Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Gorgeous Setting for Inspiration

Of all the schools we visited, our first one, Appalachian State University in Boone, NC has the most beautiful setting, hands down. Home to roughly 10,000 students, it nestles into the hillsides of the Blue Ridge Mountains at 3,000'+ elevation, with amazing views. It's a good 6 to 10 degrees cooler here than the base of the mountain. It's a campus where walking is a pleasure. And it's a darn good thing, since you will do a lot of walking. One thing is for sure: You will stay in shape.

We made a reservation for the generic campus tour, but our group of 43 was so large it was impossible to hear the student guide most of the time. Tours begin in the admissions suite auditorium to view a slick video designed to make prospective students warm and fuzzy. A short Q & A follows, where the admissions rep asks most of the Q's, eliciting raised-hands responses: Who is from NC? Who is from out-of-state? What made you decide to visit? .... etc. Finally, the walking tour begins, which lasts roughly 2 hours. Most of it is what I would call a 'fly-by': our student guide points to buildings, stating their uses as visitors continue along the footpaths. We did visit the Student Center (FYI: there is a spiffy new one under construction, about 70% complete) the library, a dorm and a dorm room (typical: concrete block walls, Cargo-style furniture, central hall baths), business school, bookstore, and student union building. There has been a lot of construction activity here in the past six or seven years: There are at least a dozen new buildings, and campus expansion/updating continues at a brisk clip. It is all beautifully maintained, with a lot of native flowers, colorful annuals, and seasonal perennials in abundance. Try this link for a quick-and-dirty tour.

After the official tour, Claire and I made for the College of Fine and Applied Arts building on our own, home of the fiber arts program. We were in luck: the program's lead faculty member, JEANA KLEIN, was in a studio. (Here is some of her work.) How often does that happen in JULY? She was very cordial and friendly, answering Claire's questions with great detail. We wound up in a neat discussion, concluding forty minutes later with Jeana chronicling some of the future plans for expansion of the program, which includes adding more faculty. This was a great start!

Physically, the large studios are in a 1970's-era building that is undergoing some renovation, and there are an impressive number of looms in all sizes. Jeana noted that students keep their work on 'their' loom(s) for as long as it takes to complete a project, eliminating set-up time each class. Students can come after class hours to work, which means the dead of night as anyone with college kids knows. There is also a dyeing area, and a studio with sewing machines, drafting tables, small looms, quilting frames, spinning equipment. Design is heavily emphasized, including all things knitted, sewn, woven ... whatever students want to pursue. There is also a wonderful study abroad program, high on Claire's list of "must haves".

More about the Appalachian University College of Fine and Applied Arts is on their blog.

1 comment:

  1. I just found your blog.
    I sat next to you at a meetup a few weeks ago at Kneaded Pleasures.
    Anyway, just wanted to say hello and let you know that you have been added to my blogroll.




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