In 1933, Black Mountain College opened near Black Mountain, North Carolina. Dedicated to the arts, it marked a radical departure from most colleges of the time. It was an experiment in progressive education and communal work. It pursued democratic governance, requirement everyone to perform daily chores, demanded no course requirements, and only awarded grades to help its students gain acceptance into graduate school.
The college attracted famous artists who pushed the boundaries of their art. Some of its students achieved fame and influence of their own. Buckminster Fuller worked on his first geodesic dome there, and the college staged the first multimedia happening. But charges that the school was Communist, combined with financial stress and faculty conflicts, led to its closing in 1956.
The Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center in Asheville, NC is dedicated to spreading awareness of the college through exhibits, publications, lectures, films, and other events.