The first week behind me, almost…

I have had a wonderful time so far during this component of the Aegean Center.  Traveling with this small group through Florence and Pistoia has been an eye-opening experience.  It is one thing to conduct the readings, research and so forth on my own and take the trip solo or with another person, but to be guided around by a very knowledgeable mentor is another.  The day-trips are not so much tours as peripatetics, designed to make us all think about the times we are studying and the people who lived and worked during those times. I have been seeing enormous gaps in my own education filling in.

As I mentioned we have been to Florence once and Pistoia twice.  Today we take the train to Pisa for a longer day trip.  Tomorrow we go back to Florence and then on MOnday we take a three-day trip to Venice.  On the days we are not touring we have classes here at the villa.  There is singing in the music room as Orfeas guides his vocalists; watercolor classes and drawing classes in the gardens; photography classes in the gardens as well.  Art History lectures are conducted before dinner in the upstairs chapel, which we have converted in to a small lecture hall.  Throughout the day there are students, young and not as young, reading, writing, drawing and using their cameras all around me.  I am engaging in these activities as well.  I am enjoying the watercolor classes as, like the figure drawing last spring, it alters the way I perceive the world and relate to it as someone within its context.

The other students are, on the whole, very enthusiastic about this experience also.  There are grumblings from some quarters but I feel these are the necessary grumblings of growth, coming mostly from students who have preconceived notions of what ‘art school’ is, what it has been for them and how the Aegean Center program differs from the myriad programs in existence.  It is wonderful watching eyes and minds open, my own included.


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