Hours + Location

Mon + Wed – Sat 11:00 – 5:00 pm.

56 Broadway // 69 Broadway
Asheville, NC 28801

info [at] blackmountaincollege [dot] 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. We achieve our mission through collection, conservation, and educational activities including exhibitions, publications, and public programs.

Founded in 1993 by arts advocate Mary Holden to celebrate the history of Black Mountain College as a forerunner in progressive interdisciplinary education and to celebrate its extraordinary impact on modern and contemporary art, dance, theater, music, and performance.  BMCM+AC is committed to educating the public about the history of Black Mountain College and promoting awareness of its extensive legacy through exhibitions, publications, lectures, films, seminars, and oral histories. Through our permanent collection, special exhibitions, publications, and research archive, we provide access to historical materials related to the College and its influence on the field.

BMCM+AC provides a forum for multifaceted programming in a dynamic environment in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. Our goal is to provide a gathering point for people from a variety of backgrounds to interact – integrating art, ideas, and discourse.


BMCM+AC By the Numbers

  • 169,960+ in-person engagements since 1993
  • 5,942+ collaborations with artists and other organizations
  • 49 exhibitions and 993+ events
  • 31 exhibition catalogues, dossiers and other publications
  • 2,000+ pieces of artwork and ephemera in our collection
  • 58 oral histories created
About Black Mountain College

JosephAlberBlackMountainCollegeLogoOrginal1The 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 Bauhaus by the Nazis, and the beginning of the persecution of artists and intellectuals on the European continent. Some of these people found their way to Black Mountain, either as students or faculty. Meanwhile, the United States was mired in the Great Depression, and Franklin Roosevelt, committed to putting people back to work, established the Public Works Arts Project (a precursor of the WPA).

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. 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.

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 people such as 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, famous and not-so-famous, who have impacted 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, Program Director
Maggie Cramer, Outreach + Development Manager
Nicole Erskine, Communications Coordinator
Andy Burns, Windgate Intern
Carmelo Pampillonio, Windgate Intern
Chava Krivchenia, Windgate Intern

Brian Butler, Co-Chair – Professor of Philosophy, UNC Asheville
Don Carson, Co-Chair – General Manager, RFA Management Co., LLC, Singer, Musician 
Brenda Coates, Secretary – Community Volunteer
Leigh Maher, Treasurer– LMM Business Consulting, CFO Leaf Festival and General Manager Lake Eden Events

Board of Directors: 
Helga Beam – Community Volunteer
Connie Bostic – Artist
John Byrd – Attorney
Curt Cloninger – Associate Professor of New Media, UNC Asheville
Marcia Cohen – Professor of Art, SCAD Atlanta 
John Cram – Owner of Blue Spiral 1, New Morning Gallery, Fine Arts Theatre, Bellagio
Amy Daugherty – Community Volunteer
Todd Fowler – Accountant, Todd and Company Accounting 
Barry Friedlander – Retired Physician
Sydney Green – Community Volunteer and Small Business Owner
Rick Gruber – Director Emeritus, The Ogden Museum of Art
Larry Hopkins – Owner, Ananda Hair Studio
Mary Lynn Kotz – Writer, Author of Rauschenberg: Art and Life
Dave Peifer – Professor of Mathematics, UNC Asheville 
Micah Pulleyn – Artist, Event Planner
Jane Anne Tager – Human Resources Director
Mary Holden Thompson – Director Emerita, Founder
Joseph R. Urgo – Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, UNC Asheville
Amanda Wiles – Artist

Advisory Board:
Emoke B’Racz – Owner of Malaprop’s Bookstore
Jeff Davis – Poet, Computer Network Specialist
Gene Felice – New Media Artist, Teacher
Jean B. Franklin – Co-owner of Black Mountain Books
Katie Lee Koven – University Gallery Director, Utah State University
Mark Koven – Artist
David McConville – President of the Buckminster Fuller Institute and co-founder of the elumenati
Carol Pennell – Real Estate Broker
Susan Rhew – Graphic Designer / Susan Rhew Design
Glen Shults – Attorney
Fred Turner – Associate Professor of Communication and Director of the Program in Science, Technology and Society at Stanford University

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I visit the former College campuses?
The former BMC campuses at YMCA Blue Ridge and Lake Eden are owned and operated by private organizations. Unfortunately, we cannot offer tours to the general public on a regular basis. 

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 use the images on your website for my project?
You may certainly use images from our website for personal, educational, and non-commercial purposes. Please remember to credit both the artist and BMCM+AC! If you have questions about image rights for a commercial purpose, contact info [at] blackmountaincollege [dot] org. 

How are artists chosen for exhibitions?
BMCM+AC is proud to exhibit the work of Black Mountain College faculty and students, as well as artists working under the influence of Black Mountain College. Though we do not accept unsolicited submissions, we welcome you to stop by and discuss your work or ideas!

How are artists/scholars chosen for {Re}Happening / ReVIEWING?
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 will be notified of their status. Keep your eyes out for these calls, or email us if you have questions.

Does BMCM+AC accept donations of art?
We are thrilled to accept donations of art and artifacts from the students and faculty of Black Mountain College! To learn more about donating to the BMCM+AC collection, please contact Alice Sebrell at alice [at] blackmountaincollege [dot] org.