Creative Arts and Performance (CAP)


marsh quad mural

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 welcome and 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.


Learning Outcomes

-Offer you exciting, challenging, and fun experiences to deepen your skills of thinking improvisationally, collaborating, and realizing your ideas. Welcoming you and challenging 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.  Investigate the inner workings of spaces/systems intended for art-making here, and also imagine creating spaces/systems of your own.


-Build a community of people to share, learn and create with that functions as and reflects the kinds of communities we wish to build on this campus, or in other parts of our lives.


-Encourage you to look at interdisciplinary/inter-art efforts on campus and to investigate the intersectionality of multiple identities (artistic and otherwise) within yourself. Reflect together on what are the privileges, responsibilities, and challenges of being a student-artist on campus. Interrogate the ways we imagine and enact the justice we seek in the world in the nuts and bolts of our practices, in this program and in art making on campus and beyond.


-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 breath and 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 their attention and care to group making. Some activities require local travel that we will facilitate, and part of our days will be spent outside, weather permitting. Our program coordinator will communicate directly with each student to make sure we're addressing each student's medical, dietary, and other wellness needs.  If a student is interested in being a part of CAP, we will work together to craft an experience for them that feels safe and comfortable.


About Us


Diane Exavier (CAP Workshop Leader) writes, makes, thinks a lot, and laughs even more. She creates performance events, public programs, and games that challenge and invite audiences to participate in the active realization of a theater that rejects passive reception. Her work has been presented at Westmont College, Sibiu's International Theater Festival in Romania, New Urban Arts (Providence), West Chicago City Museum, and in New York: The Flea Theater, Bowery Poetry Club, Dixon Place, Independent Curators International, and more. Her writing appears in Cunjuh Magazine, The Atlas Review, The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind, amongst other publications. Her first chapbook, Teaches of Peaches, was published by TAR Chapbook Series in 2017. Diane lives and works in Brooklyn. Find out more about her at


Ioanida Costache (CAP Workshop Leader), violinist and videographer, is currently pursuing a PhD in (ethno)musicology at Stanford University. Her scholarship explores issues of race and ethnicity, the performance and construction of identity/subjectivity, cultural memory, affect and the production of history as they intersect in Romani musico-oral traditions of Romania. Her short documentary, Light Upon (2014) is a portrait of her violin teacher and touches on issues of identity and heritage through musical transmission. She is also passionate about Roma rights and activism.


Reilly Horan (CAP Facilitator) is a Brooklyn-based crew lead, stage manager, production manager, technical director, scenic carpenter, storyteller and teaching artist, working with Blue Man Group, the Public Theater, Signature Theater, the Moth, the Community Word Project 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, arts accessibility and working with young people, and disrupting and reimagining the profound lack of diversity and equity in the technical theater industry. She graduated from Amherst in 2013 with an English and Theater and Dance double-major.


Forrest Hudes (CAP Workshop Leader) graduated from the Amherst College THDA department in 2012. He now lives in Detroit, MI and focuses his creative energy into furniture design and sculpture, working primarily in wood. Forrest has recently finished a studio residency at Popps Packing in Detroit where he focused his work on the intersectionality of art and industrial design. 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. He was also active at the Marsh Arts House and was a member of Mr. Gad's House of Improv.


Matthew Holliday ‘19 (CAP Student Assistant) is a rising senior Theater & Dance and Black Studies double major. On campus he works as an outreach coordinator for the Queer Resource Center and as co-chair of Dance and Step (DASAC) at Amherst College. He is passionate about Black performance and identity politics. More specifically, he enjoys diaspora dance styles including Hip-Hop, Dancehall and West African, and using movement and text to create narratives. Matthew is also an avid lover of musical theater. He has participated in Five College Dance shows, students’ works and in extracurricular spaces as well.


Robin Kong ’21 (CAP Student Assistant) is a rising sophomore who was born and raised in San Diego, CA. She is currently on the premedical track but undecided on her major. She has embedded herself into the music community as a flutist in Amherst Symphony Orchestra as well as Jazz @ Amherst after being inspired from her introductory jazz theory and improvisation class. The support and openness from the arts community has encouraged her to take every opportunity to explore and grow as a student and artist; she has even been considering writing her own compositions and getting back into creative writing and spoken word. Lately, she has been trying to rediscover her artistic voice because she has been reassessing the purpose of her art and the direction she wants to take. Robin hopes that as a CAP student assistant, she’ll be able to not only inspire students to find their creative voices, but also challenge and be challenged by her peers artistically and intellectually.


Patrick Rauschelbach ‘19 (CAP Student Assistant) has performed in and worked for numerous theatrical productions during his time at Amherst and has built a resource pool of friends and faculty of the Theater & Dance department as well as the theatrical Green Room student organization, covering a variety of fields and interests. He sings in Glee Club and Madrigals within the Amherst Choral Society and has befriended members of the a Capella groups, including DQ, Route 9 and the Zumbyes. He is an avid musician and composer with a network that expands into the jazz combo society, the orchestra ensemble, Marsh Coffeehaus and the Music Department faculty. Whatever field of the performing arts on campus one may be interested in, there is probably a connection Patrick can make to it!


Maki Ybarra-Young ‘20 (CAP Student Assistant) is from Kansas City, Kansas—the most Mid a place can West. After completing CAP in 2016, she participated in her first college theater experience in the THDA’s fall mainstage Bertolt Brecht's "Antigone" directed by Professor Ron Bashford. Maki fell in love with the arts on campus and worked on productions for the Green Room (a student-run theater group), directing studio pieces, senior theses, and independent works, totaling about nine shows--exhausting! In her sophomore year, she took interest in the campus's multicultural groups like the Indigenous Native Citizens Association, joined the cast for Women of Amherst from the WGC, and declared a Theater and Dance major! Declaring means thesis-work and thanks to a cross-listed Theater Dance Classics class, Maki has been inspired to use Amherst resources and study abroad in Athens to do research on ancient myths and theater!

studio team debrief

PDF icon Doing Art at Amherst 2017.pdf359.57 KB