VCUarts Draws its Way Through Italy

Italy is the place to be in the summer if you’re a student at VCUarts. There are a few departments who have students who spend their summers abroad in Italia, and for students in Communications Arts’ Florence Revealed program, led by Professor Stephen Alcorn, they’re able to capture their moments in time by hand. Students’ sketchbooks become an album of memories and experiences from their month-long stay abroad.

Situated in the heart of Florence, Italy, the cradle of the Renaissance, the program revolves around the use of a sketchbook where students employed mixed media to create imagery “all’aperto” (in open air). Florence is a quintessential Italian city with cobblestone streets and art museums, caf├ęs and galleries.

Erin Discordia Florence

Past, present and future are inextricably interwoven, each informing and influencing the other, forming a continuum. It is with this fundamental principle that Alcorn structured this year’s program around the themes of anticipation, experience and memory.

“What continues to amaze me about the Florentine Renaissance artists is the freshness of their thought, their willingness to experiment and their modernity,” said Alcorn. “However, civilized culture depends not solely on innovation and modernity, but also on a critical and imaginative assimilation of the past. A continued, renewed interpretation of this tradition is a necessity for the west, if it is to understand its own. This is why I believe it is important to embrace the wonders of the wonders of the History of Art, and the wealth of physical media that gives it its myriad forms.”

After their trip abroad was complete, students had two weeks to wrap up and turn in their sketchbooks, the culmination of their experience abroad.

Applications for Florence Revealed 2017 will open up in spring.


(Featured Image) Katie O’Leary, cover page to her sketchbook from Florence Revealed 2016
(Inset Image) Erin Discordia, spread from her sketchbook
(Collage) Features work by: Julie Wang, Caroline Bivens, Grace Hunsinger, Kate O’Leary, Dawn Carr, Virginia Stephenson, Ellen Geiselman, Erin Discordia, Keanna Kogurt and Norine King


August 17, 2016