CAPTIONS IN PROGRESS
This photo essay chronologically follows a 5 Star guided tour by Stephen D. Kaplan, the director of the Altos de Chavón School of Design. Kaplan's association with Altos de Chavón dates back to its creation in 1981.
Story to follow with enough twists to vie for a Hollywood movie ... this is a world class oasis of culture, history, education and luxury in La Romana at the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic.
Entrance to Casa de Campo, a replica 16th century Mediterranean village on spacious grounds in La Romana on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic. The property contains privately owed villas that surround the campus of the Altos de Chavón School of Design. The school's grounds feature an art gallery and is home of a renowned Artists in Residence Program, The School of Design with an enrollment of 125 students from across the world, and the Museo Arqueológico Regional, one of the finest museums exhibiting the island's prehistoric culture and indigenous inhabitants.
Security checkpoints leading to Altos de Chavón School of Design and surrounding villas.
The School of Design offers instruction in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Digital Design, Interior Design, Photography and Fashion, with a teaching staff steeped in experience, dedicated to academic excellence and nurturing a hotbed of young creative talent. The architectural ambience is breathtaking.
Students welcomed to the museum by their guide. Their teachers have been given pre-visit information that provides them with context for what they and their students are about to see.
A future post will describe the mission of the Museo Aqueológico Regional.
Calle di Las Piedras (Street of the Stones). This replica of a 16th century Mediterranean village is a stunning work of art all by itself. Dominican architect Jose Antonio Caro and Italian master designer and cinematographer Roberto Coppa planned the village stone by stone. Variations of texture, color, shape, architectural design produce an inspiring environment and source of creative energy for the School of Design and a sense of history surrounding the museum. Every detail of Altos de Chavón was handcrafted by local artisans.
To achieve the look of antiquity, designers Coppa and architect Caro created buildings with bricked up windows to make them appear abandoned.
Breakfast Club! Director Stephen Kaplan invites several students to join him for breakfast once a week. The interaction between staff, artists in residence and teachers creates a sense of community and adds a jolt of vitality to the program.
Since the village is also a tourist destination, some areas are for students only. The school takes security seriously.
The academic setting includes a set of nine classrooms, many of which we toured, student lounge (not visited), library, computer lab and sculpture studio, as well as administrative offices. The school enrollment: approximately 125 students in 40 units furnished with capacity of 2 to 5 students in each one.
Disciplines taught: Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Digital Design, Interior Design, Photography and Fashion, with a teaching staff dedicated to academic excellence in the world of art and design.
Michael Lineweaver's art class has just finished as we enter. Invited to be an Artist in Residence of the Altos de Chavón Cultural Center Foundation in 1993, he has taught there ever since. LINKS
Lineweaver has tasked his students in his drawing class to explore contrasts in light.
A new screening room is nearly complete, the latest addition to the school, will add a dimension of digital visual arts to the school.
Katherine Jones, Director of the Museum Studies Program at the Harvard University Extension School, was invited to the tour the school and the museum's collection by Arlene Alvarez, the Museo Arqueológico Regional Director.
The academic facilities consist of a set of nine classrooms, student lounge, library, computer lab and sculpture studio, as well as administrative offices. The School of Design maintains two beautiful buildings that house approximately 125 students in 40 units furnished with capacity of 2 to 5 students in each one.
Installation created by students use traditional straw brooms used by indigenous people.
Jones, the master painter Rafael Salomon of the maintenance staff, Kaplan, Alvarez.
Believe it or not, these are watercolor portraits.
Proud artist, self portrait by Haitian student Maiker Avila Lopez.
This is the only class we saw in action during our tour. Artist Elsa Cáceres (black slacks, chatting with Harvard Museum Studied Program Director Katherine Jones students are drawing an object that appealed to them in a visit to the Museo Arqueológico earlier in the day.
Students capture photos of objects on iPhones then draw in class.
And are thoroughly engaged...from iPhones to paper then who knows... digitized, instagrammed, hologrammed, redrawn?
Thank you, Elsa Cáceres!
School of Design Library contains 12,000 volumes.
Arlene Alvarez and librarian Diogenes Alcala.
Library includes rare volumes with hand drawn frontispieces and an ancient map of the Dominican Republic.
Continuing a Five Star Tour through meticulously managed environment by Director Stephen Kaplan.
Sculpture studio: this bust has been created over a wire armature.
Art seems to grow out of the ground here. The synergy between earth and art is ever-present.
Ceramics studio flooded with natural light from above.
From this piece of clay...
to this vase.
"The potter is an extension of the clay," says Stephen Kaplan.
glazing and paint
Reproduction of a Taino bowl
Alvarez and head of the silk screen lab.