Conscious party: Black Mountain School’s print show

A silent auction with more than 20 art prints will benefit Black Mountain School, an alternative art education institution with the aim of offering unique courses at accessible prices. Image by Winnie Gier

WHAT: A silent auction of art prints to benefit Black Mountain School


WHEN: Friday, April 1, 6-8 p.m.

WHY: From 1933 to 1957, Black Mountain College operated as a non-traditional haven for artistic education. Decades after its closure and despite some similar arenas for learning, “there’s a void,” according to Heidi Gruner. She — along with fellow board members Chelsea Ragan and Adam Void —  is working toward one potential solution: Black Mountain School.

“The cost is so prohibitive of higher education, so many people can’t afford it. And the rigid structuring is something we want to create an alternative to,” Gruner says. “What we hope that will look like is more of a collaborative learning environment similar to the original Black Mountain College, where students and teachers have equal say.”

Curriculum at the nonprofit school will lean toward arts and culture with an emphasis on the avant-garde. (“What’s outside your window?” is one of two questions on the student application form.) While living and working alongside volunteer teachers at the original Black Mountain College campus, accepted pupils will set their own level of involvement in courses like fresco painting, adventures in taste and smell and the natural and cultural history of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains.

An upcoming fundraiser will offset some expenses (teacher travel stipends, art and gardening supplies, etc.) of 2016’s inaugural summer session, since tuition only covers residents’ lodging and basic food. A former gallery director and curator, Gruner has gathered more than 20 fine art prints for the show. They’ll all be up for silent auction before a separate raffle of gift certificates to local businesses wraps up the evening.

Other than a couple of paintings and illustrations, the auction pieces are predominantly photo-based. “But in no way traditional photographs,” Gruner says. She instead describes the collection as a “really dreamy mix of incredibly colorful abstracted works.”

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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