Arts & Culture

India Association of Greater Springfield

India Association of Greater Springfield (IAGS) serves the cultural and social needs of the Greater Springfield Indian Community. IAGS is a non-profit, non-political and non-secretariat organization formed to promote unity, friendship and goodwill within the community. Events by the organization have hosted Indian classical musician Amjad Ali Khan at UMass Amherst’s Fine Arts center. He is world’s greatest master of the 25-stringed sarod and a world ambassador of Indian classical music.

Asian Arts and Culture Program

The Asian Arts and Culture Program was founded in 1993 by the Fine Arts Center to provide an awareness, appreciation and knowledge of Asia and Middle Eastern arts, culture and heritage. The program provides a consistent presence to non-western arts on campus and events for K-12 grades, college students and adults and seniors. Performances, festivals and events help showcase traditional, international and contemporary artists on campus for audiences to experience and enjoy.

Massachusetts Native American Trail Project

Native American Trail project is a collaborative effort to develop a website of maps of/for/by multiple Native American communities, where each community will share with the public their historical and contemporary cultural heritage. The Commission of Indian Affairs and the University of Massachusetts Amherst will work directly with Native American communities to develop the content and technology for each group. Each Native American community will be responsible for decisions concerning the content and presentation of the content on their site/link.

jubilat / Jones Reading Series

The jubilat / Jones Reading Series brings to Amherst a variety of new and established poets to read in tandem with poets who live closer to Amherst and Western Massachusetts. Every jubilat / Jones poet travels to Amherst with the help of a $200 honorarium, which the series is able to offer through the generosity of the Friends of the Jones Library and Amherst Cultural Council. Dara Wier (UMass-Amherst MFA Program for poets and writers) is co-founder and co-director of the series.

University Dancers Tour Class

University Dancers, composed mainly of Dance majors, is the only college touring company in New England that offers audiences a full range of dance repertory. The touring experience and the interactions at elementary, junior and senior high schools; other colleges; and community and retirement centers enable our dancers to make significant impact. For example, UD worked at the Kensington Elementary School, an inner-city school, and through UD's workshops, activities and performances, the children showed a remarkable brightening of spirit and their standardized test scores rose.

Field School in Heritage Archaeology

The field school recently partnered with the W.E.B. Du Bois National Historic Site, an organization in Great Barrington supporting the development of a community wide plan to celebrate the work of W.E.B. Du Bois, with the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association’s project to present the African American history of Franklin County, and with the Pan African History Museum USA of Springfield a community based museum that presents the African American history of the Springfield area. In the past we have also worked with Historic Deerfield, Inc., a regional museum of New England history.

Heritage Assessment and Community Development, Eleuthera, Bahamas

The Center for Heritage & Society has initiated a partnership with a community development organization on the island of Eleuthera, Bahamas ( We have conducted a pilot research project (Historic Building Survey) in Governor's Harbor, and we have developed a community engagement web portal for use by our partners. Finally, we are now in the development phase of an archaeological survey and excavation project in Millars on the site of a former plantation in collaboration with the descendent community.

Jewish Literature: Film and Text

An offshoot of the People of the Book Discussion Group founded many years ago, this initiative combines literature with its cinematic adaptations. Amherst Cinema hosts the event which typically begins at 7:00 pm with a screening of the film followed by a scholar-led discussion of the film and the book paired with it.

Springfield Armory Alliance

Faculty member is a board member of the Springfield Armory Alliance, which is the public board of the Springfield Armory, a National Historic Site managed by the National Parks Service in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Springfield Armory holds a special place in the history of the Pioneer Valley as a major contributor to the Valley's regional planning, economic development, and contributions to innovation.

Ongoing Partnership with Housatonic Heritage and the African American Heritage Trail

This program is an ongoing partnership between the UMass Amherst Public History program and Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area (Housatonic Heritage), an organization that identifies, preserves, shares and celebrates African American heritage in the Upper Housatonic Valley, and the African American Heritage Trail, a project of Housatonic Heritage. Student projects have included an exhibit for the Samuel Harrison House; a exhibit for the Friends of the W.E.B.

Ongoing Partnership with the Trustees of Reservations

This program is an ongoing partnership between the UMass Amherst Public History Program and the Trustees of Reservations, an organization that preserves, for public use and enjoyment, over 100 properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts. Student projects have included the development of a youth program for the William Cullen Bryant Homestead; the award-winning project “Elizabeth Freeman: A Story of Courage;" and projects at the Ashintully Gardens.

Ongoing Partnership with Historic Deerfield

This program is an ongoing partnership between the UMass Amherst Public History Program and Historic Deerfield, an outdoor history museum that focuses on the history and culture of the Connecticut River Valley and early New England. Student-generated projects have included an exhibit and panel discussion on silk and agriculture in Deerfield; the creation of several new walking tours of Historic Deerfield; and involvement by Public History students and faculty in the Historic Deerfield Summer Fellowship Program.

Ongoing Partnership with Wistariahurst Museum

This program is an ongoing partnership between the UMass Amherst Public History Program and Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, MA. Projects have included a student-developed servants' tour of Wistariahurst; a bilingual exhibit on a settlement house in Holyoke; and "History Walk," a bilingual walking mobile tour of Holyoke by MA student Jon Haeber:

Master of Science in Design & Historic Preservation

The Design & Historic Preservation Master of Science program uses Hancock Shaker Village, one of the largest and best preserved Shaker sites in the nation, as a primary study site. The Shaker’s deep-seated commitment to sustainability in building, living and farming is the philosophical ground for the program’s curriculum. Students learn and expand their skills in architectural design, historic preservation, construction, restoration, town planning, as well as their understanding of historic site management while working closely with leading preservationists in the state and region.

Ventures In Science Using Art Laboratory (VISUAL)

Captivating Images of MRSEC-supported research serve as an effective means to educate and stimulate the general public, as well as students of all ages, on the importance of scientific research in our everyday lives. Each fascinating image is a direct experimental result from research conducted in the MRSEC. Accompanying each image is a description, in non-technical terms, that explains the science behind the picture. Venues for exhibits range from galleries, schools, libraries, hospitals and cafés.

Guest Speaker - Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival

Dr. Jonathan Skolnik, of UMass German Studies and Judaic & Near Eastern Studies, was a guest speaker at the Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival screening of "Jealous of the Birds," 10 April, 2013, at Springfield College. Dr. Skolnik in an annual speaker at the Film Festival.

The Festival of Madness and Mayhem

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare. Directed by Dori Robinson. Join us for the second portion of The Festival of Madness and Mayhem! Thursday April 18 and Saturday April 20 at 7 p.m. Sunday April 21 at 2 p.m. Thursday April 25 and Saturday April 27 at 7 p.m. $7 adults and $5 student, payable in cash at the door. All performances take place in the Black Box Theater (barn) at The UMass Renaissance Center 650 East Pleasant Street, Amherst. To reserve your seat, call Vincent at the Renaissance Center 577-3600.

Movable Feast

Movable Feast is a socially engaged art and food project to promote “Food System Change,” and a literal and metaphoric vehicle that advocates for building a healthier regional food system. The project provides a visual and culinary catalyst for discussing, highlighting and disseminating information about healthy community-based food practices in Western Massachusetts’ diverse communities. The retrofitted mobile food service trailer at the center of this project is an advocacy tool for healthy eating, local food production and sustainability.

Sustainable Knowledge Corridor Civic Engagement

This civic engagement project supports a regional planning effort—the “Sustainable Knowledge Corridor Project”—which aims to create a foundation of opportunity in housing, education, transportation, employment, health, environment and community resources throughout Hampden and Hampshire counties. Inclusive public involvement is an important part of this project, with a focus on engaging under-represented communities in discussions about the opportunities and obstacles to create an equitable and sustainable future for their cities, towns and neighborhoods.

Architecture + Design: Design 6 (Design Engagement Studio)

This capstone design studio is offered each Spring as part of the Architecture + Design curriculum. Working with a different community based organization each semester student teams engage in reflective research on sustainability, social engagement and innovative design practices as they respond to a design need defined by the local organization. The projects and proposals that emerge from this studio promote social transformation through innovative design.

Gender in Adaptation: A Discussion with Professor Harley Erdman and Playwright Constance Congdon

Gender in Adaptation: A Discussion with Professor Harley Erdman and Playwright Constance Congdon 7:00pm Friday, April 26th, 2013 in the Fine Arts Center Lobby. Join Professor Harley Erdman and Playwright Constance Congdon as they discuss the politics and possibilities of gender in adaptation through an in-depth look at their plays Suitors and Casanova, both featured in the UMass Department of Theater's 40th Anniversary Season.

"Video Vixens" in Hip Hop today

Special Event In conjunction with our production of Venus, the Department of Theater will host a free panel discussion and live demonstration examining the relationship between Baartman's image and the image of "Video Vixens" in Hip Hop today. To be held on April 5 at 4 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Atrium, the event will feature Hip Hop activist Rosa Clemente and DJ Reborn. This special event is made possible in part by Amherst College, the Five College Multicultural Fund, the Lois E. Toko Fund, and the UMass Arts Council.


Casanova UMass alumna Connie Congdon Directed by Brianna Sloane April 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 The Rand Theater The University of Massachusetts-Amherst Department of Theater is fortunate to count renowned playwright Constance Congdon among its alumnae. We are pleased to end our celebrating of women playwrights with one of her favorite works, Casanova. This play nimbly examines the story of the famous Italian seducer and across time and space, weaving memory with fantasy and prompting intriguing questions about the nature of love and remembrance.


By Suzan-Lori Parks Directed by Judyie Al-Bilali March 28, 29, 30 April 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 The Curtain Theater In Venus, Suzan-Lori Parks remembers and re-imagines the historical figure of Sarah Baartman, known to the world as "the Hottentot Venus." In the early 19th century, Baartman, a Khoisan woman from South Africa, was taken from her country and displayed across Europe as a freak and a medical anomaly for her large buttocks.