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State grant would fund Mass MoCA expansion

“Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil” at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. (Photo: Gregory Cherin)

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The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, already the largest contemporary art museum in the world, got some good news this week as the House of Representatives voted to support a $25.4 million grant to help pay for the latest round of renovations and expansion within its 16-acre campus in North Adams.

The money, if approved by the Senate — a vote could come later this spring — will add 130,000 square feet of galleries, which would double the space now available for exhibitions. Work would also be done on Mass MoCA’s courtyards and other outside spaces. Mass MoCA plans to raise an additional $30 million in private money for the project. Mass MoCA opened in 1999 on the shuttered campus of the former Sprague Electric Co. Over the years, through a series of high-profile exhibitions and a booming performance program, the museum, led by director Joseph C. Thompson, has brought life to a run-down, former factory town. “There is widespread appreciation of MASS MoCA’s effective economic impact — it is something of a national poster child for how the arts and creativity can be generators of jobs and economic growth,” state Representative Gailanne Cariddi (D-North Adams), who represents the northern Berkshires, said in a statement.

Geoff Edgers can be reached at
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