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Men in robes gathered beneath a tree eating and reading

Painting the Persianate World: Portable Images on Paper, Cloth and Clay 

February 2–July 7, 2024
Despite the mountain range that divides them, Greater Iran and the Indian subcontinent have long been in contact through trade and migration. Painting the Persianate World explores the circuitous histories of painted portable images from these regions across three mediums: paper, cloth and clay. Showcasing manuscript illustrations, dye-painted textiles and decorated ceramics, the exhibition draws primarily from the Smith College Museum of Art’s collection and also includes select key works from other local institutions, and is the first comprehensive project at SCMA to examine the Persianate world from a trans-media perspective.
Realistic painting of a young girl with a lamb on the front yard of an older house. Behind the girl is a man and a woman sitting in chairs

Worlds in Process: Art from the SCMA Collection


This project, called Worlds in Process: Art from the SCMA Collection, pilots new strategies for displaying the collection. 

The installation includes artworks from a range of time periods, cultures, materials, and perspectives alongside places to gather and reflect. When a group of museum staff set out to reimagine this floor, we wanted to try some new approaches, which included deepening our understanding of what visitors (especially Smith College students) find most meaningful and welcoming. 

Colorful painting of the sillhouette of a woman with a scarf on her head in a dress with a necklace and chunky bracelet sitting sideways

A Beacon to the World: Art from the Sylvia Smith Lewis ’74 and Byron E. Lewis Sr. Collection

February 23–September 22, 2024

This special installation celebrates the recent donation of artwork from Sylvia Smith Lewis, class of 1974, and her husband, Byron E. Lewis Sr. Lifelong supporters of Black artists, the Lewises built a major collection of modern and contemporary art. Unlike the majority of collectors and museums in the United States—who, until recently, ignored or marginalized work by Black artists—the Lewises have always championed the immense creativity and talent of these artists whose friendship they enjoyed and whose art they collected. 

vertical multi colored woodcut print of young child wrestling with a huge fish

Figuration and Abstraction: Asian Art at SCMA

July 28, 2023 through Fall 2024
Drawing from the SCMA's holdings of Asian art collected over more than a century, this exhibition features paintings, sculptures, prints, and religious and decorative arts that engage with the discourse of figuration versus abstraction.