50 Years in the Making / Daniel Shaw
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“It is a center, not a school. We’re different.” — Paul Soldner, Founder of Anderson Ranch Arts Center
In the beginning…
It was the vision of prominent American raku ceramist Paul Soldner combined with an incredible land opportunity that paved the way for what Anderson Ranch is today—one of the most respected visual arts programs in the country.
In 1966, just as the ski industry began to blossom, local resort developers envisioned an arts and cultural center for the valley and surrounding community. They called on Soldner, who chose the Anderson Ranch property as the location for that venue, to make it a reality.
Soldner and his contemporaries, photographer Cherie Hiser, clay sculptor Peter Voulkos, woodworker Sam Maloof and many others, planted the seeds for an arts center that was decidedly different from existing degree-focused programs.
“It seemed important that we do things differently than can be done in college,” Soldner expressed early on. Thus, core principles of the Ranch were born and are still carried on today:
Small class sizes allowing for personal attention and access to faculty
24/7 studio availability to encourage unbridled creativity
art making as a way of life and a professional path
the value of giving more than you take–and making for others to enjoy
There was much personal sacrifice required to make those initial dreams a reality—one which continues to evolve and grow. Follow the timeline below to see the major milestones achieved along the way…