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Black Mountain College Explores Connecton Between Art and Environment

On Friday, October 11, at 7:30 pm, The Black Mountain Museum & Arts Center in Asheville will host a creative “happening” to celebrate the release of Far from the Centers of Ambition, a two-volume collection of writing and art published by Lenoir-Rhyne University.

This project grew out of the 2008 “Spirit of Black Mountain College” celebration, the country’s only major acknowledgment of the College’s 1933 opening on its 75th anniversary. Second in a series of books tied to Lenoir-Rhyne University’s prestigious Visiting Writers’ Series, Far From the Centers of Ambition follows What Writers Do, a behind-the-scenes look at the craft of writing featuring prose by Bret Lott, Ron Rash, and Dori Sanders; poems by Sharon Olds, Fred Chappell, and Billy Collins; and classic memoir excerpts by the likes of John Updike, Reynolds Price, and Frank McCourt.

So what will this “happening” look like? Happenings came to cultural relevance in the late ’50s and ’60s, and generally lean more toward “performance art” than what many might think of as traditional theatre. Happenings tend to explore connections between art and environment, and these days might include new digital media, flash mobs, and other examples of thoughtful, spontaneous “street theatre.”

The Black Mountain Museum & Arts Center might be the ideal venue—although Black Mountain College shut its doors in 1957, the institution brought together poets, philosophers, scientists and painters such as Robert Duncan, Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, and Josef Albers in a vast experiment whose influences are still felt around the world today.

The Black Mountain Museum & Arts Center is located at 50 Broadway Street, Asheville. For more information, visit or