Prefer inspiration to resolutions? Words of encouragement from Black Mountain College artists and educators, from constructive to inspirational to abstract.

Don’t fight forces, use them.

Buckminster Fuller

  • “Our world goes to pieces. We have to rebuild our world.”  –Anni Albers
  • “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” –John Dewey
  • “When you put a seed in the ground, it doesn’t stop growing after eight hours. It keeps going every minute that it’s in the earth. We, too, need to keep growing every moment of every day that we are on this earth.” –Ruth Asawa

If you don’t have trouble paying the rent, you have trouble doing something else; one needs just a certain amount of trouble.

Robert Rauschenberg

  • “We need not destroy the past. It is gone.”  –John Cage
  • “Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.”  –John Dewey
  • “Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable.”  –Buckminster Fuller

Creating is the most intense excitement one can come to know.  

Anni Albers

  • “I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.”  –John Cage
  • “All that we can hope for is to put some order into ourselves.” –Willem de Kooning
  • “A thing is never seen as it really is.”  –Josef Albers
  • “I don’t mess around with my subconscious.”  –Robert Rauschenberg

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.

Buckminster Fuller

  • “I want to give an example from my lessons: you drink wine for the first time. Please don’t judge, but drink many wines, study them and probably then if you are looking for words to describe a wine you will see that you can’t find them.”   –Josef Albers
  • “The only way to do it is to do it.” –Merce Cunningham
  • “I am happy to have some friends here in the kitchen.” –Charles Olson
  • “Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.” –John Dewey

Falling is one of the ways of moving. 


  • “Wholeness is not a Utopian dream, it is something that we once possessed and now seem largely to have lost, or to say it less pessimistically, seem to have lost were it not for our inner sense of direction which still reminds us that something is wrong here because we know of something that is right.” –Anni Albers
  • “The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.” –John Dewey
  • “I’m trying to climb up both walls at once.” –Charles Olson

Art is spirit and spirit is eternal.  



There is so much to learn from Black Mountain College. Leap Before You Look in 2016!