Art Department Events Calendar

Most departmental events take place in the Eli Marsh Gallery (105 Fayerweather Hall) or Pruyne Lecture Hall (115 Fayerweather). Check this calendar often for updates—events are added and edited frequently. For additional arts events on campus, see what’s happening at the Mead.

Tomorrow - Mon, Oct 3, 2022

Background map with photo of saxaphone and Randolph Bromery

"Gravity and Recovery," by Justin Randolph Thompson

This performance/lecture by Justin Randolph Thompson emerges in relation to the initial research phases of his Creative-Capital-funded project Surveying Gravity. Surveying the history and legacy of the artist’s grandfather Randolph Bromery and his impact on higher education at UMass, the Amherst area and exponentially on the broad field of geosciences, the talk delves into notions of geological time, ancient forms of extractionist practices, Black history as global discourse, sonic freedom in jazz and the productions of alternatives to the arrogance of permanence. The event is an occasion to form a transdisciplinary cohort of artists, scientists and thinkers interested in wrestling with the complexities of a culture that tends to use monuments to forget.

A reception will immediately follow the lecture.

Tue, Oct 4, 2022

Musicians with horns under hanging artwork

Breaking Rocks and Marking Time by Justin Randolph Thompson

This lunch dialogue is designed as an open form for the discussion of templates for socially engaged practices of art. Artist Justin Randolph Thompson shares insight to the Creative Capital funded project Surveying Gravity as a reflection on forms of infrastructure building that weave into and against the grain of traditional institutions, grapple with a history of monuments marked with broken rocks and invite an active recalibration of cultural values. Thompson will be in dialogue with professionals across various disciplines.

Mon, Oct 24, 2022

Trees in Fall

Gina Siepel Artist Show - "Living Material"

Living Material features works emerging from Gina Siepel’s ongoing investigation of the complex relationship between humans and trees. The videos, objects, and drawings in this exhibition reflect the artist’s engagement with place, history, materiality, queer experience, and ecology.

Siepel is an interdisciplinary artist whose work connects material practice and object making to questions of forest ecology, climate crisis, and more-than-human relationships. She focuses on wood as a natural and a cultural material, and writes, “my desire is to connect to and critically engage the intimate relationship between histories of colonialism, deforestation, and furniture making through my research.” In Living Material, rustic wooden furniture sits atop repurposed Styrofoam packing material, digital video shares the gallery with seedlings and raw wood shavings. These material juxtapositions highlight the paradoxical aspects of contemporary human-nature relationships that Siepel explores in her work.

Siepel has spent the past three years as an artist-in-residence at the Smith College MacLeish Field Station, observing a selected red oak tree and its immediate forest surroundings. In this project, To Understand a Tree, she is collaborating with naturalist Kate Wellspring and working to deepen her understanding and knowledge of the forest ecosystem, the tree, and its interactions with other organisms. Concurrently with work at the forest site, the artist has learned the traditional art of greenwood chair construction. Alternating between contemplating the tree in the forest, and splitting, hewing, and shaving fallen red oak logs into chair parts, Siepel works closely with wood as both a structural material and embodied evidence of a tree’s life.

To Understand a Tree has been a contemplative and philosophical project, exploring concepts of kinship, recognizing the autonomy and dignity of plant life alongside its “otherness,” and asking ethical questions concerning the harvest of plants for human use. The writings of Robin Wall Kimmerer, along with the work of other indigenous thinkers and practitioners have influenced the artist. Siepel writes, “I link this learning to my actions …cultivating a queer, ecofeminist, and disability-justice informed ethic of care related to woodworking.”

Gina Siepel earned a BFA in painting and drawing from the School of Art + Design at SUNY Purchase, studied global ecology in the International Honors Program/Bard College, and completed an MFA in interdisciplinary studio art at the Maine College of Art. Her works have been shown in museums and galleries nationally, including the Decordova Museum, Vox Populi Gallery, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, the Center for Art in Wood, and the Colby Museum, among others. Gina has been a fellow/artist-in-residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Mildred’s Lane, The Winterthur Museum, Sculpture Space, Hewnoaks, and the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. She has received funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Berkshire Taconic Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, and the Northampton Arts Council. Gina designed and built theater sets and props professionally in New York City and Boston for two decades, and taught Studio Foundations at Mount Holyoke College from 2015 – 2022. Gina is currently an Artist-in-Residence at the MacLeish Field Station at Smith College, and lives in Greenfield, MA (Nipmuc, Pocumtuck, and Abenaki land).

Mon, Oct 31, 2022

Poetry, Sculpture, and Architecture - Smith College

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm Smith College, Neilson Browsing Room

2022 Kennedy Lecture Series - Renaissance Poetry across Media

In our own media-savvy time, we realize that what gets communicated is very much a function of
how it gets communicated. These three lectures investigate manuscript, print, sculpture,
architecture and music as media for communicating sixteenth-and seventeenth-century poems in
Shakespeare’s England.

Monday, October 31 Poetry, Sculpture, and Architecture
Tuesday, November 29 Poetry and Music

All lectures will take place in the Neilson Browsing Room, Smith College and begin at 5:00.

This series is hosted by the Department of English and made possible by the Ruth and Clarence Kennedy Endowment for Renaissance Studies.

Thu, Nov 10, 2022

Gina Siepel holding a piece of wood

"Living Material" - Talk by Artist Gina Siepel

Living Material features works emerging from Gina Siepel’s ongoing investigation of the complex relationship between humans and trees. The videos, objects, and drawings in this exhibition reflect the artist’s engagement with place, history, materiality, queer experience, and ecology.

Siepel is an interdisciplinary artist whose work connects material practice and object making to questions of forest ecology, climate crisis, and more-than-human relationships. She focuses on wood as a natural and a cultural material, and writes, “my desire is to connect to and critically engage the intimate relationship between histories of colonialism, deforestation, and furniture making through my research.” In Living Material, rustic wooden furniture sits atop repurposed Styrofoam packing material, digital video shares the gallery with seedlings and raw wood shavings. These material juxtapositions highlight the paradoxical aspects of contemporary human-nature relationships that Siepel explores in her work.

Siepel has spent the past three years as an artist-in-residence at the Smith College MacLeish Field Station, observing a selected red oak tree and its immediate forest surroundings. In this project, To Understand a Tree, she is collaborating with naturalist Kate Wellspring and working to deepen her understanding and knowledge of the forest ecosystem, the tree, and its interactions with other organisms. Concurrently with work at the forest site, the artist has learned the traditional art of greenwood chair construction. Alternating between contemplating the tree in the forest, and splitting, hewing, and shaving fallen red oak logs into chair parts, Siepel works closely with wood as both a structural material and embodied evidence of a tree’s life.

To Understand a Tree has been a contemplative and philosophical project, exploring concepts of kinship, recognizing the autonomy and dignity of plant life alongside its “otherness,” and asking ethical questions concerning the harvest of plants for human use. The writings of Robin Wall Kimmerer, along with the work of other indigenous thinkers and practitioners have influenced the artist. Siepel writes, “I link this learning to my actions …cultivating a queer, ecofeminist, and disability-justice informed ethic of care related to woodworking.”

Gina Siepel earned a BFA in painting and drawing from the School of Art + Design at SUNY Purchase, studied global ecology in the International Honors Program/Bard College, and completed an MFA in interdisciplinary studio art at the Maine College of Art. Her works have been shown in museums and galleries nationally, including the Decordova Museum, Vox Populi Gallery, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, the Center for Art in Wood, and the Colby Museum, among others. Gina has been a fellow/artist-in-residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Mildred’s Lane, The Winterthur Museum, Sculpture Space, Hewnoaks, and the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. She has received funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Berkshire Taconic Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, and the Northampton Arts Council. Gina designed and built theater sets and props professionally in New York City and Boston for two decades, and taught Studio Foundations at Mount Holyoke College from 2015 – 2022. Gina is currently an Artist-in-Residence at the MacLeish Field Station at Smith College, and lives in Greenfield, MA (Nipmuc, Pocumtuck, and Abenaki land).

Reception to immediately follow.

Tue, Nov 29, 2022

Poetry and Music - Smith College

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm Smith College, Neilson Browsing Room

2022 Kennedy Lecture Series - Renaissance Poetry across Media

In our own media-savvy time, we realize that what gets communicated is very much a function of
how it gets communicated. These three lectures investigate manuscript, print, sculpture,
architecture and music as media for communicating sixteenth-and seventeenth-century poems in
Shakespeare’s England.

Tuesday, November 29 Poetry and Music

All lectures will take place in the Neilson Browsing Room, Smith College and begin at 5:00.

This series is hosted by the Department of English and made possible by the Ruth and Clarence Kennedy Endowment for Renaissance Studies.

Thu, Dec 1, 2022

Emma Spencer '22E - "So, What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing In a Place Like This?"

Ongoing Events

Print created by Melanie Yazzie.

Melanie Yazzie: I Came from this Reservation

The Department of Art and History of Art is pleased to present artist Melanie Yazzie and her gallery show, I Came from this Reservation.

The show runs from September 19th to October 14th in the Eli Marsh Gallery in Fayerweather Hall. The show is open from 10am - 4pm Monday thru Friday and 12pm - 4pm on Sunday (closed Saturday).

We would like to thank the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for their sponsorship of this event.

Bio of Melanie Yazzie:
As a printmaker, painter, and sculptor, Melanie Yazzie’s work draws upon her rich Diné (Navajo) cultural heritage. Her work follows the Diné dictum “walk in beauty” literally, creating beauty and harmony. As an artist, she works to serve as an agent of change by encouraging others to learn about social, cultural, and political phenomena shaping the contemporary lives of Native peoples in the United States and beyond. Her work incorporates both personal experiences as well as the events and symbols from Dine culture. Her work is informed and shaped by personal experiences.

Jason Moran “The Sound Will Tell You”

February 18, 2021

The 2021 Rapaport Lecture featured Jazz pianist, composer, and artist Jason Moran, the Artistic Director for Jazz at The Kennedy Center. The event was hosted by Professor of Art and the History of Art, Sonya Clark.

Foundations in Video Production

Public Video Screening

A square photo of four works of art

6 PM - 8 PM • Friday, December 3, 2021 • Stirn Auditorium

Final projects by students in the ARHA/FAMS course “Foundations in Video Production.” Videos by:

Catherine Charnoky
David Dang
John Koomson
Abel Legesse
Helena Ravix
Cristian Serda
Malaya Imran
Grace LeCates
Piper Mohring
Adam Nathoo
Sirs Wheaton
Sterling Kee
William Ranyard


Art Department News

A Life and Career Celebrating Artists of Color

Kellie Jones '81 and a group of students

With Kellie Jones ’81

In a recent talk on campus, MacArthur Fellow Kellie Jones ’81 connected her Amherst experience to her career as an art historian and curator, offering some advice to current students along the way.

Read More

Curated By Thieves

In an interview with Assistant Professor of Art and the History of Art Niko Vicario, artist Kota Ezawa talks about how an FBI database sparked his interest in the still unsolved Gardner Museum art heist of 1990 and led him to recreate 13 lost artworks. (Read more)

Women, Art and Wikipedia

Students in Professor Nicola Courtright’s course “Women and Art in Early Modern Europe” joined an international initiative to bridge the gap between academia and Wikipedia, highlighting women in the arts along the way. (Read more)