Modern Art in Old World Setting

Casa ArtomAt Wake Forest, we believe learning experiences abroad significantly impact student intellectual, personal and professional growth. Students experience culture and history firsthand, often hand-in-hand with a faculty member. Perspectives broaden. Students leave our campus as Wake Forest students and return as global citizens.

In 1971 the University acquired Casa Artom, its first overseas residence, located on the Grand Canal in Venice on the site of the former American Consulate. The Spring of 2013 saw 15 Wake students, mostly sophomores, in residence at Casa Artom.  These students had the opportunity to complete two or more divisional requirements while learning the Italian language in situ and spending a semester in one of the most captivating cities in Europe.

During the spring semester, Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art David Lubin took our students on an overnight excursion to Milan to visit various art museums and collections, including the Brera Museum (early Renaissance to early twentieth century Italian painting), Leonardo’s Last Supper, the Villa Necchi and Casa Boschi collections (twentieth century Italian painting and decorative art), and the Novecento Museum (modern Italian art). Professor Lubin and his students also saw famous architectural projects by the renowned Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa and toured the Veneto countryside to see Palladio’s sixteenth-century Villa Maser and Scarpa’s Brion cemetery.

Victoria Lawton, Class of 2015, eloquently articulates in a letter what the semester in Venice meant to her. Here are a few excerpts from her letter. “I am so grateful that I was given the most wonderful opportunity to study in Venice for four months, an opportunity that most never receive. Having previously traveled, I didn’t expect to change as much as I have. I’ve learned so much (about myself, others, and Italy) that I never could’ve expected – they are lessons I will remember for the rest of my life.…Back on the home campus, students sometimes develop close relationships with the faculty; however, nothing like in Venice. I love the fact that we were able to travel, share meals, and grab coffee with you. I definitely believe that you both did an excellent job interacting with us so that everyone became comfortable with you.

At the end of the semester, we spent a lot of time talking about our favorite and least favorite moments of the semester, as well as any regrets we had. It was so hard for me to pick my favorite – there were just SO many. And I have no regrets – I had the most perfect semester, due to your wonderful guidance and program. I only wish the program was longer…
…With all of the places I was able to travel this spring, I was always excited to return to Venice. I completely fell in love with the city and surprisingly quickly. I love the fact that I was able to walk almost the entire island and am very proud of the fact that I am able to navigate the streets, even though there are still so many places I want to explore! Having been home only a week, I already miss Venice so much, even all the pigeons! I can’t wait to return to Venice as soon as I can.”

So, this, in a student’s own words, is what a study abroad experience can mean, in terms of personal and intellectural growth.  Thank you to Professor David Lubin for leading this course and to Associate Provost Kline Harrison, Casa Artom House Director Peter Kairoff and all others involved with our international programs, who make these experiences as meaningful as possible for our students.

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