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Smith Arts Day

On Saturday, April 13, the Smith Office for the Arts (SOFA) presented the first Smith Arts Day, a daylong celebration of the artistic and creative community at Smith College, bringing the arts together—across disciplines and across campus. SOFA invited community members to join in for performances, exhibitions, workshops, art-making activities, and more.

Want to view the schedule in print? Download the PDF.


The event kicked off on Friday night, April 12, with the Smith College Museum of Art’s Second Friday. The festivities continued on Saturday, and campuswide highlights included:

  • Iva Dee Hiatt Memorial Concert, presented by the music department
  • Senior Dance Concert, presented by the dance department (Tickets are $5–10 at the SmithArts Box Office)
  • Cut Loose: Collage Bookmarks at Hillyer Art Library
  • Smith Shakes performance of Romeo & Juliet
  • Smith Tap Ensemble workshop
  • Open rehearsals at Josten Performing Arts Library
  • Interactive Smith Arts Day mural
  • Lego printing at the Design Thinking Initiative
  • Smith 2 Do: Paper Flowers with the Office of Student Engagement
  • Bell ringing open house and handbell open rehearsal
  • Open office hours with Kiki Smith ’71 in the costume shop
  • Light Lab Open House in Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, featuring works by the “Intro to Lighting” class

Special Installations

Julia McWilliams Child ’34 Campus Center, Room 208, noon–5 p.m.
Poetry in Motion: A Collaboration between FMS 282: Advanced Filmmaking and PYX 301: Advanced Poetry Writing
Advanced production students interpret poems written in the poetry capstone course, creating an experimental video through visual storytelling, cinematography, and sound design. By employing various cinematic techniques and creative interpretations, students explore the nuanced layers of meaning within poems and offer their unique cinematic perspectives. Professors Anaiis Cisco and Yona Harvey.

Neilson Library Lobby, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Throughout the year, third graders at the Smith College Campus School study rivers. This year, students created watercolors inspired by river observations using techniques to achieve the illusion of depth and movement, and by visiting the Smith College Museum of Art to see how other artists represent these ideas in their work. These paintings on view capture the feeling and flow of the Mill River.

McConnell Hall/Sabin-Reed Hall, third-floor skywalk, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
This commemorative installation displays the lantern slides of physicist Gladys Anslow, educator and researcher at Smith College from 1909–1969. Anslow was the first woman to work on the cyclotron at UC Berkeley, was awarded President Truman’s Certificate of Merit for her leadership in the Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II, and helped create Smith’s robust, interdisciplinary sciences program, which has inspired generations of underrepresented students to pursue careers in science. This display commemorates both her work as a physicist and the mark she made on Smith College.

Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, lower Gamut/spiral staircase, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
After wiring together a functional lamp as their foundation, students from “Introduction To Lighting Design” created a luminous sculpture that transforms in both shape and form.

Hillyer lobby/museum atrium, noon–6 p.m.
Building on practices of participatory and speculative design, the Making Radical Futures Lab is facilitating the co-creation of an illustrated map of the Connecticut River Valley in a future 100 years beyond the fall of capitalism. The map will show diverse visions of local groups that experiment with alternative ways of producing and sharing the things we need, such as mutual aid networks, worker cooperatives, and community land trusts. This installation will display drawings and stories made by these groups, as well as our in-progress work to synthesize their visions into a shared map of the valley. Visitors will be able to interact with the installation and contribute their own perspective on the visions displayed.

10-Minute Dance Parties

In collaboration with WOZQ, the campus radio station, take 10 minutes to get out of your head and into the mood to be creative—celebrate Smith Arts Day with style!

Times & Locations

1 p.m., Campus Center lawn
3:30 p.m., Campus Center lawn
5 p.m., Campus Center lawn

Full Event Schedule

Not sure where to go? Check out the campus map and find your way to the fun.

Exploratory Nature-Based Art with the PLACE Lab

Smith College Botanic Garden, Room 111, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Come spend the day with the PLant physiology, Art, and Community Engagement (PLACE) Lab to observe art on display and engage in interactive art-based activities to connect with our natural environment. The PLACE Lab investigates how plants interact with the changing world, implements art to engage with and communicate what we are learning, and collaborates with local communities to make science more inclusive and accessible for students from underrepresented and undersupported backgrounds.

Open Group Rehearsals

Josten Library Mezzanine, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Josten Library is hosting open rehearsals with select campus and community groups throughout Smith Arts Day. Groups include the Ukulele Strum Group (from the Saturday morning practice at Forbes Library) from 10 a.m. to noon, Smith’s own Blackappella and POCappella groups from noon to 2 p.m., and Shape-Note Singers (from the Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Community) from 2 to 4 p.m. Participation is welcome and encouraged; rehearsals are beginner friendly.

Imaging Center Open House

Hillyer Hall, third floor, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Visit the Smith College Imaging Center and check out a few special installations for Smith Arts Day, including a macro photography exhibition of images taken by the center for special collections, geology, Asian studies, and archives; student work in the critique room; student video work in the 320 lab; and an exhibition of digital projects and vintage equipment (lantern slides, plaster casts, etc.) used to study art and art history. If you have time, visit the first floor of Hillyer for a virtual reality display of the Porticus of Livia recreation area, developed by the center with Barbara Kellum and her STRIDE student, Emma Civello ’24. 

10-Minute Play: The Custom of the Sea

Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Acting Studio 1, 11 a.m.
The Smith College Student Theatre Committee (STC) presents The Custom of the Sea, a student-written and produced 10-minute play from STC’s 10-Minute Play Festival. Custom is about four sailors, shipwrecked and adrift on the open sea, who must take drastic action if they have any hope of survival. Content warnings include violence, blood, and death.

Bell Tower Open House

Mendenhall Bell Tower, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Come see and ring the bells in the Mendenhall Bell Tower! (Enter near the bike rack in the Mendenhall courtyard and turn left.) Change ringing is a centuries-old English tradition of ringing bells in various patterns, using bells that weigh hundreds of pounds and swing full circle. At this open house, you will be invited to see the bells, get your first taste of ringing them, and observe more experienced students ring in patterns.

Smith Tap Ensemble Open Class

Berenson Leeds Studio, noon–1 p.m.
The class will be geared toward beginners, but tappers of all levels are encouraged to come! We’ll learn some basic tap steps and then put them together into a fun combo. No experience or tap shoes necessary, and all ages are welcome! Spots available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Lego Printing with DTI

Design Thinking Initiative at Capen Annex, 12:30–3:30 p.m.
Learn how to make a print with lego tiles at the Design Thinking Initiative.

Costume Shop Open House

Smith Costume Shop, Mendenhall basement, 1–3 p.m.
Kiki Smith ’71, a professor of theatre and costume design, will have an open studio in the basement of the theatre building. She will share the progress of work in the costume shop on her designs for Everybody, the final department production of the academic year, featuring the production of the costumes done by students. She will also have the workshop for the Smith College Historic Clothing Collection open, where she can show items from the collection here that will be on exhibit in the New-York Historical Society starting on October 1 this fall. The collection, founded by a student, is supported by student interns and research assistants.

Smith Arts Day Community Mural

Hillyer lobby/museum atrium, 1–6 p.m.
Come and leave your mark on the first collaborative Smith Arts Day mural, which will be a lasting visible marker of this year’s event and will commemorate this special celebration of the arts on campus.

SmithArts Pencil Pouch Decorating

Hillyer lobby/museum atrium, 1–6 p.m.
Customize your own SmithArts pencil pouch! Supplies provided.

Experiences with Art @ SCMA

Smith College Museum of Art, 1:30–2:30 p.m.
Explore the Smith College Museum of Art with SCMA’s Student Museum Educators (SME). Join us for a participatory experiences with art led by SMEs, who will also share what it is like to work in the art museum as a Smith student. Look closely, draw, write, and talk about art on all four floors of the museum! Open to all. Meet in the SCMA lobby.

Ecopoetics: Works of Action and Restoration

The Center for the Environment, Ecological Design, and Sustainability (CEEDS), Wright Hall lower level, 2–3 p.m.
In the fall of 2023, the students of ENG 318: American Poetry and Social Movements embarked on a hands-on ecopoetic making workshop at the MacLeish Field Station with poet-scholar Margaret Ronda. The workshop, called “Ecopoetics: Attention, Contact, Action,” built on readings throughout the course to culminate in a “day of making.” Using a series of guided prompts focusing their attention on their embodied perceptions of the environment at the MacLeish Field Station, students developed creative work and critical reflections—both of which will be on display at this event.

Open Handbell Practice

Mendenhall Bell Tower (or outside if the weather is nice), 2–3 p.m.
Change ringing is a style of bell ringing that uses mathematical patterns rather than melodies. It’s often done using large tower bells, but it is also done using handbells. Because it takes less time to learn how to physically ring handbells, you can dive right into learning some of the patterns. All are welcome to come to this practice and try change ringing for the first time!

Color Music Projects

Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, T209/Light Lab, 2–3 p.m.
The class is divided into three groups of three. Each group lights a sculpture (created by a former Smith student in the art department) set to a piece of music of their choice.

  • 2 p.m.: Glittering City of Esoterica by Frankie McRedmond, Crash, Quin Berfield-Brewer
  • 2:20 p.m.: Epic for Sanity by Reed Shaw, Claire Shaw, Sarah Morquecho
  • 2:40 p.m.: The Escape by Dana Willette, Ruth Andrews, Kathleen Green

Open Focus Call

Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre, 2–3 p.m.
Lighting designer Via Sussman ‘26 works with student electricians (THE 200, THE 253, work studies) to focus lights for Everybody, the third mainstage production of the 2023–24 season, produced by the Department of Theatre.

SmithArts Tote Bag Giveaway

Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Theatre 14 lobby, 2–5 p.m.
Grab a coveted SmithArts tote bag, featuring the hand-drawn picture of the Grécourt Gates by Rose Metting ‘12.

Cut Loose: Collage Bookmarks

Hillyer Art Library, second floor, 3–5 p.m.
Step into Smith Arts Day with our “Cut Loose: Collage Bookmarks” workshop with local collage artist Michael Sjostedt. Take a creative intermission from studying and join us in Hillyer Art Library to create up to six bookmarks, listen to some tunes, and de-stress before finals! Space is limited to 25 people—first come, first served.

Quarter Peal Attempts

Mendenhall Bell Tower, 3–5:30 p.m.
A quarter peal involves 6 to 8 ringers, each controlling one bell with a rope, ringing the bells in different orders for about 40 minutes. (It’s the ringers’ equivalent of a 5K run!) If you stand or sit outside, near the Mendenhall Bell Tower, you will hear the sound of the bells as the Smith ringers go through these patterns.

Romeo and Juliet, presented by Smith Shakes

Stoddard Hall Auditorium, 7:30 p.m. (Doors open at 7 p.m.)
Smith Shakes production
What if your first true love was someone you’d been told to hate? Ripped apart by the bitter divisions of their parents, two young people will risk everything to be together. The most famous story of love at first sight explodes with intense passion and an irresistible desire for change.

Iva Dee Hiatt Memorial Concert

Sweeney Concert Hall, 7:30 p.m.
The Smith College Department of Music presents the 2024 Iva Dee Hiatt Memorial Concert. The Smith College Glee Club and Alumnae Chorus present a concert featuring excerpts from Folk Songs of the Four Seasons by Ralph Vaughan Williams and the local premiere of Lullaby for Ukraine by Victoria Fraser ‘10. Jonathan Hirsh and Paige Graham will conduct. Free and open to the public.

Senior Dance Concert: Evocations

Scott Gym Dance Studio, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Tickets required
The Smith College Department of Dance presents the Senior Dance Concert, featuring the choreography of Di’ Anna Bonomolo, Radha Consiglio, Emma Frank, Mara Kelly, Ashton Lane, Emma Lawrence, and Drew Rivera. Tickets are $5–10 through the SmithArts Box Office

WOZQ Spring Concert: THUS LOVE and Sword II

Quadrangle, 8–10 p.m.
Smiths' radio station WOZQ 91.9 presents THUS LOVE and Sword II live in concert on the quad.  Free and open to the public.

Smith 2 Do: Paper Flowers

Julia McWilliams Child ’34 Campus Center 203, 9–11 p.m.
Join the Office of Student Engagement for paper-flower making. Open to all regardless of experience, supplies provided. Open to students only. (The Campus Center doors will be locked to the public at 7 p.m.)

Ongoing Exhibitions

McConnell Hall Lobby, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
In BUS: A Teacher in Transit, Smith College visiting professor and Joan Leiman Jacobson Writer-in-Residence Russ Rymer presents an essay in photographs and wall text about the nature of reality and perception, and the conjoined arts of science and writing—all told through Rymer’s experience commuting to Northampton on the intercity bus. The 10 images in the show—shot with a rudimentary camera during those commutes and blown up to an enormous size—capture the magical light show infusing his bus rides, which Rymer likens to “blasting through space in a kaleidoscope.” Presented by Smith Office for the Arts in partnership with the Department of English Language and Literature and the Clark Science Center.

Smith College Botanic Garden, Lyman Church Gallery, 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
This exhibit explores Plath’s interactions with Lyman, her time studying botany at Smith, and how those experiences influenced the botanical images and symbolism that run throughout her work. Using archival materials from the college’s special collections and Plath’s literary work as a guide, visitors to this exhibit are invited to inhabit Lyman as Plath once did and explore Plath’s botanical imagination through the arts, humanities, and sciences.

Julia McWilliams Child ’34 Campus Center, Nolen Art Lounge, 9 a.m.–7 p.m.
This is an open invitation to be part of a conversation that dispels assumptions and surfaces a renewed relationship with the word “menopause.” Explore the forces that tie us to conventionality and patriarchal tropes associated with menopause and how probing the uncomfortable with curiosity and courage can spur further conversation and growth. Fifteen contributors ranging in age from 38 to 79 years old were interviewed for this piece. The people involved all had a different life experience and are in varying stages of menopause, resulting in different and intriguing opinions and perspectives on the topic. This multimedia exhibit by Margaret Parks ’24 is an opportunity for participants to explore and develop their relationship with the subject of menopause and be a part of the conversation. Visitors are welcome to walk around the space and delicately probe the objects. 

Neilson Library, lower-level gallery wall, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
View the installation by Ava Harper ’24J and Celosía Willison ’24—the winners of the 2023–24 Amplify Public Art Competition sponsored by the Wurtele Center for Leadership. This year, Smith Office for the Arts and the Smith Libraries partnered to issue a call for proposals for public art projects in response to the exhibition Radical Visions: The Art of Protest Posters, featured on the gallery wall this past fall.

Hillyer Hall, Oresman Gallery, 9 a.m.–7 p.m.
Gaye Chan is a conceptual artist who moves between solo and collaborative activities that take place on the web, in publications, as part of street shows, and in traditional galleries. This exhibition is a durational project she began in 2012 that stemmed from a chance encounter at a produce distribution company. Intending to get a case of overripe tomatoes to make sauce, she noticed heaps of baling straps—used once and discarded into the waste stream. Unable to simply walk away, Chan gave herself the task of figuring out how to reuse them. Eleven years and over a thousand baskets later, she continues to extend the life of this “waste” material.

Hillyer Hall, Jannotta Gallery, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
This group exhibition by students in ARS 390: Senior Studio II includes senior studio art majors Gabrielle Coello, Miranda Gibson, Valerie Olivares, Victoria Partakki, Taylor Wells, and Jade Wong.

The Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) is recognized as a leading academic museum, contributing meaningfully to Smith College’s mission to educate women of promise for lives of distinction and purpose. We welcome all visitors, including students, staff, faculty, and community from the region and around the world. The museum’s collection represents the diversity of art and material culture across periods and geographies.

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