Hidden in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Black Mountain College (1933–1957) was an influential experiment in education that inspired and shaped twentieth century American art. Created as an experiment of “education in a democracy,” the central idea was that the creative arts and practical responsibilities are equal in importance to the development of the intellect. The emphasis was that learning and living are intimately connected.
FULLY AWAKE (2007) is the only feature-length documentary film exploring the college’s progressive pedagogy and radical approach to arts education. Highly democratic and faculty-owned, the school promoted educational of the whole person: head, heart, and hand. Practical responsibilities and the creative arts were viewed as equally important components to intellectual development. During WWII, Black Mountain College was a haven for refugee European artists such as Josef and Anni Albers who arrived from the Bauhaus in Germany. In the socially conservative 1940s and 50s, the college also became a refuge for the American avant–garde, (Franz Kline, John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, Robert Creeley, Jacob Lawrence, Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, and M.C. Richards). FULLY AWAKE explores how the confluence of this diverse community came together to create a unique educational model.
FULLY AWAKE…further is a re-envisioned documentary film based on FULLY AWAKE (2007) that takes our original feature film further. Much has changed in the decade since the film was researched and created: freshly available archival source material including photography, primary audio interviews with key figures at the school, and dynamic new interviews, along with new technologies, compel us to re-imagine the film.
We will have the opportunity to share our deeper study of Black Mountain College with a wider audience. Our educational distributor, Documentary Educational Resources is fiscal sponsor for your tax-deductible donation.
We hope you will become a part of funding FULLY AWAKE…further, and help us re-envision a film worthy of Black Mountain College and its legacy.
“Every moment there seemed alive in a way that few have since. This had to do with being asked to be fully awake, to be at a new threshold of perception, whether in class, in the work program, in our own work, or in the life of the community…It let us perceive how much we, each of us, had meaning in the process of the life of the community. That was our education.”– Black Mountain College Student