Creative Arts and Performance (CAP)

A group singing and playing instruments A group art project Group lounging outside


Welcome to Creative Arts and Performance (CAP), your 2.5 day LEAP Orientation Program! We’re about to get started, so read below for any information you may need in order to feel prepared to join us. We can’t wait to meet you!

1. Our First Meeting Time 

Your 2.5 Day LEAP program, Creative Arts and Performance (CAP) starts on Friday, August 30 at 9am in Studio 2 in Webster Hall. There will be plenty of signage, but here's a map to help you out:

Map with Webster Hall circled

You should plan to bring with you:

  • An unused journal
  • A writing utensil
  • 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.)
  • Your responses to the two small homework assignments listed below.


Assignment #1, Help Build the Room:

We're building this space together. Please bring one item or element that makes you feel good that will help make our room ready to hold all of us. You can't be wrong with this--it can be an object, element, offering, piece of text, or anything you can imagine that you think would make our space take care of us (if your item or element is something you can hold, you'll get this back at the end of our program).


Assignment #2, Museum of Us Pre-Workshop Assignment

In this workshop, we explore identity as a potential space from/in which art can grow.  We’ll discover the intersections between identity and creative expression in art by making identity-based projects.

Sound structures so much of how we interact and understand the world around us. But because of its intangibility we often don’t think about our aural engagement with the world around us in the same ways we think about interacting with the world visually or kinetically. This workshop attempts to 1) attune us to the nuances of the sonic layers of our lives and 2) focus on art as storytelling and as renderings of identity.


Prelude: An Exercise in Bearing Witness

Close your eyes and think about what it means to bear witness to 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, influences that shape you. These come together to form your singular being. Think about what matters to you, to your identity and to your being rooted in this world. Try to be very specific when thinking about the stuff that comes together to form who you are.



(1) With these concepts in mind chose an artifact to bring with you to campus. This object should encapsulate a facet of you upon which you ruminated during the above exercise. This artifact can take any form in any medium, be it film, video, photography, a sketch, a poem, a song, etc. The important part is to bring some meaningful physical object with you to campus.

(2) Record the following things with any device* for 1 minute:

  1. record your favorite voice
  2. record a sound that means home to you
  3. record something that represent something you’re sad to be leaving behind
  4. record something that represents something you’re happy to be leaving behind
  5. record your social life (ambient of your family out to dinner, your friends hanging out, etc)
  6. record a sound you find soothing, pleasing
  7. record a sound you find annoying
  8. record the sound in the place you go the most often, and feel most like yourself
  9. record a place that you feel like matters to you, has sentimental value, also take a photo here

 (3) Send recordings b, c, d, h and i to this email address:

Looking forward to working with you,


 * please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you face technological barriers to completing the sound recording aspect of this exercise. You can reach me directly at


2. Our Full Program Schedule

CAP 2019 Schedule for Student Participants

Friday, August 30

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-5pm Mixed Tape Workshop, Diane, Studio 2 (then outside to Memorial Hill)

5pm-6pm Student Break

6:30pm -8: 30 pm Art at Amherst Community Dinner, Webster Lot/Memorial Hill (rain location: O’Connor Commons)

8:30pm-9:30pm Ice Cream / Fun Surprise

Closing Ritual


Saturday, August 31

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

9:25am-1pm Museum of Us Workshop, Ioanida, Studio 2, Webster Hall

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

2:00pm-4pm Paper Tectonics Workshop, Forrest, Fayerweather 101

4pm-6:00pm Student Break

6pm-7pm Dinner, Valentine Dining Hall

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

8:30pm Marsh Coffee Haus, Marsh Arts House

Closing Ritual


Sunday, September 1

9-9:25am Opening Ritual / Group Warm Up

9:25am-10:30am Scavenger Hunt, Various Campus Locations

10:30am-11:30am Sharings/Reflection, Memorial Hill

11:30am-12pm Final Reflection, Studio 2, Webster Hall

1pm-2pm Clean Up



3. Information about CAP and our Facilitation Team

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 Facilitator) creates performances, public programs, and games that challenge and invite audiences to participate in an active theater that rejects passive reception. As a writer, theatermaker, and educator, her work has been presented at Bushwick Starr, Haiti Cultural Exchange, Westmont College, The Flea Theater, Sibiu's International Theater Festival in Romania, University of California: Northridge, New Urban Arts (Providence), West Chicago City Museum, Bowery Poetry Club, Dixon Place, Independent Curators International, and more. Her writing appears in Cunjuh Magazine, The Atlas Review, and The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind, amongst other publications. Her chapbook, Teaches of Peaches, was published by TAR Chapbook Series in 2017. Diane holds an MFA in Writing for Performance from Brown University. She lives and works in Brooklyn, where she hangs out with her toothless cat Mariah and teaches playwriting at Saint Ann's School.

Ioanida Costache (CAP Facilitator) is a violinist, videographer, and Roma activist. She hails from Milwaukie, Oregon, where her parents landed after immigrating in 1985 from Bucharest, Romania. Currently, Ioanida is a PhD candidate in ethno/musicology at Stanford University. Her work explores issues of race and ethnicity, performance/construction of identity, cultural memory, trauma, and history as they intersect in Romani musico-oral traditions. Her short documentary, Light Upon (2014) paints a portrait of her violin teacher, Nicu Ciotoi and touches on issues of identity and heritage through musical transmission.

Reilly Horan (CAP Facilitator) is a Brooklyn-based crew lead, stage/road manager, production manager, scenic carpenter, teaching artist, storyteller, writer, and movement improviser, working with Blue Man Group, The Public Theater, Community Word Project, Education at Roundabout Theatre, The Moth, and a number of independent dance artists. Both in New York and in a touring capacity, her work focuses on devised and multimedia collaborative theater and dance, large theatrical community engagement projects with a justice lens, arts accessibility, identity-based work, 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 Facilitator) is a Detroit-based artist and designer. Forrest's practice is centered on exploring social and psychological issues through the creation of functional objects. Forrest will begin an MFA in 3D Design at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in the fall of 2019. He is a 2012 graduate of the Amherst College Theater and Dance Department. You can view samples of his work and artist statement at

Mary Prather (Student Assistant) is someone who loves to tell stories. She is experimenting with multiple different mediums, including live performance, writing, dance, and many more. Although most of her experience comes from theatrical work, both on stage and behind the scenes, her end goal is to be competent with all mediums. At Amherst, she works with the theater and dance department and is active in student organizations such as ACSU Dance and Random Acts of Kindness.

Cristóbal Silva (Student Assistant) is a senior from Concepción, Chile, majoring in Music. While he initially intended to major in physics, exploring courses through the open curriculum led him to his current major. He has been involved closely with the music department community, having participated both in department ensembles (Choral Society, Jazz Ensemble) and in student-led projects (senior theses and independent releases/concert series). He is also involved with the Theater and Dance department, participating in collaborative interdisciplinary projects through classes and as a musician/sound designer for senior theses. Cristóbal loves going on walks/bike rides around the area catching sounds with his field recorder and occasionally attending art shows around the Valley.

Julian Raiford (Student Assistant) is a rising junior at Amherst College who is an English and Studio Art double major. Julian has worked tightly with the visual art community, focusing on issues of home and personal identity within her writing and largely photo-based practice. However, she is deeply interested in audio-based practice and hosts her own radio show and produces and edits for a locally-based NEPR podcast. Julian has also invested a significant amount of time in organizing Amherst's art scene by working as the General Manager of the campus radio station as well as the Art Editor for the campus art and literature publication, Circus