Black Mountain College Project
 

John Evarts tossing hay. Photo courtesy North Carolina State Archives, Black Mountain College Papers.

STUDENT EXPERIENCE IN EXPERIMENTAL EDUCATION IN THE EARLY YEARS
(1933-43)

Section 2: Teachers and Teaching: Personalities of Faculty

       

INTRODUCTION TO THE SUNLEY PROJECT AND DOCUMENTS

Description of the Study by Robert Sunley
*   Letter to the Students
*   Guidelines
*   Brief Biographies of
    Contributors

*   Brief Biographies of
    Faculty Mentioned in
    the Memoirs
*

SECTION 1. ROLE OF THE ARTS

    Statement by Robert
    Sunley


The artistic process as
    a major goal.


*   Individual, active
    anticipation was
    fostered but not
    required.

*   Focus on really “seeing”
    and “thinking” for
    oneself, not on the
    production of art.


Self-direction, self-
    discipline, initiative,
    development of the
    whole person....

The arts were diffused
    throughout the
    education ....    

 

Other Faculty

XANTI SCHAWINSKY

Alexander Eliot: When Bauhaus-trained Xanti Schawinsky arrived from Italy with beautiful blonde Irena on his arm, and his bocce balls in a net-bag, Albers gained a happy ally and the college lightened up somewhat ... (he) encouraged us to play bocce, to paint our studios in odd ways, and to make wild theatre-productions with, for example, six-foot ears, eyes, lips, and noses, cavorting to Stravinsky records. "You Americans are too serous!" he complained. "It's because you haven't suffered." One dull Saturday he instigated a college-wide dress-up party, calling upon everyone to come to dinner in costume.... Albers was far too austere to have come in costume.

Robert Sunley: ... Xanti Schawinsky was on the faculty for two years. Seeing Schawinsky develop one of his innovative ballets or dances with the various contributing activities conveyed an understanding of the process of creative thinking.

Emil Willimetz: Working in Art and Stage, Xanti was someone I knew only casually, but I always enjoyed him. He was anything but a stodgy German. I can still close my eyes and see the grotesque figures from his production of the Danse Macabre.


JOHN
EVARTS

Leonard Billing: I think Albers and John Evarts were the most influential and inspiring teachers.

Emil Willimetz: For music, Jalowetz, yes, but also John Evarts. John ... being younger than other members of the faculty, with less actual teaching experience, he always struck me as nursing an inferiority complex. He needn't have, he was one of the bright notes in the community, the life of the Saturday night parties, very much appreciated by all.

Sybil Yamins Goldberg: ... and took all the music appreciation courses (John Evarts). Certainly it gave me my love and appreciation of music....

Emil Willimetz: I took one semester of Evarts's music class. We studied Bach but I had little stomach for it.... I dropped out the second semester, something I've regretted ever since. I find that today I have a deeper feeling of the music of Bach than any other composer.

Will Hamlin: ... musician John Evarts, who taught music history, improvised piano portraits of many of us, and played for our frequent dances, weaving classical music into current popular songs.


WILLIAM
ZEUCH

Robert Sunley: There were such faculty as Zeuch, who had founded the ill-fated radical labor Commonwealth College in Arkansas (closed by angry Arkansans armed with shotguns) ... Zeuch's study was next to mine and now and then I would encounter him, drop in to talk to him. Short, stocky, carrying a rough-hewn walking stick, Zeuch impressed me visually as a prototypical Alpine peasant. One time he confided to me that he had worked out the solution to the country's problems, but "I can't tell you yet.

 

 

 

SECTION 2. TEACHERS AND TEACHING

Introduction

Formal Aspects of the
Curriculum 

   Class Size 
   Grades    
   Advisors 
   Junior Division  
   Senior Division  
   Graduation

Methods of Teaching
   General

   John Andrew Rice 
   Josef Albers 
   Erwin Straus 
   Robert Wunsch 
   Others


Personalities of Faculty
  
John Rice  
   Josef Albers 
   Robert
Wunsch 
   Heinrich
Jalowetz  
   Others 

Outside the Classroom
   In General  
   The Work Program 
   Visitors -
   Trips 
   Drama 
   Interlude  
   Lectures, Concerts 
   Informal Interchange