Hours + Location

Open Tuesday – Saturday 11am to 5pm

We close our gallery, library and research center between exhibitions – visit our Exhibitions Page for dates.

120 College Street
Asheville, NC 28801

To schedule a group tour please contact us at info@blackmountaincollege.org

Our Mission Statement

The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) preserves and continues the legacy of educational and artistic innovation of Black Mountain College (BMC). We achieve our mission through collection, conservation, and educational activities including exhibitions, publications, and public programs.

Arts advocate Mary Holden founded BMCM+AC in 1993 to celebrate the history of Black Mountain College as a forerunner in progressive interdisciplinary education and to explore its extraordinary impact on modern and contemporary art, dance, theater, music, and performance. Today, the museum remains committed to educating the public about BMC’s history and raising awareness of its extensive legacy. Our goal is to provide a gathering point for people from a variety of backgrounds to interact through art, ideas, and discourse.

BMCM+AC By the Numbers:

  • 200,000+ in-person engagements since 1993
  • 6,500+​ collaborations with artists and other organizations
  • 80+ exhibitions and 2,000+ events
  • 30+ exhibition catalogues, dossiers, and other publications
  • 4,000+ pieces of artwork and ephemera in our collection
  • 60+ oral histories created
About Black Mountain College

The story of Black Mountain College begins in 1933 and comprises a fascinating chapter in the history of education and the arts. Conceived by John A. Rice, a brilliant and mercurial scholar who left Rollins College in a storm of controversy, Black Mountain College was born out of a desire to create a new type of college based on John Dewey’s principles of progressive education. The events that precipitated the college’s founding occurred simultaneously with the rise of Adolf Hitler, the closing of the the Bauhaus school in Germany, and the beginning of the persecution of artists and intellectuals in Europe. Some of these refugees found their way to Black Mountain, either as students or faculty. Meanwhile, the United States was mired in the Great Depression.

The founders of the college believed that the study and practice of art were indispensable aspects of a student’s general liberal arts education, and they hired Josef Albers to be the first art teacher. Speaking not a word of English, he and his wife Anni left the turmoil in Hitler’s Germany and crossed the Atlantic Ocean by boat to teach art at this small, rebellious college in the mountains of North Carolina.

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. Twenty minutes east of Asheville, the secluded environment fostered a strong sense of individuality and creative intensity.

Legendary even in its own time, Black Mountain College attracted and created maverick spirits, some of whom went on to become well-known and extremely influential individuals in the latter half of the 20th century. A partial list includes Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Josef and Anni Albers, Jacob Lawrence, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Cy Twombly, Kenneth Noland, Susan Weil, Vera B. Williams, Ben Shahn, Ruth Asawa, Franz Kline, Arthur Penn, Buckminster Fuller, M.C. Richards, Francine du Plessix Gray, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Dorothea Rockburne and many others who have made an impact on the world in a significant way. Even now, decades after its closing in 1957, the powerful influence of Black Mountain College continues to reverberate. For more information view our resources. 


Jeff Arnal, Executive Director
Alice Sebrell, Director of Preservation
Kira Houston, Outreach Coordinator
Maru McCoy, Development Coordinator
Maya Rosenbaum, Communications Coordinator
Holly Filsinger, Collections Specialist

Rob Pulleyn, Chair – Ceramist and Owner, Marshall High Studios
Sydney Green, Co-Vice Chair – Community Volunteer and Small Business Owner
Michael Manes, Co-Vice Chair – Gallery Director, Blue Spiral I
Curt Cloninger, Secretary – Associate Professor of New Media, UNC Asheville
Teresa Swan Tuite, Treasurer – Associate Dean for Student Success, Simpson College

Board of Directors: 
John Byrd – Retired Attorney

Donald Carson – Co-Founder + Managing Director, The Ansley Capital Group, Co-Founder + Principal, Cardez Hospitality Group, Director, LOR Inc. + Rollins Holding Company, Singer, Musician

Matt Chambers – Co-owner of Blue Spiral 1, New Morning Gallery, Bellagio

Richard Chess – Professor Emeritus, UNC Asheville, Poet and Writer

Marcia R. Cohen – Professor Emeritus, SCAD Atlanta

Blaise deFranceaux – Community Volunteer, Retired Realtor

Hedy Fischer – Collector, Curator and Cultural Pollinator

Leigh Maher – LMM Business Consulting, CFO Leaf Festival/GM Lake Eden Events

Dave Peifer – Professor of Mathematics, UNC Asheville

Cherry Lentz Saenger – Retired Professor

Mary Holden Thompson – Director Emerita, Founder

Amanda Wiles – Artist

Nan Zander – American Paintings Specialist, General Manager and Auctioneer, Brunk Auctions​

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I visit the former Black Mountain College campuses?
The former BMC campuses at YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly and Lake Eden are owned and operated by private organizations. In partnership with Lake Eden Preserve, we are able to offer regular walking tours of the BMC Campus at Lake Eden. Learn more and register

Is parking available at BMCM+AC?
BMCM+AC does not have a dedicated visitor parking lot. Please see this page for parking options in downtown Asheville.

Can I take photos of artwork on display?
Photography is welcome without flash. Please do not reproduce, distribute, or sell your photographs without permission from BMCM+AC.

How do I obtain permissions for image use?
If you would like to use images from our website for personal, educational, non-commercial, or commercial purposes, contact info@blackmountaincollege.org.

How are artists chosen for exhibitions?
BMCM+AC is proud to routinely exhibit the work of Black Mountain College faculty and students, as well as occasionally display the works of today’s artists under the influence of BMC. When opportunities arise for working artists to exhibit their work, we will share them through our website and other channels. We also involve local and regional artists in our ongoing event programming. Proposals are accepted year-round to info@blackmountaincollege.org.

How are artists/scholars chosen for the {Re}HAPPENING and the ReVIEWING conference?
As these annual events approach, we issue a call for submissions on our website and through many media outlets. Those submissions are reviewed by a committee and all applicants are notified of their status. Keep your eyes out for these calls, or email us if you have questions. We also involve local and regional artists in our ongoing event programming. Proposals are accepted year-round to info@blackmountaincollege.org.

Does BMCM+AC accept donations of artwork?
We are thrilled to accept donations of art and ephemera from the students and faculty of Black Mountain College. To learn more about donating to our permanent collection, please email info@blackmountaincollege.org.

Can I schedule a guided tour?
We offer guided tours for groups of all ages! Groups of less than 30 are preferred but we do our best to accommodate larger groups as needed. A suggested donation of $10 per person is appreciated. To schedule a tour or get more information please contact info@blackmountaincollege.org. We advise advanced notice of three weeks or more in order to give you the best experience.

Is BMCM+AC wheelchair accessible?
Our front entrance off of College Street is wheelchair accessible however our door is not automatic, please knock or call (828) 350-8484 and our staff will be happy to assist you. Both our upper and lower galleries are accessible with an elevator available between floors.