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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.
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North Adams Finance Committee Reviews General Govt Budget

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Finance Committee last week began its review of the proposed fiscal 2022 budget starting with the proposed $1,401,608 General Government section.
On Wednesday, it will be looking at Public Safety.
Mayor Thomas Bernard cautioned that the figures being presented were not set in stone. 
"This is an extremely preliminary look at where we are in the budget, some of the categories in General Government are still under review," he said. "We'll be tweaking those for a while, as we as we go forward but this is this is where we are at the starting point of the budget."
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