We hope you will join us for the fall season of the William Simpson Fine Arts Series at Springfield College.

Experience the arts with magnificent work from artists and performers from both inside and outside the Springfield College community. Attendees will be dazzled by dance performances and theater presentations, captivated by art exhibitions, and delighted by concerts and literary events.

All programs are open to the public, and most events are free of charge, unless otherwise indicated.

Theater Performance - September 14

Avner the Eccentric in Exceptions to Gravity

7:30 p.m.
Appleton Auditorium, Fuller Arts Center

Our scheduled presentation of Avner last March was cancelled due to a snow storm, so he’s back to perform for us by meteorological demand!

A master of the art of physical comedy, Avner the Eccentric weaves a spell of poetic simplicity in a show of hilarious predicaments. Avner has appeared on and off Broadway with his hit show Exceptions to Gravity. He played the endearing Holy Man, The Jewel, in the Michael Douglas film The Jewel of the Nile, and performed as a ventriloquist on Broadway in Ghetto. His dummy was nominated for a Tony Award. Avner’s show defies the barriers of language and culture and has toured extensively in the U.S. and abroad.

“Here is what Avner the Eccentric does best: he reduces his audience to laughter and giggles and applause.”—The New York Times

“Avner Eisenberg in Exceptions to Gravity is a reminder of the theatrical power that can reside in a single charismatic performer who touches the heart.”—Patriot Ledger

Suggested general admission: $5; Students, senior citizens, and children: Free

Avner the Eccentric in Exceptions to Gravity
Dance Performance - September 20 and 22

Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre

Sept. 20, 4 p.m.
Flynn Campus Union cafe

Sept. 22, 3 p.m.
Naismith Green

In conjunction with LatinX Heritage Month, the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, and Office of Multicultural Affairs will host interdisciplinary dance artist Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre, who will perform twice, and follow each performance with discussions of her work and approach to her craft. She has danced in several professional companies in Mexico and the United States. She is interested in performances that explore the idea of “truth in fiction” and “fiction in truth.”

Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in choreography from Escuela Nacional de Danza Clásica y Contemporánea in Mexico City and earned her Master of Fine Arts from The College at Brockport, State University of New York, as a scholar under Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, the government council for the culture and artisan Mexico. She has danced in professional companies in Mexico and the United States, such as Bill Evans Dance Company, Geomantics Dance Theatre, Dramadanza, and Jaguar de Agua. She often draws inspiration from poetry, prose, and visual arts exploring interdisciplinary projects and the multidimensional use of the body.

Co-sponsored by the Springfield College Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre
Art Exhibition - September 21-November 16

CrossCurrents Faculty Exhibition

Open Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
William Blizard Gallery

Closing reception for artists and public:
Thursday, Nov. 8, 5-7 p.m.

This show features works by faculty of the Springfield College Department of Visual and Performing Arts, including painting, printmaking, photography, mixed media, and performance video. A series of talks, workshops, and performances, in conjunction with the exhibition, will take place throughout the semester.

Image by Ruth West, professor of art.

CrossCurrents Faculty Exhibition
Concert: September 27

Claudia Schmidt: Legendary Folk Singer with guest Christopher Haynes

7:30 p.m.
Marsh Memorial Chapel

Claudia Schmidt has been perfecting her skills of composing and performing for upwards of 40 years. In her performances, she explores the vast universes of environment, love and loss, frivolity, and the sheer beauty of being alive. Her joy is contagious, and she is never happier than when she is working her magic with original songs and spoken word in front of a live audience. She is joined for this evening by friend, collaborator, and Springfield College associate music professor, Christopher Haynes.

Claudia Schmidt: Legendary Folk Singer with guest Christopher Haynes
From Stigma to Acceptance with Jessie Close and her son, Calen Pick

Inside the World of Mental Illness

Thursday, October 11
7:30 p.m.
Field House, Wellness & Recreation Complex

Come share an evening with Jessie Close and her son, Calen Pick, as they bring their personal experiences into the conversation about mental illness and their efforts to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding it. Jessie’s sister, actress and activist Glenn Close, co-founded Bring Change to Mind, after Jessie’s bipolar disorder diagnosis.

Jessie Close’s own struggle with the disorder and alcoholism provides the backbone to a courageous story and an enlightened perspective on the state of mental health in the United States. Pick, diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder as a young man, has been active in outreach programs for youth living with mental illness.

The Arts & Humanities Speaker Series has been made possible through the generosity of Carlton ’63 and Lucille Sedgeley.

This program is free and open to the public.

For more information and to register for the event, please visit springfield.edu/speakerseries.

Speakers Jessie Close and her son, Calen Pick
Fiction Reading - October 16

Novelist Janet Benton

October 16
7:30 p.m.
Cleveland E. and Phyllis B. Dodge Room A, Flynn Campus Union

In Janet Benton’s novel Lilli de Jong, set in 1883 Philadelphia, 23-year-old Lilli is pregnant and alone—abandoned by her lover and banished from her Quaker home. She gives birth at a charity for wronged women, planning to give up the baby. But the power of their bond sets her on a completely unexpected path.

Lilli de Jong was a Library Journal and NPR Best Book of 2017, and a finalist for the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction, along with other honors. Benton is a novelist, writers’ mentor, and writing teacher in Philadelphia. She will read from Lilli de Jong and discuss the origins of the novel and its underlying history.

A question-and-answer session and a book signing will follow the reading.

Novelist Janet Benton

"A striking historical and feminist debut that highlights the power of motherhood and honors the silent strength of women."

— Bustle

Theater Performance - November 15-18

Now or Never!

November 15-18
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.
Appleton Auditorium, Fuller Arts Center

An original interdisciplinary performance created by students, faculty, and guest artists of Springfield College. Directed by Martin Shell

How do civilizations carry on with living while doom and destruction loom over them? Are they overwhelmed by anxiety and helplessness, frantically distracting themselves by every means available, digging deeper into their routines and superstitions, exploding in tribal clashes? Will their technological innovations save them, or like a genie from a bottle, have they been lured into a dangerous arrogance?

And when do young people discover it’s up to them to step forward, to take on the challenges their elders have somehow failed to meet? How will they find the resilience to survive and the courage to thrive?

Our team of students, faculty, and guest artists will use these questions to stimulate the creation of a new show entirely by scratch. We will use live theater, dance, music, visual, and digital design to respond with our own stories and some of the stories of our times.  We will explore new ideas about how to escape calamities and bounce these ideas off ancient tales of catastrophes, real and imagined. Join us for a performance that will be sincere, unexpected, a bit inspiring, and funny, too! What will crumble because of human folly and natural disaster – and what will endure? What action do we take? Now or never!

Join us for this once-in-a-lifetime, completely original interdisciplinary event.

Suggested general admission: $5; Students and senior citizens: $2

Theater Performance - Now or Never!
November 30-December 14

Graduate Art Therapy Student Exhibition

November 30-December 14
William Blizard Gallery Open Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 14, 5-7 p.m.
Gallery reception for artists and public.

Studio work reflects learning of graduate art therapy/ counseling students.

Graduate Art Therapy Student Exhibition
December 7-9

Immerse Yourself in Dance

Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.
Appleton Auditorium, Fuller Arts Center

Springfield College dancers will be performing the famous work Set and Reset, originally performed in 1983, by internationally known choreographer Trisha Brown. Trisha Brown was the creator of more than 100 choreographies and six operas, and a graphic artist, who is internationally known and respected as one of the most influential artists of her time. Former Trisha Brown Dance Company member and current Springfield College Dance faculty, Lisa Schmidt, who danced for the Trisha Brown Dance Company from 1985-1992, will be teaching the choreographic excerpt Set and Reset. Guest choreographer, Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre, also sets four traditional dances from Mexico fused with contemporary influences on Springfield College dancers. Dance faculty Angela Vital-Martowski, who has performed with Boston Ballet, Pittsburg Ballet Theater, Hartford Ballet, and American Repertory Ballet Theater will be premiering a new work with Springfield College dancers. In addition Sarah Zehnder, director of dance and choreographer of New York City-based Zehnder Dance, will be premiering two new works. One will be performed by the students of the Springfield College Dance Repertory Company, and the other will be a duet fusing elements of hip-hop and contemporary performed by Sarah Zehnder and a Zehnder Dance company member.

Suggested general admission: $5; Students, senior citizens, and children: Free

Springfield college students perform dance
Springfield College Music Department - December 11

Annual Winter Concert

7:30 p.m.
Marsh Memorial Chapel

Join the Springfield College Music Department for its annual winter concert featuring the Springfield College Community Chorus, the Springfield College Band, and soloists. Seasonal music and other popular favorites will get you moving and singing along.

A close-up piece of art by graduate students.

If you have a disability and require a reasonable accommodation to fully participate in this event, please contact the Office of Visual and Performing Arts as soon as possible, at (413) 748-3930 to discuss your accessibility needs. Springfield College is a smoke-free/tobacco-free campus.


Art Exhibits Theater Literature Music Dance
Jessica Poser
(413) 748-3041
Martin Shell
(413) 748-3443
Alice Eaton
(413) 748-3669
Christopher Haynes, Chair
(413) 748-3277
Sarah Zehnder
(413) 748-3158