It’s a tradition of sorts.
In fact, “this is one of our favorite days of the year. Encouraging new visitors to give us a try, welcoming back old friends, and thanking our neighbors for their continued support is a delight,” says MASS MoCA Director Joe Thompson. We’re especially excited that our FREE Day visitors will get to check out our breathtaking exhibit, Xu Bing: Phoenix, which opened at the end of December in Building 5.”
So on Saturday, February 9, from 11 AM to 8 PM MASS MoCA welcomes both brand new and seasoned visitors to let their curiosity run wild, to explore the galleries free of charge at the museum’s annual FREE Day, sponsored by Berkshire Gas. In addition to complimentary gallery admission, MASS MoCA will offer a full day of activities, performances, tours, face painting, an Elevator Music Festival, and more. Free tours leave the lobby every 30 minutes starting at 11 AM; the last tour begins at 6 PM.
Much of the current art is actually quite accessible. Xu Bing: Phoenix looks like a madman’s decoration that has escaped from a giant Chinese Buffet. Then there is the truly weird Elevator Music Festival, quickly becoming a FREE Day tradition, which offers visitors a unique experience in the large Building 4 freight elevator. Throughout the day, there will also be pop-up concerts in the galleries; musicians will perform for an intimate (and changing) audience. These mini-concerts will transform the elevator and galleries into an unconventional and unexpected unique listening experience. Find the schedule of Elevator Music Festival performers on their website.
Make Your Own Art!
Art-making activities and performances in the galleries will be offered throughout the day. Art activities relating to the exhibitions on view include group mural projects, take-home dragon puppets, and miniature LeWitt drawings. Patrons can celebrate the Chinese New Year (which falls on the next day) by making a gift to offer to a stranger.
Kidspace will be open from 11 AM to 6 PM with art-making at the art bar, where children can request a wide variety of art supplies to create a craft. In line with the theme of curiosity (and Kidspace’s current gallery exhibition, Curiosity), Kidspace will transform into a carnival, complete with a gypsy fortune teller and a tattooed lady distributing temporary tattoos. Patrons can even get their faces painted to look like their favorite carnival act.
Live Dance Performances!
Other activities include dance performances by members of the Berkshire Dance Theatre and local college and high school students. Those wanting to dance themselves rather than just watch will have the chance to participate in a flash mob led by local college grads, or to learn some moves at the exciting dance experience,
This year, Mass MoCA is including an unusual and exciting dance experience, Gaga/people classes, taught by dancers in Batsheva Ensemble or Batsheva Dance Company. It promises to connect to your body and imagination, increase your physical awareness, improve your flexibility and stamina, and experience the pleasure of movement in an accepting atmosphere. Participants must be 16 years or older, wear comfy clothes, and be prepared to dance barefoot. No previous movement experience is necessary. Not for the overly timid or undisciplined. Tip: bring a bottle of water and towel.
Free cake, too!
Complimentary slices of Lickety Split’s signature carrot cake will be available at 1, 2, and 3 PM in the lobby. Lickety Split will also have a delicious affordable menu all day featuring a sandwich, wrap, or salad with a cookie and bottle of water for just $8.50. In the evening the café wlil offer a special fried chicken dinner for just $10 at the dance party.
Latin rhythms and surf music combine for festive dance party to follow FREE Day 2013
Visitors can expect an explosion of energy across a crowded dance floor in MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center starting at 8 PM, as Chicha Libre brings out the hip-swiveling, groove-inspiring rhythms of Latin, surf, and psychedelic Peruvian pop music. Chicha Libre is a Brooklyn-based band that blends covers of Chicha classics with French-tinged originals and reinterpretations of 70s pop gems. NPR raves about the “solid musicianship and playful expertise” on the group’s latest album, 2012’s Canibalismo, and Burlington Jazz Festival claims the “backroom beats and analog funk [of] Chicha Librefire up avid crowds with their potent mix of multilingual original compositions.”
The dance party, sponsored by Berkshire Gas, starts at 8 PM with 30 minutes of dance instruction supported by Jacob’s Pillow. Doors to the dance party will open at 7 PM. Drinks and food will be available before and during the dance party from Lickety Split. Tickets for the dance party are $10 in advance, $14 on the day of the show, and free for children under 12. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams, open from 11 AM to 5 PM (closed Tuesdays).
About Mass MoCA – (If You Didn’t Know)
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings. MASS MoCA is an independent 501(c)(3) whose operations and programming are funded through admissions and commercial lease revenue, corporate and foundation grants, and individual philanthropy. Except for an initial construction grant from the Commonwealth, and competitive program and operations grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MASS MoCA is privately funded: 90% of annual operating revenues are from earned revenues, membership support, and private gifts and grants.