Summer School: Selections from the Archives of American Art


Each year, as the days get longer and the weather warmer, people everywhere welcome summer and its charms. For many artists, summer offers an opportunity to concentrate fully on their work, without the constraints of teaching or the distractions of city living.

Beginning in 1891, summer programs for artists began to pop up all over the east coast of the United States. At first, schools were formed close to Manhattan, where most artists lived and worked, but soon spread up the New England coast, and beyond. Like the summer camps of childhood, these schools provided a structured yet liberal environment that allowed for unbridled creativity and collaboration. As many of the schools grew in reputation and roster, they became firmly planted in the lore of American art history, and many still operate today.

Through original letters, rare photographs, and sketchbooks from the Archives of American Art, this exhibition showcases a number of these schools and their importance to artists' lives and careers. Summer programs featured in this exhibition include the schools in Provincetown, Massachusetts; Fontainebleau, France; the Penland School of Crafts (Penland, North Carolina); the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (Deer Isle, Maine); the Pilchuck Glass School (Stanwood, Washington); Skowhegan (Skowhegan, Maine); and Ox-Bow (Michigan).