THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

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THANK YOU to all of you who were here this year for our FOURTH (!) season of SotA. It was a joy to host you, to take care of you, to be taken care of by you. It’s powerful to see the community expand each year, to see new folx take the leap, and to see family return home each May. It’s magic to see your lives transformed, to see our lives transformed, and to see the community practice collective learning AND collective care, all in the same space. We talk more and more each year about how to hold SotA with us after the experience each year ends. For those of us who have been here every year, I think we do see it seep a bit more into our “waking” lives (let’s be real, SotA is a dream) each year, and I think a lot of that will happen if we work to bring the elements of this community into every day with intention. Host a gas class in your living room, share your resources, care for folks actively, listen deeply, activate the spaces that you are in in unexpected and engaging ways.

✨✨✨✨✨✨
LOVE YOU,
SotA


📸by Suzi Sadler

2019 Class List Released!

OUR 2019 CLASS LIST IS HERE!

At School of the Alternative, our curriculum each year is determined by the radical individuals who apply, and the skills, experience, and ideas that they hope to share. We are really excited about the wild range of classes that we are able to offer this year! 

This means that now is the time to choose which week(s) you'd like to join us this year, and get those applications in! As a student at SotA, you will not only be a part of an engaging, community-minded group of folks (like you!), you will also have the chance to both take classes and teach pop-up classes if you would like! The traditional student/teacher hierarchy is dissolved here at SotA, and we hope this non-traditional structure is just another great reason for you to apply this year!


Deadlines are coming up! 


SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 23RD
STUDENT DEADLINE: MARCH 1ST*

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"SotA is the stuff of dreams! As someone who is not a trained visual artist or steeped in academia, it was incredibly freeing to be given the latitude to create, teach, explore, and just exist in such an incredibly nurturing environment. I feel reborn (no hyperbole here!) and propelled forward by oodles of love and acceptance. What a gift to have existed amongst such beauty and kindness."

Illustration in header by Andrew Haas, illustration in poster above by Erin Anderson-Ruddon

*we will accept applications after 3/1 until all spots are filled, but we do encourage getting your application in by the 3/1 deadline for the best chance of joining us this May!

FACULTY APPS DUE 2/1!



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Faculty Applications for our May 2019 Session are due NEXT FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1ST! At School of the Alternative, our curriculum each year is determined by the radical individuals who apply, and the skills, experience, and ideas that they hope to share. Join us! The only requirement for applying is that you be 18+, no other pre-requisites or experience needed.

Our intention is to remove traditional hierarchy as much as we can at SotA, and this means that not only do faculty teach classes while they're here, they also participate in work service to maintain our community, stay in the same lodge alongside students + staff, and attend as many classes as they'd like that don't conflict with their own. We hope this non-traditional structure encourages you to apply to teach here! We love seeing class ideas that you wouldn't see elsewhere, especially in traditional institutions. Go WILD. 

We look forward to seeing your applications this week! We're here to answer any questions you may have - reach out and we are happy to help clarify anything + have the opportunity to talk with you about teaching at SotA!


"It's a rare project because of how emphatically it encourages experimentation, and believes in the possibility of creative practice supported by community self-determination. As soon as you arrive you feel like anything is possible as long as there is the will to do it. Everyone can teach a class, propose change, do something new, and in a different way. Creative practice is taught as a continuous expansion of possibilities, in which we can always do more by creating alternatives to what is fixed or limited." 

-Alexander Chaparro, past faculty + SotA family member



Illustration in header by Andrew Haas, illustration in poster above by Erin Anderson-Ruddon

Support SotA this Giving Tuesday

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School of the Alternative has joined #GivingTuesday, a global movement that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage collective action and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Occurring this year on November 27, Giving Tuesday serves to inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the causes and communities that they support. 
 

We are very excited to have received our official 501c3 status this year, meaning that all of your donations are tax deductible!


We are asking that you give. At SotA, our current budget (funded through tuition from paying students) covers the cost of food, lodging, transportation (gas to and from airports to pick folks up), and operational expenses (storage unit, PO box, email, and website expenses). 


All else will be funded through generous donations both inside and outside of our community. Many of our class supplies in the past have been donation based, and every contribution, from a few dollars to your time helping spread the word, is immensely helpful to our incredibly bare bones, DIY budget. Click the link below to donate, or to learn more about non-monetary ways to support SotA!

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2019 Apps are OUT!

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Our student, faculty, and scholarship applications for our 2019 session are now online!


School of the Alternative is an experiment in education and community. SotA offers a socially integrated experience with intimate classes, communal living, and emphasis on shared labor. 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. 

Students can apply to come for 1, 2, or 3 weeks, and faculty can apply to come for 1 or 2 weeks. We will learn, work, and live together on the same campus originally used by Black Mountain College, doing work service in the mornings (cooking meals, setting up classrooms, cleaning, working in the garden, maintaining our archive), and taking or teaching classes all afternoon.

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OUR 3 WEEK SESSION WILL BE HELD: MAY 9TH-29TH


FACULTY DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 1ST
SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 23RD
STUDENT DEADLINE: MARCH 1ST *

*We will accept student applications after the deadline, and they will be reviewed on a rolling basis until all spots are full. We do recommend submitting your applications on or before the initial deadline. 



We aim to be accessible to anyone who wants access. We want to share our programming with all–regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, income level, educational experience, or background. We value reciprocal education, wherein dialogue between peers, students, teachers, and community members creates space for all to learn. We are thrilled that you are interested in joining us this year!

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Student Apps Still Open! + Help Us Meet Our 2018 Needs

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Student Applications for our May
2018 Session
are STILL OPEN!
 

We are still accepting applications on a rolling basis for our session this May! We are so excited about our fantastic class lineup, and we would love for you to join us for 1, 2, or 3 weeks! At School of the Alternative, we aim to provide a passion-driven model of education that encourages greater possibilities for thought, creation, and collective action. As a student, you will even have the opportunity to teach pop up style classes, and tuition includes all meals,+ 9 radical classes to choose from each week. We'll all live together in a lodge on a beautiful campus in Black Mountain, North Carolina, the original campus of Black Mountain College!

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At SotA, our current budget (funded through tuition from paying students) covers the cost of food, lodging, transportation (gas to and from airports to pick folks up), and operational expenses (storage unit, PO box, email, and website expenses). All supplies are donated, and all faculty and staff are working as volunteers. Monetary donations are prioritized for our deposit for 2019, stipends for faculty and staff, and class supplies. 

$$$ is not the only way you can help, though! We are also in need of basic art supplies, as well as additional kitchen supplies. Can you help us meet our 2018 needs? We are so appreciative of any donation, from $5 or a few packs of markers to $500 or a food processor, every donation is massively helpful!

2018 Classes Announced!

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We are beyond thrilled to announce the class lineup for our session this coming May (11-30)! At SotA, we value passion-driven learning, and our curriculum each year is determined by the applications submitted.

 

If you're interested in being a part of our community, we would love to see you apply as a student! At SotA, the line between student and faculty is blurred at best, with students even having the opportunity to teach pop-up classes, and faculty attending classes as students. Won't you join us for 1, 2, or 3 weeks in May? 


Application Due Dates:
Scholarship Deadline: Feb 15th |  Student Deadline: Feb 25th*

*We will accept student applications after the 25th, and they will be reviewed on a rolling basis until all spots are full

 

Support SotA this Giving Tuesday!

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School of the Alternative has joined #GivingTuesday, a global movement that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage collective action and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Occurring this year on November 28, #GivingTuesday serves to inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the causes and communities that they support. 


We are asking that you give. Currently, all faculty, staff, and administrative positions are unpaid. At SotA, our current budget (funded through tuition from paying students) covers the cost of food, lodging, transportation (gas to and from airports to pick folks up), and operational expenses (storage unit, PO box, email, and website expenses). 


All else will be funded through generous donations both inside and outside of our community. Many of our class supplies in the past have been donation based, and every donation (even just a few dollars!), is immensely helpful to our incredibly bare bones, DIY budget. 


This year, our top fundraising priorities are:
Deposit for 2019
Staff + Faculty Stipends
Class supplies
 

If you can't financially support SotA, there are other ways to support us! You can donate supplies, time, and support us by spreading the word! To learn more about the many ways to support this project, we hope you'll reach out!

 

CLICK HERE to SUPPORT SotA TODAY

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Photo by Suzi Sadler, illustration at top by Erin Anderson-Ruddon


For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday websiteFacebook page, or follow @GivingTues and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on social media. 

2018 Apps are OUT!

                                                                                               Poster by Bud Ries

                                                                                               Poster by Bud Ries

Our studentscholarship, and faculty applications for our 2018 session are now online! School of the Alternative is an experiment in education and community. We will all live, learn, teach, and work together for three weeks this May, in the magical mountains of Black Mountain, North Carolina.

At SotA, through a system of co-education, learners and educators cooperate in actively producing knowledge and forming new aesthetic experiences. Faculty are free to plan their class according to their own instruction, and are encouraged to join other classes as students. Students are expected to design their own curriculum but are also given the opportunity to teach. All members will participate in the school’s physical maintenance through gardening, cooking, cleaning, and will contribute to the gradual and continual transformation of the educational objectives, essential values, and political concerns bracing School of the Alternative.

We value experimentation as both an aesthetic drive, and as a way to push new ideas and old traditions to their limits. This radical power is one that allows for significant change – within us, our respective fields, our society, and our relationships with others.

 

OUR 3 WEEK SESSION WILL BE HELD: MAY 11TH-30TH
 

FACULTY DEADLINE: JAN 25
SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE: FEB 15TH
STUDENT DEADLINE: FEB 25TH*

 

*We will accept student applications after 25th, and they will be reviewed on a rolling basis until all spots are full

LEARN MORE + ACCESS APPS HERE! 

We aim to be accessible to anyone who wants access. We want to share our programming with all–regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, income level, educational experience, or background. We value reciprocal education, wherein dialogue between peers, students, teachers, and community members creates space for all to learn. We are thrilled that you are interested in joining us this year!

New Board Member! + New Acting Director!

Photo by Suzi Sadler (taken in Sophie Bolla's class-built-classroom-sized camera obscura)

Photo by Suzi Sadler (taken in Sophie Bolla's class-built-classroom-sized camera obscura)

What a beautiful 2 sessions we had this May! Season 2 episodes 1 & 2 were a truly impactful community experience. There really is a sort of indescribably magic to learning together in this sort of environment, and I feel really grateful to have lived that with everyone this May. THANK YOU to each of you who were a part of this community this year. Thank you for taking a risk in being a part of this experiment, thank you for being vulnerable while you were here, and for fully immersing yourselves in our SotA community! A few newsy items for you...

We have a new Board Member!

We wanted to keep you all in the loop, and to be transparent about the working structures of the school. As you may know, we have a 5 person Board of Directors, and last year we had a student member as a rotating member of the board, the unspeakably great Luan Joy Sherman. It was a total delight working with him, and  having him as such an integral part of our community this year. We've now filled that position with an incredibly passionate, energetic, and tirelessly hardworking community member, Nelle Dunlap! Nelle and her uniquely brilliant mind were a big part of making 2017 happen, and we are beyond thrilled to have her on board!


We have a new Acting Director!

Another pretty major shift that we've made is that I (Heidi Gruner) will now serve as the Acting Director of SotA. I've been involved with this project since the first planning sessions, and have served on the board since December of 2015. I have worked as an organizer, a curator and gallery director, and a graphic designer, and am endlessly passionate about this school, and the experience both during and between sessions. I am so so thrilled to take this on and to continue helping our community evolve into an experience that is impactful and transformative. My hope this year at school was to be an effective but invisible facilitator, and an active and engaged participant. It felt really exciting to struggle with and begin to become comfortable with that balance in my own way, and I hope to keep serving this community in a way that makes the experience even richer for everyone involved. 

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Right now we're working to form working groups for the time between sessions, to further expand the community of people making SotA happen, and to continue to expand the scope of what we can do! Please do reach out if you want to be involved in any way, big or small!

 

Sending love from the mountains,

Heidi