APSU students embark on artistic journey in the heart of Italy
By: Kara Zahn November 21, 2023
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - Austin Peay State University (APSU) students traveled to Rome, Italy, this summer with Department of Art + Design faculty Dr. Tamara Smithers and Professor Patrick Vincent, and recently showcased the work inspired by their trip during a student exhibition.
The Department of Art + Design hosted the “Art in Rome” Exhibition on campus in the Barbara Beach Student Gallery in September, featuring students’ final journals, Art History course research papers and Studio Art course artwork.
Art in Rome
“The Art in Rome Study Abroad Program is an intensive program based in Rome, which is often called a walking museum,” Smithers said. “We put on our sneakers, pack a small bag and spend all day visiting sites and learning about the incredible history, artworks and monuments of the city.”
Smithers said highlights of the trip included visiting the ancient Roman Colosseum, Raphael and Michaelangelo’s Renaissance frescos at the Vatican and Bernini’s Baroque sculptures and fountains.
“I also love Rome’s vibrant street art scene, and, of course, the food is amazing,” she said. “Rome is nicknamed the Eternal City for its many layers of continual history, but I think it also applies to the visitor’s experience, especially for students interested in art. One will never forget it.”
Art exhibition and reception
Students who participated in the 2023 Art in Rome Study Abroad Program showcased their academic and creative achievements from Sept. 5-14 at the Barbara Beach Student Gallery. The exhibition featured their final journals, which included Art History course research papers, and their concluding Studio Art course projects from the Rome trip.
A reception took place on Thursday, Sept. 7, allowing attendees to celebrate the students' work and their immersive artistic experiences in Rome.
Veteran alumnus’ donation sent two students to Rome
The reception also welcomed retired Army Master Sgt. Christopher Sanderford, an APSU alumnus who participated in the Art in Rome Study Abroad trip in 2019 and is now funding two scholarships to help other students do the same.
“[You’re] able to see all these museums, history, culture and food in such a short period of time and still able to walk away as if you’ve done it all,” Sanderford said. “There is no way I’d have been able to do that on my own without having gone through the program, and leaving with as much information and appreciation for everything that I was able to see out there.”
Sanderford traveled the world during his time with the Army, but he said nothing he experienced in the service compared to the short program led by APSU in Rome. That inspired his scholarship donation, which gave two veteran students the opportunity to be a part of this year’s trip.
Recipients had to be veterans or military-affiliated students in the Department of Art + Design and were anonymously selected after writing essays on how the program would benefit their studies. Herzel Sireci and Shirley Layer were chosen to receive the awards, which covered a portion of the costs for their trip.
The Art in Rome Study Abroad Program 2023 exhibition’s success was made possible by the dedicated faculty of the Department of Art + Design, notably Vincent, along with the enthusiastic students at APSU. For those interested, more details about the possible 2025 Summer Semester Art in Rome Study Abroad program can be found on the Office of Study Abroad and International Exchange’s Terra Dotta platform.