Jerusalem & Athens Winter Seminar in Orvieto, Italy.
December 29, 2016 to January 14, 2017
The Studio for Art, Faith & History joins forces with the Center for Faith & Inquiry to offer an annual seminar that combines the great books, Socratic approach of the Center for Faith & Inquiry’s Jerusalem & Athens Forum honors program with the emphasis of the Gordon IN Orvieto semester program on experiencing great art and great books “in situ”—in their original settings. Registration for undergraduate students includes discounted tuition for the 4-credit course. Alumni and adult learners will pay only the costs of the program.
The seminar opens up to a wider circle of students, alumni and adult learners the theme that gives the Jerusalem & Athens Forum (JAF) program its name: Tertullian's question, asked in the year 200, “What has Jerusalem to do with Athens, the Church with the Academy?”
Each January this special Great Books/Great Sites Winter Seminar applies Tertullian’s question to an in situ study of one of the perennial topics addressed by classical and Christian thinkers and artists in the medieval/Renaissance/early modern period of European history.
The 2017 winter seminar, led by classical scholar and gifted musician Dr. Graeme Bird, studies the relation of classical musical theory and harmony to the practice of architecture and art in the medieval-Renaissance period and compares pre-modern understanding of the nature and effect of music to the understanding and practice of music in our own postmodern age. Excursions to Florence, Siena, Rome, and Arezzo focus on art and architecture of particular relevance to the theme.
Complete information about JAF291, and access to the on-line application form, is found on the Seminar's website, here.
Francis and Dominic: The Arts of Devotion
January 25–February 4, 2017
Rev. Dr. Susan and Dr. John Skillen combine their interests in offering a pilgrimage-retreat that follows in the steps of Saints Francis and Dominic. At the beginning of the 13th century, these two young men, one in Spain and one in Italy, were simultaneously drawn towards a new form of spiritual life as mendicants rather than monastics. While living in the traditional manner in small communities obedient to a shared rule of life, they cultivated a socially-engaged outward focus towards serving the needs of those in the world around them. The rapid spread of their offshoot communities brought spiritual renewal to church and society.
Orvieto has strong associations with the two theologians—one Dominican, one Franciscan—who remain towering figures in the history of the church. St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest of the scholastic theologians and philosophers, lived and taught for a number of years in the Dominican monastery in Orvieto. St. Bonaventure, born in nearby Cività da Bagnoregio, gave lasting shape to Franciscan ideals through a theology of creation and of prayer.
Theme of the Retreat
Our particular focus will be on why and how the arts of painting, music, and poetry found a welcome place in the preaching, teaching, and devotional practices of the Franciscan and Dominican movements.
The Dominicans used the arts to give visual form to ideas and to cultivate intellectually rigorous forms of meditation. The Franciscans appreciated the power of the arts to arouse emotion and to strengthen the affective side of knowing and loving God and our neighbors.
ART in ORVIETO 2017
FOUR WEEK RESIDENCY seminar and workshop in Orvieto, Italy
Exploring the relationship of ART, RELIGION, AND THEOLOGY
June 18 – July 15, 2017
***THE INFORMATION BELOW WILL SOON BE AVAILABLE, ATTRACTIVELY FORMATTED, ON THE INSTITUTE FOR CHRISTIAN STUDIES WEBSITE FOR THE PROGRAM: http://www.icscanada.edu/art-in-orvieto ***
ART IN ORVIETO is an advanced summer studies program in art, religion, and theology located in Orvieto, Italy, a magnificent hill town 90 minutes north of Rome.
The program offers an ecumenical exploration of Christian understandings of the arts. It provides a three weeks residency designed for artists, graduate students in relevant fields, and other adult learners interested in engaging the intersection of art, religion, and theology.
The acronym ART represents Art, Religion, and Theology, the foci of the program.
ART IN ORVIETO is a program of the Institute for Christian Studies in the Toronto School of Theology, Toronto, Ontario.
The ART IN Orvieto Program occupies superbly renovated facilities in the medieval monastery of the Servite Order in Orvieto. The facilities are leased by Gordon College of Wenham, Massachusetts, and its affiliate Studio for Art, Faith, and History. The Institute for Christian Studies and the Studio for Art, Faith, and History share the same mission: to engage in integrating thought and practice in the arts with theology and the life of faith.
THE THREE COMPONENTS
1. GRADUATE SEMINAR
Entitled Art, Religion, and Theology: Theologies of Art in the Christian Tradition
For ALL PARTICIPANTS
2. ARTISTS’ WORKSHOP
For PRACTICING ARTISTS
3. WRITERS’ WORKSHOP
For ACTIVE WRITERS
Scroll down this page for more detailed descriptions of these components.
The program takes place in Orvieto, Italy, from June 18 to July 15. Participants are expected to arrive at the program in Orvieto no later than Sunday, June 18. The Seminar and the Workshop begin on Monday, June 19. Participants are expected to depart from the program no later than Saturday July 15.
For more information about ART IN ORVIETO please contact Jeffrey Hocking at: jeffreyh@icscanada,edu or 416-979-2332, ext 240
SEMINAR & WORKSHOPS
There are two options: Graduate Credit Option, or Non-Credit Option.
In each option, participants may take both the Seminar and the Workshop. Or they may take only the Seminar or the Workshop.
For budgetary reasons, priority for admission to either option is given to persons taking both the Seminar and one Workshop.
1. GRADUATE CREDIT OPTION
This option is a formal course of study and practice at the graduate level. Persons who complete the graduate requirements in the Seminar and/or Workshop may receive graduate credit in a program of graduate studies in which they are enrolled. The graduate credit may be used in one of the following ways: 1. the MWS degree program of the Institute for Christian Studies; or 2. a degree program in the Toronto School of Theology; or 3. a degree program in another institution that accepts transfer credit. Credit for the MWS degree is given to students who are formally admitted to graduate study in the Institute for Christian Studies. Credit for another degree program in the Toronto School of Theology is given to students who are formally admitted to such a degree program.
2. NON-CREDIT OPTION
This option involves regular attendance and full participation in the Seminar and/or one Workshop. In the Seminar, this includes completing the readings or other day to day assignments and joining in discussion. In one of the Workshops, this includes engaging in work on one’s own artistic or writing project and sharing in artistic or writing conversation with others. Such persons may be issued a letter stating Confirmation of Participation in Studies in ART IN ORVIETO.
The Seminar and the Workshops meet Monday through Thursday.
Formal excursions take place on Friday in weeks 1, 2 and 3. The destinations are Rome, Assisi and Florence.
The excursions are an integral part of the program and everyone is expected to participate.
The studios and other spaces in the monastery are available for study and work.
DESCRIPTIONS of the Seminar and Workshops
1. GRADUATE SEMINAR
with Rebekah Smick
Art, Religion, and Theology: Theologies of Art in the Christian Tradition
For some, the idea of an expressly Christian art is a literal impossibility in the contemporary art world context. According to such a view, the sheer notion of a “Christian art” defies the very nature of art as we understand it. It suggests that art is a form of propaganda rather than the free expression of an individual artist. Yet, explicitly Christian art dominates the walls of most Western art museums. Further, much of this art is thought to represent the height of Western art practice. What is this puzzling history able to tell us about the relationship of art to Christianity? How have Christians understood art to function religiously and what relation does it have to how art is conceived in the modern context?
This course will examine the art traditions of the three main branches of Christianity in their historical contexts with a view to understanding the relationship of Christianity to art today. It will consider the art histories of Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christianity, the theology pertinent to their understandings of the religious image and what contemporary Christian philosophers and theologians have to say about the possibilities for Christian art in modern society. Taking full advantage of our setting in Orvieto, we will explore the art of the area as well as in Rome, Assisi and Florence. The methodology used in the course will be a mix of lecture and class discussion on assigned readings.
2. ARTISTS’ WORKSHOP
with David Holt
The goal of this studio workshop is to help artists make substantial progress with a particular body of work. Participants will develop their artworks through various stages, from initial inspirations, ideas, and studies to more fully realized visual forms, while exploring relevant religious, theological, and art historical dimensions. Although we will emphasize the process of the creation of the works more than their final completion, there will be opportunities to display work produced during the workshop.
Works in a variety of media will be encouraged and supported. Practicing artists of all levels of experience are welcome and guidance will be tailored to meet individual needs, including help with regard to materials, techniques, and design issues; assistance with furthering technical skills; and direction in concept development, research, and interpretive methodologies. In addition to ongoing individual consultation, weekly sharing of one’s progress with the group will provide valuable opportunities for informed feedback and support.
Our well-equipped studio will be within the beautiful large space of a former 13th century convent, which will allow everyone a dedicated personal workspace as well as space for group work, discussions, and shared displays of artwork. Open access to the studio will ensure ample time to work individually or together with other participating artists.
We will take advantage of our location by engaging with Orvieto’s rich historical traditions of religious material culture, from its Etruscan origins onward. Especially, we will explore Christian symbolism and iconography through discussions of examples of devotional, liturgical, and ornamental art within the context of Orvieto’s religious architecture. Participants will also benefit from making connections between their own art production and their learning in other concurrent Art in Orvieto sessions and field trips.
A list of basic supplies will be sent to participants upon registration.
3. WRITERS’ WORKSHOP
with John Terpstra
In this workshop, we will approach writing as an act of faith: stepping out of the boat and walking on water. We will talk about following our creative intuition, with fear and trembling, and boldly. We will talk about writing as work and as prayer; as an articulation of the spirit, and the Spirit. We will talk about writing as a practical activity. We will wonder aloud about the boxes we create, and what we put in them. And why. And how to open them.
But primarily we will be concerned with bringing the writer’s work closer to completion. This is a project-based workshop, rather than a class or a course, and we are coming into it with the fire already lit. Prospective participants are asked to submit 5000 words of fiction, creative non-fiction, essay or 10 pages of poetry, that are part of a larger piece they are working on. The work should be presentable, but may be at a beginning or later stage of development.
This will be our starting point. We will sit around a table in a beautifully renovated convent in a hilltop town and read our work aloud, receive and give response, and engage in constructive dialogue—and then, hit the keyboard again. Be prepared to spend time with your writing amidst all the distractions that a hilltop town in Italy has to offer. You should expect to present new or revised work on a session-by-session basis. There will also be opportunity for individual consultation.
PROFILES OF PERSONNEL
Rebekah Smick, Graduate Seminar and Director of the Program
Rebekah Smick is Associate Professor of Philosophy of the Arts and Culture at the Institute for Christian Studies in the Toronto School of Theology. Her publications include a book on the Western survival of classical culture and book chapters on Italian art criticism and theory. She is a recent contributor to the book accompanying the 2016/17 Art Gallery of Ontario/Musée D’Orsay exhibition Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and more.
David Holt, Artists’ Workshop
A graduate of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, David Holt has special interests in Italian art and world religions. He has had many exhibitions in the USA and Canada, a painting grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and a residency at the Ragdale Foundation. A former long-time Professor of Art at Marymount College, Tarrytown (later of Fordham University), he now teaches art at Upper Canada College. He is a member of Loop Gallery, an artists’ collective in Toronto.
John Terpstra, Writers’ Workshop
John Terpstra’s nine books of poetry and four works of creative non-fiction have won the CBC Radio Literary Competition as well as numerous Hamilton Literary Awards, and have been short-listed for the Governor-General’s Award, the Charles Taylor Prize, the BC Award for Canadian Non-fiction and the Raymond Souster Award. He has served as Writer-in-Residence at McMaster University and Hillfield-Strathallan College. He divides his time equally between writing and his chosen trade, which is woodworking.
Thomas McIntire, Program Associate
Thomas McIntire is Professor of History and Religion in the University of Toronto and Fellow of Victoria College, Toronto. Among his publications are a book and articles on religion in Rome, Umbria, Marches, and Romagna. His current work is on World Christianity.
Studio for Art, Faith, and History
John Skillen, Director of the Studio for Art, Faith, and History
Dr. John Skillen (Ph.D. Duke University, Medieval and Renaissance Literature) is the Director of Gordon College's Studio for Art, Faith, and History based in Orvieto. He was the medieval and Renaissance specialist in the English department before starting and directing Gordon's arts-oriented semester program from 1998 until 2009. His recent book is entitled Putting Art (back) in Its Place (2016)
Art in Orvieto occupies an array of remarkable spaces in the Monastery of the Servants of Mary (The Servite Order) that houses the program. The monastery is designed around a large cloister, and the whole complex dates to the 1200s.
The Servite Church, Santa Maria dei Servi, is a large architectural gem refashioned in the 1800s that forms the west side of the cloister.
The Graduate Seminar and the Writers’ Workshop use the Seminar Room along the east side of the cloister. The Artists’ Workshop is housed in the Studio along the north side of the cloister, divided into two adjoining spaces under a beautiful vaulted ceiling from the 1200s.
The Residence Hall is above the Studio. Other spaces are the Gallery, the Library, the Common Room, the Refectory, the Kitchen, and the Foyer, all situated along the east side of the cloister.
All these spaces are generally available throughout the day, evening, and weekends when not in use. Wifi is accessible in designated areas.
Photographs can be found on the website of the Studio for Art, Faith & History here:
ACCOMMODATIONS AND MEALS
Participants in Art in Orvieto are housed in the Residence Hall in comfortable renovated rooms located above the Studio.
Most rooms are double rooms with two single beds and an en suite bathroom.
There are a couple single rooms with an en suite bathroom. These are available on a first come first serve basis. There will also be a waiting list for single rooms if any should come available.
Full dinner-like lunches and full dinners are served Monday through Thursday and on Saturday in the Refectory, adjacent to the Kitchen. Other arrangements are made for the excursions on Friday. Breakfast foods are laid out for self-service Monday through Saturday. Sunday meals are not included, and participants are free to make their own arrangements, including taking advantage of the wonderful range of restaurants in Orvieto.
Seminar and Workshop
Application fee $50CAD
Registration fee $250CAD
Tuition – 1 seminar plus 1 workshop $2000CAD
Tuition – 1 seminar or 1 workshop $1500CAD
Accommodation/Meals/Excursions – Double Occupancy $2160USD*
Accommodation/Meals/Excursions – Single Occupancy $3105USD*†