HIGH POINT, N.C., June 4, 2010 – Students at High Point University recently had a unique opportunity to study art up close thanks to a study abroad program through the Visual Art Department ? the “Italy May Experience.”
The trip, which included 17 students along with Scott Raynor, chairman of the Visual Art Department; Bruce Shores, instructor of art; and Karen Maness, adjunct professor in the Art Department, featured stops in two major art meccas ? Rome and Florence ? during the 12-day jaunt.
The study abroad program presented a course of study that explored artistic and historical relationships between the Ancient Greeks and Romans while learning how the artists influenced the Renaissance and Baroque periods in Italian art, explains Raynor, who served as the lead faculty member for the trip.
“Rome and Florence are the two places that you can see examples from all the time periods we studied,” Raynor says. “Rome, particularly, is like a compost heap of history where ? as you peel back the layers ? you gain a greater appreciation of how art and design have developed through the centuries.”
Raynor says the students gained a lot of knowledge in two short weeks.
“Not only did they learn to appreciate a new culture that is incredibly different from theirs, but they had the opportunity to see works of art in person and often in the place where the artist intended ? a church or city square,” Raynor explains. “Many of our students think that seeing a work of art on a computer screen or in a classroom is sufficient. Yet when they encounter Michelangelo’s ‘David’ they see that great works of art have a presence. They have a soul that you cannot get from looking at it in a book or in a classroom.”
One student on the trip, Jenna Soltys, a rising junior at HPU from Kansas, especially loved seeing Michelangelo’s famed “David” statue in person.
“I think this trip helped me appreciate art and further my interest in it in a way that wouldn’t have been possible sitting in class and seeing images of these masterpieces on a screen,” Soltys says. “I have never studied art the way I did on this trip. It truly was experiential learning.”
Raynor, who has been guiding these experiential learning trips for a decade, learns something new every time.
“Leading students to Europe is one of the highlights of my teaching,” Raynor says. “We break free from traditional boundaries of the classroom and we confront art and history head on.”
At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people. HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with 3,700 undergraduate and graduate students from 50 countries and 46 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report No. 5 among comprehensive universities in the South and No. 1 in its category among up-and-coming schools. Forbes.com ranks HPU in the top 6 percent among “America’s Best Colleges.” HPU was included in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Great Colleges to Work For” 2009 listings. The university offers 68 undergraduate majors, 40 undergraduate minors and seven graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at http://www.highpoint.edu/ or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/highpointu.
Vice President for Administration