Making Sense of Art is an interdisciplinary introduction to the arts designed by the Mead Art Museum. Join us for 2.5 days of multi-sensory experiences that will both anchor and destabilize your ideas about art.

On this LEAP, we’ll journey into virtual reality at MassMOCA (the largest contemporary art museum in the United States), indulge in culinary experiences, and experiment with sensory materials to make art. We’ll also spend lots of time close-looking at art at the Mead to track the impact of these sensory experiences on visual perception.

 You will learn to:

  • think about how sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch impact our perception of art
  • talk about art and cultural experiences with your peers
  • see museums, especially the Mead Art Museum, as sites for play

 Please note:

  • We’ll be exploring art with all our senses. No prior experience with art or museums is required, but curiosity and willingness to try new things are a must!
  • This LEAP entails lots of walking and standing in museums. Please be in touch with questions about accessibility concerns as soon as possible.
  • This LEAP may not be appropriate for those with sensitivities to fragrance.
  • We can accommodate food allergies, but if you’re a picky eater, this may not be for you.

What to Expect:

A tentative itinerary is listed below.

Friday, August 30, 2019 | See, Smell, Taste

Join us for a day of art activities and sensory exploration. Activities include, personalized perfume making and dining in the dark.

 10am - 12:30pm | Welcome!

  • Intros & Icebreakers at the Mead
  • We’ll break into teams to “adopt” works of art and participate in sensory activities in the museum.

12:30-1:30pm | Lunch on your own

1:30-3:30pm | More sensory experiences with art, including a custom scent-making class

6-9pm | Dining in the Dark experience at Velvet

  • We will be in touch about dietary restrictions and food allergies in advance.

Saturday, August 31 | See + Taste + Hear

11am | Depart from Amherst to MASS MoCA 

12:30-1:30pm | Group Lunch at Lickety Split, MASS MoCA

1:30-5pm | Explore the galleries at MASS MoCA

  • Free exploration, as well as timed appointments at special installations by artists such as James Turrell

5-7:30pm | Dinner in North Adams  

 8pm | Flying Lotus Concert at MASS MoCA

  • As MASS MoCA describes it, “A dance party to end this summer — and maybe all summers! The experimental hip-hop and electronic artist, label-founder, filmmaker, Adult Swim mastermind, and all-around wizard of the LA underground beat scene Flying Lotus swoops into town as part of a limited tour, with a video wall, 3-D glasses for all, and a head full of crazy music just waiting to come out. Inspired by Madlib, Herbie Hancock, MF Doom, Miles Davis, J Dilla, and his great aunt and uncle – Alice and John Coltrane – he creates grooves and beats that will open, then blow, your mind.”

 Sunday, September 1, 2019

10:30-11:30am | Guided Reflection over brunch at the Mead 

About Us

Danielle Amodeo '13 works in marketing (@meadartmuseum) and public programs at the Mead Art Museum & is devoted to working for equity in the arts. Danielle has worked at The Culture LP, the Sterling and Francine Clark Institute of Art, Creative Time, the Dentsu Aegis Network, the Frick Collection, and Teen Vogue. She received a B.A. in European Studies from Amherst College and an M.A. in Art History from Williams College (yep, that Williams). Outside of work, Danielle enjoys going to concerts, frequenting Amherst Cinema, and road tripping with her camera (@several_wolves).

Emily Potter-Ndiaye is the Dwight and Kirsten Poler & Andrew W. Mellon Head of Education and Curator of Academic Programs at the Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, she oversees student and faculty engagement through class visits, student mentoring, public programs, and inclusive interpretation. Her career focus is managing and leading museum programs that leverage history, art, and cultural heritage to spark and contextualize meaningful contemporary dialogue. Emily received an MA in Museum Studies from NYU and a BA in History and African Studies from Macalester College. Prior to her work at the Mead, she was Director of Education at Brooklyn Historical Society and led education programs at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, the New-York Historical Society, and Institution Marc Perrot in Dakar, Senegal. Outside of work, she enjoys biking, dancing, and trying out and rating all of the ice-cream joints around Amherst with her kids.

Eileen Smith is the financial and administrative assistant at the Mead Art Museum. She works to keep the Mead’s budgets in line and up to date, coordinates and runs meetings for the Mead’s Advisory Board, and manages the day-to-day operations of the office. Eileen also works as the finance manager for the Harry Potter Alliance, a nonprofit devoted to helping young people get excited about activism through stories and culture. She received a B.A. in English from Saint Anselm College and is currently working towards a degree in accounting. Outside of work and school, Eileen likes to read, go on hikes to search for waterfalls, and explore Western Mass.