Arts at the Center: A History of Black Mountain College
Black Mountain College was an experiment in progressive education that brought together creative minds from all over the globe to the rural Swannanoa Valley of Black Mountain, North Carolina. As a liberal arts school, the College was short-lived, opening in 1933 and closing by 1957 due to financial struggles and other structural challenges. What happened during those years, however, was impactful and progressive, and it’s lasting legacy continues to influence the way we look at education, the arts, democracy, and social justice. John Andrew Rice, Jr. founded the College with the idea that the arts should be at the center of a liberal arts education. Some of the worlds greatest modern artists, writers, performers, musicians, and even scientists served as students and faculty at Black Mountain College, including Josef & Anni Albers, Charles Olsen, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg, Willem & Elaine de Kooning, Buckminster Fuller, M.C. Richards, and many others. The history of Black Mountain College continues to sing throughout the Appalachian mountains, and its influences and ideas echo even further.
Arts at the Center: A History of Black Mountain College explores several components of this rich history and its relationship to North Carolina. The exhibition is opening in collaboration with the Black Mountain College Semester at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, a culmination of exhibitions, events, and research projects that will run through Spring 2018.
Special thanks to the NC Humanities Council, the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, the Western Regional Archives of NC, the Asheville Art Museum, the Hickory Museum of Art, and the Jerald Melberg Gallery of Charlotte, NC.