What does a “summer in paradise” look like, to an art student? Anderson University Art+Design alum Jay Noble BA '99 thinks he may know the answer. He has started the Mount Gretna School of Art (MGSoA), a new immersive summer study program for student artists.
The school, located in Mount Gretna, Pa., will open its doors June 1. Noble’s goal is to establish it as a "preeminent landscape painting school." For six weeks this summer, students will take courses in painting, drawing, and art history, all with a special emphasis on landscape.
“Students who are interested in our program must have a preexisting interest in what we teach,” Noble said, adding that MGSoA is “the chance to paint all day every day from nature, surrounded by students and teachers that are there for the same reason.”
[Photo: Conewago Lake in Mount Gretna, Pa.]
Many distinguished artists from throughout the country will serve as instructors and guest lecturers. This summer, Barbara Grossman, Glen Cebulash, and Deborah Kahn will be among those teaching at the school.
Mount Gretna offers an ideal setting for intensive landscape study, being situated in the woods, near a lake, next to a local park, and with rolling Pennsylvania Dutch farmland nearby. Philadelphia and New York City — two major metropolitan centers for art — are located only a couple of hours away. The school will take field trips to both cities this summer.
Noble’s inspiration for the program stemmed from his own experiences at a similar program — the Chautauqua School of Art in Chautauqua, N.Y. He first spent a summer there as a fine arts studio major at AU. “I fell in love with this type of summer supplementary schooling as a complement to my liberal arts education,” he says. “The summer intensive setting provides an experience of depth, singularity, and continuity unachievable in any other context.”
After graduating from AU in 1999, Noble earned his MFA at American University in Washington D.C. in 2003. He currently teaches at York College of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design.
Like the program in Chautauqua, N.Y., MGSoA is supported by a unique, historic cultural community at Mount Gretna, called the Pennsylvania Chautauqua, which is dedicated to fostering culture, entertainment, and spiritual insight. Throughout the summer, they host concerts, lectures and plays — a tradition that has lasted since the late nineteenth century.
Perhaps the most defining aspect of Mount Gretna is its spirit of close-knit community, fostered both by the cultural events themselves and their integration with the residential life in Mount Gretna. Noble wants his students to be connected with this community.
“Mount Gretna has been very generous with its support and hosting our school in the community,” Noble says. He also credits donors who have enabled MGSoA to offer scholarships. Students will be able to live in the local neighborhoods and will have opportunities to volunteer at cultural events and assist in maintaining some of the facilities. Noble sees this service as a way of giving back.
Current AU Art+Design students Gabby Park and Dani Yates will be a part of MGSoA’s inaugural class this summer.
The Department of Art+Design at Anderson University offers majors in the areas of fine arts studio, visual communication design, and visual arts education. Students gain experience through intensive studio practice, professional internships, and by working closely with a faculty of professional artists and designers.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.