When the once-bustling mills failed and closed here over the last several decades, much of the soul of North Adams went with them. Residents dispersed, unemployment soared, and rates of teenage pregnancy and domestic violence followed suit.
But now, two decades after 75 percent of Main Street’s storefronts laid vacant, a broad infusion of culture and an ambitious makeover in higher education have reenergized North Adams, the smallest city in the state.
Downtown is home to 21 art galleries and museums. Ten pieces of public art bring color and creativity to its outdoor spaces. This month, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts cut the ribbon on a $30 million, state-of-the-art science center.
Art and its influence are visible up and down the wide Main Street. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.
Brian MacQuarrie can be reached at macquarrie@ globe.com.