Mass MoCA Teen Invitational Celebrates Local Art Students / iBerkshires.com


The winner of the $300 Berkshire Eagle grand prize was Christopher Fortier of Hoosac Valley High School for his hand-sewn ‘Cliff the Bull’ costume.

NORTH ADAMS, Massachusetts – Nearly 300 high school students from the area attended this year’s Teen Invitational at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

The weekend exhibition was the 10th event and the first since 2019 due to the pandemic.

This year the invitation was held in building 6 next to the Jenny Holzer exhibition. The students expressed their creativity in a wide variety of media, including photography, ceramics, textiles, machining, paper and painting. Eight high schools participated: the Academy at Charlemont, Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter School, Buxton School, Drury High School, Hoosac Valley High School, Mount Greylock Regional School, Pine Cobble School, and Pittsfield High School.

“This is the best moment when it shows that we had to be together through the crowds and we really appreciate how patient and kind you are even when it’s very busy,” said Laura Thompson, the museum’s director of education, at the front desk at the Hunter Center on Friday night. “It’s pretty unbelievable. We had the most pieces in a show: from eight high schools, 289 pieces of art went up.”

Among the works she pointed to was the latest version of a painted blue bowling ball called “King” that the artist had first conceived in the third grade, a pair of hand-sewn sneakers, a classroom full of ceramic masks, and one featuring the hand sewn bull costume.

The “Cliff the bull” costume by Christopher Fortier, a senior at Hoosac Valley High School, won the $300 Berkshire Eagle Prize. Fortier received an annual Mass MoCA family membership, a contribution to his school’s art department, and a book by the Artist Book Foundation.

Fortier, who will attend Bennington (Vt.) College next year, also won top prizes at the last two invitations held.

There were four other grand prize winners who also received year-long museum family memberships, contributions to their school art departments, and books from the Artist Book Foundation.

Two grand prize finalists, Sam Robbins of the Academy in Charlemont and Eri Bolton of Buxton Academy, also won $100 cash each. Robbins won for a sculpture, “Blooming Scab”, and Bolton for a ceramic dollhouse.

The two grand prize winners each took home a cash prize of $200. Riley Jowett of BArT won the “grike on Innocents” sculpture for his surreal artwork “Mother’s Revenge” and Teague Murphy of Mount Greylock Regional School won the “poignant” sculpture “Strike on Innocents”.

Gold award winners were chosen from each high school contingent, with the schools receiving $1,000 to $1,100 for their art departments and a book from the Artist Book Foundation. Each of the students also won a year-long family membership to Mass MoCA.

“All art teachers have worked so hard during this pandemic. And they need recognition,” she said. “We have been so impressed year after year with their mentorship, guidance and support in preparing for this event and beyond.”

Two art educators were selected for the Phoebe Pepper Awards, established in 2019 to honor Drury High School’s fine arts educator and awarded to the educators who helped facilitate the previous event. The honor this year went to Erica Manville of Drury and Lisa Otellino of Pittsfield High School.

“These grants are meant to go into their own individual artistic practices. So know that in the gallery there is also the artworks of the teachers. So these are not just teachers, but they are also artists and creative beings,” Thompson said.

Kristy Edmunds, the museum’s new director, was on hand to welcome the teenage performers and their families at the reception, which was followed by music from the Drury High jazz band.

“I spent some time there this afternoon looking at the work of these incredible artists. And it’s wonderful to see you all here tonight for the awards ceremony,” she said. “As a museum director, it’s really amazing to see and touch and experience, something you’ve offered and that we’re going to experience more and more in the future.”

She thanked them for their persistence and their parents for their support, even though they may think the other core courses are more important.

“You know, art isn’t just made to be on someone’s fridge after the age of, you know, first grade and kind of disappears with other priorities,” she said. “It’s a way to know, and thank you for supporting these young artists in your life.”

Thompson said a colleague had told her earlier this morning that it was their favorite exhibit every year and that “it’s very important. If we don’t help kids become artists, we won’t have museums in 20 years.”


Gold Prize winners


The Academy at Charlemont, $1,000

1. Lucas Tikkala Cutler

2. Beck Gritzner

3. Matilda Morse

4. Johan Pollock

5. Maceo Raker

6. Ainsley Murray


BArT Charter School, $1,100

1. Aiden King

2. Naomie Iffetayo

3. Madi Walker

4. JuneBug Roney

5. Lucy Troy

6. Lainey Loynes

7. Diego Sanchez

8. Maddy Ostrowski

9. The fate of Sanchez

10. Sascha Ehrlich

11. Matthew Weiskotten

12. Ari Johns


Buxton School, $1,100

1. Lyric Van Der Laan

2. Eleanor Toomey

3. Evan Hunt

4. Olive Lyon

5. Iris Semon Pike

6. Bea Sas

7. Alani Carasone

8. Pee Smith

9. Leonardo Barber

10 Isadore Chernilla

11. Lola All

12.Sabra Goveia


Drury High School, $1,100

1. Emily Lyons

2. Terra Crews

3. Bradley Chapman

4. Emma Vareschi

5. Jordyn Sullivan

6. Emma Morgan

7. Maddi Donovan

8. Starlynn Wood

9. Jenna Sullivan Bol

10. Rachel Newton

11. Chandra Miller

12. Madalyn Gorton

13. Brian Ames


Hoosac Valley High School, $1,100

1. Chelsea Krutiak

2. Rian Brassard

3. Zack Sawyer


Mount Greylock Regional School, $1,100

1. Polly Rhie

2. Vera de Jong

3. Noah Klompus

4. Marlee Alpic

5. Lila Cohen-McFall

6. Phoebe Hughes

7. Frida Hellman

8. Hans Chundekad

9. Lily Catelotti

10. Jordyn Beaulieu

11. Madison MacHaffie

12. Cam Barzousky

13. Piper Schulman

14. Simon Klompus

15. Julie Lawson

16. Jameson Bayliss

17. Clarissa Louis

18. Samantha Garzone

19. Felicia La Roche


Pine Cobble School, $1,000

1. Benjamin Rosenthal

2. Jesse Thompson

3. Mea Richardson

4. Reed Miles-Harris

5. Megan McGrath

6. Grady Brownell-Wilkins


Pittsfield High School, $1,100

1. Rose Fiscella

2. Laura Bronson

3. Piper Patton

4. Jayshawn Warren

5. Molly Sherman

6. Jack Archey

7. Malayla Jackson

8. Monique King

9. Bashee Canada

10. Adam Obtrou

11. Great Britain Sadowy

12. Caol Soldier

13. Kiere Cogswell

14. Dale Christiana

15. Isabella Ameen

16. Isabella Berkel

17. Lucien Nasho

18. Ethan Callahan

19. Antonia Bedard

20. Mackenzie Ressler


Grand Prize Finalists

1. Sam Robbins, Academy in Charlemont, “Blooming Scab” sculpture

2. Eri Bolton, Buxton School, dollhouse


main prizes

1. Riley Jowett, BArT, for ‘Mother’s Revenge’

2. Teague Murphy, Mount Greylock Regional School, “Strike on Innocents” sculpture

Strike on innocents


Berkshire Eagle Prize

1. Christopher Fortier, Hoosac Valley, “Cliff the bull” costume

Keywords: art exhibition, mass moca,

Leave a Comment