Emancipating the Past: Kara Walker’s Tales of Slavery and Power @ University Museum of Contemporary Art
Feb 2 – Apr 30 all-day

The University Museum of Contemporary Art (UMCA) at UMass Amherst is proud to present Emancipating the Past: Kara Walker’s Tales of Slavery and Power .

Kara Walker has become one of the most widely-known and controversial artists working today. Exploring the painful history of American race relations through large-scale silhouette installations, Walker’s work transforms historical materials, literary sources and popular culture, challenging us to access buried emotions about our nation’s past. In her hands, the medium of silhouette becomes a tool for examining the traumatic legacy  of slavery.

This exhibition brings together 60 works in a variety of mediums, from printmaking (such as lithograph, etching with aquatint, photogravure, linocut, and screen-print), to wall murals, metal sculpture and shadow puppetry. The exhibition was curated by Jessi Di Tillio, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon. All works in this exhibition come from the Portland, Oregon-based collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.

Collector Jordan Schnitzer has said, “Kara Walker is one of the most important artists in our collection. Her art needs to be seen and the themes need to be examined. No artist today does a better job of forcing the viewers to deal with stereotypes, gender, and race.”

The exhibition includes three narrative series — The Emancipation Approximation (1999–2000),  Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War: Annotated  (2005), and  An Unpeopled Land in Uncharted Waters  (2010) — along with numerous individual works that underline Walker’s use of Antebellum and Reconstruction-era imagery and themes. Her narratives unfold in elaborate tableaux that tackle issues of race, slavery, sexuality, identity, and power. The works, which are inventive and painful but also satirical and humorous, were selected for the exhibition to display the range of approaches Walker uses to explore the legacy of slavery.

Walker explained, “One theme in my artwork is the idea that a Black subject in the present tense is a container for specific pathologies from the past and is continually growing and feeding off those maladies….” By looking carefully at a selection of Walker’s projects in different media, this exhibition emphasizes the interface between technique and concept in her work. Walker’s use of historically inflected techniques investigates the question: “How is contemporary identity shaped and affected by the imagery from the past?”

Exhibit: Beyond the Forest: Jewish Presence in Eastern Europe, 2004–2012 @ Yiddish Book Center
Mar 19 – Oct 15 all-day

A photographic series looking at the fragile renewal of Jewish life in Eastern Europe in the early 21st century, by Israeli-American photographer Loli Kantor.

She Speaks /They Speak: Narrative of Oppression and Triumph, Celebrating the voices of Women of Color. @ University Museum of Contemporary Art
Apr 28 @ 7:30 pm

SPOKEN WORD   In conjunction with the Women of Color Leadership Network at the Center for Women & Community, the University Museum of Contemporary Art invites women of color to celebrate their diverse and dynamic narratives through storytelling. With Kiara Hill, Afro-American Studies doctoral student; and Eden Bekele, Art History undergraduate student. Co-sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs and Campus Life.  Fine Arts Center lobby.

We encourage submissions by self-identified women and non-binary/queer persons of color of all ages and backgrounds. Those interested in participating must submit a short description of a story/poem with a reading time no longer than 5 minutes. Submissions are open to all Five College students and the larger community. Learn more here.
Spring Cleaning: Scrub, Rub, Polish and Shine
Apr 29 @ 12:00 pm – Jun 25 @ 4:00 pm

Saturdays and Sundays

After a long and snowy winter the History Workshop is ready to throw open its doors and launch into a real old fashioned spring cleaning.  Roll up your sleeves and join us to learn how to wash clothes using a wooden wash board and tub, and make some soap while you scrub.  The cast iron pots and the silver need polishing and the dusty rugs need a thorough cleaning with the rug beater. Whitewash a wall, sweep the floors with a homemade broom and use a feather duster. “Spring” into spring, with a cleaning fling!

Sightlines Tour: Celestial Bodies @ Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
Apr 29 @ 1:30 pm

With today’s advanced understanding of the universe, it’s easy to forget that for most of human history we had no scientific explanation for what we saw in the sky—and it was all the more awe-inspiring for that reason. The sun, moon, planets, and stars had an immediate presence in our lives; they weren’t simply balls of gas or chunks of rock hurtling through space millions of miles away, but objects of mystery and power. This tour will look at art—both ancient and modern, religious and secular—that depicts the sun, moon, and heavens, and together visitors will rediscover the magic of these celestial bodies.

– See more at: https://artmuseum.mtholyoke.edu/event/celestial-bodies?bc=node/27#sthash.L4lgjxdT.dpuf

The 7th Annual Barbara Elleman Research Library (BERL) Lecture: The Enduring Magic of Story with Author/Illustrator Steven Kellogg @ Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Apr 29 @ 2:00 pm

We all have a place in the storytelling circle. Join Steven Kellogg as he shares his appreciation for the enduring gift of story and how it enriches our lives, as well as the arts of writing and illustrating, which open the gates to the world of stories and the magic they can generate. Light reception and book signing to follow.

Family Day @ Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
Apr 29 @ 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Celebrate spring at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum!
Join us for family-friendly interactive tours, stories, art activities, button-making, and more! – See more at: https://artmuseum.mtholyoke.edu/event/family-day-0?bc=node/1103#sthash.T1RO9wrz.dpuf

Special Sundays in the Studio: Art Gardeners @ Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Apr 30 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Experiment with materials in the Art Studio and watch our creative garden grow!

Talk: Anti-Semitism and the Left, with Ilan Stavans @ Yiddish Book Center
May 2 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

The second in Stavans’s three-lecture series on anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism remains an inextricable part of contemporary life. In today’s America, it finds partners in unlikely places, from the government to college campuses to rural communities. In this series of three talks, each with a different focus, author and Amherst College Professor Ilan Stavans considers the “new normal” in today’s United States and the ways anti-Semitism manifests in regions as diverse as Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.

The other talks in the series take place April 25 and May 9.

Amherst Arts Night Plus @ Emily Dickinson Museum
May 4 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

During Amherst Arts Night Plus drop in at the Museum for an open mic, poetry reading, and one-night art exhibit. Open mic signups are from 5-6 pm, and the open mic begins at 6 pm with the featured readers following. The open mic is a chance to share your newest (or oldest) creative endeavor with a warm and welcoming audience in Emily Dickinson’s own parlor. All are encouraged to share written word, music, and performance, or to simply lend a friendly ear!

Featured Artists: Vincent Frano and Isa Wang of The Bower Studio in Pelham seek to create functional artwork that encourage environmental stewardship, highlighting the diversity of American flora and fauna.