January 28, 2009     
For Immediate Release                    

Elizabeth Barker
Director and Chief Curator, Mead Art Museum

AMHERST, Mass. — Art-loving residents of the Pioneer Valley, in addition to Amherst College faculty, students and staff, are invited to attend the second Museum Forum of the 2008-2009 academic year on Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 4:30 p.m. at the Mead Art Museum on the college’s campus. The goal of the gathering is to give Mead patrons the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas related to the museum, the curriculum and the community, as well as increase possibilities for collaboration.

Each 90-minute, open, public meeting, held at least four times during the academic year, provides attendees with the chance to hear about the Mead’s current long-range projects and share information on research topics and teaching interests—sometimes years in advance of their public announcement—in order to provide sufficient time to meaningfully align related projects and programs. At every Museum Forum, Mead staffers are available to describe and answer questions concerning upcoming exhibitions, publications, events and acquisitions, but at the Feb. 4 event, the Mead’s Director and Chief Curator Elizabeth Barker will also discuss the likely impact of the current fiscal crisis on the museum’s future programs and services.

“I hope as many of the Mead’s constituents as possible—affiliated with the college and otherwise—join me and Susan Anderson, interim Andrew W. Mellon coordinator of college programs, for Feb. 4’s important conversation,” said Barker. “Only with their participation can the Mead continue effectively to serve its diverse, sophisticated and growing audiences.” She added that the Museum Forum seeks to make transparent aspects of the Mead’s operations that might otherwise remain opaque, and to further the museum’s mission (adopted in January 2008):

“The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College seeks to stimulate thought, inspire creativity, provide insight, interrogate preconceptions and invite contemplation through interaction with the original works of art that the Museum collects, researches, interprets, exhibits, publishes and preserves.  To realize its mission, the Museum makes its collections available to the students, faculty, staff and alumni of Amherst College and to visitors from around the world; develops innovative exhibitions drawn primarily from the permanent collection and linked meaningfully to the curriculum and to the wider intellectual life of the College; engages faculty, students and other visitors in fresh, sometimes interdisciplinary inquiries involving art and visual understanding; and produces original, engaging, academically rigorous publications.”

No R.S.V.P. is required for attending the Museum Forum. Refreshments will be served.

The Mead Art Museum houses the art collection of Amherst College, totaling more than 16,000 works. An accredited member of the American Association of Museums, the Mead participates in Museums10, a regional cultural collaboration. During the academic term, the Mead Art Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to midnight and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, please visit the museum’s Web site, www.amherst.edu/museums/mead, or call 413/542-2335.