Summer 2011: Venice, Slovenia, Croatia & Berlin

From Studio to Stage: Contemporary Art and International Exhibitions


June 5-27

Academic credit

Three hours art history
Instructor: Raechell Smith, director/curator, H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute

Three hours studio
Instructor: Anne Pearce, assistant professor of fine art and communication, Rockhurst University and gallery director, Greenlease Gallery at Rockhurst University                 


Estimated $6,800 (all inclusive: tuition, airfare and meals)


March 11 (Space is limited)

Information sessions

2:30 p.m. Feb. 14 and 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at the H&R Block Arstpace, 16 E. 43rd St.

Program description

Since 1895, the Venice Biennale has been the most important international exhibition of contemporary art, featuring work by artists representing nearly 80 countries. As a global stage for established and emerging visual artists, the Venice Biennale serves as mentor and model to countless biennial exhibitions now hosted around the world.

This course will begin with an in-depth exploration of the Biennale, visiting the main exhibition sites (Giardini and Arsenale) as well as sites located throughout Venice and meeting Biennale participants. The Biennale will provide an opportunity to consider the larger context of the contemporary art world as we look at the many roles involved: artists/producers, consumers, advisors and critics. Other visits in Venice will include the Peggy Guggenheim Museum (an internship host for several Kansas City Art Institute students), San Lazzarro degli Armeni, Burano and other significant cultural and historical locations.
From Venice, we will travel to Ljubljana, Slovenia, in the former Yugoslavia, where local artists have taken up residence in a former Yugoslavian army barracks to create a vibrant arts community. Here, we will visit studios and museums and meet artists, students and curators as we begin to consider the role of local art communities as a vital component within the larger international art ecosystem.
In Croatia, we will stop in the capital Zagreb to visit the new Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, which opened in December 2009, before traveling to Dubrovnik. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Dubrovnik is a medieval town along the beautiful Dalmatian Coast. Here, we will explore the city’s surrounding wall, beautiful beaches, and scenic locations along the Adriatic coast as we work on individual projects.
From Dubrovnik, we fly straight to Berlin, the city referred to by many as the global center of the contemporary art world. Since just after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, Berlin has attracted artists from Eastern Europe and around the world as a highly desirable place to live and work. Many of today’s most successful international artists live and work in Berlin, and we will explore some of what this city has to offer, including established and emerging galleries, contemporary art museums, artist residency programs, artist studios and other significant cultural and historical locations.
In each city, students will participate in group discussions and conduct individual research projects on an artist of their choosing; view and review select exhibitions; and conduct group and individual interviews. They will also document their journey and develop, through the use of any medium, a visual diary that reflects their observations, ideas and experiences. The diary will be maintained on a daily basis and will serve ultimately to help students understand the curatorial process as a practice that combines research, art history and critical thinking. The final project will synthesize students’ experiences and insights gained in the form of a comprehensive exhibition proposal, with visual and written components, to be presented in Kansas City upon their return.

For more information, contact Raechell Smith at or Emily Lambdin at

Costs & Financing

Visit the Costs & Financing page for information on costs, scholarships, loans, refunds and deadlines.

Web Reg

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