Amherst College Portraits

A Community Collaboration with Wendy Ewald and Brett Cook

Visit The Practice of Collaborative Art to read about the course and view the student projects.

Visit the Amherst College google map to view the triptychs and their locations on campus.

Triptych 1 Triptych 4
Triptych 2 Triptych 5
Triptych 3 Triptych 6

Download the podcast to your computer to hear conversations with the participants of Amherst College Portraits, or to a wireless listening device to listen while taking a walking tour of the triptychs on campus.

To subscribe drag the podcast icon below to the "Podcasts" folder of iTunes on your computer.

You can download iTunes for free at:


To read more about the project, or view additional photos of the process, vist Brett's website.

Amherst College Portraits is a multifaceted public art project comprising six 12 ½ x 30 foot portrait triptychs installed on buildings and mounted outdoors across the Amherst College campus. The artworks – portraits of eighteen students, staff and faculty from Amherst College – have been generated by the college’s visiting artist-in-residence Wendy Ewald and guest artist Brett Cook, with participation from students in Ewald’s seminar The Practice of Collaborative Art, members of the campus and the broader area community and the subjects of the portraits. Eleven related public art projects produced by students in Ewald’s class are also installed across the campuses of Amherst and Hampshire colleges.

An exhibition at the Mead Art Museum from November 29 – January 20 showcases Ewald’s and Cook’s original photographs and drawings from which the eighteen portraits were made, examples of past work, the artists’ interviews with the subjects of the portraits, and a drawing in progress which viewers are invited to complete.

Working collaboratively with communities represents a recent phenomenon, upending the notion of the artist working individually and in a rarified context. Collaborating with “non- art world communities” extends and expands the creative potential of artmaking, incorporating many different experiences, stories and points of view.

For more than thirty years photographer Wendy Ewald has taken an unusual artistic path working with children and adults around the world encouraging her students to become photographers and working as a ‘translator’ of their images. Using creative collaboration as the basis of her artistic process, she has worked with communities in Labrador, Appalachia, Colombia, India, South Africa, Holland, Mexico, North Carolina, and Margate, England.  Since 1991 Brett Cook has worked collaboratively on public art projects with communities in such diverse places as Harlem, South Central Los Angeles and the Greenwich Country Day School in Connecticut. Perhaps best described as “social collaborations,” Cook’s practice involves using a combination of aesthetic, meditative, and pedagogical strategies to foster a collaborative spirit and a sense of celebration.