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Bennington were old, sort of worn down, and there was no great
studio, there was no great dance hall, there was no great--here was a
great art college without any facilities, really. And I guess I was
the one who led the parade--I and Helen Frankenthaler, I guess--led
the parade to build a really nice facility, so that even though it
was a financial risk and a burden and so on so on, we would have
something that would be really enticing to students. So we got a
Chicago architect--name escapes me at the moment--and plans were made
and made and made, and finally little cardboard mock-ups of the place
were made, and it looked terrific. It was a fantastic buy--it looked
like a fantastic buy, for two million dollars, or something like
that, at three percent.
So, we started building it. Well, my God! [laughter] By the
time it was finished, it was so much bigger than anything that you
would have visualized from looking at this little cardboard mock-up.
And while in retrospect I would say that the decision was
nevertheless right, I sure was wrong about the heating bills!
Because these rooms were 30, 40 feet high--it's a magnificent place,
and the only thing that saved us on heating bills is that they have a
non-resident term in Bennington in winter, and they can shut down
from December 20 to March 20. But even today, I hear: “Well, the
reason Bennington is in trouble is because of that God damn
building!” Well, it is not so. They now have borrowed five million
dollars. They borrowed everything they can against the land, and I
don't know how they're going to make it.
In other words, they never really, in a far-reaching way, solved
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