​The Mountain Lake Workshop evolved out of the Mountain Lake programs that were begun in 1980 by artist Ray Kass who was then an Associate Professor of studio art at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Included in these programs were interdisciplinary art criticism symposia, artists’ conferences, and studio workshops. For these programs artists and professionals from the art world and related fields such as religious studies, philosophy, music, sociology, anthropology and psychology were invited to Mountain Lake to participate as lecturers, panelists, and artists in discussions and studio demonstrations about critical issues that had a bearing on contemporary art. For instance, the first symposium was held in October of 1980 and focused on the issue of “Moral Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Contemporary Art.” It was followed by “Art Criticism/Social Criticism” in fall, 1981 and “Art and Its Politics” in fall, 1982.



All the works produced in the Mountain Lake Workshop are the result of collaborative efforts between guest artists and members of the artistic, academic, student, and local community in the Appalachian region around Mountain Lake in Giles County, southwest Virginia. The Mountain Lake Workshop is a testimony to the high level of aesthetic achievement that can be reached when people, motivated by a common interest, come together in collaborative undertaking. The spirit of collaboration that has permeated the workshop has been nurtured by the belief that a genuine art and culture can develop from any situation in which there are shared experiences. This is especially so if these experiences are rooted in place and locale-namely, the physical, historic, and psychic spaces in which people live and work. These efforts, which began in 1983, are still an on-going project series.


Founder, Author, Co-Director of Mountain Lake Workshop + Symposium






Mountain Lake Workshop 

1360 North Fork Road

Christiansburg, VA 24073

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