Public Art Commission - About the Board


The Public Art Commission was established by Town Meeting on April 23, 1990, to foster greater community awareness of the interaction with public art, and through public art, promote cultural diversity and an improved quality of life for Amherst’s citizens. Responsibilities include developing guidelines for public art, proposing to the Select Board an annual budget, seeking funding sources for public art, encouraging integration of art in public and private development, interacting with all Town Boards, serving as a resource in educating developers, officials, and committees about possibilities for public art; and developing policies for publicly owned works in Amherst.


Appointed by the Town Manager. 7 members / 3-year terms.
Member Name
Year Appointed
Term Expires
James Barnhill 2019 2022
Ellen Keiter 2015 2021
Shoshona King, Chair 2018 2022
Dara Wier 2021 2024
Vacancy (3)    

Member Info:

James (Jim) Barnhill is an award-winning art photographer who concentrates on landscapes, cityscapes, and candids of people. In 2018 he published a murder mystery, Dirt Road to Death (Levellers Press). In addition, he is a recovering attorney with experience in business law, banking law, corporate law, contract negotiations, and high-tech issues. He is a former Trustee, Co-Chair of the Governance Committee, and present member of the Governance Committee of Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School. 

Amy Crawley is an artist, chair of Amherst Arts Night Plus, and a member of the Amherst Plein Air Society and the Quabbin Art Association. She is past president of the Bolton Artisans Guild and owned her art business for 10 years. Amy now enjoys bringing together artists with the community.

William Kaizen is an art historian whose work focuses on the relationship between art, politics and the mass media. He has published books on early video art and the Atari 2600 videogame Adventure. He has also curated exhibitions on Pop Art and cinema and career-spanning surveys of the work of Derek Boshier and Rainer Ganahl. His current research is on metagames and representations of the Cold War.

Ellen Keiter is the chief curator at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Previously she was the Director of Exhibitions at the Katonah Museum of Art and Curator of Exhibitions at the Hudson River Museum. Her passion for public art includes project management of two large public installations and serving as a crew chief for Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s The Gates in Central Park.  

Shoshona King, life long independent artist & activist has spent the last decade focusing on costume design & visuals in local festivals.  She comes from a long line of women artists. Her first teacher was her Grandmother in the field of ceramics. Since then she has worked with jewelry, leatherwork, commercial arts, fabrication & all manner of fiber arts.  Shoshona received her education from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in San Francisco. She never stops learning nor shies away from a new project since there is almost nothing she can’t learn from youtube. Locally, she can be seen as the front of house manager at the Hampshire Shakespeare Company or dancing on stage in the Pioneer Valley Ballet’s annual performance of The Nutcracker.

Shelley Kirkwood is an artist and writer. She has taught photography at the University of Arizona and the Southwest University of Visual Arts, where she also served as Department Chair of Fine Arts. She has curated exhibitions at the Center for Creative Photography and The High Museum of Art, where she was the Associate Curator of Photography. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and she has contributed to numerous publications, including Art Papers, Edible Baja Arizona, The Boston Globe, and Orion Magazine. Kirkwood recently relocated back to the Pioneer Valley. Her personal work explores themes of home and time through intimate observations of the local landscape.