NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) Gallery 51 announces that “OFA ATU: A Fisherman’s Tale of Two Communities,” an exhibition by artist Josh Ostraff, a visiting professor at MCLA, will open on Thursday, Jan. 26, and run through Feb. 19.  

The public is invited to attend a free opening reception for “OFA ATU” at MCLA Gallery 51 on Thursday, Jan. 26, from 5 to 7 p.m. 

Drawing from an experience as a teenager living in the South Pacific on the islands of Tonga, Ostraff created a large series of paintings and community-produced prints that retell his experience with a man named Hiko, who called in hundreds of Atu, or skipjack tuna, to feed his village. Ostraff uses the Tongan tradition of calling Atu and the rules for harvesting and sharing the fish to help viewers consider parallels in the North Adams community and their own lives.

The works were created during Downstreet Art (DSA) in the summer of 2016 as a part of its Creative Business Incubator initiative.

“Working with Josh on his paintings was an incredible experience,” said Ostraff’s former intern, Isaac Wood ’17. “Being able to help him create a body of work that retold his experience living in Tonga, the story of calling tuna, and drawing the connections between his experience and the North Adams Community, was eye opening.”

During DSA, Ostraff invited the North Adams community to add to the story by producing silk-screening images of Atu.  At the opening reception on Jan. 26, he will welcome all participants back to call their tuna and take their prints home to share with their family and friends.

Ostraff was born in Seattle, Wash. He has lived and traveled around the world with his family, but claims Utah as his home. He received his BFA at Brigham Young University, his MFA at the University of Minnesota, and he teaches as a visiting assistant professor of art at MCLA.

He is a multimedia artist who has exhibited his paintings, drawings, films, and art books both internationally and nationally. Ostraff’s goals are to continue working on being a good husband and father while he develops both his teaching and art practices. 

For more information about Ostraff, go to

For more information about “OFA ATU,” go to

MCLA Gallery 51 is a program of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC).  The Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.  MCLA Gallery 51 is located at 51 Main Street in North Adams.  

MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) provides opportunities, resources, and support to the Northern Berkshire Community.  BCRC brings together the Northern Berkshire, MCLA, and greater creative communities through its cultural programming, which includes MCLA Gallery 51, DownStreet Art, Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP), and MCLA Presents!  The BCRC promotes, facilitates, and encourages a dialogue to foster a sustainable, creative community.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system.  MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship.  MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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