October 26, 2010
Contact: Pamela Russell
Coordinator of College Programs

AMHERST, Mass.—For the second year, the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will hold a series of evening meditation sessions, free and open to the public, in the museum’s galleries at 7:30 p.m. on the Wednesday evenings of Nov. 10 and Dec. 8, 2010, and Jan. 26, Feb. 16 and March 9, 2011. Designed to foster mindfulness and deep engagement with selected works of art, the sessions will be guided by members of the Amherst College community with experience in mindfulness meditation and in the 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; in this way, the Mead’s 2010-11 meditation sessions will offer opportunities for art lovers to take their interests in art to a new level of engagement. Each session will combine quiet meditation with time for shared responses to the “attentive looking” exercises designed by the facilitator, she added.

Participating facilitators will be:

Nov. 10—Arthur Zajonc, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Physics

Dec. 8—Daniel Barbezat, Professor of Economics

Jan. 26—Mark Hart, Amherst College Buddhist Adjunct Advisor

Feb. 16—Pamela Russell, Andrew W. Mellon Coordinator of College Programs, Mead Art Museum

Mar. 9—Joel Upton, Professor of Art and the History of Art

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

A complete schedule of the museum’s events is posted on the Mead’s Web site: www.amherst.edu/museums/mead/schedule.  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 Thursday and 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.