Rolling out the plan

As part of a strategic turn to a more public face for EMRCA and related projects, Tom Krens delivered the most recent of his illustrated lectures at the Clark on the subject of “Unfinished Business: EMRCA and the Diseases of Despair,” in which he outlined his overall vision concerning for-profit cultural attractions as a driver of economic development in North Adams and the region.

This informative, exciting, and entertaining lecture drew a full house to the Clark auditorium, and director Olivier Meslay promised that a video of it will be posted to the Clark’s website “sooner rather than later.”  I will supply that link when it’s available.

For now, I refer you to Bill Densmore’s extensive report about the talk on the Greylock Independent website.  In particular, check out the two renderings of the latest exterior design of EMRCA, which supersedes that in the header of this blog.  For me personally, the new design by Chinese architect Zhu-Pei was the biggest revelation of Tom’s talk.

Frank Gehry had been lined up as prospective architect for EMRCA, but on a site visit to North Adams expressed more interest in working on a Mohawk Theater project.  The exterior design model at the top of this page was Tom’s placeholder based on his interior requirements.  Having worked with Zhu-Pei on projects in China, Tom turned to him for a streamlined shell reminiscent of a speeding locomotive, which really does take the architectural project to another level.

Tom’s talk outlined advances in financing and technology, as well as design plans.  The Eagle reports that his consultancy, Global Cultural Asset Management, is moving into the former Sleepy’s Mattress store in downtown North Adams, having outgrown the office space at Heritage Park.  (See here for iBerkshires story.  See here for GCAM’s museum development projects since Tom left the directorship of the Guggenheim, and here for an overview of the operation.)

With the move to more public information on the project, EMRCA’s own website may soon render this one superfluous, but for now that one is password-protected and does not include materials beyond the links offered at the top of this page.  Or it may be that Tom will become more open to independent reporting and commentary.  I’ve had personal reasons for drifting away from this blog, but Tom was never a fan anyway.  I know he likes to control his own message and timing, but perhaps he is now willing to “let a thousand flowers bloom.”  We shall see – about that, and so much more.