Pepsi Refresh Grant – American College of the Building Arts Can Use Your Vote!

Great news for the American College of the Building Arts (ACBA)! The college has been selected to compete in the Pepsi Refresh Everything online poll.  Pepsi gives away $1.3m in grants each month to people, businesses, and nonprofits with ideas to positively impact their communities.  Through an online poll, voters can choose their favorite ideas.  So if you support ACBA, you can vote at the school’s page at, and can also text 104043 to 73774. Last time I checked (and voted), the college still had a long way to go to the top, so they need your help.

If voted as the top idea, ACBA will receive $250,000 to support scholarships, recruitment, the building of a new science lab, and to fund materials for the six trade workshops.

The only college of its kind in the United States, ACBA trains future artisans in the traditional building arts of architectural stone, carpentry, forged architectural ironwork, preservation masonry, plaster working, and timber framing while at the same time providing a quality academic education resulting in Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees.

The college’s mission is to educate and train artisans in the traditional building arts to foster exceptional craftsmanship and encourage the preservation, enrichment, and understanding of the world’s architectural heritage through a liberal arts education.  In order to fulfill its mission, ACBA has the following goals:

  • To offer a comprehensive educational program that embodies the apprenticeship model while also providing a quality academic and artistic education.
  • To effectively increase the quality as well as the number of master artisans throughout the United States in the major building trades.
  • To elevate the position of skilled artisans trained in the building arts in the United States, reawakening respect for work that has been greatly devalued in the 20th and 21st centuries.
  • To serve as skilled stewards of historic buildings in the United States and internationally through well-executed traditional building practices appropriate to each structure and the environment.
  • To achieve national status as an institution integral to preservation and sustainable building practices.

ACBA has been described by Mayor Joseph P. Riley as “Charleston’s gift to America.” And it is no exaggeration as ACBA is truly a national institution, with graduates working in preservation and sustainable building across the country.  The National Trust’s Preservation magazine noted in its September-October 2009 issue that, in the absence of skilled artisans, the nation’s historic structures are in great danger.  ACBA is a unique school producing students fluent in the building arts and able to communicate effectively with historians, architects, and engineers. Their unique skill set will ensure the artistic and structural integrity of the built environments in cities across the country far into the future.

Here is a video that we created for the college this year. We talked to the founder, John Paul Huguley and students about what makes their school so outstanding and different.


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