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Virtual | Artist Talk with Barbara Prey & Jennifer Trainer Thompson

June 8, 2021 | 6:00 pm

Barbara Prey in front of a large mural of the interior of a warehouse
6pm ET | 5pm CT | 3pm PT

In November of 2016, artist Barbara Prey was commissioned by the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) to paint a vast watercolor for Building 6, an addition of over 120,000 square feet of exhibition space that opened back in 2017. Her painting would depict part of the interior of the building in its raw, pre-renovated state as a historic mill, before the space transformed into long-term exhibition galleries. With the addition of Building 6, MASS MoCA became one of the largest contemporary art museums in the country, with Prey’s massive painting aptly taking the title of the world’s largest watercolor painting. Join us for a virtual conversation with the artist, and filmmaker, author, and museum administrator Jennifer Trainer Thompson. Barbara and Jennifer will be joining us live from MASS MoCA, with Barbara’s installed painting on view throughout the conversation.

You can read more about the commission and the artist’s process here.


  • Non-Members – $10
  • ArtTable Members – $5
  • ArtTable Circle Members – Free
  • Members may bring an additional guest for $5

How to take part:

  1. Click here to Register for this program.
  2. Following registration you will receive call-in information in the form of a ZOOM link.
  3. Before joining a Zoom meeting on a computer or mobile device, you can download the Zoom app from the Download Center and select the “Zoom Client for Meetings” option. Alternatively, you will be prompted to download and install Zoom when you click a join link.
  4. For further instruction on how to use Zoom, see here.

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Accessibility: Please note that this program will offer live closed captioning. If you require additional accommodations, please email

About Barbara Prey

Barbara Prey headshot; a white woman with dark, medium length brown hair, wearing a white blouse with a popped collarOne of America’s most renowned contemporary artists, Barbara Prey was recently commissioned by MASS MoCA to create the largest known watercolor painting (8 by 15 feet) for their new building. Prey’s work also resides in the National Gallery of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the New York Historical Society, Kennedy Space Center and the permanent collection of the White House, where she is one of just two living female artists represented.

Prey has served for over ten years as the sole visual artist on the U.S. President- appointed National Council on the Arts, the advisory board to the National Endowment for the Arts. Artists are appointed for their contributions and recognition in American Art. In 2003, the White House Christmas card featured her painting of the Diplomatic Reception Room. With dozens of artworks commissioned by government agencies and institutions, such as four paintings for NASA, Prey is a global ambassador for American Art. Tapped annually for the U.S. Art in Embassies program, Prey’s work has been on display in over one hundred U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide. Her painting Gallantly Streaming is currently on view in the lobby of the U.S. Mission to the U.N.

Prey earned a Bachelor’s degree from Williams College, where she is an adjunct faculty member, and a Master’s degree from Harvard University. She has received numerous institutional accolades, including a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, where she spent a year painting in Asia, a Fulbright Scholarship and the New York State Senate’s “Women of Distinction” Award. She maintains studios in New York, Maine, and Massachusetts.

About Jennifer Trainer Thompson

Headshot of Jennifer Trainer Thompson; white woman with short blonde hair, red dress, and a pearl necklace

Jennifer Trainer Thompson is a filmmaker, author, and museum administrator.  She was one of a handful of people who developed and built MASS MoCA, working at the museum for 28 years as the first Director of Development. An award-winning journalist, she’s the author or co-author of 20 books including BEYOND EINSTEIN and FRESH FISH. She is currently director of Hancock Shaker Village, a living history museum in the Berkshires with one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Shaker material culture in the world. Jennifer also directed MUSEUM TOWN, a documentary film that tells the story of a unique museum, the small town it calls home, and the great risk, hope, and power of art to transform a desolate post-industrial city.



  1. Barbara Ernst Prey, “MASS MoCA Building 6”, 2015 – 2017; Watercolor, gouache, and pencil on paper, with materials from Building 6; courtesy of MASS MoCA and the artist.
  2. Barbara Ernst Prey, courtesy of the artist.
  3. Jennifer Trainer Thompson, courtesy of the speaker.


June 8, 2021
6:00 pm
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