The demand for education in classical art and architecture is growing faster than the need can be accommodated. That is good news. Better news would be the growth of existing schools of design where classical beauty is taught, and the addition of new schools and departments – such as the new classical program at the College of Architecture and Planning at Colorado University Denver. This past weekend I spent time at the excellent American College of Building Arts, in Charleston, S.C., where traditional crafts, emphasizing methods and practice, are taught. Today I want to spread word of the Beaux-Arts Academy, in Salt Lake City.
Like its Paris namesake and model, l’Academie des Beaux-Arts founded in 1671, the school in Utah offers two intermingling curricula, one in art that lasts four years and one in architecture and design, which covers a year, leading in most cases to graduate programs at other architecture schools, such as Notre Dame. Both curricula emphasize practice, theory and history. They hark back to the long era when architecture was the mother of the arts, when much of artists’ work consisted of embellishing the work of architects, and architects built in ways calculated to embellish the civic realm, creating great cities.
Plop art in plazas that exist only to grant extra floors to buildings that are already too tall for their own good – this is still, alas, the rule. Let RISD and places like that fill that “void.” Although in fact places like RISD are supposedly beginning to re-emphasize craft and beauty in art – which are still verboten in their departments of architecture.
So the Academy of the Beaux-Arts seeks to feed young people, and older professionals hoping to grasp the rising star, into an architecture conceived as the mother of arts. I am continually astonished when I see work produced by students of classical art and craft. It is so much easier to detect talent in them than in students in conventional academic art and craft curricula, not to mention those in architecture programs, who are taught to produce work from which any concept of beauty is purged – as if beauty were not itself a beloved form of novelty, novelty based on tradition handed up by past masters.
Amazingly, a year of tuition, covering two semesters at the BAA, is only $8,000, though the extra cost of two weeks required study in Rome and Florence brings the total in the architecture school per year to $16,000 – still remarkably inexpensive. I can’t speak of art schools, but keep in mind that unlike grads of conventional architecture schools, architecture grads at Notre Dame and other traditional programs are chased up hill and down dale by employers because the abilities taught are so much more practical than the ones taught elsewhere.
Beam me up, Scotty! Oh, that’s right, I’m too old to be a student. Or am I?!
The promotional material of the BAA was obviously crafted by someone with a beautiful sensibility. In addition to its persuasiveness, it is a joy to read and view. Likewise the video created by the school to charm potential students into attending. Enjoy! Attend!