WCMA Celebrates Beatriz Cortez: The Portals Exhibition

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williams College Museum of Art will host a celebration of Beatriz Cortez: The Portals starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21.
The Portals is an exhibition in multiple locations in and around WCMA that explores alternative genealogies of Williams College.
Three outdoor components located on Main Street attend to omissions and erasures in the built environment of the campus: Historic House, 2022-23, which invites visitors to imagine the space where these forgotten workers tended to the households of colonial settlers; XX, 2022-23, a mound of steel rocks, shaped and welded by hand that pays tribute to the 18th and 19th century Black residents of Williamstown, in particular, who remain unidentified and unknown to us to this day; and Mohican Homelands, 2023, which uses locally sourced stone to spell out "Kpomthe'nã Mã'eekanik," which translates as "We are walking on the Mohican homeland." Inside the WCMA Rotunda, an immersive sound installation interrogates the stories that we selectively tell, those we remember, and those we choose to forget. In the adjacent Stoddard Gallery, the artist's steel structures offer an embrace to two objects that came into WCMA's collection against their will. 
Stitching together different voices that inhabited the landscape, The Portals invites viewers to coexist with various people who have believed in equality, justice, curiosity, diversity, and freedom in the area where Williamstown was created, and also to imagine the cyclical dimension of these struggles that seem to repeat themselves in a nation plagued by inequality. The exhibition runs through May 12, 2024.
The celebration begins with a reception at 5 p.m. At 5:30, the artist will co-lead a tour of the exhibition with Lisa Dorin, Deputy Director of Curatorial Engagement at WCMA, followed by a conversation back at WCMA highlighting the nuances of the work. This tour includes moving short distances with some hills and crossing streets (less than .4 mile). Contact Roz Crews (rc15@williams.edu) to arrange accessible options for participation.
Beatriz Cortez (b. 1970, San Salvador, El Salvador; lives and works in Los Angeles) received an MFA in Art from the California Institute of the Arts and a Ph.D. in Literature and Cultural Studies from Arizona State University. She has had solo exhibitions at Storm King Art Center, New York (2023); the Craft Contemporary Museum, Los Angeles (2019); Clockshop, Los Angeles (2018); Vincent Price Art Museum, Los Angeles (2016); Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles (2016); Centro Cultural de España de El Salvador (2014); and Museo Municipal Tecleño (MUTE), El Salvador (2012), among others.
WCMA is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

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Williamstown Planning Board Adopts Comprehensive Plan

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A little more than two years after appointing a committee to write the document, the Planning Board last week formally adopted the updated town comprehensive plan.
On a vote of 4-1, the five-person board endorsed the 70-page final draft of "Envisioning Williamstown 2035," which replaces the planning document previously known as the town master plan, last drafted in 2002.
Ben Greenfield was the lone dissenting vote in approving the wide-ranging document, which discusses the current conditions in the town and lays out a wide range of municipal aspirations in areas ranging from housing to conservation to transportation.
Shortly before casting his "nay" vote, Greenfield talked about what he saw as shortcomings in the document.
"I'll echo what others have said in the last week about economic development being not being as fleshed out as it could be," he said. "I was especially disappointed the town has twice, two years in a row, by more than two-thirds, voted to establish a municipal light plant to provide municipal broadband, and I cannot believe that a vision for Williamstown in 2035 doesn't have any sort of provision for the need for 70 percent of knowledge workers here or the need for municipal broadband or the equity that could provide. That's just an incredible missing opportunity.
"I feel that, as a resident, I commented on this multiple times and I wrote on pink Post-It notes, and they didn't make it into the document. As a Planning Board member, I mentioned that I thought it was a missed opportunity. And it still went nowhere.
"But that's just the way it goes in a democracy."
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