Still a fixer-upper

  "Entropy #1, North Adams, Massachusetts'' (digital photo, pigment print), by Stephen Wicks, in the show "New England Collective IX,'' at Galatea Fine Art, Boston, Aug. 1-Sept. 2.

"Entropy #1, North Adams, Massachusetts'' (digital photo, pigment print), by Stephen Wicks, in the show "New England Collective IX,'' at Galatea Fine Art, Boston, Aug. 1-Sept. 2.

North Adams is an old factory town whose current biggest claim to fame is the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, said to be the biggest contemporary-art museum in the United States. It's in the former Sprague Electric plant.  While North Adams is far from a rich town -- indeed has poverty and considerable grittiness --it's next to the rich community of Williamstown, with elite Williams College (which has a well-known museum) and the famed Clark Art Institute, not to mention the  house of the late great songwriter Cole Porter. And the beautiful Berkshire Hills are all around.

  North Adams in 1905, during its industrial heyday.

North Adams in 1905, during its industrial heyday.