MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center Names New Director

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Berkshire Cultural Resource Center has appointed Erica Wall as its new director.

As director, she will assume oversight of MCLA's public art spaces and programs, including MCLA's Gallery 51, its performing arts program, MCLA Presents!, and its four-month summer arts festival, DownStreet Art.

Wall is the founder of the Erica Broussard Gallery in Santa Ana, Calif. and has worked as director of school and community programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and as director of education at The Crocker Museum in Sacramento. Prior to that, she worked as an educator at The Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Wall is a previous Smithsonian Fellow and holds a bachelor's degree from UCLA and a master's degree in museum education from California State University, Los Angeles.

Closer to home, Wall is the founder of 36 Chase Artist & Art Historians Residency in North Adams.
"While Erica is moving from California to join us in NAMA, she has very specific connections to the area," said Diane Scott, chair of MCLA's Department of Fine & Performing Arts. "She opened the 36 Chase Residency to support the work of underrepresented artists. Erica's expertise in this arena will strengthen the work of the BCRC, complement the work of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, and benefit the entire MCLA and Northern Berkshire communities. We're very excited to have her join our team."

Wall chose North Adams as the location for her residency program in part because of its evolution in the past 15 to 20 years. It allows 36 Chase residents to network with other artists who are also making art and taking advantage of residencies in the area, while enabling them to meet curators and other arts professionals.

"There is so much wealth of talent in just a few miles," Wall said.

Wall said she is excited to settle into a city where she already knows people and can expand and build upon what she started with her residency.

"I already have ideas that would be great for programing, and I'm excited about partnering with all of the other institutions," she said. "I'm hoping to make a worthy contribution."


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North Adams Committee Looks for Legal Clarification on Pillar Art

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

The General Government Committee, made up this term of Chairwoman Lisa Blackmer, Jessica Sweeney and Wayne Wilkinson, will report back to the council.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The General Government Committee will be requesting the city solicitor's opinion on how a federal arts law applies to the so-called pillar art that was painted over three years ago.
 "We're sending it to the lawyer and my thought is let's let them do the heavy work first before we get too much in the weeds," said committee Chairwoman Lisa Blackmer.
Blackmer said her concern mainly was if or how the Visual Artists Rights Act would come into play. The 1990 act requires owners of the property on which the work is located to give artists at least 90 days notice that it will be removed. But it also only covers limited and original works of art.
 William Oberst, one of the artists involved in the after-school project that produced the pillar murals, is asking that the city allow a sample to be taken to see if the works were still viable.
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