Thursday February 7, 2013

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- MASS MoCA welcomes both brand new and seasoned visitors to explore the galleries free of charge on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 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 from the lobby every 30 minutes starting at 11 a.m.; the last tour begins at 6 p.m.

"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," MASS MoCA Director Joe Thompson said. "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."

The Elevator Music Festival, quickly becoming a Free Day tradition, will offer visitors a unique experience in the large Building Four 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. Look for a complete schedule of Elevator Music Festival performers on MASS MoCA's website.

Art-making activities and performances in the galleries will be offered throughout the day.


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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 a.m. to 6 p.m. 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.

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, Gaga/people class, taught by dancers in Batsheva Ensemble or Batsheva Dance Company. Participants will connect to body and imagination, increase physical awareness, improve flexibility, and experience the freedom and pleasure of movement. Participants must be 16 years or older, wear comfortable clothes, and be prepared to dance barefoot. No previous movement experience is necessary. Bring a bottle of water and towel. Complimentary slices of Lickety Split's signature carrot cake will be available at 1, 2, and 3 p.m. in the lobby. Lickety Split will also have a 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 will offer a special fried chicken dinner for $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 p.m., 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 Libre fire up avid crowds with their potent mix of multilingual original compositions."

The dance party, sponsored by Berkshire Gas, starts at 8 p.m. with 30 minutes of dance instruction supported by Jacob's Pillow. Doors to the dance party will open at 7 p.m. 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 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Tuesdays).

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.