UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT — BFA PAINTING
Pratt in Venice 2019 was truly one of the best things that could have ever happened to me, especially as an artist. I made life long friends on the trip and discovered professors that will forever have an impact on the work I continue to make. I hold those six weeks very close to my heart, not only because of the beautiful memories I made along the way, but because of the life-changing learning opportunities that the trip provided me with. As a Painting major, I was prepared to have a one-of-a-kind experience in the beautiful seaside studio that Pratt has access to on the Giudecca, but what took me by surprise was how equally impactful each of the program’s classes were for everyone on the trip, not just for those enrolled in certain courses. The dialogue between each of the Venice classes remained open to connection across all mediums and subjects, thus allowing for a kind of interwoven experience between every type of artist and historian.
One of the most truly rewarding aspects of the Pratt in Venice program is its extensive Art History course. While also being enrolled in the class, I was privileged to serve as the teaching assistant for the 2019 Art History course. This allowed me an even deeper look at the types of incredible opportunities we were going to be exposed to, not only as students but as young artists. Art History, in general, is hugely important to the young artist’s understanding of their own history, which is why the interdisciplinary interaction between artists and art historians on the trip is so essential. The presence of the two fields naturally facilitates enriching conversations, the outcome of which extends into both research and studio work. These connections educate and broaden the perspective of our students, enabling them to function within the world as knowledgeable artists.
While the relationship between the students on the trip is invaluable, the relationship between the students and Venice’s rich history is equally, if not even more unique. It is very rare that students are able to encounter face-to-face the famous artworks that they are discussing and analyzing in class. Being able to stand before these works of art is a privilege in and of itself. However, our students are even further privileged with the extensive access we are granted, as part of the program. During on-site visits, Pratt in Venice students have exclusive behind-the-scenes access to extraordinary learning experiences, as arranged by our team of professors and Director, Diana Gisolfi. During the 2019 trip, students were granted extended private access to several precious works of art, such as the Scrovegni Chapel and a collection of Donatello relief sculptures at the Basilica di Sant’Antonio, as well as being given an intimate introduction to the Peggy Guggenheim collection by a head curator. This unique access allowed students to encounter famous works firsthand, gifting them with a closer examination of artifacts that otherwise would have remained inaccessible.
Pratt in Venice will forever be one of my favorite experiences from my time at Pratt, and having been part of the 35th Anniversary of the program, I was able to witness how genuinely life-changing this trip has been and will continue to be for Pratt’s students. It is because of their dedication to providing the students with positive, once in a lifetime opportunities that the program has my upmost love and respect. So if you’re interested in studying abroad, come join the Pratt in Venice family!