February 6, 2009     

AMHERST, Mass.—On Friday, Feb. 20, at noon, Billy McBride, assistant athletic director and director of diversity and inclusion at Amherst College, will present a 10-minute talk at the Mead Art Museum on two lithographs by George Bellows currently installed in the museum: A Stag at Sharkey’s (1917) and Dempsey and Firpo (1924). The talk inaugurates a new monthly series of free lunchtime talks offered during the academic year, which are made possible with support from the Amherst Arts Series. A complete schedule of talks is posted on the Mead’s Web site: www.amherst.edu/museums/mead/programs.

New York-based artist George Bellows (1882–1925) is remembered for his scenes of gritty urban realism, executed in subdued palettes and—in the case of his lithographs—bold, sweeping strokes. Amherst College holds an important collection of Bellows’ work, including art in the Mead Art Museum and personal papers and memorabilia in Frost Library’s Archives and Special Collections. The prints that McBride will discuss provide a cogent comparison of the early years of boxing—first during the sport’s illegal years and later as it gained hold as a spectator sport among the well-to-do.

McBride previously spoke on Bellows’ boxing imagery to an enthusiastic audience during the Mead’s 2006 exhibition George Bellows: A Ringside Seat, curated by the late Trinkett Clark. Mead Director and Chief Curator Elizabeth Barker noted, “Having heard so many rave reviews of Coach McBride’s previous talk, I’m thrilled that he’s agreed to reprise it this semester.”

McBride is well known for his efforts to join disparate departments of Amherst College in arenas of common ground. In addition to his role in the athletics department—which earned him the title of Coach of the Year for women’s basketball during the 2000–2001 season, among other honors—he serves as a liaison to the admissions office, dean’s office, Center for Community Engagement and human resources office. In the early portion of his career, he succeeded as an athlete in both college basketball and professional football, and in recent years, he has expanded his intellectual repertoire and demonstrated further commitment to the Five Colleges by earning an M.A. from Smith College in Exercise Science and Sports Studies.

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 museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information, please visit the museum’s Web site, www.amherst/museums/mead, or call 413/542-2335.