Black Mountain College Project
 


 

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

Section 1. The Role of the Arts

   College Dance. Rudy Haase (right), Kenneth Kurtz (center), Barbara "Bobbie" Dreier (right). John Stix, photographer.     

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 ....    

 

The Artistic Process as a Major Goal.

Alexander Eliot: The ability to conceptualize pictorially is a true boon for anyone. Charles W. Eliot believed that every child should be taught to draw. John Dewey and Rudolf Steiner went much further, suggesting that art should be rescued from its “nice embellishment” role and made to stand at the center of education. John Rice agreed with that concept: he wanted the strongest possible art teacher for  Black Mountain ....  Rice conceived, created, and set our college in motion. Even at this late date, I think, valuable suggestions may be derived from the Black Mountain experiment. It was one of the most engaging, risky, and romantic seed-enterprises in the history of higher education.

Will Hamlin: Black Mountain helped students learn through asking them to read, discuss and write about what they had read; and through helping them in what Albers called “a making and a doing” in the art studios, in the print shop, on the farm, and in the designing process and construction of needed buildings . . . Black Mountain’s major experiment, firmly based in progressive education theory, had to do with making learning active: “Learning by doing” whenever possible.

COMMENTARY

Katherine Reynolds : . . .  the centrality of artistic experience to support learning in any discipline . . . the value of experiential learning . . . . 

Mary Emma Harris: The arts would play a significant role in the educational process. 

Robert Sunley:  The focus was on individual participation, direct experience, and understanding of the artistic process, rather than “appreciation” and an essentially passive learning.  

College Dance. Rudy Haase (right), Kenneth Kurtz (center), Barbara "Bobbie" Dreier (right). John Stix, photographer.

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