|Woman's College student drawing at Beaufort Art Colony, ca. 1938|
Professor Gregory Ivy, head of the Art Department of Woman's College, had searched for an ideal site to establish this summer 'colony' of art students. Beaufort had been recommended to him as a suitable location and easily won him over upon his first visit to the town. Aside from the scenic landscapes all around, he also found an optimal indoor space to serve as shelter on a rainy day or as a lecture hall. Beaufort was home to one of the largest structures built of logs in the country, its community center. The local Chamber of Commerce allowed Ivy to use a large room in the community center that, with its beautiful light, served as an excellent art studio and lecture hall for the summer program.
|Ivy conducting a class critique at Beaufort |
Community Center, ca. 1938
|Ivy and his painting students at Beaufort |
Community Center, ca. 1938
Aside from the additional course offered the second year, the first annual Beaufort art exhibition took place, jointly sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and Professor Ivy. Local artists as well as out-of-state artists were invited to participate, and it was billed as the first exhibition of its kind in a southern coastal town.
One can only imagine the idyllic setting of Beaufort in the late thirties and early forties for the Woman's College art students. Hilda Brady, a junior at Woman's College during the summer of 1939 described it as "the land of the jasmine because of the great abundance of these fragrant flowers, a spray of which was placed beside the plate of guests each morning." In all likelihood, such treats for the senses were available in abundance for the young women who spent the majority of the year in land-locked Greensboro.
|Professor Gregory Ivy sketching a student on the coast, ca. 1940|
The effects of World War II unfortunately put a damper on the Beaufort Art Colony, which was shuttered for the last three summers of the war, 1943-1945. The art colony reopened in 1946 and art courses were expanded to include design, figure drawing, and art education in addition to the watercolor class taught by Dr. Ivy. The Colony also began to include music in the course offerings. By the mid-fifties, the "Fine Arts" summer session of Woman's College included dance, theater, and creative writing.
In the late forties and early fifties, the Fine Arts summer program, focused mostly on theater, was held in western North Carolina in the mountains near Burnsville (for more information about the Burnsville School of Fine Arts, please click here). It returned to Beaufort by 1954, sixteen years after it began. Aside from a broad selection of fine arts courses available to college students that year, classes for school-aged children were introduced, and the Beaufort Chamber of Commerce began providing two scholarships, one for adults and one for children to attend the program. The Woman's College Library provided library facilities and a trained librarian during the summer session as well.
|Modern dance class at Beaufort, ca. 1940|
Ivy's legacy lives on in the thriving UNC Greensboro School of Art, which boasts both undergraduate and graduate degree programs, a nationally and internationally renowned faculty of practicing artists, and an incredibly motivated, talented student body.