SCHOOL OF THE ALTERNATIVE IS an experiment in education and community. We aim to provide a passion-driven model of education that encourages greater possibilities for thought, creation and collective action. Instead of a traditional classroom environment, our campus
supports a collectively built, self-directed approach to learning, which gives opportunity for all participants to learn and teach.

our 2019 session was held from may 9-29. We will release applications for our 2020 session in late fall.

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Art school as an institution seems like one of the most inflexible of all the higher education formats–the pressure on the right programs, the right schools. Have you encountered any disbelief about what alternative education can do to expand that very narrow vision?

For some people who are more heavily steeped in institutions, it’s hard to really place what we are, and they spend a lot of energy trying to slip us into a familiar box.

Asheville Grit

Imagine stepping into a discussion about shamanic practices and dreaming. Or picture collaborating on a mural, learning turntablism, or exploring the microverse through fermentation and visualization. Now, picture immersing yourself into these experiences for a full week or more. Sound intriguing? It all exists at the School of the Alternative.


Tim Kerr was teaching a class in Black Mountain last summer when he noticed that nothing in town noted that Black Mountain College used to be nearby.

“I was kind of amazed,” the Austin-based folk artist and muralist said last week. So last week he and a dozen of his students at the School of the Alternative painted a mural depicting some of the college’s notable faculty on the side of a building on Sutton Avenue.


Higher education is in a state of crisis. Student debt is skyrocketing. And those looking for masters degrees pay ever-higher sums to institutions that frequently underpay the very adjunct faculty they employ as teachers. For those in the arts, the question of whether or not an MFA is worth the investment of time and money proves perpetually vexing. Enter the inaugural Alternative Art School Fair (AASF), an initiative of the educational wing of Red Hook, Brooklyn’s Pioneer Works.



Black Mountain School, an experiment in education and community in the spirit of Black Mountain College, will open in May 2016. The new school, which has been founded by two North Carolina artists, is inspired by Black Mountain College, where Fuller was a key faculty member. The school’s first summer sessions (which are already full), will begin on May 21...



As a fundamental departure from corporatized profit-driven learning, a “one size fits all” curriculum, and the programmatic, and bureaucratic uniformities that define accredited institutions of higher education, Black Mountain School is an opportunity for students and educators to collaborate in generating knowledge and forming new visual experiences...



Black Mountain School happens that in 2016, on the remains, on memory, on the glories, the myth - you decide - of the name that has become involuntarily a brand, a group of artists North Carolina decide to establish a school inspired by the legendary college which ceased its activities in 1957...



North Carolina artists have founded a new school inspired by the legendary avant-garde Black Mountain College, Art in America’s Erick Lyle reports. The new school—Black Mountain School—cites extreme tuition costs, corporatized profit-driven learning, and a one-size-fits-all curriculum as the reasons there is a need for a school that embodies the principles that governed...



This summer, the organizers of the new Black Mountain School will seek to reconstruct a lost environment in hopes of yielding a powerfully new set of results. Only time will tell if an encounter between a hallowed site’s mythology and the students of a new era can spark a genuinely distinctive sensibility...