September 12, 2017

Bruce High Quality Foundation University President Offers Details on the School’s Closure

NEW YORK—Former Bruce High Quality Foundation University president Seth Cameron has confirmed to Artnet that the free art school offering “MFA-quality” education will cease operations after launching September 11, 2009. Cameron published a letter in the Brooklyn Rail September 7 citing the changing political and cultural contexts as challenges to the school’s future, but in a phone interview with Artnet’s Brian Boucher, Cameron said the school faced operational difficulties as well.

“We needed to open up a conversation about the best way to radically rethink the school. Since we’d done it for eight years, we figured maybe it was time to drop a bomb,” Cameron said. “We were fairly successful without growing a huge bureaucracy around fundraising. We organized one or two benefits a year, and with those we were able to consistently raise $300,000 to fund operations for the year. But we started to realize that if we were going to maintain that level, it was going to require more effort just to keep the thing afloat, which would take us away from being able to focus on projects. None of us is a fundraiser. We like to think about making a class happen.”

Bruce High Quality Foundation University operated out of a series of spaces in lower Manhattan before settling at 34 Avenue A in the East Village in 2012. The school later relocated to Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood in early 2016. In 2011, Creative Time sponsored the school’s Teach 4 Amerika project, which included a five-week series of events and rallies and art schools nationwide. Guest professors and lecturers in the school’s eight year run included Brian Droitcour, Juliana Huxtable, Brad Troemel, Dana Schutz, David Salle, Andrew Ross, and Simon Critchely.

According to Cameron, the school became a victim of its own success. “In the school’s last iteration, a studio-plus-teaching residency, I think we hit upon a curricular model that could supplant the MFA entirely if it were implemented on a large enough scale,” he said. “Then again, maybe it won’t happen, art schools will become fully obsolete on their own, and mere anarchy will be loosed upon the world.”

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