Winter Study

Winter Study Electives

During the winter term, Buxton offers an array of intensive six-week classes to further enrich students’ educational experience. These courses emphasize integrated learning, hands-on experience and team-teaching. Listed on this page are the 2022 Winter Study courses.

Art Responds! Understanding and Reinventing Images of Power at the Clark Collection

Using the Clark Art Institutes permanent collection, we will systematically identify images that carry power related content, and create artistic responses that challenge, reinvent, and broaden our, and the public’s, understanding of how these images exist in the world. We will be working with visual artists, curators, and choreographers/dancers to create visual and movement responses that then will be documented into a short video to be shared with the public.

If you are interested in group discussion about art, art making, dance, video work, some writing, and how power can exist in art, join us! Serious inquiries only!

The Dream, Surrealism, and Magical Realism

In this class students will explore the motif of dreams in art and literature. They will study surrealism, its key players and principles.The class will culminate in an exploration of magical realism and its emergence in South America. Students will be expected to keep a dream journal and will interact with many different forms of media including film.

Films:Un Chien Andalou by Louise Buñuel, Waking Life by Richard Linklater, Fantastic Planet by Rene Laloux

Readings : The Surrealist Manifesto, Dream Poems, Surrealist Poems, Surrealist Stories , Magical Realist Stories.

Installation Art

This class will be an exploration of how art can transform spaces and alter viewers’ relationships with and perceptions of them. Together we will frequently visit local art installations as inspiration for our own work. When we are not viewing work, class time will run as studio time as students create their own site-specific pieces with the opportunity to work with both digital (sound, light, projection) and physical (clay, wood, found/thrifted objects, recycling) resources. Students will choose a space on campus to focus on and if interested the class as a whole will have the opportunity to collaborate on a piece to be displayed outside at MASS MoCA in April.

Life Skills

The bare basics of “adulting:” How to plan and cook basic meals that are not instant ramen. How to maintain a car, change a flat tire and pack a basic safety kit. How to realistically budget based on your paycheck, open a bank account and pay a bill. Establishing, improving and fixing your credit score and why it is so important. How and when to file 1040ez taxes. Basic home tools and their uses. How to handle a blown circuit breaker and a plumbing leak. Who to call for which emergencies.

Musical Production Workshop: 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

In this class we will be rehearsing and mounting a production of the musical “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Students are accepted to the class based on an audition and the class will culminate with a full production of the show

Tabletop Game Design

For hundreds of years, board games were static and unchanging artifacts of ancient design. These designs were uncritical and many times obtuse in their choices of rules and customs. Modern game development began to challenge these assumptions, and especially in the last 35 years games have developed revolutionary design elements. Cooperative games, simultaneous turns, group games, asymmetric games, and catch-up mechanics have changed the field radically. We will first try to define what a game actually is, and then begin to dive into the mechanics and aesthetic elements that make a gaming experience. We will analyze board games with a critical eye, understanding how each piece in a game contributes (or doesn’t) to the final experience in playing that game, why certain pieces are necessary, and how they can be improved upon and combined. Our class time will consist of, predominantly, playing a game during class time and then analyzing it afterwards and outside of class, with written analyses for each game session. Finally, we will work exercises in improving current games and in making our games, with a final project to make a complete game using any mechanics or elements that students find most fun.

The Worlds We Weave: history, weaving and personal practice

What power do we have as individuals to shape the world around us?

As we follow the threads of our own attention, we will weave a small and finite world together. We will explore our perceptions of time, how we choose to turn thoughts into gestures and how to articulate and embody the world we desire. Grounding ourselves at the loom and weaving the fabric of our thoughts, inquiries, resentments and joy, we will create a tangible record of time spent.

We will follow metaphors throughout history, creating a robust sense of self as we better understand the all too overlooked human staple- cloth. Beginning with a history of “the thread”- we will explore mindfulness practices as well as the origins of “technology”, which begins with twisting raw fibers together to create a strong and useful twine. That thread will carry us all over the world and into different pockets of commerce and injustice, magic and folktale- and root us deep in our own humanity. Using Michel Foucault’s concept of the “heterotopia”; we will use the loom and the history of cloth to weave an experimental world of our own making.

The outcome of this class will be emergent: guided by collaboration and a recognition of desires as they are informed through our curriculum.


  • "Buxton has given me the freedom to be the person I want to be, make the art I want to make, and learn the things I want to learn. At Buxton we learn not only in the classroom, but in the community. We learn how to be good to each other and how to support each other. Buxton has so much to offer students, both inside the classroom and outside of it."
    Sadie Great Barrington, MA
  • “At Buxton you get to focus on what you want to be learning; whether it is social skills or in-depth studying- you learn to take responsibility of your education.”
    Francis Magai
    Francis Magai Troy, NY
  • “Living your education means to not only learn things, but to use what you learn in your everyday life.”
    Naima Nigh
    Naima Nigh Mexico
  • “To me, living your education means to be independent, to take charge, to not be afraid of asking for help, to learn from your peers, to love to learn, to take what you have learned from a loving environment and take it into the world.”
    Kat Hallowell
    Kat Hallowell New Hampshire
  • “Your education is more than just your time in class, it’s your life as a whole. Learning is not limited to a teacher teaching you something in a classroom.”
    Cynder Johnson
    Cynder Johnson Missouri
  • “To me, at Buxton, it’s not boundaries that you make, but the ones you break through.”
    Roy Malone
    Roy Malone New York, NY
  • “At Buxton, I can choose what I want to do with my education. I can design my own path and invest my time studying topics that I’m really interested in.”
    Nora Mittleman
    Nora Mittleman New York, NY
  • “At Buxton you can experience your intellectual development in a community that accepts your perspective of the world.”
    Ben Nigh
    Ben Nigh Mexico
  • “I felt instantly at home when I stepped on the campus. At Buxton, we are in school 24/7. We learn things in the classroom, but we really learn valuable things outside of the classroom. We learn how to work with others and respect each other’s spaces. Our education surrounds us and we learn new things everyday.”
    Emily Woodside
    Emily Woodside Albany, NY
  • “I chose Buxton over public school because I think I function better in a smaller environment. You’re able to get to know students and faculty on a deeper level, which is rare.”
    Charlie Starenko
    Charlie Starenko Williamstown, MA
  • “Students should be happy when they are learning. They should not feel like studying is a burden to them. You learn things from your living space and environment - you are learning every second you are living.”
    Jiayi Cao
    Jiayi Cao China
  • “Buxton has shown me that it is possible to forge close bonds with teachers as well as students. It also gives you the ability to try new things in an environment where there is no judgment.”
    Kristhal Ayala
    Kristhal Ayala Puerto Rico
  • “I chose Buxton for a small community-based education with focus on the individual as part of the world at large, along with the learning settings.”
    Katie McAvoy
    Katie McAvoy Boston, MA
  • “I love the atmosphere and how tightly knit the community is. At Buxton you take what you learn in the classroom and use it in everyday life - you learn from the world around you and see how you can make it better.”
    Cheyanne Williams
    Cheyanne Williams Boston, MA
  • “At Buxton you bring your education into everything you do, and learn important, relevant things that you can utilize all the time.”
    Rebecca van der Meulen
    Rebecca van der Meulen New Lebanon, NY
  • "In the last year, Buxton has become my home. It has provided me with a place where self-exploration is encouraged in and out of the classroom. I have made unbreakable bonds with faculty and my peers."

    Aurora Albany, NY
  • "To me living your education means enjoying it to the fullest. Do the things that make you uncomfortable, like activities, clubs, or sports you wouldn't normally participate in. Like the saying goes, "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

    Adrian Boston, MA
  • "Buxton has given me room to fully realize what inspires me and the resources to create it. The next big grade is no longer a constant worry. I have more space to be and do what I want."

    Lola Williamstown, MA
  • "Buxton has given me the freedom to be the person I want to be, make the art I want to make, and learn the things I want to learn. At Buxton we learn not only in the classroom, but in the community. We learn how to be good to each other and how to support each other. Buxton has so much to offer students, both inside the classroom and outside of it."

    Sadie Great Barrington, MA
  • “A sense that everybody matters, that you are in a community where everyone can make a difference and reach their full potential, where you are interdependent and you work together, and most importantly where you understand that you can do whatever you want to do and whatever it is that you do, you have got to make a difference. I think that, more than anything, defines my experience at Buxton.”
    Peter Shumlin
    Peter Shumlin Governor of Vermont, Buxton Alumni

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