We are thrilled to announce the opening of the Ronald R. Janssen Library + Study Center in the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) gallery at 69 Broadway St. in downtown Asheville, NC. Ron Janssen is Professor Emeritus at Hofstra University in New York, where he taught English for more than thirty years and served as the founding chair of the Department of Writing Studies.
As a Ph.D. student at the University of Kentucky in the 1970s, Janssen was introduced to the Black Mountain College legacy through visitors who had actually attended the school, including Jonathan Williams and Buckminster Fuller. His interest piqued, Janssen began collecting books, journals, and other materials celebrating Black Mountain College’s avant-garde writers and artists. He recognized the profound impact that Black Mountain College had within the arts and culture in the U.S. and across the globe. The ideas of Black Mountain College’s exploratory artists bolstered Janssen’s approach to teaching both at Hofstra and abroad during teaching assignments in China, most notably as Fulbright Scholar for two years at Beijing University. His interest in Black Mountain writers also led to his editing of a special Denise Levertov issue of the journal Twentieth-Century Literature.