The Studios at MASS MoCA: An Assets for Artists Program
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Assets for Artists?
Assets for Artists is a professional development program for artists in all disciplines. Our goal is to equip artists with the tools to sustain the creative work they love throughout a lifetime. Our programs include financial and business training workshops for artists, one-on-one professional development coaching, matching grants for artists in certain locations, and the Studios at MASS MoCA residency program, open to applicants anywhere in the world.
What’s MASS MoCA?
MASS MoCA – the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art – is one of the world’s largest centers for making and showing the best art of our time. Located on a 13-acre campus in North Adams, MA, it encompasses a vast complex of 19th-century factory buildings and occupies nearly one-third of the city’s downtown business district.
How is Assets for Artists affiliated with MASS MoCA?
MASS MoCA is the guiding spirit and founding partner of Assets for Artists, contributing staff, overhead, marketing resources, and space. The Assets for Artists team also includes staff from other key partners including the Midas Collaborative and Arthome.
What’s the mission of the Studios at MASS MoCA?
This residency program is intended to embolden artists and foster the creative revitalization of North Adams.
Who is eligible to apply for a self-directed residency?
We welcome applications from artists in all career stages, income levels, and disciplines (painters, writers, fiber artists, printmakers, performers, designers, photographers, filmmakers, etc.) whose practice allows them to work quietly (no power tools in the private studios, and no music out loud – headphones only). Groups/collectives may apply to work on joint projects. The studios have light-duty ventilation, so an art practice generating strong fumes cannot be accommodated.
How do I apply?
Head to massmoca.org/studios to view our application!
What materials will I need to apply?
We will need a short bio/CV and some artistic samples in addition to the information on your application. See application for further details.
How much does the residency program cost?
The maximum fee is $690 per person per week, which covers a portion of the operating costs of the program. All artists are considered for financial aid, and many attendees pay significantly less than the maximum fee.
What financial aid is available?
All applicants will be considered for subsidies based on a combination of artistic merit, readiness to benefit from the residency, and financial need. Currently, there are no full fellowships available.
When are residency fees due?
50% of the residency fee is due upon acceptance into the program (submitted with a signed residency contract) to secure your slot. This deposit is non-refundable. The balance of the residency fee is due upon arrival at MASS MoCA.
What happens if MASS MoCA cancels my residency?
In the unlikely event that the Studios at MASS MoCA has to cancel your residency, your residency fee payment will be refunded in full.
Coming and Going
What are my options for traveling to North Adams?
Travel guidance for car, bus and train is available at www.massmoca.org/directions.php
Visitors arriving by plane generally fly to Albany, NY (1-hour away) or Hartford, CT (nearly 2 hours away). Boston’s Logan Airport is approximately 2.5 hours away by car, and the New York City airports are 3 to 3.5 hours away.
When should I arrive for my residency?
Check-in is between 3PM and 5PM at MASS MoCA’s box office. Check-out is between 11AM and 3PM at the Studios. We ask that you vacate housing by 11AM and vacate your studio by 3PM. (See your contract for the appointed day of check-in and check-out.) You must return your apartment key, studio keys, and visiting artist badge upon check-out or you will be billed for the replacement cost.
If you are unable to arrive or depart during the designated hours, you must make special arrangements with Assets for Artists staff. Email firstname.lastname@example.org in advance, or contact Emily Edwards at 610-969-9022 for day-of communications.
About Your Residency
What is provided during my residency stay?
Residents will receive 24-hour access to private studio space on the MASS MoCA campus, plus lodging in newly renovated furnished apartments across the street from the museum, right in the downtown. See below for details about apartment furnishings.
Residents will also receive the benefits of “temporary membership” during their stay at MASS MoCA: access to the galleries during regular museum hours; invitations to member openings; member discounts on performing arts events; and member discounts at the museum store.
We will provide one communal meal per day (a daily lunch) in the company of your fellow residents. Upon arrival of a large group of new residents, we generally hold a group dinner to welcome the new residents. Also, we often have a self-organized critique/studio share night in which we provide a pizza dinner for residents and special guests. Optional Open Studio nights are held periodically, usually once every month or two.
The Makers’ Mill (a separate entity that provides printmaking and fiber art equipment), located a short walk from MASS MoCA, will also be available for free use by residents according to their access policies for members (24/7 access once the resident is trained in opening and closing procedures).
What is Makers’ Mill?
Makers’ Mill, the North Adams Makerspace, is a shared studio for individual makers and for workshops, with a focus on serving printmakers and fiber artists. It is located a short walk from MASS MoCA. Our artists-in-residence will have free access to the space and equipment at Makers’ Mill during their residency, subject to the rules and access privileges provided to all members.
Residents using Makers’ Mill (like all members) must be able to use equipment appropriately and independently. Residents wishing to learn how to work with a given procedure or piece of equipment are expected to take a relevant class (paying the listed fee) or pay for a private training with Makers’ Mill staff.
If you’re hoping to make use of Makers’ Mill and you have questions about what equipment is available there, please ask us. To see a full listing of equipment, classes and events, head to the Makers’ Mill website.
What is the housing situation like?
Residency housing consists of two newly renovated apartments with four bedrooms each. Residents are assigned a private bedroom with Queen bed. Each apartment also has its own bathroom and kitchen (to be shared by the 4 people in that apartment).
Your private bedroom will be furnished with a bed and dresser, pillows, bed linens, bath towels, etc. (No need to bring any bedding unless you prefer to sleep on your favorite pillow, etc.) The kitchen is supplied with essential cooking equipment including pots, pans, dishes, utensils, coffee maker, toaster, microwave, and blender.
What professional development services will be provided during my residency?
One-on-one business and financial coaching is available to each participant during their residency period. A4A Director Blair Benjamin will meet individually with interested participants. (Business and financial coaching is absolutely optional!)
About the Studio Space
What materials does the residency provide?
We provided a minimally furnished studio (including a worktable and chair) for each participant. Easels, additional worktable space, or alternative seating, can likely be provided, but you should consider bringing the essentials to meet the needs of your practice. If you have special pieces of furniture or equipment you would like to request, please make note in your application! Although we cannot guarantee special requests, we’ll do our best to help you find the proper equipment you’ll need for your time here.
All art materials and most equipment must be provided by the participant.
What does the studio space look like?
The studio space has plywood floors, two common-area slop sinks, an ample number of windows providing natural light, and eight private studio spaces. Several of the studios are fully partitioned, while others have three-quarter height walls. All have individually keyed doors.
How big will my private studio be?
The studio spaces range in size from approximately 11’x13’ to 15’x18’ (none of the spaces are exactly square). Based on your application and what we know of your work, we will do our best to assign a space appropriate to your needs.
How often is the studio space open?
All residents will have 24/7 access to their studio. You will be given keys upon arrival that will allow you to work in your studio when you please!
Is wi-fi available in studios and in housing?
Yes! There is wi-fi at the studios and in your housing.
Are the studios accessible for persons with disabilities?
Yes! Our studios have elevator access and standard door widths. If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will make every effort to accommodate you.
Life in North Adams
What is there to do in North Adams?
With such institutions as the Williams College Museum of Art, the Clark Institute of Art, and, of course, MASS MoCA in close range there is no shortage of events. So you can take full advantage of your time here, we’ve compiled a list of recommended cultural events to check out!
Will I have cell phone service?
Yes! We have widespread coverage in our area by most carriers. However, we must warn you that T-Mobile has a notorious dead zone in North Adams. There is a Verizon store around the corner from your housing where you can purchase a temporary phone.
Where can I buy groceries and other necessities?
Right around the corner from the museum in walking distance is a small shopping center with a Big Y grocery, Rite Aid, and CVS. Minutes down the road (by car) are a Stop & Shop, and a local food co-op. For a full list of shopping, basic services, and other amenities click here! (If that link doesn’t work – it’s fussy in some browsers – you can find our Area Guide on our website under Programs > the Studios at MASS MoCA > Area Guide for Residents.)
Is there laundry in my apartment?
Yes. There is a washing machine and dryer in the apartment.
What is the weather like in the Berkshires?
Weather can get hot in the summer, and it is cold (and often snowy) in the winter. Spring and fall both fluctuate wildly. During the summer, both the studios and apartments will have air conditioning (but if you’re here in the warmer months and generally run hot, you might want to bring a small fan!). During the winter, the weather is hard to predict. Be prepared for some cold nights and t-shirt weather days. And although we heat all of our buildings and provide blankets and comforters, if you run cold, you won’t regret bringing along some blankets/sweaters for extra warmth. By November, some winter weather will likely kick in. Pack a heavy coat, water-resistant outerwear, and some sturdy shoes (hiking boots are always advised considering some of our more popular outdoor attractions)!
Is parking available on campus?
Yes. All residents with cars will be able to park for free in a MASS MoCA-owned lot directly across from your housing and adjacent to the museum.
Should I rent a car for my stay?
North Adams is easily navigable without a car. The studios and apartment are within a 5-minute walk of each other, and also just around the corner from downtown (with a variety of restaurants) and a shopping plaza with CVS and Big Y. If you want to explore nearby towns during your residency, having a rental car could be handy — but otherwise it isn’t necessary, especially considering that the nearest Enterprise location is 30 minutes from North Adams (either in Pittsfield, MA or Bennington, VT).
Can I bring my pet with me to the residency?
No, pets are not allowed in the residency housing.
Can I bring my spouse/partner/child/children to live with me during my residency?
Unfortunately, we lack the housing capacity to accommodate families during most residency sessions. Of course, spouses/partners may apply for simultaneous residencies and should note that in their applications. There are certain times when family housing (an entire 2-3 bedroom apartment) becomes available — although rarely in the summer — and you are welcome to indicate that your residency would require family housing to be feasible, or that you would prefer family housing if it can be made available.
Click here to access our comprehensive Area Guide for Residents, which covers local restaurants, attractions, and much more!