It’s officially fall! And there is officially a plethora of performances and special events to check out. This month, the Emily Dickinson Museum hosts Before You Became Improbable, a popular theatrical event that sells out every year. Music at Amherst presents its second concert of the season, featuring Stephanie Houtzeel, whose performances in the Strauss repertoire have been heralded around the world. The Mead Art Museum opens Rotherwas Project 4, an exhibition showcasing its newly acquired installation by Yinka Shonibare MBE. And the staff and interns of The Common literary magazine host a night of readings from its most recent issue. 

Learn more about these and additional arts events, below.

“Immersive” Experiences

Still from Sleep film by Andy Warhol

Still from Sleep by Andy Warhol.

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the Mead Art Museum will host an immersive screening of Andy Warhol’s 1963 durational film Sleep (4 hours and 45 minutes), from 6 p.m. to midnight. The film captures the poet John Giorno, Warhol’s lover at the time, as he sleeps, and is being screened in conjunction with the course “Andy Warhol, Filmmaker,” taught by Joshua Guilford, assistant professor of English in film and media studies. Guilford will give introductory remarks before the film begins. Viewers are welcome to come and go throughout the screening, which is free and open to the public. Popcorn will be served.

On Wednesday, Oct. 3, through Saturday, Oct. 6, the Emily Dickinson Museum invites participants to relive a day in the life of the poet. Before You Became Improbable: An Immersive Journey Through the Dickinson–Higginson Correspondence is a walking theatrical journey throughout downtown Amherst, en route to the Dickinson grounds. Equipped with special headphones, audience members are guided carefully through the show, following a path visible to only them. Because the event is designed as an experience for two people at a time, one or two participants will depart every four minutes between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Emily Dickinson Museum (280 Main Street in downtown Amherst). Tickets are required.

Literary Readings

Shayla Lawson book cover and portrait

Cover of Shayla Lawson’s new poetry collection I Think I’m Ready to See Frank Ocean (left), and portrait of Lawson (right).

Amherst’s new Writer-in-Residence Shayla Lawson will read a lyric essay excerpted from her latest poetry collection, I Think I’m Ready to See Frank Ocean, on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 4:30 p.m. in the Center for Humanistic Inquiry (Frost Library, 2nd floor). The reading will be followed by a screening of the 45-minute Frank Ocean visual album Endless, and a reception with wine and tapas. The event is free and open to the public.

The English department and Creative Writing Center will welcome two authors as part of the Fall 2018 Visiting Writers Series. Novelists Jordy Rosenberg and Debra Magpie Earling will give readings, followed by receptions, on Tuesday, Oct. 16, and Monday, Oct. 29, respectively. Both readings will take place at 8 p.m. at Amherst Books (8 Main Street in downtown Amherst) and are free and open to the public.

Amherst’s award-winning literary magazine The Common will present readings from its latest issue—which features stories, essays, poems and art by Puerto Rican writers and artists one year after Hurricane Maria—on Friday, Oct. 26, at 5 p.m. in The Powerhouse. The event is free and open to the public, and followed by a wine and cheese reception.

Artist Visits & Gallery Talks

Installation view of the Timing is Everything exhibit at Mead Art Museum

Installation view of Timing is Everything exhibition, on view at the Mead Art Museum. Photo by Jiayi Liu.

On Saturdays in October, student educators will give half-hour exhibition tours beginning at 1 p.m. at the Mead Art Museum. The tours vary from week to week, and are free and open to the public.

In honor of National Coming Out Day on Thursday, Oct. 11, the Mead Art Museum presents Keeping Time: Queering Time, an interactive tour of the exhibition Timing Is Everything, followed by a conversation with Queer Resource Center Director Jxhn Martin on chrononormativity and the notion of queering time. The event takes place from noon to 1 p.m. in the museum, and is free and open to the public.

Choreographer Marion Spencer will be on campus Friday, Oct. 19, as part of the Fall 2018 Guest Artist Series organized by Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance Dante Brown. Spencer will give a master class from 4 to 6 p.m. in Kirby Theater, followed by a performance at 7:30 p.m. in Webster Hall Studio 1. The master class and performance are free and open to the public.

European Print Specialist Miloslava Hruba will give a gallery talk on Friday, Oct. 19, at noon at the Mead Art Museum on the exhibition Fragmented Identities: The Gendered Roles of Women in Art Through the Ages, which presents works from a variety of time periods and media to examine the ways in which women have been depicted around the globe. The event is free and open to the public.

Artist and activist Megan Smith will be on campus Friday, Oct. 26, to give a workshop and a talk about her Repeal Hyde Art Project, which draws attention to and creates intersectional dialogue about the Hyde Amendment. Students are invited to lunch with Smith at noon in the Women’s and Gender Center. All are invited to the workshop from 1 to 3 p.m. in the sculpture courtyard in front of the Mead Art Museum, and to the talk from 4 to 5 p.m. in the museum.

Concerts 

Portrait of Stephanie Houtzeel

Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Houtzeel.

On Friday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m., adjunct faculty member and cellist Wayne Smith will perform music by Beethoven, Kodály, Rachmaninoff and Arctic Moth with Gregory Hayes on piano, Patrick Doane on violin and Lysha Smith on electronics. The concert takes place in Buckley Recital Hall and is free and open to the public.

Music at Amherst presents the second concert of its 40th season on Friday, Oct. 19. Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Houtzeel, whose performances in the Strauss repertoire have been heralded around the world, performs at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall. Tickets are required. The following day, Houtzeel will host a master class with Amherst students from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in Buckley Recital Hall. The master class is free and open to the public.

During Amherst College Family Weekend, Amherst’s student music groups will give performances on Friday and Saturday in Buckley Recital Hall. First up is the Amherst College Jazz Ensemble concert at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26. Audience members are encouraged to bring cash donations to benefit the Amherst Survival Center. On Saturday, Oct. 27, the Choral Society will present a free concert at noon, and the Amherst Symphony Orchestra performs musical selections from Spain at 8 p.m.

Exhibition Openings

Photographs by Yoko Asakai of Asparagus field and empty dinner table

Yoko Asakai, asparagus (2018) from the series meals and prologue (2013) from the series passageImages courtesey of the artist.

Yoko Asakai: 7 days and other pieces opens on Monday, Oct. 29, in the Eli Marsh Gallery, 105 Fayerweather Hall. The exhibition includes photographs from the artist’s new series, meals, which is a study on food and behavior to investigate “placeness” and communication. Also included are photographs from the artist’s previous series sight, passage and wayfinding. On Thursday, Nov. 1, the artist will give a lecture, followed by a reception, at 4:30 p.m. in Pruyne Lecture Hall, 115 Fayerweather Hall. The lecture, reception and exhibition are free and open to the public.

Finally, on Tuesday, Oct. 30, the Mead Art Museum opens Rotherwas Project 4, an exhibition showcasing its newly acquired installation The American Library Collection (Activists) by Yinka Shonibare MBE. All are invited to the opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the museum. As part of the opening reception, Leah C. Schmalzbauer, the William R. Kenan Professor of American Studies and Sociology, will moderate a debate among Amherst College faculty on the subject of the global migration of people, commodities and ideas, for which the Shonibare work will serve as the starting point. The debate—a model for how students can facilitate constructive discussion of sensitive topics—will bring together faculty from American studies, economics, political science, and other disciplines.


Print by Harold Edgarton of bullet piercing an apple

Arts Calendar

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

Fragmented Identities

Join the Mailing List

Enjoy more of the arts at Amherst with our Happenings Ahead e-Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each month.