WE (YOU) DID IT! THANKS! (now it's free)
Well, that was a white knuckle ride.
We want to sincerely thank everyone who supported the SCHOOLHAUS/ A4 idea.
We had a little talk amongst ourselves and decided, given the generosity of the supporters and the fact that we surpassed our target goal, this first session of SCHOOLHAUS will be FREE for 10 participants.
Honestly, up until 2 days ago, it looked like it was not going to happen at all. And that sucked. But now that it is happening, and we have the funds to roll it, we feel that this first iteration should be available to anyone who wants to try it. We have a handful of standing applicants waiting for the inception of Schoolhaus / A4, but there are of course most slots to fill now. So-- you want to do it? Fill out an application. if you get accepted, the cost of the program is $0.
If, in this last couple hours, we're able to pull $12,000 or more, we can let 12 people in the program.
(Frankly, this has always been our "dream model" for Schoolhaus; that the sales of the A4 object could fully fund the next crop of applicants, and tuition would stay incredibly low, if not free. We could not be more excited that we're able to do this right off the bat. So again, thank you all. Four days ago we were talking about going to private sector investors, and that is....not our thing. We'd do it, mind you, but...now we don't have to. We got to start this up with real people, and that's the best, damn it.)
This new wrinkle might necessitate some shifting and re-working of the start time of the SCHOOLHAUS program (both to allow people to get in their applications as well as for us to look at them) but we will keep you updated as we figure that out.
Again, though: can't say it enough.
Our deepest thanks.
sincerely, Dan and Zak.
27 HOURS LEFT! UPDATE!
Please take a look at our most recent video update. It's an extremely elequent and thoughtful explanation by Zak sally of the reasons why he has initiated this Schoolhaus / A4 project. You will NOT be sorry.
People have been asking us what this object is going to be which we will be producing at Schoolhaus / A4, so we made a quick mock-up and video of what we're thinking. You can see it over on our recent campaign update.
Also, for those not familiar with the term, here is a quick photo of what a 'make-ready' book (one of our reward) can look like; a collection of misprints, bound into the form of a book, making every book its own one-of-a-kind collection of printed imagery.
And lastly, here is a preview of what the canvas Schoolhaus / A4 aprons will look like. Now, they may be a "canvas duck" yellow, or this olive green. And we promise they won't come with ink already on them, but good LORD aprons look so much better when they're inky, right?
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Welcome to Schoolhaus / A4!We are Zak Sally (of La Mano 21) and Dan Ibarra (of Aesthetic Apparatus), both working artists and educators in Minneapolis, MN. We first met and became friends over a decade ago when Zak hired Dan’s studio to design a project for Zak’s previous band. Over the years, we have collaborated together on a number of printing, publishing and design ventures. Collectively, we have taught comic art, graphic design and printmaking professionally going on 15 years, although much of how we see and contribute to the world comes from a shared perspective of predominantly self-starting and self-taught education. So it was only a matter of time before the subject of education would arise through our shared-perspective on life and art.
Last year, Dan initiated a small in-studio classroom concept called Schoolhaus. The program was a blank slate, throwing out all dictated and institutional concepts of education, and instead letting it's paid members rule the curriculum. The program was enlightening, human, messy, awkward, and beautiful.
Over the past year, as the initial incarnation of Schoolhaus progressed, the two of us routinely shared our feelings about Schoolhaus, education, academic culture, the insurmountable cost of tuition, and attempting to live a creative life inside and outside of institutionalized education. Things came to a point this spring when we decided that what we really wanted was to combine our forces to collaboratively expand and formalize Schoolhaus together. Using the initial Schoolhaus concepts as a base, we overhauled the concept: still human and malleable, but now with a clearly defined set of topics, goals, and structure.
Thus, Schoolhaus / A4 was born; a new interdisciplinary experiment in art education.
The program is fueled by our shared desire to build a different model for art education and learning. It’s based on all of the valuable parts of an art school experience (working, experimenting, sharing of ideas and perspectives, mentorship), while eliminating everything tangental to that experience. We’re interested in pursuing the things that change you, and force you to expand what you know and how you know it. We are trying to create the kind of art school that we would’ve wanted to attend-- a practical, inexpensive, personal, interdisciplinary, and human guide to living a life in the arts. Because that’s something no degree can provide.
Tuition costs are always an issue with any school. Government subsidized student loans can ease the pain of typical tuition costs, but because we are a non-accredited school, student loans are simply not available for our program. Given the new/ experimental nature of our school, this Kickstarter campaign is designed specifically to fund student tuition. School is important, and should be valued; but we feel that an education in your chosen field should NOT have to mean going into excessive debt. Given that Schoolhaus is an experiment in how learning can occur, we’re also exploring alternative means for paying for that experience; a means that is affordable, and reflects the actual realities of the life of a working artist. We want to make it accessible to anyone who wants to try the experiment with us. Your help in this campaign will be applied equally between all accepted applicants in this first 2-month summer session ( i.e If we raise our goal of $8000, 8 students can attend our first session for $200 each. Anyone who can’t swing that should probably not be doing it anyway. If we raise our stretch goal of $12,000, 10 can attend for free. Needless to say, we would LOVE to see that happen.)
Below is an outline of the structure of our first 2-month summer course. And if you're interested in attending yourself, visit and apply at the Schoolhaus website.
Thank you for your support!
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SCHOOLHAUS / A4 – SUMMER 2014(Footnoted for further detail, explanation and ranting.)
Schoolhaus is proud to announce the launch of our new 2-month summer course we’ve lovingly entitled ‘A4.’ Schoolhaus / A4* is an 8-week educational evening program co-directed by Zak Sally of La Mano , and Dan Ibarra of Aesthetic Apparatus. The program will be held in Minneapolis, MN, and span the months of July through August 2014.** A4 preserves the philosophy of small-scale education founded in the initial Schoolhaus by discarding prescribed learning and standardized objectives. The program focuses instead on the human condition of living a creative life, collaborative and self-directed outcomes, and the making of things.***
Curriculum is shaped through weekly collaborative presentations from both directors based on an essential form, process, or philosophy that drives and defines each of their own practices. Discussion topics will include the following:
1: PHILOSOPHY OF ART & WORK
Doing creative work is still, in the end, work. Why do we do what we do, and how do we strike a balance between the compulsion to create, and the means to get it all done?
2: DRAWING & COMPOSITION
There is no one right way to draw or design an interesting composition. But there are a couple wrong ways to do it.
3: PRINT PRODUCTION & RISOGRAPH
A demonstration on the basics of color separations and registration, in the context of learning to use the Risograph GR 3750.
How do letterforms (both digital and handwritten) effect the narrative and structure of a story or word? A WHOLE LOT lot more than you think.
The fundamentals of producing and printing a halftone image, in the context of a crash-course in screenprinting.
6: WRITING & NARRATIVE
Effectively expressing yourself and compelling others through story and the written word is a requirement for any creative adult.
The fundamentals of producing a small book, in the context of learning to print with the AB Dick 9810 two-color offset press.
8: THE CREATIVE PROCESS
How do we climb out of the creative holes we dig for ourselves in search of new ideas? Why do we dig holes in the first place? There are better ways to unearth creative ideas.
Discussions may at times converge, and diverge, but will be based solely on what we perceive as our most essential creative ideas and approaches.**** The format of these presentations also exemplifies an interdisciplinary approach to making art which can not simply be taught; it is a constant, essential and organic part of living a creative life.
Enrolled members in the program then absorb, dispute, and/or investigate these discussions through whatever formal or conceptual means they deem necessary.† Collaboration and the exchange of ideas between Schoolhaus membership is fundamental to this program and will be encouraged (and demonstrated) by the directors whenever possible.
These ‘responses’ are a means to an end for the course. The final outcome of the 8-week study will be an object-collection of these ideas and responses,‡ fully produced and curated by A4 members and directors, released in a printed edition, and made available to the public. Each A4 member also receives their own copy of the collaborative final outcome.
Beyond these simple constructs, the rest is up to you.§ The cost for the 8-week program is $1,200. Membership size is limited to 20.
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* The Autodidact Academy of Applied Arts.
** Each week consists of 3 distinct sessions — all observed as night classes outside normal business hours:
- MONDAYS – a 3-hour evening “Studio” session where both directors focus on a single idea, philosophy, topic, or skill set. Each week’s “studio” portion is presented by both Dan and Zak, covering different (but probably overlapping) perspectives on the same topic; where they diverge, where they converge, and what commonalities they possess. Further discussion at these sessions is likely on a routine basis.
- WEDNESDAYS – members post their response to the previous week’s studio session on a dedicated shared/ interactive web space. Each member’s response is completely self-directed, but members are REQUIRED to post and discuss each other’s work.
- FRIDAYS – the entire group meets again for 3 to 5 hours. This meeting serves numerous purposes; as a live discussion of the posted responses, as a check-in on the developing collaborative project, and for 1-on-1 time with the directors.
- OPEN HOURS – Time will be scheduled in-studio and/or online for open-ended, and one-on-one discussion or critique. This may be a varied range of times throughout the week in which the directors offer availability at their respective studios or online. Each of the first 10 weeks will focus on 1 of 10 presented “essentials”, with the last two weeks dedicated to intense focus on final outcomes and publishing an object everyone can be proud of.
*** While learning is a universal way of life, education is the institutionalization of that way of life — at times potentially to the detriment of learning, or at excessive cost to the student. Schoolhaus / A4 is our attempt to combine what we consider the best of education (a social community, invested and informed guidance) with the best of learning (self-motivation, one-on-one mentorship) and embed them into a studio discipline (working-world applications, quantifiable outcomes.) This program offers neither a formal degree nor certification. Schoolhaus / A4 is not an accredited learning institution, nor does it claim to be one. An educational institution serves a very specific purpose of guaranteeing a formalized educational experience through broad and standardized objectives. But we do not desire to teach you “everything” — because we don’t know “everything.” But we do know some things. And we know some things really well. Things that are important to us. Things particular to each of our long and varied trips around the block of compulsive art-making, which we will wholeheartedly and enthusiastically share with you.
**** We have learned through making things. All kinds of things. This personal experience produces a selective vision of how our creative world works. No successful working artist or designer subscribes fully to every idea they’re taught in school, but they do have values they deeply believe in. We believe these are the most valuable lessons to be learned from another person. These are the ideas we want to share. Selfishly, we as directors want to learn as well. We’re just as curious about how the other works and thinks, and are just as excited as our enrolled members to sit down and participate in the next week’s presentation.
† The design, comic art, and shared printmaking disciplines of the directors should in no way dictate intended outcomes for any enrolled members. Photographers, writers, painters, illustrators, and anyone who believes they may have something to glean from this curriculum are invited to apply. Similarly, printmakers, designers, and comic artists are invited to explore photography, writing, painting, illustration, scribbling, or any other means they deem appropriate to respond to given curriculum. Taking on uncharted water is at the core of the purpose for this program. Any designer who only concerns themselves with design, or cartoonist who only looks at comics, develops a very limited view of their art. That’s not the way the real world works, you get inspired by any and everything around you: music, politics, your friends, the way your shoes look so lonely there in the corner of the closet at 3 am. This is not about “teaching”, this is about learning, and you take that wherever and however you can get it.
‡ We’ve decided that the best way to go about this course is to take it entirely out of the realm of a hermetically executed set of “assignments” and into the actual world: we will produce an object, which will be curated from the work created at A4, by A4 participants, using the means we have available to us (screenprinting, offset press, risograph, scrimshaw, old board games, etc etc). This object will be overseen by Dan and Zak, and released in an edition. How many? We don’t know. It depends on what we make. But it’s going to have our names on it, so it better be good. Right? Of course, all contributors receive a copy of the publication. If successful, it is our hope that income from any sales of the publication may go directly toward funding future Schoolhaus / A4 scholarships.
§ This is the basis of the Schoolhaus / A4 experiment: will this work? Will it not work? This isn’t a university; whether or not it works will depend on and be defined by the individuals involved, and their capacity and willingness to learn through that collaboration. One thing, however, IS for certain: together, we will make something, and put that something out in the world. Which is very different than doing an assignment and handing it in to be assessed, or being hired for a freelance job and fulfilling the specs. This is making something for its own sake, stretching yourself, and expanding your vision in new directions.
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Risks and challenges
Since this concept is completely new, we are closing our eyes and basically stepping off into educational blackness. There are a number of complications that can stem from that high of a trust fall.
One big challenge will be the production of our final outcome. In any project with a tangible and required outcome, hiccups arrive. But, given our shared experience as working printers and publishers, this is still comfortable (but stressful) territory for us. Problems in this process may simply be chalked up to part of the curriculum.
We've listed most of the rewards as coming to you in the month after the conclusion of the A4 session (September). Depending on how many backers we get, fulfillment could be a relatively easy job; but if we get a LOT of backers, it could spill over into October. We will inform you if this is the case.
Student enrollment is another tangible risk. Even if our project is completely funded, and every single student we can handle could come for free, there is still arguably a chance that we may not have enough applicants to initiate the program. We already have a handful of potential members, and we really don't anticipate having any problem getting people on board if this project is funded, but we do not have any guarantees as to what we can expect for enrolled student members.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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