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Scuppernong Celebrates Black Mountain College

This month, Greensboro’s Scuppernong Books will celebrate Black Mountain College in a ten-day festival, September 16-25.

Established in 1933 in Black Mountain, NC, the college’s founders believed that “the study and practice of art were indispensable aspects of a student’s general liberal arts education.”

Black Mountain College was fundamentally different from other colleges and universities of the time. It was owned and operated by the faculty and was committed to democratic governance and to the idea that the arts are central to the experience of learning. All members of the College community participated in its operation, including farm work, construction projects and kitchen duty. Located in the midst of the beautiful North Carolina mountains near Asheville, the secluded environment fostered a strong sense of individuality and creative intensity within the small College community.

Scuppernong Books will celebrate the history and legacy of this program by hosting the following events:

Wednesday, Sept.16, 7:00 pm:
COLLAPSS presents John Cage and Merce Cunningham. The COLLAPSS Collective will combine Cage’s music with dance inspired by Cunningham.

Thursday, Sept. 17, 7:00 pm:
“Why Black Mountain College Ought to Matter (But Doesn’t).” Writer and ECU professor Alex Albright will present an overview on the extraordinary influence of BMC.

Sunday Sept. 20, 3:00 pm: “On M. C. Richards and Pottery.” High Point University’s Charmaine Cadeau Ward will talk on M. C. Richards, author of Centering in Pottery, Poetry and the Person.

Monday, Sept. 21, 7:00 pm: Former NC Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti on Fielding Dawson, author of The Black Mountain Book. Dawson and Bathanti were a longtime friends and co-workers.

Tuesday, Sept. 22, 7:00 pm: “The Poets of Black Mountain College.” Jeff Davis and David Landrey, former students of BMC poets Charles Olson and Robert Creeley, Peter Coyote, and Charmaine Cadeau Ward talk about the paradigm-shifting poetry of BMC.

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 7:00 pm: “Melville and the Postmodern.” Poet David Landrey talks about Herman Melville’s influence on the postmodern movement with a primary focus on BMC rector Charles Olson’s book Call Me Ishmael.

Thursday, Sept. 24, 7:00 pm: A Happening; BMC brought together music, poetry, pottery, painting, dance and joy. We’ll try to do the same in one evening of revelry.

September 25, 7:00 pm: Painter Maureen O’Neill on Josef and Anni Albers. The Albers were the first primary sources of intellectual rigor and artistic passion at BMC. O’Neill brings her own passion to their work

Scuppernong Books opened on December 21, 2013, and has been an essential part of the rebirth of downtown Greensboro ever since. They are a general interest/literary bookstore featuring fiction and poetry along with a remarkable children’s section and a broad range of general interest titles. Within the store is a cafe serving organic coffee and espresso, wine and beer, and fresh sandwiches and sides all made in house. Scuppernong Books also hosts hundreds of events a year and brings in writers from across the country.

For more information about the Black Mountain College Festival, click here.