The Farm at Black Mountain College


Opened in 1933 and closed in 1956, Black Mountain College was a small, experimental art college located just outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Despite its size, the college had a huge impact on American art.

While most scholarship on BMC focuses on its staggering lineup of faculty and students (Josef Albers, Ruth Asawa, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Buckminster Fuller, Jacob Lawrence, Charles Olson and MC Richards, among many others), David Silver's interests rest on the college's unique work program. Students, faculty and staff of BMC had a set of chores and tasks performed collectively, much of which took place on the campus farm, that helped the college thrive and, at times, survive.

In this talk, Professor Silver traces the history of the farm at Black Mountain College, discusses key contributors and introduces a number of literary and artistic representations of the farm and farm life. Along the way, he will talk about innovative examples of living-learning-working communities and connect the efforts at Black Mountain College to today's attempts towards "green campuses" and environmental sustainability. This talk will take place in the first floor auditorium of the Hunt Library on Monday, April 8, at 6 p.m..

David Silver is an associate professor of media studies, environmental studies, and urban agriculture at the University of San Francisco. With his urban agriculture colleagues and students, Silver has been active in USF's organic garden, the campus farm stand, and various food distribution projects within the City of San Francisco. He is currently on sabbatical researching the history of the farm at Black Mountain College.