The Blue Ridge Summer Institute for Young Artists (BLUR) kicks off at Sweet Briar College on Sunday, June 19, 2016. For the sixth summer, up to 33 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors will use Sweet Briar’s historic 3,250-acre campus as a coeducational artists’ retreat as they are immersed in creative writing, painting/drawing/sculpting, and filmmaking. BLUR runs for three weeks, closing on July 10.
At the start of their residency, students will declare an area of emphasis. While in residence, they will spend the majority of their time working with master instructors in that medium. Remaining class time will be devoted to other media, fostering creative processes in new aesthetic possibilities and challenges. The program encourages collaboration between students as they build their way to final projects. Collaborative art projects occur every evening and exhibitions, readings, discussions and group activities take place until 10:30 p.m.
Classes run Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. until 3:15 in the afternoon, with a break for lunch. Students also take class Saturday mornings. Saturday afternoons and Sundays are free, with organized recreational activities available, including field trips. Studios and workrooms are always open and available for students during these free times.
Cecelia Llompart (M.F.A.) will return to the program to serve as the chair of creative writing, and Libby Hannon will again be serving as the director of residence life. Remaining faculty will be announced soon. As ever, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) will be working with BLUR students, as will renowned bronze caster and sketch artist Robert Bricker.
BLUR director Eric T. Caldwell said, “There are intensive art programs all over the country, but BLUR is unique in that it offers both intensive study in a single medium, and dynamic cross-training in many others. In this way, we hope to deepen our students’ understanding of one medium and open the creative pathways to as many others as we can.”
Caldwell was selected to lead the program because of his experience with the many different media that students explore in the program. In addition to serving as an assistant professor in the English department at Sweet Briar for eight years, he oversaw a mixed media sculpture studio in Charlottesville, Va.
Participating students can earn up to two hours of college credit. Financial aid and scholarships are available. Application deadline is April 15; a five percent tuition discount will be granted to participants applying before April 1.