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A new exhibit titled, “Black Mountain College: Innovation in Art, Education, and Lifestyle,” is now on display in the 4th Floor atrium of Belk Library and Information Commons. Black Mountain College was an experimental school, located just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, that only existed for 23 years, from 1933 to 1956. During that short time, it fostered many different artists including dancers, musicians, photographers, painters, and poets.
The exhibit has three display cases that follow the three major rectors, or elected leaders, of the college. The first explores the 1930s through John A. Rice, the founder of the college. The second looks at the 1940s and focuses on visual art through the leadership of Josef Albers. The final one examines the 1950s through Charles Olson, when writing became a central focus of the school.
Most of the artifacts on display come from the John A. Rice Papers and the recently added F. Whitney Jones Papers. Additional artifacts and images come from the Paul and Maryrose Carroll Beat Poetry Collection in Special Collections; the Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina; Joseph Bathanti; Elizabeth S. Rose; and University of Connecticut Libraries. Joseph Bathanti, North Carolina Poet Laureate, and Professor of Creative Writing advised on the creation of the exhibit. The exhibit was executed by public history graduate student Rebecca Dion.
In addition to the exhibit, two up-coming related lectures will be given in April. On Wednesday, April 3, Professor David Silver of the University of San Francisco will deliver a talk, “The Farm at Black Mountain College: A History in Five Acts with Lessons for Today,” at 5:00 p.m. in Belk Library Room 114. On Thursday, April 11, writer Tom Patterson will give a talk, “Reconstituting Black Mountain: Reflections on the Black Mountain College Festival at St. Andrews College, 1974,” at 7:30 p.m. in The Great Hall, Living Learning Center at Appalachian State University.
For more information on Black Mountain College, see Black Mountain College: An Exploration in Community by Martin Duberman, Black Mountain College: Sprouted Seeds: an Anthology of Personal Accounts edited by Mervin Lane, or The Arts at Black Mountain College by Mary Emma Harris.
Click here for more information on John A. Rice Papers and the F. Whitney Jones Papers in Special Collections in Belk Library and Information Commons. These collections are available for use in the Dougherty Reading Room located in Special Collections, Room 432. The Dougherty Reading Room is open Monday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information, call 828-262-7974 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Studies Building across Lake Eden, Black Mountain College Campus. Courtesy of the Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.