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Weekend planner — art

“ ‘It’s Cool at the Mead’ promises to become a local summer tradition, not unlike the delicious ice cream we’re able to offer every attendee, thanks to our generous co-sponsors at Atkins Farms,” says Elizabeth Barker, director of Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum.

As you might suppose, the title of this annual program of free guided gallery tours refers not only to the quality of the museum’s air-conditioning unit but to its collection of American and European paintings, Mexican ceramics, Tibetan scroll paintings, Russian avant-garde art, West African sculpture, Japanese prints and ancient Assyrian carvings. Led by members of the Mead’s professional staff, the biweekly gallery talks — offered Thursdays at 2 p.m. and Fridays at 11 a.m. through Aug. 23 (except July 4-5) — each focuses on a different aspect of the museum’s collection, with no two the same. At the conclusion of each tour, participants receive a coupon for a complimentary ice cream cone from the series’ co-sponsor, Atkins Farms Orchard Run Ice Cream Shop in Amherst.

“We hope that visitors will come to as many conversations as they’d like. Each tour will stand alone as a coherent presentation, but if experienced in succession, the series could serve almost as a mini-course in the history of art,” Barker says.

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