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Escape From Reality: UMass Amherst Art Galleries Ranked

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

One of the coolest classes I took at UMass was an honors seminar that explored the different art galleries at UMass. It was an escape from reality and took me straight into the world of art and artistic vision. We would go to different galleries, or look at sculptures, even buildings that were considered art forms. It helped me appreciate the campus a lot more, and let me find some hidden gems to treasure for my next two years here. So, here’s my ranking of all the different art galleries I have gone to around the UMass campus.

National Gallery of Ireland, art museum
Original photo by Sophia Apteker
Fine Arts Center Art Gallery

The first time I went to this gallery, I was starstruck. It was very beautiful, with each section being a different experience and even more encapsulating than the last. One of the showcases was of a house at various stages of being built, and it was drawn through playing with light. The dark tones of the sun reflected off of the frame of the house, creating a very vivid contrast, and setting the scene for the different kinds of art I would see in this gallery.

Herter Hall Art Gallery

This art gallery captured the essence of the artist through creating an exhibit over the power of words. She left a marker and a white canvas, and asked people to write their thoughts and their feelings onto the canvas. When I visited this gallery, there were so many words, each critical in their importance to their author. With this exhibit, the artist offered us the opportunity to be a part of the art, and that made it so much more powerful.

NEW Africa House Gallery

This was an incredible gallery to visit because of how powerful the meaning behind it was. This gallery showcased the quilts done by inmates in Angola Federal Prison in Lousiana. This was such an important gallery, as it brought to light what was happening in this prison and how the prisoners were treated. Each of the quilts exhibited was also paired with a biography of the person who made the quilt and what they’re role was in the quilt project. It was one of the most incredible galleries I have ever gone to, and I highly recommend that more people go visit it.

Bartlett Art gallery

This gallery surprised me with the way the art was presented. At first, it seemed like a collection of various photographs taken by the artist at different points in time. However, upon closer examination, the pictures were written over by words. The words explained distinct memories associated with each photograph, shining a spotlight on the words and the photographs acting as a supplement/enhancement to the meaning of the words.

Student union Ground floor GAllery

This gallery had the theme of identity and it featured different artists each with different ways to represent their identity. In one of the pieces, a Japanese-American Artist had contrasted the fences from the Japanese internment camps in World War II to the traditions she had kept in Japan. In another piece, an Indian artist weaved pieces of sari silk into her piece and showed other trinkets such as bindis and Indian jewelry to explain how her identity shaped who she is. It was a very impactful show and demonstrated nobody has the same interpretation of their identities, and that there are so many different ways to express it.

These are my rankings of some of my favorite art galleries on campus. Each one brings a unique experience and an escape from reality into the world of the artist and their art. Some of these galleries have been updated since I went, but they are still well worth a visit, as the art is incredible, moving, and inspiring. I hope you had fun reading my rankings of the various galleries on UMass’s campus. Happy art gallery touring!

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Nandini Kritam

U Mass Amherst '25

Nandini is a junior Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major, who loves writing, listening to music, photography, and drawing. She loves finding niche topics and writing about the world and her experiences!