Renovation and new building are the watchwords for North Adams, Massachusetts. Thomas Krens (remember him?), the former director of the Guggenheim Museum who, thirty years ago, first proposed the idea of turning an abandoned twenty-six-building factory complex here into an art center, has new plans for more museums in the city. His plan announced in fall 2015 now seeks to create another new contemporary art museum, a museum of model railroads and contemporary architecture, and to renovate a 1938 movie theater in order to establish a “cultural corridor” in this depressed northwestern corner of the state.

This follows by a little over a year the approval by the Massachusetts state legislature of a $25.4 million grant to the original factory-complex-turned-art-center—the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art,...


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