Lacoste: An End to Civility As You Knew It. Once Riveting Student Art Expo Now Barren as SCAD Does Away with a Bit of Drink (Wine)

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SCAD Reception Saturday, August 24, 2013

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SCAD Reception Saturday, August 27, 2011

During end-of-quarter expositions, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Lacoste peels back its protective cover to reveal the warm honeycombs of studios and the sumptuous views from shaded terraces. The events attract art lovers from the region who view and purchase students’ works on display.

In August of 2011, the large shaded terrace overlooking the valley was heaving with visitors and students who munched amuse bouches and sipped wines from Le Domaine de La Citadelle, owned by the mayor of  nearby Menerbes. This summer, water and other non-alcoholic drinks along with a plate of petits fours drew a small gaggle of mostly students.

Something came down later in the evening two years ago – un petit scandal – involving students who drank (too much?) at the vernissage, not illegally mind you, as in this land the legal age for alcohol consumption is 18.

The administration’s response was to eliminate alcohol from the events. There has been no attempt to fashion a solution to allow visitors the occasion to mingle and converse with a glass of wine à la main.  The result: the vernissage last Saturday evening was eerily deserted – phantomish.

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Wandering from ateliers to larger rooms sprinkled with idle students that were buzzing with interested visitors a few years ago, you felt an unavoidable sympathy for the students who mounted their works for display only to witness their energy and talent going unrecognized, and their works unsold.


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In one large room, Grant Alexander Boutiette from Arkansas was showing his images of ‘mistakes and errors’ (photo above) while in another atelier Eric Waldron from D.C. was screening a film composition called ‘Southern Lights” (photo r.)

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Grant and Eric will be touring Europe before heading to Los Angeles where they have taken an apartment.

Grant will be working for a high-end art collector and Eric will be knocking on doors for camera work in the film biz. (Eric on Vimeo).

 

Down the hill, Tara O’Sullivan from Norfolk, Virginia, – in black dress, displaying her work to Barbara and Xavier (photo below) – sold her art construction “Impulse” to the couple for their residence on the hill in Lacoste below the château.

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One attendee quipped that the SCAD student expo was in the process of disappearing. Another opined that students were being punished for a transgression committed years ago.

There is something seemingly counterintuitive about students being asked to mount an exhibition when attendance is so sparse due to the college administration eliminating the civil custom of conversation with a bit of drink, a gesture of appreciation no less to guests and art buyers.

Alas, there is one benefit derived from this otherwise deplorable policy: plenty of places to park.

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Basics:

In 2002, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), the world’s largest exclusively arts college where no student ever has to sweat out an organic chem final, assumed control of the art school in Lacoste, originally founded by Bernard Pfriem, an American ex-pat artist, in 1970.

SCAD owns 36 buildings on the hillside below the château. Last year, the college finalized the conversion of the Maison Basse, which is outside the village in the valley and includes the former stables of the Marquis de Sade, into student apartments and studios.

When SCAD is in session, students and a handful of professors outnumber permanent village residents by a ratio of 2 to 1. This summer, a record number of students – 80 – enrolled in the summer session.

Savannah College of Art and Design: website

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