Letter: North Adams impresses former county resident

New North Adams impresses visitor

To the editor:

I grew up in Pittsfield, went to high school in Adams, did internships and had many friends in North Adams — and I wanted out of Berkshire County so badly. For the past five years, I have been living in the Pioneer Valley, and while it's a short drive, it's a huge difference in culture.

But on a recent night, I drove from my home in the valley to North Adams for Downstreet Art. My dear friend and mentor, Julian Grey, had a gallery opening and I had been looking forward to seeing her large prints all summer. And what I encountered in North Adams was new and strange to me. North Adams, in the five years I have been gone, has seen the start of a metamorphosis.

Walking around Main Street, there was such a brilliant sense of community, and pride, and arts and culture and curiosity and appreciation. Artists of all ages and races and genders were being celebrated, people were out and about and hugging and connecting.

I was honestly astonished by how well the public received Julian's gallery pieces; North Adams has never been known for being a place of acceptance. Trans-identified folks, and especially non-binary folks, face so many struggles, I had predicted the opening to be controversial at the least. But I saw many people travel in and out of the gallery, commenting on the beauty of the pieces and of Julian herself. North Adams embraced her warmly. This town has truly started to embrace and capitalize on its local treasures, its youth, its artists, its strong-willed citizens.

There is hope for North Adams. And if there can be hope for North Adams, there can be hope for the rest of the world, too. North Adams residents, keep doing what you're doing and keep spreading the love. The rest of Berkshire County, take note: this is how you celebrate a town. If these kinds of changes keep happening, and not just for the tourists but for the citizens, then maybe, just maybe, I'll come home someday to stay.

Crystal Hope Garrity Easthampton


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