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Everyone knows that the Altos de Chavon School of Design exists – it’s an art and design school in Altos de Chavon, but where exactly is it? What really goes on there? After living in Casa de Campo (or thereabouts) for 2 years I finally made a visit to the school, accompanied by teacher Raúl Miyar, to find out exactly what the Altos de Chavon School of Design is.
A brief description of the school
The Altos de Chavón Cultural Center Foundation is a U.S. not-for- profit public charity that has a cultural and educational mission here in the Dominican Republic. The school is on a university level and offers an associate degree, with many students continuing on to Parsons School of Design (now called The Parsons New School For Design) in NY. Founded in 1983 to meet the growing commercial demands of the Dominican Republic, the School of Design offers an intensive two-year program leading to the degree of Associate in Applied Science.
The curriculum is about art and design, and it is design that is the starter motor for commerce and industry here in the rapidly developing economy of the DR. Three majors are offered: Graphic Design, Fashion Design, and Fine Arts/Illustration. In addition, The School has developed a state-of-the-art Certificate Program in Digital Design.
My tour of the school
The entrance to the school is hidden away in between the back end of where Sangria used to be and the old Genesis/Onno’s Night Club – you walk through a gateway and find yourself in some gardens. As Raul led me through the gardens I was surprised that the school is located so centrally in Altos de Chavon and yet on my numerous visits I had never even noticed it.
The 1st year students figure drawing art classroom, with their self-portraits on the wall
All the classrooms are set in these beautiful gardens, in simple buildings which give the entire campus a friendly and relaxed atmosphere – with students painting outside on the grass, propped up against trees and even sitting on the gravel footpath. Of course art and design by nature is a very informal discipline and from what I saw the Altos de Chavon School of Design balances he students need for individual expression whilst still offering a structured curriculum which ends in a recognisable qualification.
Many of the students I met on my tour were familiar from nights out in Chavon and all were very friendly and eager to answer questions and show off their art work.
As well as being incredibly friendly, the students are without a doubt very talented. Unfortunately, being not much of an artist myself, it is difficult for me to describe the extraordinary talents of these pupils, however, below you can see a gallery of photos of their art work. And to view my photos of the school’s ‘End of Year’ exhibit, click here.
In a bid to offer education to all of the most talented artists on the Dominican Republic and Haiti, regardless of their educational or financial background the Altos de Chavón Cultural Center Foundation provides sponsorship support to more than 60% of the students to cover their expenses of tuition, lodging, materials, and food while living and studying in Chavón. If you are interested in sponsoring a student or making a donation to the school, please call the school office at 809-523-8011.
To read more about the Altos de Chavon School of Design, visit their website: www.altosdechavon.com
To see more photos and read more about the Altos de Chavon School of Design’s activities, events and news which we have covered in Casa de Campo Living, please click on the links below: