Black Mountain College Semester 2018 at Appalachian — February Events Information

Published Monday, February 12, 2018 at 2:32 pm

By Ellen Gwin Burnette

BOONE, N.C. — Black Mountain College (BMC) was founded in North Carolina’s Swannanoa Valley in 1933 by a band of academic dissidents led by John Andrew Rice Jr. — whose papers are housed in Appalachian State University’s W.L. Eury Collection — and closed its doors in 1957. To this day, BMC remains the greatest academic adventure ever launched on American soil.

Appalachian and BMC share the same geographic backdrop, and each locale has witnessed similar changes in rural livelihoods, demographics and ecologies that have reshaped the cultural meanings of place in southern Appalachia. Appalachian continues BMC’s tradition of progressive, experiential education with commitment to collaboration and respect between students and faculty.

This spring 2018 semester will link BMC to place by drawing from archives, original field interviews, regional news, excerpts from the exhibition’s companion publication, Appalachian Journal: A Regional Studies Review, and many visiting speakers on the subject. Each of these activities promises to have wider impacts on student learning at Appalachian, public education programming and external partnerships.

 

February Events

John Andrew Rice Jr., the Founder of BMC, with Katherine Chaddock, 2/14

Part of the Black Mountain College Semester (BMCS)

Feb. 14, 2018
7 p.m.
415 Plemmons Student Union (Rough Ridge)

Chaddock is a biographer of John Andrew Rice Jr. (the founder of BMC) and the author of “Visions and Vanities: John Andrew Rice of Black Mountain College” (Louisiana State University Press, 1998). She is currently a distinguished professor emerita at the University of South Carolina.

This event is free and open to the campus and community.

 

Part of the Black Mountain College Semester (BMCS), 2/15

Feb. 15, 2018
6 p.m.
Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM)

Alice Sebrell is the program director for the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center in downtown Asheville. She has been on the staff of the museum since 1999. Over the past 19 years, she has worked on many exhibitions, publications and events, both large and small. She coorganizes the museum’s annual conference, ReVIEWING Black Mountain College, which is co-hosted by the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

This talk is free for museum members and $5 for nonmembers.

 

Part of the Black Mountain College Semester (BMCS), 2/22

Feb. 22, 2018
11 a.m.
Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM)

This talk explores the role of pragmatism in shaping the philosophy of education at Black Mountain College. The reason the arts were so highly valued at BMC was not simply because the arts provided a way of seeing the world anew, but more because this emphasis on integrating experience into learning was central to pragmatic ways of thinking about how we learn.

Dr. Clark Maddux is a professor of interdisciplinary studies and director of the Watauga Residential College at Appalachian. He has published one volume of “Cotton Mather and Biblia Americana” and written and presented on John Dewey and the role of reflection in service-learning, most recently in the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning and at the annual meeting of the Society of Early Americanists.

Complimentary breakfast goods from Ugga Mugga Bakery and locally brewed coffee from Hatchet Coffee Co. will be served. The event is free for members and requires a donation of $5 for nonmembers.

 

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, 2/28

Feb. 28, 2018
6 p.m.

Frank Hursh has led a fascinating life dedicated to the arts and arts education. He attended Black Mountain College (BMC) from 1949 until 1950 and has been a working artist and educator in Mexico since 1956. His impressive resume includes animation for cartoon classics such as Rocky and Bullwinkle and Fractured Fairy Tales; innovative work as a teacher and educator; and the design of the University of the Arts Mexico, where he created a layout reminiscent of Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer’s original plan for the BMC campus.

This event is free and open to the campus and community.

Upcoming Back Mountain College Events Include:

  • Friday, Mar. 2, 2018: Grand exhibition opening and meet the artists during the Spring Exhibition Celebration at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, 6 – 10 p.m. in conjunction with the Town of Boone First Friday Art Crawl.
  • Friday, April 6, 2018: Theatre Piece #1 Revisited: A Happening, coordinated by Fellows participant and Professor of Theatre & Dance, Ray Miller. The event  will take place at the Turchin Center for the visual arts from 7 – 9 p.m. 
  • Wednesday, April 11, 2018: Speaker Lucy Massie Phenix at Belk Library and Information Commons, Room 114, Appalachian State University at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 2, 2018: TCVA exhibition ends.
  • July 2018: Black Mountain College exhibition begins at Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center in Black Mountain, N.C.
  • Dec. 2018: Black Mountain College exhibition ends at Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center in Black Mountain, N.C.

 

About Back Mountain College:

Black Mountain College (BMC) was founded in 1933 in North Carolina’s rural Swannanoa Valley, near Asheville by a band of academic dissidents, led by John Andrew Rice (whose papers are housed in Appalachian’s W.L. Eury Collection) and closed its doors in 1957. BMC was an early leader of progressive, experimental education in the 20th century and to this day remains one of the greatest academic adventures ever launched on American soil. 

John Andrew Rice, Image Courtesy of Western Regional ArchivesThe school was dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach, attracting faculty and lecturers that included America’s leading visual artists, poets and influential writers, musical composers, dancers and designers. John Andrew Rice insisted that art should be at the center of a broad academic curriculum.

BMC was operated by the faculty and committed to democratic governance and the idea that arts are central to learning. The faculty instilled in their students and colleagues many of the same values upheld by Appalachian State University today, learning by doing, collaborative learning and education for social justice and democracy.

During its existence, many of the nation’s greatest thinkers and artists were in residence or paid visits to Black Mountain College including Anni Albers, Josef Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, John Dewey, Albert Einstein, Aldous Huxley, Willem de Kooning, Buckminster Fuller, Paul Goodman, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Franz Kline, Jacob Lawrence, Henry Miller, Robert Motherwell, Charles Olson, Arthur Penn, Francine du Plessix-Gray, Robert Rauschenburg, Aaron Siskind and many others.

Legendary even in its own time, Black Mountain College attracted and created maverick spirits, some of whom went on to become well-known and extremely influential individuals in the latter half of the 20th century. Despite the closing of Black Mountian College,  the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center continues the legacy of Black Mountain College through talks, exhibitions, performances and an annual fall conference that examines the college’s legacy. 

It is not by coincidence that Appalachian proposes dynamic exploration of this legacy through the Black Mountain College Semester. Appalachian and Black Mountain College share the same geographic backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains and each locale has witnessed similar changes in rural livelihoods, demographics and ecologies that have reshaped the cultural meanings of and attachments to place in southern Appalachia.  Appalachian continues Black Mountain College’s tradition of progressive, experiential education with deep commitments to collaboration and respect between students and faculty.  

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