An exciting concept for arts education: Alternative Art Schools with distance learning capabilities. It’s an exciting idea because one of the problems with the, now decades old, models like North Carolina’s Black Mountain College, was that they were kind of removed from the actual art scenes going on around the world. They were cool retreats and fonts of creative synthesis for those that attended but the revelations and developments achieved there had a hard time getting noticed by the rest of the world.
Add the Internet to the equation and you get a global, realtime, overlay of perhaps even multiple alternative schools with “students” and “teachers” who are actively participating in their diverse communities’ scenes and projects.
It seems a perfect time for this to emerge, with digital arts increasingly becoming a part of public art projects and arts organizations’ offerings, immersive video and 3D printing technologies blurring the lines between the virtual and physical. The idea of being able to not only discuss and share ideas with other artists across the globe, but to actually use their work in a project local to you, or vice versa, is pretty intriguing. And, the prospect of making this type of interaction part of a freeform, lifetime educational network for creatives is kind of mind blowing. I think it actually serves the original concept of many alternative arts schools in ways that were just not technologically possible until now.
So, is anybody involved in an alternative arts education program? Would anybody like to start one or connect with others interested in the toipic? Please comment.
“Back to school” sounds good to children (who get to see their friends every day again) and to their parents (who get to not see their children for a number of hours every week day), but adults often find that their own schooling – say, earning a Master of Fine Arts degree – can be a hassle, what with the job, the kids, the cost of tuition, moving. Tuition for an MFA in sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art currently runs $43,760 for a full year (and it is a two-and-a-half year program), and then there are a range of required and optional fees, and we haven’t even gotten to food and accommodations. The low-residency MFA in studio art at the college is exactly half the cost of the full-time rate, which may be more palatable but still a big chunk of change.
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