Alternative Art School Fair

The Alternative Art School Fair presents an introduction to alternative art schools from around the US and the world.

Art education is a reflection of social and cultural evolution; it engages with structures of meaning-making and considers different frameworks for experience. The impetus to create an alternative art school is rooted not only in a desire to create “better” art, but to create the conditions for greater freedom of expression. Often run as free, artist-run initiatives, the values and visions of alternative art schools vary widely in methodology, mission and governance. But even when they are relatively small in scale they provide vital models of cultural critique and experimentation.

The Alternative Art School Fair event, including workshops, discussions, and keynote presentations by Carol Becker, Luis Camnitzer, Craig Wilkins and Dorothea Rockburne, will be streamed live and archived by Clocktower Productions on

The Alternative Art School Fair recognizes that the act of school building is an effort to create institutional structures that are more responsive to cultural evolution. With this in mind the Fair invites the public to engage with these schools at interactive booths alongside a weekend program of presentations and discussions that examine the role of such alternatives.

The reasons for this fair are several:

  • To provide better visibility for alternative schools and improve access to their programming.
  • To create opportunities for schools to share experiences and resources for mutual enrichment.
  • To consider the role of the artist as cultural producer.
  • To discuss the evolving methodology of arts education.
  • To demystify the process of creating a school.

Criteria for participation:

  • Calls itself a school.
  • Engages arts or creative practice education within their programming.
  • Proposes something unique in terms of methodology, organization, mission, curriculum, final output.
  • If the school does not call itself an art school, it should propose something that can impact or transform arts education.
  • Is a space that generates alternative systems and new cultural models.


Participating Schools

  • AAPG – Alternative Art Program Guatemala
  • AltMFA
  • Anhoek School
  • Archeworks
  • Arts Letters & Numbers
  • ASCII Project
  • Beta-Local
  • Black Mountain School
  • Brooklyn Institute for Social Research
  • Center for Art Analysis
  • école de Hogbonu
  • Enroll Yourself
  • Free School of Architecture
  • Islington Mill Art Academy
  • Grizedale Arts
  • Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency
  • NERTM – New Earth Resiliency Training Module
  • Nomad/9
  • Pioneer Works
  • School of Apocalypse
  • School of Critical Engagement – SoCE
  • School of the Future
  • School for Poetic Computation
  • SOMA
  • Sommerskolen
  • Spring Sessions
  • Sunview Luncheonette
  • The Art & Law Program
  • The Black School
  • The Other MA – TOMA
  • The Public School
  • The School of Making Thinking
  • The Southland Institute
  • The Ventriloquist Summerschool
  • The Zz School of Print Media
  • Thinker Space
  • Transart Institute
  • Uncertainty School
  • UNIDEE – University of Ideas
  • Utopia School

Presses, Libraries, Resources

  • Arthur Fournier Fine and Rare
  • Booklyn
  • Brooklyn Art Library
  • Common Field
  • Inventory Press
  • OSSAI – Open Source and Space Administration Institute for Alternative Research
  • Provisions Library
  • Sketchbook Project
  • Zone Books



Imagining a School: Building Space for Creative Liberation

A panel discussion featuring Carol Becker, Luis Camnitzer, Dorothea Rockburne, and Victoria Sobel; moderated by Catherine Despont. Spanning five generations of wisdom–ages ranging from 20s to 80s–participants will consider how art methodology is changing, how it should change, and how the act of school building is influencing this shifting landscape. The panelists will reflect on their collective experience as teachers and students of diverse educational structures: from Rockburne’s time as a student at Black Mountain School, to Camnitzer’s experimental curriculum at SUNY Old Westbury, to Becker’s position as Dean of the School of the Arts at Columbia University or her former role as Dean at the Art Institute of Chicago, to Victoria Sobel, who was a co-founder of the Free Cooper Union campaign and is, along with Casey Gollan, a current Vera List Center Fellow. The panel will set out a framework through which we might better understand the role of the artist in society and the ways that arts education engages with and defines cultural evolution.

How is alternative education important to artistic practice?

Four artists consider how their experiences with alternative educational have shaped the way they think, exchange, create and teach. Moderated by Lynn Book with Jean Marie Casbarian, Andrew Cooks, Andrea Haenggi and Virgil Wong.

With Transart.

How can alternative systems impact traditional arts education?

What happens when you inject elements of alternative art school practices into established institutions?

Moderated by Regine Basha, with Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency, School of the Future, and Daniel Bozhkov.

The Price of Education

How and why schools run programs for free, and some of their alternative funding structures.

Moderated by AltMFA, with Sommerskolen and The Cheapest University.

The Anhoek Record Examination

Mary Walling Blackburn and Beatriz Balanta’s ARE undoes the benign voice of the standardized test and awakens the participant to the history of violence embedded in the form while activating it as a site for aesthetic expression.

With the Anhoek School.

Art and Democracy

What is art’s role in shaping education for social change and engaged citizenry?

Moderated by Provisions Library, with UNIDEE, UOIEA, and The Black School.

The Social Arts College

Discuss the value of a liberal arts education for arts practitioners.

With the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research.

Year One

Three programs that launched in the last year discuss how they decided on their school structure and some lessons learned in running them.

Moderated by Black Mountain School, with Nomad9 and Enrol Yourself.

Self-Governance as Pedagogy: Of Other Spaces

Are “school” and “residency” the only institutions we can think of as pedagogical structures? How might embodying the “school” serve as a tactical and strategic model for how exchanges and activities should be carried out in general?

With the Art & Law Program.


A conversation charting the concept of unlearning. Uncertainty School will define it in relation to social constructs, with a focus on disability.

With Uncertainty School.



The Architecture of Arts Education

Noted architect and educator, Dr. Craig L. Wilkins, PhD, RA, will present on what it means to make-do spatially, drawing on his work as a practitioner and activist, and suggest ways we can co-create radical, challenging, and empowering educational spaces together. Wilkins is author of The Aesthetics of Equity: Notes on Race, Space, Architecture, and Music, which deconstructs how the marginalization of African Americans is authorized within the field of architecture and outlines how activist forms of expression shape and sustain communities, fashioning an architectural theory around the site of environmental conflict constructed by hip-hop culture. Dr. Wilkins will consider the role of institutional space–and practices ambivalent to its sanction–in the production of transformative sites, art and artists.

Open Source and Online

How are schools using virtual tools/space to share and run their programs?

With the Public School and OSSAI.

Hybrid Practice

How are new combinations of traditionally distinct disciplines coming together in arts education?

Moderated by Archeworks, with School for Poetic Computation, Southland Insitute, and ZZ School of Print Technology.

Innovating Critique

Schools discuss alternative models of critique – one of the defining characteristics of arts education – and consider the values at play in such exchanges.

With Arts Letters and Numbers.

Local and International Perspectives

How to strengthen local perspectives while being open to international communities? Three schools speak to the challenges and values of global perspectives.

Moderated by SOMA, with School of Critical Engagement, Beta-Local, and Ecole de Hogbonu.

Responsive Programming

A discussion of the challenges of creating, chairing, and maintaining alternative design programs within the context of art schools and departments, drawing on de Bretteville’s history of founding diverse educational initiatives including the first design program for women at the California Institute of the Arts (1971), the Woman’s Building (1972), and the Feminist Studio Workshop (with Arlene Raven and Judy Chicago in 1973).

With public artist Sheila Levrant de Bretteville and The Ventriloquist Summerschool.

Body / Text / Play

Use a pertinent theoretical text as a starting point for the creation of a movement/performance score that activates key feelings, ideas, and values embedded within the text.

With the School of Making Thinking.

Performative Discussion: Unanswerable Questions

There will be a table with 8 chairs. No one will sit at the table to start. A facilitator will select a topic out of a hat, and we will go from there.

With ThinkerSpace.

(Re-)incorporating Art in Everyday Life

Schools that institute communal practices and aesthetics in everyday life.

Moderated by Grizedale Arts, with School of Apocalypse, NERTM, and The Sunview Luncheonette.

Publication as Platform for Education

A discussion about presses as a context for alternative pedagogy.

With Editor-in-chief/Co-founder of Hyperallergic Hrag Vartanian, Michael Newton (from Zone Books), and Shannon Harvey (from Inventory Press).