Take 5 with Berkshire Cultural Resource Center's Erica Wall

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NORTH ADAMS — Even during COVID-19, our region's artist community is alive and well.

And Erica Wall, director of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, is doing her part from home to help hold up and support that community.

This summer, BCRC has taken steps to ensure scheduled shows, workshops and programming at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts's Design Lab and MCLA Gallery 51, as well as the inaugural MCLA Artist's Laboratory residency and DownStreet Art, still happen virtually.

"We really want to focus, this summer, on helping to keep our community in dialogue, specifically our artists," said Wall, in an Eagle story that published May 15 about the programming. "We feel like we really want to encourage them to continue to practice. This is a really challenging time, a lot of what artists do is in community; whether that's getting feedback about their art or encouraging each other. Those sorts of things are lost. So, we really wanted to focus on the art community, as well as our community at large."

We caught up with Wall via email to find out how she's spending her time sheltering in place (you might want to check her out on TikTok) and what we can do to help support local artists during this time.

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1. How are you spending your time sheltering at home?

Working from home. Learning TikTok dances, yes TikTok. Bingeing on Netflix and Amazon Prime TV, but mostly, enjoying watching my children grow. When you spend this much time with them, you notice so much more ... it's a gift.

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2. How are you finding ways to stay creative during the pandemic?

I am coming up with a lot creative and imaginative projects around the house, for my husband and kids to do. :-)

3. How can we help artists in our communities thrive in this "new normal"?

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Seek out artists, from the comfort of your homes ... on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc. We have to support their practice, not just buy their work. Take an interest, learn about all the work that's out there, locally and beyond. Reach out, create relationships and, if you can afford to buy work, buy it. Use this time to explore, find out what you like. There is artwork out there for EVERYONE — all of us just have yet to discover it!

4. What are you reading/binge watching right now?

Reading: "Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: Modernity and Hip Hop in Indigenous North America," by UCLA Professor, Kyle Mays. It's fascinating! It argues that Indigenous hip hop is the latest and newest assertion of Indigenous sovereignty throughout Indigenous North America. Binge Watching: On Netflix, "Medical Police" and on the History Channel, "Top Shot."

5. When this is hopefully all over, what is the first thing you're going to do?

Take a crowded commercial flight to Palm Springs, Fla., to go to my favorite spa for a massage and, while lying on the table, I am going to create a visual list of restaurants at which I plan to dine OUT, for the next year! But, that's just me ...


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