What do 20th century Russian artists, John F. Kennedy’s birthday and our ecosystem have in common? You can experience and celebrate them all in the month ahead.

October marks the opening of a new exhibition featuring the work of contemporary fiber artist Sonya Clark ’89, a conversation and performances that explore artists’ connections to nature and politics, a special event honoring the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s birth, and more. Don’t miss what interests you; make your plans today.

Poetry & Fiction Readings

Portraits of Mary Jo Salter and Jess Row

As part of Amherst’s Fall Reading Series, short story writer and novelist Jess Row gives a reading on Monday, Oct. 2, at 8 p.m. at Amherst Books. Row is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Your Face in Mine and the story collections The Train to Lo Wu and Nobody Ever Gets Lost. He is currently working on White Flights, a collection of essays about race and the American imagination to be published by Graywolf Press in 2019.

The series continues, Thursday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m. at Amherst Books with a reading by poet and The Norton Anthology of Poetry coeditor Mary Jo Salter. She is the author of many books of poetry, including A Kiss in Space, Open Shutters, A Phone Call to the Future, Nothing by Design and, most recently, The Surveyors. She is also the author of a children's book, The Moon Comes Home, and a lyricist whose song cycle “Rooms of Light” premiered at Lincoln Center in 2007.

Art Ecologies

close up images of a stream, and water pooling around rocks

The Art Ecologies series continues on Thursday, Oct. 5, at 4:30 p.m. in the Center for Humanistic Inquiry (2nd floor of Frost Library) with a conversation about making and studying art in a time of ecological and political upheaval. Resident Lighting Designer Kathy Couch ’95 and Arts and Humanities Librarian Sara Smith will lead students, faculty and staff in a conversation about how artists and art act as agents of change, and what is the responsibility of artists as imaginative citizens.

Also in conjunction with Art Ecologies, Professor Wendy Woodson presents “Sourcing the Stream,” a video and performance installation on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. in Holden Experimental Theater. Created in collaboration with dance and theater performers, composer/singer Zeina Nasr ’06 and lighting designer Kathy Couch, this immersive project in video, sound and performance looks to the stream as a timely source for inspiration, solace, reflection and reaction.

Music at Amherst


The Music at Amherst Series continues on Friday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall, Arms Music Center, with a performance by chamber musicians Jonathan Biss, piano, and Miriam Fried, violin. This highly esteemed mother and son duo will perform works by Brahms, Bartók and Beethoven. The following day, at 10 a.m. on Oct. 14, Biss and Fried teach a masterclass for Amherst students in Arms Music Center.

As part of Homecoming Weekend, Amherst student music ensembles will offer performances Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21. Peruse the Homecoming Schedule for details about these and additional performances.

Gallery Talks

Senior Resident Artist Betsey Garand gestures towards a painting while giving a talk about the life and work of the late artist.

Alla Rosenfeld, the Mead Art Museum’s newly appointed curator of Russian and European art, delivers a gallery talk on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 4:30 p.m. about the works on view in Home Away from Home: Russian Artists Abroad. The talk will explore insights on how the concept of “home” was ever-changing for Russian artists who fled to Western Europe, and it will trace the complex interconnections and rich influences between Russian and Western artists in the 20th century.

Later in the month, on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 2 p.m., Amherst’s senior resident artist, Betsey Garand, leads a gallery talk about the works on view in the exhibition Perspectives on Michael Mazur, who was one of the most distinguished artists to have graduated from Amherst College.

Exhibition Opening


Amherst’s 2017–18 Visiting Artist in Residence Sonya Clark ’89 presents The Beaded Prayers Project, an exhibition on view Thursday, Oct. 19 through Friday, Nov. 17, in the Eli Marsh Gallery, 105 Fayerweather Hall. The exhibition is part of a worldwide collaborative art project in which participants create and contribute beaded packets that contain their prayers, wishes, hopes or dreams. As part of the opening reception on Thursday, Oct. 19, Clark will discuss “The Beaded Prayers and Recent Projects” at 4:30 p.m. in Pruyne Lecture Hall, 115 Fayerweather. 

Special Events honoring John F. Kennedy and Garrison Keillor

JFK Speech at Amherst College

In honor of the 100th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s birth, Amherst presents “Poetry and Politics: A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of President John F. Kennedy,” a special event on Saturday, Oct. 28, beginning at 1 p.m. in Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall. The event will feature a film of the remarkable speech he gave at the dedication of Amherst's Frost Library in 1963, as well as a symposium at which current faculty and students will make remarks. U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III will give the keynote speech.

Author and radio personality Garrison Keillor is this year’s recipient of the Emily Dickinson Museum’s Tell It Slant Award, which honors individuals whose work, in any field, is imbued with the creative spirit of Emily Dickinson. Presentation of the award takes place on Sunday, Oct. 29, at 6 p.m. in Johnson Chapel.

Artwork by Michael Mazur

See More Arts Events

Check out the Arts Calendar for more information about these and additional arts events.

Jazz Saxophone player

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