New program coordinator joins BCRC
This spring MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) welcomed a new program coordinator, Jennifer Crowell. Arriving at the height of the busiest season for the organization, she jumped in and ran with the work to be done.
"I love opportunities like that," she said.
Crowell brings with her a background in festival and music production. Prior to her arrival at MCLA, she served for five years as the executive director of First Night Burlington, the substance-free celebration of New Year's Eve in Burlington, Vt.
She previously owned a production company in Vermont, and served for three years as the tour manager for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, which started out as a blues-roots group that evolved into a mainstream pop rock band.
"It's been wonderful to have Jen join us," said BCRC Director Jonathan Secor. "She brings a wealth of experience from the event-producing world, as well as the music world, which is a great addition to what we're doing."
The open position came at a great time for Crowell as her family lives in western Massachusetts, and she wanted to relocate to the Berkshires.
"I fell in love with western Massachusetts. I'd been casually looking at jobs in the arts in the area, but I also was looking for something more in the realm of education. I've taught college courses in the past and I really love teaching and working with students," she explained. "When this job came up, it seemed really perfect for me."
Crowell graduated with her bachelor's degree from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., where she created her own major in history, sociology and music, with a concentration in social protest and social protest music.
Following her graduation, she went back to school and planned to teach at the college level when the opportunity to become a tour manager arose.
"That led me in a different direction, but now I'm finally getting back to what I was studying when I left school," Crowell explained. "It's great to work with so many students on a regular basis."
Because BCRC programs rely heavily on MCLA students, she helps with the hands-on learning they receive through the Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP) in arts management, at MCLA Gallery 51, through DownStreet Art initiatives, the MCLA Presents! performance series, and the Tricks of the Trade workshops.
With her expertise in production, She hopes to one day teach classes on production management, as well as overall event management.
"Event management is very similar to small business management," she explained. "I grew up learning how to run and manage small businesses from my father, a professor who teaches small business and entrepreneurship. The artists that you work with are really small business managers."
Crowell loves her new position, and is delighted to be part of the vehicle - the arts - that is bringing economic success to the community.
"I'm so happy to be here. This job is the perfect combination for me," she said. "I cannot speak more highly about what MCLA is doing for North Adams. Coming from Burlington, Vt., where there's a very large arts population ... It's really inspiring to be here, in a town that's so vibrant and alive with the arts, and that recognizes that the arts play such a large part in revitalizing downtown (areas)."