Artist Carol Keller To Exhibit at Amherst College Jan. 20 to Feb. 27

January 20, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Carol Keller, a visiting lecturer in fine arts at Amherst College and a cross-disciplinary artist in many media, will show drawings, sculpture and collage in The Drawn Idea: Sculpture and Drawing, from Jan. 20 to Feb. 27 at the Eli Marsh Gallery in Fayerweather Hall at Amherst College. Keller will give a gallery talk at a reception on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 4:30 p.m.

Katherine French, the director of Montserrat College of Art Galleries, is the curator of The Drawn Idea, in collaboration with the artist. The Drawn Idea presents a body of Keller's drawings, sculpture and collage from 1991 to 2001, exploring the sculptor's search for form using many methods and materials over time and the interplay of abstract and representational elements.

Currently teaching sculpture at Amherst College, Keller has also been a visiting artist in residence at the Bogliasco Foundation in Italy. Cate McQuaid at the Boston Globe says Keller is an artist who lets her pieces speak for their "complex, fragile selves."

Represented by the Nielsen Gallery, Boston, Keller has been featured in numerous exhibitions and has received many awards, including a Guggenheim Foundation Award and an Ingraham Merrill Award. The works in The Drawn Idea: Sculpture and Drawings by Carol Keller appear courtesy of the artist and Nielsen Gallery. The Artist's Resource Trust of the Berkshire Taconic Foundation supported this project, with additional support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The Eli Marsh Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and for this exhibition on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. The gallery will remain open for the gallery talk and reception on February 5.

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Amherst College To Celebrate the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King in February

January 15, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Amherst College has scheduled two special events in February for the college's annual celebration of the life of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These events are free and open to the public.

Dolores Huerta, co-founder and first vice president emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America, will speak in Johnson Chapel on Thursday, Feb. 5, at 8 p.m. A longtime labor organizer and activist, Huerta met Cesar Chavez in 1962, when they formed what later became the United Farm Workers. Huerta was prominent in the national grape boycott, taking the plight of the farmworkers to the consumers. She serves as the secretary-treasurer of the United Farm Workers, is the vice-president for the Coalition for Labor Union Women, the vice-president of the California AFL-CIO, and is a board member for the Fund for the Feminist Majority, which advocates for the political and equal rights for women.

The featured speaker at Amherst College's annual Interfaith Service commemorating the life and works of Dr. King in Johnson Chapel at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 8, will be the Reverend Dr. Robert Michael Franklin, the Presidential Distinguished Professor of Social Ethics at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a senior fellow at the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Religion at Emory's Law School. Franklin is the former president of the Interdenominational Theological Center, the nation's foremost center of historically African American graduate theological education.

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"Dead Fall" At Amherst College Jan. 29, 30 and 31

January 15, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-The Amherst College Theater and Dance Department will present Dead Fall, a performance piece written and directed by Suzanne Dougan, professor of theater and dance, on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. in the Holden Theatre at Amherst College. Tickets are free, but advance reservations are recommended.

Dead Fall tells the story of three generations of an American family. The conflicts it explores are in some ways reminiscent of those found in the myth of Electra, though in this case the genders are reversed. A young woman returns home after years of exile to attend the funeral of her cousin whose death has resurrected ghosts and unleashed furies from the family's troubled past.

Tickets are free but reservations are recommended. To reserve tickets, call the box office at 413/ 542-2277.

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Emily Dickinson Museum Presents Children's Valentine Program Feb. 7

January 15, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- The Emily Dickinson Museum will present "'One of Cupid's Messengers': Valentine's Day in Emily Dickinson's World," a Valentine's Day program for children ages 9 to 12 on Saturday, Feb. 7 at The Dickinson Homestead at 280 Main St. in Amherst. Exploring how the poet and her friends observed this popular holiday in the 19th century, participants will also learn about Esther Howland, who created the first commercial Valentine's Day card business in the United States in the 1840s.

The children will make their own Valentine cards in the 19th-century tradition and try their hands at composing a Valentine poem. At the end of the program, they will enjoy a Valentine tea.

Two sessions will be offered: Session A from 10 a.m. to noon; Session B from 2 to 4 p.m. Enrollment for each session is limited to 10 children, ages 9-12. The cost per child is $15, including materials and snacks. Pre-registration is required by Feb. 4. For more information or to register for the program, please call 413/542-8161, ext. 3; or e-mail info@emilydickinsonmuseum.org.

Owned by the Trustees of Amherst College, the Emily Dickinson Museum consists of The Dickinson Homestead, where the poet lived and wrote, and The Evergreens, home of her brother Austin and sister-in-law Susan.

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Katharine Stall To Read at Amherst College Feb. 4

January 15, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Novelist Katharine Stall will read from her work on Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 4:30 p.m. in the Babbott Room in the Octagon at Amherst College. The reading and refreshments afterwards, sponsored by the Amherst College English Department and the Center for Creative Writing, are free and open to the public.

Katharine Stall's first novel, Den of Thieves, has been described as an intensely moral thriller-what author Harvey Cox has termed "a kind of theological Catch-22." The New York Times praised the novel for having both "a conscience and a sense of humor." Stall is at work on a second book, Dr. Zen, which examines the implications of random violence. Stall has been a Fellow at both the Bread Loaf Conference and the Iowa Writer's Workshop, as well as a resident at the MacDowell Colony. She currently works as a writing tutor in the African-American Studies Program at Wesleyan University.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center puts on a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. For more information see the Center's Website, www.amherst.edu/~cwc, or call 413/542-8200 for more information.

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Mead Art Museum To Present Yoruba Textiles and Photographs Feb. 5 to May 16

January 15, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- The Mead Art Museum of Amherst College will present Cloth Only Wears to Shreds: Textiles and Photographs from the Beier Collection, from its recently acquired world-renowned collection of over 160 Yoruba textiles from Ulli and Georgina Beier, together with photographs and videos that document the function and social presence of these textiles in Nigeria. The fabrics and garments will be on view at the Mead from Feb. 5 until May 16; the Robert Frost Library exhibition of photographs will be on view from Feb. 5 until April 19.

The co-curators of the exhibition- Rowland Abiodun, the John C. Newton Professor of Fine Arts and Black Studies at Amherst, John Pemberton III, the Stanley Warfield Crosby Professor of Religion, Emeritus-will give a gallery talk in Fairchild Gallery at the Mead Art Museum on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 4:30 p.m. A reception will follow.

Cloth Only Wears to Shreds: Textiles and Photographs from the Beier Collection presents a stunning selection of fabrics and garments to elucidate the artistry, technology and ideas behind their creation. Videos illustrate women artists making these vivid textiles as well as dance performances in traditional garb. The photographs at Frost Library feature Ulli Beier's compelling portraits of Yoruba children, performers and chiefs.

In Yoruba culture and religion, the significance of cloth goes beyond body covering to express a rich and profound belief system. In its creation, the color, weave and design of cloth reflect the aesthetic sensibilities and character of the artist, as well as of the future owner. Extensive use of opulent materials in a garment conveys the power and authority of the wearer. Cloth not only defines the identity of the individual and of the family, but also evokes the wearer's ancestors, thus creating a metaphorical link between the living and the dead. Fabric, which the Yoruba believe outlives its owner, can disintegrate but cannot disappear from the material world. "Cloth only wears to shreds" - a refrain from an Ifa divination verse - refers to this deathless, eternal quality.

The gallery's vivid spectacle of color, texture and movement is in every way the result of the life's work of Ulli Beier, who first recognized and promoted textiles as a major form of Yoruba artistry and cultural expression. As an internationally renowned writer, teacher, scholar, translator, performing arts producer, photographer and art collector, Beier catalyzed the cultural transformation of mid-20th century Nigeria by promoting interaction between indigenous and world artists, writers and scholars. Together with his wife, Georgina, Ulli Beier has fostered the global appreciation of Yoruba art and culture through experimental publications, theaters and galleries. The Ulli and Georgina Beier Collection of Yoruba Textiles and Ritual Objects forms the core of an international resource for Yoruba art and culture at Amherst College. The artworks and images disclose Ulli Beier as a participant in Yoruba culture, a celebrant of Yoruba values and a friend to those who in trust gave themselves to his camera.

The exhibition, presented jointly at the Mead Art Museum and the Robert Frost Library, is accompanied by a fully illustrated 150-page catalog with writings by Rowland Abiodun, Ulli Beier and John Pemberton III.

The exhibition, catalog, and related events were made possible by the Howard A. Newton (Class of 1906) Fund, the National Endowment for the Humanities Library Fund, the Willis D. Wood Fund of the Department of Religion, the Hall and Kate Peterson Fund, the David W. Mesker (Class of 1953) Fund, the Amherst Arts Series Fund and the Office of the President.

Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka, the 1986 Nobel laureate in literature and a long, close associate of Ulli Beier, will give a lecture, "Orisa and Yoruba Humanism," at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14, in Johnson Chapel. A reception will follow in the Mead Art Museum. Soyinka, who won the Nobel Prize at age 55, is considered one of the finest poetical playwrights in English, combining Yoruba traditions and western culture. In his five-decade career, he has published more than 50 works, including The Open Sore of a Continent, Lion and the Jewel, Death and the King's Horseman, Madmen and Specialists, Art, Dialogue and Outrage and A Play of Giants. Imprisoned during Nigeria's civil war, he writes frequently about human survival, anger and forgiveness.

The Mead Art Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Thursday evenings until 9 p.m. More information can be obtained on the museum's Website at www.amherst.edu/mead or by calling the museum at 413/542-2335. All events are free and open to the public.

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Phyllis Galembo's Haiti Photographs at Mead Art Museum Feb. 20 to May 16

January 22, 2004
Contact: Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417


AMHERST, Mass.- The Mead Art Museum of Amherst College will present Visions of Haiti: Vodou and Carnaval à Jacmel - Photographs by Phyllis Galembo, brilliant color images that present the human and divine faces of Haitian Vodou and the costumed participants of Carnaval masquerade, from Feb. 20 until May 16. Galembo will present a slide lecture accompanied by Haitian performers Erol Josue and Fan Fan Damas Louis on Thursday, March 4 at 4:30 in Stirn Auditorium. Reception will follow in the Mead Art Museum.

On her first trip to Haiti to photograph in Port-au-Prince in 1993, Galembo discovered pervasive African-originated Vodou religious beliefs that have sustained Haitians through centuries of oppression and struggle. As a visual artist, she is fascinated by the beauty that survives in poverty and the magic that is realized in ordinary objects. Her 30 images of Vodou practitioners and Carnaval masqueraders are portraits of individuals wearing ritual dress but not in the context of the actual religious rite. In setting up the shoot, Galembo becomes a sympathetic participant with the subjects as they choose how to present themselves. She also photographs Vodou altars and ritual objects, being allowed access to intimate and sacred settings. Her photographs capture the truths of Haitian life and the power of Haitian spirituality, from the altars and sanctuary rooms to the faces of priests and priestesses who work magic for their devotees. Visiting the plunging waterfalls at Sodo, she witnessed a quarter of a million Haitian pilgrims who had come to bathe in the magical waters. Galembo documented worshippers as they became cleansed in ecstatic rituals in the swirling waters. In a selection of these black and white photographs, Galembo reveals the intense Vodou spirituality in the Haitian countryside.

Galembo, a professor of fine arts at the University at Albany, State University of New York since 1978, has produced photography exhibitions and books on African subjects, including Divine Inspiration from Benin to Bahia (1993), Aso-ebi, Cloth of the Family (1997), and Kings, Chiefs, and Women of Power, Nigeria (1998). Her most recent project, Dressed for Thrills: Halloween and Masquerade Costumes (2003), was on view at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum in New York, and published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

The Mead exhibition is presented with the cooperation of Partobject Gallery, Carrboro, N.C. and Diego Cortez Arte Ltd., New York. Support for the exhibition and related programming has been provided by the Hall and Kate Peterson Fund of the Mead Art Museum.

The Mead Art Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Thursday evenings until 9 p.m. More information can be obtained on the museum's Website at www.amherst.edu/mead or by calling the museum at 413/542-2335. All events are free and open to the public.

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Amherst College Philosophy Professor Jyl Gentzler Wins Essay Prize

January 20, 2004
Contact: Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Jyl Gentzler, a professor of philosophy at Amherst College, has written an essay on "The Attractions and Delights of Goodness: Some Platonic Reflections on Internalism," which The Philosophical Quarterly at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland has chosen as the winner of its 2003 essay prize. Gentzler's essay will be published in the July 2004 issue of The Philosophical Quarterly and she will receive a cash prize.

The theme of the 2003 contest, "Appropriating the Ancients," was meant to inspire reflection on the ways in which the thoughts of the ancients might contribute to contemporary philosophical debates. Gentzler's essay addressed the question of the nature of prudential value-that is, according to Gentzler, "the value that things have when they are good for you. Most contemporary philosophers assume that prudential value is at least to a certain extent subjective. In this essay, I explore some of our intuitions that account, at least in part, for the current appeal of subjective conceptions of prudential value, and I argue that these intuitions are best explained by an objectivist account of prudential value like Plato's, who claimed, rather cryptically, that goodness was unity."

Gentzler, who has taught at Amherst since 1989, was educated at Bryn Mawr College and Cornell University. She has published widely in ancient philosophy, her area of specialization.

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Nathan Gunn To Present Music at Amherst Feb. 13

January 28, 2004
Contact: Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417


AMHERST, Mass.- In the latest installment of the 2003-04 Music at Amherst Series, baritone Nathan Gunn will perform the song cycle Die Schöne Müllerin by Franz Schubert on Friday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall at Amherst College.

Recognized as one of America's most exciting young baritones, Gunn has appeared in many of the world's most prestigious opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Royal Opera House, Paris Opera, Glydenbourne Festival and Monnaie in Brussels.

Gunn has appeared in concert or in recital with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall and many others.

Gunn's first recital disc, American Anthem is available on EMI and includes the works of exciting young American songwriters as well as traditional American folk songs. A frequent recitalist, Gunn was featured in John Wustman's seven-year series, The Songs of Franz Schubert, which concluded in 1997 on the 200th anniversary of Schubert's birth and included performances of Die Schöne Müllerin and Winterreise.

An alumnus of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artists Program, Gunn is also the winner of the 1994 Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition, the 1998 ARIA award, and a 1997 Tucker Foundation Career Grant. Of Gunn's performance of Die Schöne Müllerin, David Patrick Stearns at the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, "Some of the greatest singers maintain the most options by acting as omniscient narrators. Gunn, instead, became the protagonist. Different characters speak during these songs, and though Gunn varied his vocal color somewhat, the voices were differentiated mostly through their emotional temperature. That gave the illusion that they are all heard through the protagonist's ears."

Admission to the concert is $21. Senior citizens and Amherst College employees can buy tickets for $18, and students for $5. Tickets may be reserved by calling 413/542-2195 on weekday mornings. The Amherst College Concert Office has a Website at www.amherst.edu/~concerts/.

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"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" At Amherst College Jan. 29, 30 and 31

January 20, 2004
Contact: Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- The Amherst College Music Department will present A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, on Thursday, Jan. 29, Friday, Jan. 30 and Saturday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. in Buckley Theatre in the Arms Music Building at Amherst College. Tickets are free, but advance reservations are recommended.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is produced by arrangement with Musical Theatre International in New York. For information or reservations, call the Amherst College Concert Office at 413/542-2195 or e-mail forumatamherst@yahoo.com.

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