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Nicholas Sparks Project to Focus on Black Mountain College

By Harriet Staff


Well this is odd/interesting/anodynely adverbial: Best-selling, “achingly tender” novelist Nicholas Sparks (author of Our Favorite Ryan Gosling Movie) is focusing on a new project about–wait for it–Black Mountain College! From, appropriately, Black Mountain News:

Sparks, writer of “Safe Haven,” “The Lucky One,” “The Notebook,” and “Nights in Rodanthe,” has turned his sights to the mountains for his latest novel, “The Longest Ride.”

Playing a key role in the parallel story of two couples is Black Mountain College, an experimental institution that from 1933-57 sought to push art and design to the forefront of American education.

A Sparks book and movie focusing on the college will remind the public of how the institution helped transform art and architecture, Alice Sebrell, Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center program director, said.

“I think it’s exciting, because it is going to bring the story of Black Mountain College to a whole new audience,” Sebrell said.

The college had two campuses in Black Mountain. School officials rented the Blue Ridge Assembly conference center until 1941 then bought property just north of town. Now Camp Rockmont owns the land, on which some college buildings remain.

In the socially conservative 1940s and ‘50s, the college was a refuge for the American avant-garde, including artists and innovators such as Franz Kline, John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, Robert Creeley, Jacob Lawrence, Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, and M.C. Richards. During World War II, it was a haven for refugee European artists such as designers Josef and Anni Albers, who arrived from Germany.

Highly democratic and faculty-owned, the school considered the creative arts and practical responsibilities as equally important components to intellectual development.

In the Longest Ride, Sparks features two couples, one young and an older husband and wife, who visited the college annually for many years, said Sebrell, who read an advance electronic version of the book.

“They met and befriended some of the artists at the college. This is fictionalized, but it is loosely based on history. And they began buying art from those artists,” she said.

Posted in Poetry News on Friday, August 2nd, 2013 by Harriet Staff.