Last Week for “No Teachers! No Grades!”

by December 13th, 2011

Edward A. "Tink" Adams working on a drawing in class, circa 1936. Photo: Irene Vermeers PHOT '37.

The posters around campus announcing No Teachers! No Grades! may seem like a cruel joke, wishful thinking or both during finals week. But in reality what they’re advertising is an exhibition titled No Teachers! No Grades!: Art Center on Seventh Street, 1936-1946, curated by Art Center Archives‘ Robert Dirig and on view in the Library until December 17.

Students able to pull themselves away from their final projects for a few minutes will be rewarded with a rare look at items from the first chapter of Art Center’s history, when it was located on Seventh Street in Los Angeles’ Westlake District. Objects on view include: a 1941 catalogue for Art Center Center School, as it was then called; a number of photographs taken at the Seventh Street campus (including the image above); founder Edward A. “Tink” Adams’ business card, circa 1936; and a Caltech flyer announcing aircraft production illustration courses, which were offered at Art Center during World War II when the College ceased normal operations to assist in the war effort.

As for the exhibition title, the text on display in the Library explains, “The early catalogs boast, ‘No teachers! No grades!’ signifying that Art Center is not a typical school. That proclamation was not to say that it was effortless for students. From many accounts students were thrown out of the school if their work did not meet the Art Center standard.”

So much for the “good ole days,” right?

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One Response to “Last Week for “No Teachers! No Grades!””

  1. Rosa M. Farrer says:

    They were working professionals. Taught all day, worked with clients, freelancing at night and weekends.
    Grades measured individual perspective of excellence demanded from teacher and student. The Design community is a living testament of their pursuit. We are proud of the bars they kept raising on themselves and their students!