Creative Arts and Performance (CAP)


CAP--Creative Art and Performance CAP-Creative Art and Performance CAP-Creative Art and Performance






 Creative Arts and Performance (CAP) is a 2.5 day program designed to welcome new students with all types of creative interests who wish to begin their time at Amherst by discovering all the new possibilities that await them in the rich arts community on campus and beyond.  You will work both individually and as a group to explore a range of creative processes through (1) workshops led by current arts faculty and recent alumni, designed to challenge your ideas of the kind of art you'll be making and engaging with when you get here, (2) nighttime excursions to events in the area, and (3) opportunities to perform and make work for each other in a supportive and non-evaluative space.  This program is designed to make you excited about being a part of the arts community at Amherst, with an emphasis on exploring the diverse and interdisciplinary efforts that already exist here and equipping you with the things you need to start to shape your own artistic space and experience at Amherst.

Intentions of the Program

-Offer you exciting, challenging, and fun experiences to deepen your skills of thinking improvisationally, collaborating, and realizing your ideas and to challenge your ideas of what you will be making and engaging within this arts community.

-Introduce you to the people, spaces, and resources that will allow you to continue to explore and create.

-Build a community of people to share, learn and create with, contemplating how to live in and shape this place together. 

-Encourage you to look at interdisciplinary/inter-art efforts on campus and to investigate the intersectionality of multiple identities (artistic and otherwise) within yourself.

-Inspire you to meet new experiences with more wonder and less doubt.

What To Expect

CAP participants will be asked to use all five senses, their bodies, and their voices, in all the ways that that is possible; activities are accessible and flexible, and can be easily adapted for different bodies and abilities. The emphasis of CAP is not on evaluation or product, but rather on intention, process, and one's ability to commit one's attention and care to group making. Some activities require local travel that we will facilitate, and part of our days will be spent outside. Our program coordinator will communicate directly with each student to make sure we're addressing each student's medical, dietary, and other wellness needs.

(1) Our First Meeting Time. Your 2.5 Day LEAP program, Creative Arts and Performance (CAP) starts on Friday, September 1, at 9am in Studio 2 in Webster Hall. There will be plenty of signage, but here's a map to help you out:
You should plan to bring with you:

            (1) An unused journal

            (2) A writing utensil

            (3) Any tools of your trade (musical instruments, dancing shoes, colored pencil set from your childhood, cameras, easels, you name it! Don’t have any tools or a trade? That’s cool, too! Just bring yourself.)

            (4) These two assignments:


Please come to our workshop with a 5 song playlist. Each song, and the playlist as a whole, should in some way represent you (who you are, where you come from, this point in your life, etc) so that the playlist is, in some way, a statement of your identity.  For the purposes of this workshop you must choose songs with lyrics. You do not need to manifest this playlist in anyway (burn CD, spotify, etc) but please bring hard copies of the lyrics of each song with you - either printed or written out.


Think about what it means to bear witness in your own life—think about those things you don’t integrate, contextualize, accept or perform for others in your daily life, but that feel integral to your identity. Consider the infinite details of your life: the difficulties, the wonder, the memories, people, places, things, and influences that shape you. With these concepts in mind think about what matters to you, to your identity and to your being rooted in this world. Consider formative experiences, memories, people in your life. Try to be very specific when thinking about the stuff that comes together to form who you are. Try to avoid generalities, like the state you are from, your favorite color or band and reach deeper. Then capture those things (or a single thing) that matter(s) to you. Capture it in any medium, be it film, video, photography, a sketch, a poem, a song, etc. Don’t overthink it. You can't be wrong. The important part is to bring something meaningful with you to campus.


(2) Our schedule.  

Friday, September 1

9am CAP Student Registration, Studio 2, Webster Hall

9:30am-12pm Opening Extravaganza, Studio 2, Webster Hall

12pm-1pm Lunch, Valentine Dining Hall

1:30pm-5:30pm Mixed Tape Workshop, Forrest and Diane, Studio 2, Webster Hall

5:30pm-6:30pm Dinner, Pizza delivered to Studio 2, Webster Hall

6:30pm-8:30pm Guest Performance/ Q&A, Studio 3, Webster Hall

8:30pm Ice Cream in Studio 2, Webster Hall


Saturday, September 2

9am-1pm Museum of Us Workshop, Ioanida. Studio 2, Webster Hall

1pm-2:00pm Lunch, Valentine Dining Hall

2:00pm-6:00pm Break (optional Theater and Dance Q&A from 2:30-3:30pm in Studio 2 in Webster Hall)

6pm-7pm Dinner, Valentine Dining Hall

7pm-8:30pm Coffee House Brainstorming, Studio 2, Webster Hall

8:30pm Marsh Coffee Haus, Marsh Arts House


Sunday, September 3

8:30am Breakfast from The Works, Studio 2, Webster Hall

9-9:25am Group Warm Up, Studio 2, Webster Hall

9:25am-11am Work Sessions, Site Specific.

11am-12:15pm Showings, Site Specific.

12:15pm-1pm Final Reflection, First Year Quad/Studio 2, Webster Hall


(3) Meet our team!

Diane Exavier (CAP Facilitator) graduated from Amherst in 2009 with a BA in Theater and Dance (concentrations in playwriting and costume design). She returned to her homeland, Brooklyn, USA, where she spent several years in museum and arts education while deepening her own artistic practice. Her work has been presented at Westmont College, California State University: Northridge, New Urban Arts (Providence), West Chicago City Museum, and in New York: Bowery Poetry Club, Dixon Place, Independent Curators International, and more. Her writing appears in Cunjuh MagazineThe Atlas Review and The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. Amazed, frustrated, and bewildered by what it means to live in this world with the histories we have and the futures we are not guaranteed, she makes art that attempts to stop time so we can all catch our breath and reckon. For the last three years she's been doing that in Providence, where she recently completed her MFA in Writing for Performance at Brown University. You can find out more about her work at

Ioanida Costache (CAP Workshop Leader), violinist and videographer, graduated from Amherst in 2012 and is currently pursuing a PhD in Musicology at Stanford University. Her scholarship focuses on Romanian-Roma music – muzică lăutărească – which she researched in Romania while on a Fulbright Research Grant in 2013-14. In Romania, Ioanida took lessons with a Roma violinist about whom she made a short documentary film which touches upon her own Roma identity and family history regarding Romanian-Roma music. 
Forrest Hudes (Workshop Leader) graduated from the Amherst College THDA department in 2012. He now lives in Los Angeles and focuses his creative energy into woodworking and sculpture. While at Amherst, Forrest was involved in the THDA department as an actor, director, and writer. He was involved in the Music department as a composer and musician in the Jazz Combo program. He was also active at the Marsh Arts House and was a member of Mr. Gad's House of Improv.
Jamie Sandel (Assistant Facilitator) is a recent graduate of Amherst College and a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the music department. A reformed Theater Kid™, Jamie now identifies mostly as a musician, and plays a handful of instruments, mainly the violin and bass. He's a huge nerd about jazz, modern music and improvisation more broadly. He's so hyped to be back with CAP for his third year.
Kola Heyward-Rotimi (Student Assistant) is a sophomore majoring in Computer Science and English because he can't choose between humanities or STEM. He loves cryptography, coding, and creating fiction. If you want to talk about reading or writing books, definitely hit him up. He's currently finishing up the first draft of a fantasy manuscript and also querying his last project. Basically he likes to talk a lot, so don't be afraid to throw a cool conversation topic his way!

Maki Ybarra-Young (Student Assistant) is a rising sophomore at Amherst College who basically popped out of the womb, jazz-handed and saying "ta-dah." She is very involved in both student and departmental theater initiatives, acting in seven productions last year from the Brechtian "Antigone" to Charles Mee's "Big Love". Maki's dream role  (or rather one of them) is Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard and her favorite actress is the iconic cinema queen Marilyn Monroe. She plans to double major in Theater and Dance and Classical Civilization in 2020 and will remember you all in her Oscar/Tony/Emmy award acceptance speech.
Diego Ramos-Meyer (Student Assistant) is a sophomore from Washington, DC.  He is majoring in Music, specializing in jazz piano, and has been studying music for 14 years.  He lived in Senegal for 8 months before college, working and learning the local culture and language.  He's been playing jazz piano and studying music theory since the beginning of high school.  He has performed at the White House, the Kennedy Center, and Schwemm's Cafe.  He sees jazz, and music in general, as a unique way for humans to communicate and connect across different backgrounds.
Reilly Horan (CAP Coordinator) isn't at CAP this year, but has been coordinating it from afar and wishes she was! She graduated from Amherst in 2013 as an English and Theater & Dance double-major, and worked in the Theater & Dance department for two years after she graduated as a scenic designer, scenic carpenter, and support for student playwriting theses. She's now a Brooklyn-based stage manager, technical director, scenic carpenter, storyteller, and teaching artist, working with the Public Theater, Signature Theater, HERE Arts Center, Blue Man Group, the Moth, and the DreamYard Project. Both in New York and in a touring capacity, her work focuses on devised and multimedia collaborative theater and dance, theatrical community engagement projects, and arts accessibility and working with young people.
Doing Art at Amherst 2017.pdf359.57 KB