There's no shortage of events for literary lovers, concert goers and art aficionados this month! Today, Amherst kicks off LitFest, the College’s third annual literary festival. The Emily Dickinson Museum reopens for spring. Theater and Dance presents an “uncanny” senior thesis performance. And the Russian Center Art Gallery opens a new exhibition. Later this month, Music at Amherst hosts solo pianist Damien Sneed for a concert and master class, the Mead Art Museum celebrates the opening of its third Hall Walls mural, and the Creative Writing Center hosts award-winning poet Forrest Gander and young alumni authors Melih Levi ’15 and Lindsay Stern ’13 for readings.

Here’s a closer look at these and additional exhibits and events, this month at Amherst:

Fiction & Poetry Readings

Junot Diaz wearing glasses and a black shirt

Junot Díaz headlines LitFest, Amherst’s annual literary festival, March 1–3

Amherst’s third annual literary festival—LitFest 2018—takes place March 1–3 and celebrates fiction, nonfiction, poetry and spoken-word performance. The festival includes readings and conversations with 2017 National Book Award finalists Carmen Maria Machado and Min Jin Lee on Thursday, March 1, at 7:30 p.m.; Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz on Friday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m.; 2017 National Book Award winner and Amherst professor Masha Gessen on Saturday, March 3, at 1 p.m.; and acclaimed Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, also on March 3, at 3:30 p.m. These events are free and open to the public, and take place in Johnson Chapel.

Additional LitFest 2018 events include:

  • a poetry slam by Amherst students on March 1 at 10 p.m. in the Powerhouse, hosted by Daniel Gallant, director of the famed Nuyorican Poets Café
  • a conversation with alumni poets Raphael Campo ’87 and Tess Taylor ’99 on March 2 at 1 p.m. in the Center for Humanistic Inquiry, hosted by Professor Amelia Worsley and featuring a tribute to Richard Wilbur ’42, who died last year
  • walking tours of the Emily Dickinson Museum (which reopens for the season on March 1) at 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on March 3

The Visiting Writers Series continues with a reading by award-winning poet Forrest Gander on Tuesday, March 6 at 8 p.m. at Amherst Books in downtown Amherst. Young alumni writers Melih Levi ’15 and Lindsay Stern ’13 will read on Wednesday, March 28 at 8 p.m. in 115 Fayerweather Hall. Both events are followed by receptions with the authors.

Concerts & Performances

Uncanny Valley

Visiting musician Todd Marcus discusses his newly released CD On These Streets, inspired by his West Baltimore neighborhood and the civil unrest that happened there following the death of community member Freddie Gray, on Thursday, March 1, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in Arms Music Center Room 212. The event is part of the Embodied Knowledge colloquium, organized by Darryl Harper ’90 and Sonya Clark ’89 as part of their residencies at the College, and exploring ways artists use the body to imbue their work with meaning. Later that evening, Marcus joins Harper’s trio, The Onus, for a concert from 9 to 10:15 p.m. in the Marsh Arts House.

In conjunction with the exhibition New Publics: Art for a Modern India, 1960s–90s, musicians Srinivas Reddy and Nitin Mitta give tabla and sitar performances on Thursday, March 1, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Mead Art Museum.

On Thursday, March 1, through Saturday, March 3, Denison Marsland-Rello ’18 presents Uncanny Valley, an honors thesis in directing that explores what it means to be human in the 21st century. The performances take place in Studio 3 in Webster Hall. Tickets are free, but reservations are recommended: (413) 542–2277.

The Amherst Symphony Orchestra and Choral Society join forces to pay tribute to composer Leonard Bernstein on Saturday, March 3, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center. The performance includes Chichester Psalms and selections from West Side Story. Tickets, available at the door, are free for Five College students; $5 for seniors, children and students with ID; and $10 for the general public.

The Music at Amherst series continues with a performance by solo pianist Damien Sneed on Friday, March 23, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center. Tickets are required and can be purchased online at Free student rush tickets will be available at the door beginning at 7 p.m. (This concert replaces the concert by Maarja Nuut, canceled by the artist.)

Exhibition Openings & Gallery Talks

Arches by Tatiana Potts

Tatiana Potts, Details from Tajtania, 2016.

The Russian Center Art Gallery opens a new exhibition on Thursday, March 1Constructing a New World: The Soviet Experiment, 1920s–30s. The works on view feature a wide range of Russian artists who responded to events related to the 1917 Russian Revolution. Also included are selected rare books and journals from the Amherst Center for Russian Culture, and works from Hampshire College, the Merrill C. Berman Collection and the Nailya Alexander Gallery in New York. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The exhibition remains on view through June 23.

Literary Amherst, an exhibition highlighting Amherst’s literary past and present and celebrating its role as a premier writing college, is on view in the Frost Library Mezzanine Gallery through March 5. The exhibit features faculty and alumni authors; The Common, an award-winning literary magazine; LitFest, the College’s annual literary festival; the College’s connections to beloved poet Emily Dickinson and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.; and collections of literary works in College Archives and Special Collections. The following day, Tuesday, March 6, Amanda Tobin ’17: Illuminate opens in the Mezzanine Gallery and Beyond Words Gallery in Frost Library. The exhibition features abstract paintings by the young alum.

Printmaker and paper sculptor Tatiana Potts worked with Five College students during Interterm to create the second installation of Hall Walls, an ephemeral mural in the Mead Art Museum. On Tuesday, March 6, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., Potts presents a workshop for participants to learn more about the paper sculptures that make up the mural. The following day, Wednesday, March 7, students are invited to join Potts for lunch in the Center for International Student Engagement at noon. Then Potts will give a talk, “Constructing Worlds,” at 5 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium, followed by a reception at 6 p.m. in the Mead Art Museum.

In conjunction with International Women’s Day and the exhibition Fragmented Identities: The Gendered Roles of Women in Art Through the Ages, curator Alla Rosenfeld will give a gallery talk on Thursday, March 8, at noon in the Mead Art Museum. In conjunction with the exhibition HOUSE: Selections from the Collection of John and Sue Wieland, Mead Director David E. Little will give a gallery talk on Wednesday, March 21, at 5 p.m. in the Mead Art Museum.

Visiting Artist-in-Residence Sonya Clark ’89 will present an exhibition in the Eli Marsh Gallery from Monday, March 19, through Friday, April 13. Clark will give a lecture about the exhibition on Wednesday, March 21, at 4:30 p.m. in 115 Fayerweather Hall, followed by a reception.

Amanda Tobin painting

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Amherst’s Arts Calendar features the latest information about these and additional arts & museum events on campus. 

Visitors at the EDM

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