Skip to comments.U.S. building arts college draws young blood to ancient trades
Posted on 06/21/2014 8:18:40 AM PDT by PoloSec
(Reuters) - In the bowels of what was once a jail in Charleston, South Carolina, Cody James, 22, is carving limestone blocks into a mantelpiece for one of the city's historic homes.
The 19th-century jail that housed Union prisoners during the Civil War serves as James' classroom at the American College of the Building Arts - the only U.S. institution that confers bachelor's degrees in centuries-old trades.
The college, licensed by the state in 2004, offers a four-year academic program in applied science for architectural stone carving, timber framing and carpentry, masonry, ornamental plaster work and forged architectural iron work.
Ten years on, and having sent graduates around the world to apply their skills at historic castles and cathedrals, it is trying to boost its prestige, quadruple enrollment and make students eligible for federal loans by winning accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
Although a decision on accreditation was recently deferred for two years to give the college more time to address finances and record-keeping standards, school officials say they are determined to continue the process.
"They have applauded our progress and have consistently said we are doing a good job with academics," Pamela Niesslein, a consultant for the school, said of the accreditation application. "This is a lot like starting up a company, and we face all the challenges that any new company faces."
The school, which currently has about 50 students, was started as a nonprofit after Charleston officials and benefactors found there were few skilled workers available to repair hundreds of 18th- and 19th-century buildings that were damaged when Hurricane Hugo slammed into the city in 1989.
"The collective knowledge about maintaining our historic treasures in America is dying out, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said.
(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
It’s neat people are learning how to carve rocks but are you upping your prestige by calling yourself a PHD Carvologist or do people just laugh at you?
This is why America is failing. None of these are trades or skills that you learn in a university. You learn these through apprenticeship, and creating new “masters” by taking classes is just naïve.
Can speak from experience that someone who can effectively repair plaster can charge just about whatever he feels like charging. Everybody doing this kind of work, if you can even find one, is like 80 years old.
Agree 100% that trades should be taught by apprenticeship, not in a classroom. Though some classroom work, maybe one day a week, might be a good idea.
Are cities in a bubble or something-those skills are taught every day to anyone willing to work and learn where I work-in construction. Contractors and subs train young relatives, friends’ kids, etc on the job starting in the summers when they are on vacation from school. No fed student loan required to pay outrageous tuition, get paid while you learn.
Here in redneck country, every other welder makes and sells beautiful ornamental stuff at the tourist traps on weekends, and works at the plain stuff all week. MrT5 made more per hour handcrafting wooden tables, sofas, etc on weekends than he did at his 9-to-5...
Yep, we have failed to show people the respect they deserve for good, honest work. Young people now think they all need to go to college and after years of classroom instruction and mountains of student loan debt they cannot name the ONLY president of the CSA, don’t know lose from loose and think their, there and they’re are interchangeable, use are for our, have no clue whether to use its or it’s, don’t recognize the name Magna Charta or Battle of Hastings and on and on, in short most could not pass a test to get INTO a high school of the 1950’s.
How incredibly wonderful. Wish such a thing had been around when I was younger. I think any American city with historic housing stock, such as Philadephia, Boston, New York, Richmond, San Francisco, St. Louis, etc., should adopt this concept.
Made one wish for a commission that could unleash the full talents of those outstanding artisans. Hopefully they profited from the mini mansion and restoration boom that came later.