of 41 people applied and four staff members of MoCA chose only the best and most fitting.

"I would have taken 100 people if there were 100. It just had to fit with Mass MoCA," Director of Retail Operations Jodi Joseph said. "I wanted to bring in locally made products but I couldn't because of time."

Joseph said she followed the challenge since its inception in 2009 and approached Berkshire Creative last year to be a host. Berkshire Creative provided the link between MoCA and the local artist community so Joseph did not have to spend time scouring the county for products. At the same time, local artists had an opportunity to expand their craft into the museum store.

For Williamstown-based Hogeland, MoCA will be the third location she sells her pottery – an exciting expansion for her one-time hobby.

"I started pottery in high school and it was strictly a hobby though college and law school and then I took a really long break to raise my family," Hogeland said. "I'm not practicing law anymore so I'm devoting myself to this new adventure."

Hogeland said she only began selling her products last year so the retail market for her work is new to her. Ban, however, is a vetern and sells his items in many locations spanning as far as California. Ban said he was glad not to have missed an opportunity to be associated with the museum.

"I saw it on the website and I had maybe two days before the deadline so I just clicked the button," Ban said.

Seventeen local artists will now sell their products at Mass MoCA as winners of the 3rd Creative Challenge.
The challenge typically asked artists to design a product for the host company to make but it had a slight change this time and the products will be made by the artists.

"This one was retailed based," Berkshire Creative Director Helena Fruscio said. "Mass MoCA bought $6,000 worth of goods but that's the start, these relationships will be maintained."

Berkshire Creative operates two challeneges a year. Previous host companies were Crane and Co in Dalton and Interprint in Pittsfield. The next company has been selected but Fruscio would only hint at which one.
1 Comments welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to

'Dark Waters': 'They Were All My Sons'

By Michael S. GoldbergeriBerkshires Film Critic
"They were all my sons." — Joe, in Arthur Miller's "All My Sons"
Pogo's Walt Kelly capsulized man's inhumanity to man when he coined a cynical variation on U.S. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's 1813 missive to Army General William Henry Harrison, informing, after the victory at Lake Erie, "We have met the enemy and they are ours." Kelly's version, written on the occasion of the infamous McCarthy hearings, and since employed in anti-pollution demonstrations, reads, "We have met the enemy and he is us."
So, what do we do? A closing statement in Todd Haynes' beyond disturbing "Dark Waters," about one lawyer's crusade against the DuPont Co. for its long history of polluting the environment, apprises that 99 percent of all human beings on this Earth have traces of toxic PFOA, a "forever chemical" used to make Teflon, among other things, in their bloodstreams. But only the most naïve of us is truly startled by either this information or the studious, documentary-like divulgences that build up to it in Haynes' important muckrake.
Fact is, we've been poisoning humankind's well since first we learned how to make a profit out of it while concomitantly rationalizing, if bothering at all, that we'll worry about it later. Well, it's later.
View Full Story

More North Adams Stories