Famed Black Mountain College (1933–57), 16 mi east of Asheville, was important in the development of several groundbreaking 20th-century art, dance, and literary movements. Some of the maverick spirits it attracted in its short lifetime include artists Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Josef and Anni Albers, Ben Shahn, M. C. Richards, and Franz Kline; dancer Merce Cunningham; musician John Cage; filmmaker Arthur Penn; futurist Buckminster Fuller; and
writers Kenneth Noland, Charles Olson, and Robert Creeley. A museum and gallery dedicated to the history of the radical college occupies a small space in downtown Asheville. It puts on exhibits, hosts lectures, and publishes material about the college. Call ahead or visit the museum's Web site to find out what's currently happening.