Smith College, a highly rated liberal arts college for women in Northampton, Massachusetts, has established the Smith College Museum of Art Artist-in-Residence Program. Amanda Williams, an African American painter and sculptor has been named the first artist-in-residence.
“Amanda stood out as the ideal artist to inaugurate this program. Not only is she at a pivotal point in her career, but her practice, which is generous and collaborative, interdisciplinary and research-based, evidences a deep commitment to engaging the world around her. We’re thrilled and excited to welcome her to campus,” stated Jessica Nicoll, director and Louise Ines Doyle ’34 Chief Curator of the Smith College Museum of Art.
The new program aims to expand the presence and scope of contemporary artists and art at the college by inviting an emerging or mid-career artist to campus for a period of creative exploration and experimentation. Williams will be provided with studio space and housing for her and her family while she returns to her painting practice for the first time in several years. She will have access to campus resources and student assistance.
As a visual artist, Williams’ creative practice employs color as way to draw attention to the political complexities of race, place, and values in cities. Her installations, paintings, and works seek to inspire new ways of looking at the familiar and in the process, raise questions about the state of urban space and citizenship in America. She is the co-creator of “Our Destiny, Our Democracy,” a contemporary steel sculpture honoring Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress. It will debut in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York next year.
Recently, Williams served as the Bill and Stephanie Sick Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has previously served as a visiting assistant professor of architecture at both Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Williams is a graduate of Cornell University where she majored in architecture.