Arts Lab Experimental visual arts for social change

Black Mountain College

During the first months of Arts Lab’s, Black Mountain College of Fine Arts and Progressive Education (1933-57) cropped up in conversation more than once. Arts Lab’s focus is increasingly moving in the direction of the experimental, interdisciplinary and collaborative, elements that underpinned the American College. As an educational art institution, Black Mountain established performative practices of interdisciplinary learning and research and developed a prominent genealogy of artists, scientists, and intellectuals in the neo-avant-garde of the 20th century. Projects of Robert Rauschenberg the painter and composer and writer John Cage are an example of successful collaboration.

In January 2017, a BBC Radio 3 Sunday feature entitled ‘The Experimenters’ was an excellent 45 minute documentary by Kwame Kwei-Armah on the protagonists at Black Mountain College. ‘Allowing for the unexpected’, significance was given to developing ways of being, creating and learning through the arts.

‘Black Mountain College was a dynamic community that believed creating art was central to the development of a good citizen.’