January 12, 2010
Contact: Pamela Russell
Coordinator of College Programs
413/542 8229

AMHERST, Mass.—The Mead Art Museum at AmherstCollege will hold a series of four evening meditation sessions, free and open to the public, in the museum’s galleries at 7:30 p.m. on the Wednesday evenings of Feb. 17, March 24, April 7 and May 5. Designed to foster mindfulness and a deep engagement with a selected work of art, the sessions will be guided by members of the AmherstCollege community with experience in mindfulness meditation and sustained, focused contemplation of visual art.

According to the series’ organizer Pamela Russell, recent studies have demonstrated the importance of “prolonged looking” for gaining a full appreciation of a work of art, and the sessions will offer an opportunity for art lovers to take their interests in art to a new level of engagement by doing so. Each one will combine quiet meditation with time for shared responses to the “attentive looking” exercises designed by the session facilitator, she added.

Participating facilitators is as follows:

Feb. 17—Arthur Zajonc, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Physics, with a focus on William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s painting Le Travail interrompu (Work Interrupted), 1891.

March 24—Daniel Barbezat, economics professor.

April 7—Mark Hart, Amherst College Buddhist Adjunct Advisor, with a focus on Randall Davey’s oil on panel Monhegan Harbor, ca. 1915.

May 5—Haley Douds ’10, with a focus on Thomas Cole’s painting The Past and The Present, 1838.

Participants are welcome to attend one, a few, or all sessions. Anyone taking part should wear comfortable clothing and may sit on the floor or on cushioned stools provided by the museum.

A complete schedule of the museum’s spring events is posted on the Mead’s Web site: www.amherst.edu/museums/mead/programs. 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. Friday and Saturday. For more information, please visit the museum’s Web site, www.amherst/museums/mead, or call 413/542-2335.