Arts experiences in Greater Springfield, Mass., and the Berkshires are positively popping off the page, from a museum showcasing the delightful works of Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, to music venues that will have attendees singing the praises of the meeting long after it’s over.
It’s an exciting time in Springfield for group business, as MGM Springfield opened in August. This resort and entertainment destination brings a 125,000-square-foot casino floor and about 34,000 square feet of event space to the city.
MGM Springfield also manages the MassMutual Center, which features 100,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and an 8,000-seat arena that offers group tickets for celebrated performances by marquee artists. Acts this year include Stevie Wonder and comedian Bill Burr.
Beyond checking out the lineup of events at the MassMutual Center, planners can include a group visit to the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in the meeting itinerary.
Springfield’s newest museum is a must-visit arts attraction that’s devoted to Springfield native Theodor Geisel. The first floor features interactive exhibits that challenge the storyteller in all of us, and the second floor re-creates the artist’s studio and living room. It also exhibits never before publicly displayed artworks and Geisel’s boyhood stuffed dog, Theophrastus.
Springfield Museums offers admission to the Dr. Seuss Museum and four other museums, including the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, according to Michele Goldberg, director of marketing for the Greater Springfield CVB.
“It’s a great value for groups,” she said. “They also offer a group discount for 10 people or more traveling together. Groups can explore on their own or the museums will provide a docent.”
Located in Amherst, Mass., is the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, which curates and celebrates picture books and picture book illustrations from around the world.
“The Carle Museum is an interactive experience and offers groups the chance to add workshops to their visit as well as guided tours,” Goldberg said. “We recommend spending time in the museum’s art studio where visitors can try out various illustration techniques.”
Works by Maurice Sendak and many other artists are on display at the Carle, which also accommodates groups seeking light-filled rental spaces for an off-site meeting or reception. Spaces include a Great Hall with murals, a granite-tiled courtyard, a 40-seat theater and three galleries showcasing some amazing picture book art.
If the timing is right, planners could also arrange for attendees to visit local arts-focused festivities during the meeting.
The Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival, a free experience held annually in August in downtown Springfield, is one example.
Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, Springfield, Mass.
Another is the Paradise City contemporary craft and fine arts fair, held twice a year in Northampton, Mass. Here, attendees can browse original pieces of furniture, jewelry, glass art and more, all made by local artists in their studios.
“These festivals and events really make Western Mass even more special,” Goldberg said.
The booming tourism industry in the Berkshires is greatly attributed to the region’s recreational pursuits and its outpouring of arts experiences.
Tanglewood, the idyllic summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is an icon of the New England arts scene.
Located in Lenox, Mass., it’s the ideal place to enjoy a picnic on the lawn while listening to classical music or jazz.
“There is no other music venue like Tanglewood,” said Lindsey Schmid, director of marketing for 1Berkshire. “Not only are the concerts and the outdoor experience one of a kind, but groups can enjoy talks with the musicians and backstage tours.”
The Berkshires is also home to the Stockbridge, Mass.-based Norman Rockwell Museum, which houses the works of an American treasure.
“Nowhere else can you view this many of Norman Rockwell’s original paintings,” Schmid said. “This museum, open year-round, offers a true slice of American life, which resonates more and more with not only groups from the U.S. but for those coming from overseas.”
Groups can also schedule a tour, visit Rockwell’s on-site studio, which is open seasonally, and hold an off-site party or meeting complete with a private viewing of the museum.
Of the museum’s versatile spaces is a tented terrace that’s used for standout summertime events for up to 185 people seated.
Another must-visit arts attraction in the Berkshires is the newly expanded and renovated The Clark, which is located in Williamstown, Mass., and is home to exceptional art and architecture in an unparalleled setting, according to Schmid.
“This museum rivals any that you can find in a large urban center but has the luck of being located in the hills of the Berkshires, allowing a delightful juxtaposition of the indoor and outdoors, which cannot be found anywhere else,” she said.
Groups can plan a customized tour to include their specific interests, from American decorative arts to an impressive British collection and more.
Private lunches can also be arranged, and attendees will also appreciate time to explore the on-site nature trails and visit the gift shop during their visit.
SPRINGFIELD/BERKSHIRES CVB INFORMATION
Greater Springfield CVB