Creative Aging: Eric Rudd, portrait of an artist as community energizer

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NORTH ADAMS — Eric Rudd is creative. No matter what his stage of life, his art work, his writing, real estat and exploring new technologies for painters and sculptors have never stopped.

Rudd, who came to North Adams in 1990, is best known in the Berkshires for redeveloping older buildings into art spaces. Thanks to his creative investments, old mills and churches now function as studios and art museums. He owns the historic 130,000 square-foot Beaver Mill, where his own studio and loft occupy half the building.

Rudd developed the first blow-molded, clear Lexan sculptures ever made. These monumental sculptures have the characteristics of glass but are of a scale and complexity not possible with glass. Rudd’s 150-figure sculptural epic ”A Chapel for Humanity,” and his huge “Iceberg” sculpture are on permanent display in the Berkshire Art Museum in North Adams, a museum he founded, in part, to house five decades of his artwork.

An outspoken community member, he ran for mayor of North Adams in 2015, and established the annual Eagle Street Beach community event in the 1990s, where sand is trucked in to transform a North Adams block into an urban beach, the 21st annual version of which was produced this summer.

“Kids who came to the first Eagle Street Beach are bringing their own kids now,” Rudd said.

Rudd has taught art and written many published articles and books, both fiction and non-fiction, including a book advising older artists. Rudd follows his own advice from his book Strategies for Serious Older Artists: “I have to determine my own destiny with what I’ve created during my lifetime.”

Currently Rudd is working on a memoir and still working in his studio - he stated that he needs more room — he’s currently working on pieces as big as 6.5 feet by 16 feet. He's just written two plays as well as a recent investment book.

"We're all getting older, yes, but creatively I've never been busier," he says.

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