In a letter published in the Brooklyn Rail on September 7, Seth Cameron, the former president of the Bruce High Quality Foundation University—a free school which opened eight years ago for those who wanted to take “MFA-quality” art classes sans the exorbitant tuition costs—has announced that the school is shutting its doors. “We needed to open up a conversation about the best way to radically rethink the school. Since we’d done it for eight years, we figured maybe it was time to drop a bomb,” Cameron told Brian Boucher of Artnet.
BHQFU offered courses on drawing, painting, theory, color, sexuality, and sketch comedy, among other subjects, taught by a variety of artists, including Juliana Huxtable, Gabrielle Merz, Elizabeth Jaeger, Joe Riley, Rashid Johnson, Sean J. Patrick Carney, and Dana Schutz. It also had summer residency programs for emerging artists.
The school was a success in terms of bringing people in—it enrolled thousands of students throughout the years. However, Cameron writes in his letter, “We learned quickly that classes where anyone can attend can actually close down the free exchange of ideas. We learned that democracy, in all its bureaucratic glory, can stifle individual freedom.”