The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (commonly known as MASS MoCA) is the largest of its kind in the United States. For Hamilton Communication major Jasper Nash ’16, the museum and its ever-changing exhibitions are providing the perfect setting to learn about communications and marketing.
In his internship funded by the Kevin W. Kennedy ’70 Internship Fund for the Arts, Nash's work includes email blasts, news releases, social media posts, online interactions with patrons, leading gallery tours and more.
The summer is a particularly busy time at the museum, as it puts on frequent musical performances in addition to visual arts displays. The constantly changing collections also keep Nash busy.
“The special thing about MASS MoCA is that there are no permanent collections – a few are long term, but nothing is here forever. Every time you come back there will be something new,” said Nash.
Nash considers this summer a particularly special time to be involved with MASS MoCA, as the museum undergoes a large-scale expansion that will almost double its gallery space. It’s a unique opportunity to be part of new growth and to get a glimpse into the museum’s historic complex.
The museum is housed in a converted factory complex dating back to the 1860s. “It’s a really exciting time here and it’s been crazy to see the gutted, raw factory buildings that they’re transforming. The bones of this place have been around for hundreds of years.”
For Nash, the most challenging – and most rewarding – part of his work has been sharing the experience of contemporary art with new visitors. MASS MoCA often features unconventional exhibitions, such as two 12-ton phoenixes made from construction debris.
He believes MASS MoCA can appeal to people who don’t typically visit art museums as long as the museum team can get them in the door.
“We don’t just want to appeal to art historians and traditional museum-goers – we try and pull people in that have never been into art or museums and show them that it can be an exciting experience,” he said.
“It’s enormously satisfying when you’re giving a tour to a newcomer and witnessing just how blown away they are,” he added.
Nash’s internship has fed both his passion for art and his career goals. A communications major, Nash plans to have a career in communication and marketing. He hopes that career will involve the arts in some way, and that this summer's experience will be a building block toward that goal.