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Arts and Cultural Life

Every year, Smith sponsors an impressive array of campus concerts, lectures, films and special events. But your cultural opportunities don't end there; with three other colleges and the University of Massachusetts just a short bus ride away, your choices of events, activities and organizations is nearly limitless.

Student Arts Organizations

Arts organizations are perhaps the most visible -- and audible -- of all groups at Smith. Tap dancers rehearse spirited choreography in the dance studio; power saws whir and hammers bang as a theater group builds a set in the Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts; voices soar and harmonize. Student directors and playwrights present their own productions, while visual artists offer their creations in exhibitions. Vocalists, musicians and dancers step forward in recitals and concert performances. So whether your creativity sparkles while you’re rehearsing your lines, hosting a party or playing a saxophone, Smith has an arts organization for you.

Fine Arts

About 125 Smith students major in art in a typical year, and more than 1,500 enroll in art classes annually, making the art department the most popular on campus. Activities include college-sponsored trips to city museums, campus and community gallery exhibitions, and visits by practicing artists and museum curators.

     Learn more about the art department >

Widely acknowledged as one of the most important art collections at an American college, the Smith College Museum of Art's holdings include nearly 25,000 objects, with particular strength in 19th- and early 20th-century European and American art. Students learn directly from original art through innovative classes, research, intern programs, gallery talks and visits.

     Learn more about the Museum of Art >

The Brown Fine Arts Center, the complex of buildings that houses the Museum of Art, art department and art library, is a state-of-the art facility for the study, contemplation and creation of art.

     Learn more about the Brown Fine Arts Center >

Performing Arts

Smith’s active dance department offers opportunities for students at many levels of expertise and commitment. Eight dance concerts are performed each year on the Smith campus, featuring choreography and performances by undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty.

     Learn more about the dance department >

For students who have little or no musical experience as well as those with extensive musical preparation, Smith’s music department offers a variety of courses in music history, theory, composition and performance courses. Opportunities for music making are plentiful; advanced students may give solo recitals and play in faculty-student concerts, and any student may audition for a wide variety of Smith and Five College vocal and instrumental performance groups.

     Learn more about the music department >

Smith offers theatre enthusiasts extraordinary opportunities both on and off the stage. The department presents an adventurous mix of plays from a variety of cultures, periods and genres, and all students are welcome to audition for productions.

     Learn more about the theatre department >

The Local Music Scene

If you like music and nightlife, several small venues in downtown Northampton offer live jazz, folk, blues and rock just about every night of the week. In the span of only a few months, you could have heard the Saw Doctors, Keb' Mo', Orchestra Baobab, Sonic Youth and the Decemberists, all performing live in Northampton. And just down the road, at the other area colleges, you could have been in the audience for concerts by John Mayer, Rascal Flatts or Ani DiFranco.

Arts & Cultural Life

The Five Colleges

Related Links

Art Department

Museum of Art

Performing Arts

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