Carter Hansell at Two Rivers School with a Geodesic Dome. Photo by Tom Hansell

Creative Democracy: The Legacy of Black Mountain College

The following information about this past Turchin Center exhibition is kept here for archival purposes only. This exhibition is not currently on display. View current and upcoming exhibitions.

Friday, January 12, 2018
Friday, March 2, 2018 (6:00pm - 10:00pm)
Saturday, June 2, 2018
Main Gallery

Black Mountain College Semester

Appalachian State University

Spring semester 2018

For Appalachian State University’s Black Mountain College (BMC) Semester in spring 2018, multiple departments across the university are collaborating with area museums and other venues to host exhibits, lectures and workshops that will highlight the importance of BMC’s influence within the Appalachian region’s creative, educational and political movements.

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As part of the campus-wide celebration of the historical legacy of Black Mountain College (BMC) at Appalachian State University during the Spring 2018 semester, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts will host, Creative Democracy: The Legacy of Black Mountain College featuring a selection of art and artifacts from Black Mountain College artists and writers. During its shimmering, stormy history, many of the nation’s greatest thinkers and artists were in residence or paid visits to Black Mountain.

Black Mountain College (1933-1957) near Asheville, in North Carolina’s rural Swannanoa Valley, was an early leader of progressive, experimental education in the twentieth century. Influential writers, visual artists, dancers, designers, and music composers 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. Not only a mecca of the arts, Black Mountain produced some of America’s most profound innovators in education, science, social work, architecture, urban planning, psychiatry, history, and politics. All of those who passed through the college were encouraged to become citizens of social consciousness who put into daily practice a creative freedom in judgment and action.

Led by the Center for Appalachian Studies, Professor of Creative Writing and emeritus NC Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti, and the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, the Black Mountain College Semester (Spring 2018) addresses the legacy of Black Mountain College through three interrelated projects: a multi-sited exhibition series; a special Black Mountain College issue of Appalachian Journal guest edited by Joseph Bathanti in collaboration with Appalachian Journal editor-in-chief, Sandra Ballard and Savannah Paige Murray featuring prominent voices associated with BMC; and a multipurpose digital timeline containing a museum guide, original scholarly resources, and curricular materials designed for North Carolina schools. A semester-long series of lectures, readings, workshops, film screenings, and special courses on Black Mountain College invite public education and academic inquiry, extended by web-streaming and online archiving. Importantly, a cross-section of students and faculty at Appalachian State will contribute to the project’s research and exhibition assets in the mold of collaborative learning at Black Mountain College.

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Joseph Alber's Black Mountain College logo. Courtesy of Western Regional Archives

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Elaine de Kooning and Buckminster Fuller's Venetian Blind Strip Dome. 1948 Summer Session in the Arts at Black Mountain College. Courtesy of Western Regional Archives

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Buckminster Fuller and his architecture class. 1949 Summer Institute. Courtesy of Western Regional Archives

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Buckminster Fuller's architecture class. 1949 Summer Institute. Courtesy of Western Regional Archives

The Turchin Center gratefully acknowledges Tina and Gary Silverstein for their sponsorship of the "Creative Democracy: The Legacy of Black Mountain College” exhibition.

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Creative Democracy: The Legacy of Black Mountain College installation view

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Creative Democracy: The Legacy of Black Mountain College installation view

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Creative Democracy: The Legacy of Black Mountain College installation view

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Creative Democracy: The Legacy of Black Mountain College installation view

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Follow Black Mountain College Semester on Instagram at @BlackMountainatASU.

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Demonstrating how to build a geodesic dome with pencils.

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Building a geodesic dome.

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Enjoying the finished dome.

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