Black Mountain College

 

In 1933, Black Mountain College opened near Black Mountain, North Carolina.  Dedicated to the arts, it marked a radical departure from most colleges of the time.  It was an experiment in progressive education and communal work.  It pursued democratic governance, requirement everyone to perform daily chores, demanded no course requirements, and only awarded grades to help its students gain acceptance into graduate school. 

 

Josef Albers teaching at Black Mountain College by John Campbell.  Courtesy of the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center

Josef Albers teaching at Black Mountain College.  Photograph by John Campbell. Courtesy of the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center

 

The college attracted famous artists who pushed the boundaries of their art.  Some of its students achieved fame and influence of their own.  Buckminster Fuller worked on his first geodesic dome there, and the college staged the first multimedia happening.  But charges that the school was Communist, combined with financial stress and faculty conflicts, led to its closing in 1956.

The Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center in Asheville, NC is dedicated to spreading awareness of the college through exhibits, publications, lectures, films, and other events.

Multimedia:

Below is the Digital Heritage Moment as broadcast on the radio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Related Posts

  • Cullowhee IdeaCullowhee Idea   In 1885, when Robert Lee Madison arrived in western North Carolina to teach school, he was dismayed by how rudimentary the region’s schools were. A few years later he […]
  • Penland School of CraftsPenland School of Crafts The widespread poverty that the Great Depression brought to Appalachia led to the founding of one of the area’s most valuable treasures: the Penland School of Crafts. Nestled deep in the […]
  • Highlander Folk SchoolHighlander Folk School The Highlander Folk School was founded in 1932 in Monteagle on Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau. Its founders envisioned an adult education center where mountain people could tackle […]
  • John C. Campbell Folk School, 1993John C. Campbell Folk School, 1993 Chancellor Myron Coulter and John C. Campbell Folk School Director Jan Davidson   Presentation of 1993 Mountain Heritage Award Comments of Chancellor Myron L. Coulter September […]
  • Mars Hill College, 1988Mars Hill College, 1988 Mars Hill College Receives Mountain Heritage Award The Sylva herald Sept. 29/1988   Western Carolina University presented its 1988 Mountain Heritage Award to Mars Hill College for the […]