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About the Institute


Kahn Liberal Arts Institute

21 Henshaw Avenue
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-3721
Fax: 413-585-4294
Photo of the Kahn Institute building

A group of faculty members proposed the idea of a liberal arts institute as an innovative way to provide intellectual as well as physical space for scholarly development. Their goal was to create an imaginatively designed and managed institute, outside the curriculum but creatively linked to it, to give faculty, students and outside experts a place to collaborate on research projects of broad scope. They also envisioned a rich series of public events related to these projects to enhance the intellectual life of the college. 

History of the Kahn Institute

A generous bequest from Louise Wolff Kahn ’31 substantially augmented the Louise W. and Edmund J. Kahn Fund for Faculty Excellence, making it possible to establish the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute in 1998. The institute opened in September 2000 on the third floor of Neilson Library and is now located at 21 Henshaw Avenue.


Frazer Ward, professor of art, teaching in the classroom

About the Director

Frazer Ward, teaches courses on the history and theory of modern and contemporary art and architecture. He is the author of No Innocent Bystanders: Performance Art and Audience (2012), and his work appears widely in books, journals and catalogs. His current research interests, alongside his longstanding interest in performance art, include the implications of new imaging technologies, the effects of globalization on the practices and histories of art, and the role of art in contemporary public spheres.

Communications & Project Administrator

Lauren Anderson

Administrative Coordinator

Christine Reynolds

Advisory Committee

Chris Aiken
Associate Professor of Dance

Payal Banerjee
Associate Professor of Sociology

Christophe Golé
Professor of Mathematical Sciences; Faculty Director of the Clark Science Center

Susan Fliss
Dean of Libraries, ex-officio

Jean Ferguson
Director of Learning, Research and Technology

Jessica Nicoll
Director & Chief Curator of the Smith Museum of Art, ex-officio

Nina Pelaez
Associate Director of Learning and Interpretation, Smith College Museum of Art

Christine Reynolds
Administrative Coordinator, Kahn Institute

Frazer Ward
Interim Director of the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute, Professor and Chair of Department of Art

Sujane Wu
Professor of East Asian Languages (on sabbatical 2022-2023)