December 4, 2009
For immediate release

Contacts: Rick Lowe, 713.398.0779
Wendy Ewald, 845.546.1643

AMHERST, Mass.—On Friday, December 11, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Keefe Center on the Amherst College campus and 6 to 7 p.m. at the Bangs Senior Center in the town of Amherst, Amherst College visiting artists and undergraduates, high school students from Get Up Get Down and the senior center will host an opening reception for exchange/value, a project of the 2009 Collaborative Art Class at Amherst College led by visiting artists Wendy Ewald and Rick Lowe, known internationally for their collaborative projects with communities. One part of the initiative is an alternative non-monetary bank; the other is the exchange/value newsletter.

The alternative non-monetary bank, called the Bank of Exchange/Value, is an art installation at Amherst College’s Keefe Campus Center and at the Amherst Senior Center in the Bangs Community Center. The two areas serve as collection points for goods and services that can be exchanged among students and residents of the Ann Whalen and Chestnut Court Apartments managed by the Amherst Housing Authority and residents of the Clark House. The bank enables users to do three key things: (1) post what goods and services are available that a resident or student may need or want to give, (2) distribute information about groups and organizations of the campus and community that provide goods and services, and 3) exhibit artworks that show the dignity of people who make use of this kind of service by telling their stories.

The installation at the Keefe Campus Center consists of a banking station for deposits and withdrawals, pages from the exchange/value newsletter, and other artworks. The installation at the Amherst Senior Center is a banking station kiosk for deposits and withdrawals.

The exchange/value newsletter captures the stories of Amherst residents who engage in non-monetary exchange. The stories are accompanied by photographs and graphic arts related to the topic. Many of the pages are overlaid on traditional business pages from established newspapers, suggesting that the business of non-monetary exchange for some takes priority over business as usual.

“The exchange/value project is an effort to raise awareness and increase the effectiveness of non-monetary exchanges among students at Amherst College and residents living in Amherst Housing Authority’s properties and Clark House, particularly senior citizens,” explained Lowe. “We believe that with tough economic times upon us, seniors are having to rely more and more on the giving spirit, favors, or bartering of family, friends, and community to supplement their income and continue to live independently. Recent cuts to the elder home care service budget have placed some elders at risk.”

Funding for the projects has been provided by the Office of the President, the Center for Community Engagement, and the Department of Art and Art History at Amherst College, and by a grant from Highland Valley Elder Services, administered by the Amherst Senior Center. Joseph Krupczynski contributed the design of the bank and kiosk.


Keefe Campus Center, Amherst College, December 11, 4 to 6 p.m. (exhibition runs through May 2010)

Amherst Senior Center, Bangs Community Center, December 11, 6 to 7 p.m. (exhibition is ongoing)      

For more information contact:

Rick Lowe—713.398.0779 or

Wendy Ewald—845.546.1643 or

Maura Plante with the Amherst Senior Center—413.259.3213 or