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[BKARTS] Clearing the air about Purchase College



My comments on the book arts program at Purchase College have provoked a lot
of criticism and a lot of it is deserved.  I should have made my points in a
more objective and less inflammatory way.  I don't like it when others flame
and I certainly set a bad example.  I'm sorry for my rash comments.

I don't enjoy controversy and I was reluctant to respond to the original
message about Purchase College. However, I felt that a prospective student
should be able to draw on the experiences of a variety of students who have
attended the program, including those who have benefited from Purchase as
well as those whose time there was less positive.  Both perspectives are
valid, and reflect actual experiences of different students.

When I was there (1996-97) Purchase had no separately defined book arts
department, no faculty specifically assigned to the book arts program (there
were undergraduate graphic design teachers who handled the program), there
were no graduate level book arts classes (students could take undergraduate
classes for graduate credit), and there was no budget for any book arts
program. The curriculum for each semester consisted of one required graduate
seminar run by the painting department, one elective from outside the visual
arts school, and the rest of the program was "studio time." The lack of
structure and defined expectations led to misunderstandings and a lack of
satisfaction with the program.

If anyone is interested in a personal account of that year at Purchase you
can read the following post called "Graduate School Report Card," reprinted
from Update, the Editions newsletter (June 2000).  Leaving Purchase did not
stop my education.  I still take workshops, collaborate with other artists,
and continue active participation with book arts publications and
organizations.

Others have articulately given an alternate opinion of the Purchase program.
Anyone in the process of selecting a graduate program will want to look at
all options before deciding which one is best for them.  Based on my
experience at Purchase College I stand by my original statement:

There are many fine book arts programs across the U.S. and the program at
Purchase College, in my opinion, is not one of them.

Ed Hutchins
www.artistbooks.com

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