ReHappening returns to Lake Eden this April

Karrigan Monk
Black Mountain News
The annual ReHappening festival will return to Camp Rockmont on Lake Eden April 8.

The shores of Lake Eden will once again come alive with performance art on April 8 for the eleventh ReHappening.

The festival, put on each year by the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center, brings artists and visitors to the site of the historic Black Mountain College. The site is now home to Camp Rockmont, a summer camp for boys.

The first ReHappening was in 2010 when board member Jolene Mechanic came up with a fundraising idea for the museum and arts center, according to the ReHappening website. The event was inspired by the 1952 piece “Theatre Piece No. 1” by John Cage. According to a news release announcing the event, this was an unscripted performance “considered by many to be the first Happening.”

The release said the ReHappening each year brings together artists “whose work responds to and extends the legacy” of the college.

Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center Executive Director Jeff Arnal said the center puts out and open call to artists to participate in the event each year.

“We invite a bunch of artists to come and work in the spirit of Black Mountain College,” Arnal said. “What that means, in the case of the ReHappening, is immersive, kind of time-based art projects, and a lot of times it’s performative.”

Arnal said the projects are not only performative, but can sometimes be participatory with drawing and photo workshops.

Each year, the ReHappening takes place on the site of the historic Black Mountain College.

He said this year there are more than 100 artists participating in 23 projects.

Arnal said the festival takes place where the former Black Mountain College would have been, and having these artists there brings it back to life.

“They activate this historic site,” Arnal said. “The lodge is where the students slept in the ‘40s and ‘50s. That is now activated with installation art and performance art.”

ReHappening was put on hold for two years due to COVID restrictions but came back last year.

According to the news release, “visitors will encounter and immersive collection of projects in the tradition” of Black Mountain College, including “installation, sound, movement, visual art and interactive media.”

Arnal said visitors can also expect food and alcohol at the event, including Cecilia’s Kitchen and Black Bear BBQ.

He said the ReHappening is not only an experimental art festival, but also a fundraiser to support the museum.

“Just as Black Mountain College was an experiment in the community and experiment in democracy and education, this event is also an experiment in community,” Arnal said. “It connects and helps also support our museum.”

The ReHappening will take place April 8 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance and $37 day-of for adults and $15 for youths ages 10-17 and students with a valid ID. Children under 10 are free with a ticket-holding adult. Parking passes can be purchased for $15, but a free shuttle is offered from the downtown Asheville Chamber of Commerce to Lake Eden.