The Lyme Academy Story
by Elisabeth Gordon Chandler
Most of the required academic classes are held at the Avery Point Campus of the University of Connecticut in nearby Groton. With all necessary academic courses for the BFA degree now behind them, the students are able to concentrate exclusively on their art for their Senior year. At this point they are mature enough as artists to understand and appreciate art more fully: They will undertake and in-depth study of a specific period in the History of Art throughout the entire year; an advanced class in anatomy for seniors in which they actually build up the muscles on a skeleton in various positions, learning the forms they take and their points of insertion, is valuable to all students but especially for sculptors; further, students prepare their portfolios of work for the Senior Exhibition in the spring semester.
Many students come to the Lyme Academy with sufficient credits in General Academic studies that can be transferred, in which case their curricula can be tailored to provide more time in Studio, Anatomy, Art History and Electives. The latter include such courses as Chinese Brush Painting, Pastel Drawing, Drawing from Nature, Life Size Figure Painting, and study of Italian (useful to those who wish to travel in Italy to see the great work of art there); other electives can change yearly. In all, during a full four years at the Lyme Academy, the student will earn 77 Credits in studio and related courses, 15 Credits in Art History, 30 credits in General Studies and 6 in electives for a total of 128 Credits in all.
And the school itself? Ever planning for its future, two of the painting studios have been doubled in size, and a new and larger north-light classroom was added as Phase I of a campaign:will bring the entire school together on one campus by autumn, 1996 when twenty-year lease on the gallery building space runs out. Phase II is under construction for new, larger sculpture studios, a 10,000-book Fine Arts Library and a Commons Room joining the Painting and Sculpture Departments on opposite sides of a Sculpture Garden. These will be ready to receive students for the beginning of the 1996-1997 school year.
But with all this expansion the Lyme Academy must remain small. Studio classes are limited to fifteen students, enrollment to between 200 and 250, with up to 60 enrolled full time in the BFA program A Master of Fine Arts is on the agenda for early in the next century. The caliber of serious, talented and dedicated students who choose the Lyme Academy for its strong program deserve no less. They will become the painters and sculptors of the twenty-first century; they will become the positive force in the art world of tomorrow. It is they who will have the knowledge and the training in the traditions of the past needed to celebrate and to teach as we enter the hoped for Renaissance in the Fine Arts of the third millennium.
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