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Book Arts in Venice (Faculty-led)
Cornuda, Italy; Florence, Italy; Venice, Italy; Verona, Italy
Program Terms: Summer I
Budget Sheets Summer I
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer I 2015 01/31/2015** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Fact Sheet:
 Program Type:
 Language of Instruction:
 Housing Options:
Hotel (double), Apartment
 Minimum GPA:
 Class Standing:
Undergraduate Freshman, Undergraduate Junior, Undergraduate Senior, Undergraduate Sophomore
 Program Specialist:
Sakhi Vyas
 Language experience required:
 Program Length:
Program Description:
Jump To: Photos Overview Location Academics Cost Housing Itinerary Resources

Photo Gallery

Program Overview

Venice, Italy and the surrounding region have long been known as a center for education, art, and the production of books. During the incunabulum period of book printing Venice, because of its economic prosperity, it's relative freedom as an early republic, and its central location on the trade route, was a key player in European book publication, being the home of important printers like Nicholas Jenson and Aldus Manutius. The art of Venice, including the work of Giorgione, Titian, and Tintoretto, is among the most important of Italian Renaissance art. Some of the oldest universities in Europe and the world are located in Venice, Padua, Verona, and Florence. In this study abroad program we will visit these locations to see the art, visit historic libraries, work in printing and typography studios to create a collaborative project, and learn about the history of book arts in Venice.

In addition to visiting this region of Italy and learning about its history, student will create personal journals documenting their experiences, and be involved in a collaborative project with other students. Using the book arts facilities at the Scuola di Grafica Internazionale in Venice, Firenze Arti Visive in Florence, and Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione in Cornuda, they will create a limited-edition book written and illustrated by the members of the class, containing intaglio images, text printed on antique presses using movable type, and simple hand bookbinding.

Before the trip begins the students will work at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center to create handmade hardcover journals they will carry with them on the trip and use for writing, sketching, and making observations. During these meetings the instructor will also talk about the culture of Italy, give instructions on traveling, and teach the students some introductory Italian including useful vocabulary and phrases.

When the students arrive in Venice they will be hosted by the Scuola di Grafica, an international school that specializes in printmaking, graphic design, and book arts. Students will be housed in shared apartments in the center of Venice and will have access to the studio with intaglio printing presses. Students will be given instruction in the process of intaglio printmaking and will be able to work in the city of Venice, drawing images on plates, and then return to the fully equipped studio to print them. Students from other disciplines of the university, including creative writing or history, can participate in the printmaking activities, but will also be encouraged to spend time writing poetry, essays, or narrative prose to be included in the final collaborative publication. While in Venice the students will visit many historic sites including Piazza San Marco, the Accademia di Belle Arti, the Scuola di San Rocco, and the National Library of Venice. A day trip will be taken to the city of Padua to see the Arena Chapel of Giotto, the library of the University of Padua, and the podium where Galileo delivered his lectures at the Palazzo del Bo.

After a week in Venice the class will move to Verona. Here we will visit the Museo Conte, a small printing facility that has been in operation in the historic center of town for over 100 years, operated by the Conte family. We will also explore ancient Roman ruins, the medieval Piazza delle Erbe, and the library of the University of Verona.

For the third portion of the trip the class will move to Florence for six days, to study at Firenze Arti Visive, an art school housed in the former studio of the Renaissance artist and historian Giorgio Vasari. Here students will learn printing techniques and visit historic sites including the Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, and the Accademia, where Michelangelo’s David is displayed.

After leaving Florence the class will travel to Cornuda, a small town in the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains, where Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione is located. Tipoteca is one of the largest letterpress museums in Europe, with antique presses and an extraordinary collection of moveable type, including Art Nouveau and early 20th century Italian wood and lead characters. In the town of Cornuda, set in the rolling hills of the wine country, students will stay in an argiturismo--a country farmhouse that has been converted into a bed and breakfast--within walking distance of the studio facility. This will give them a change to experience life in Italy outside of the tourist destinations. Here the class will work with Lucio Passerini, a noted fine press printer, to learn to set and print the text of their publication and bind the books by hand. Each student will complete the course with a copy of the collaborative publication.

For the final night of the trip we will return to Venice, to meet again with all the instructors and participants for a final celebratory dinner in the city. Finishing the program in Venice will also make it easier for students catching return flights to the United States from the Venice airport. When the students return to Michigan, an exhibition will be scheduled for the fall of 2013 at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center to display the journals, intaglio prints, and completed letterpress publication, and share the students' experience with the community.

Traditionally the publication of books has been a collaborative effort, with people from many disciplines contributing: writers, artists, and craftsmen. This course is designed for student from all disciplines within the university, to foster a rich collaboration. All instruction in intaglio, printing, and bookbinding will be given at an introductory level, to give students the opportunity to explore new experiences in this beautiful, historic setting.

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On this trip we will visit the Veneto region of Italy, in the northeastern area of the peninsula, at the top of the Adriatic Sea. We will stay in the island city of Venice, and also visit Padua, Verona, Florence, and the village of Cornuda, located in the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains. In this way students will explore historic and popular tourist centers, mid-sized working cities, and rural communities. The Veneto region has long been a center of learning and art, with some of the oldest universities in the world, extraordinary museums and libraries, and a rich artistic heritage. Students will have the opportunity to visit museums, churches, and historic sites, and work in professional printing studios including the Scuola di Grafica Internazionale, Firenze Arti Visive, and Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione.

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Academic Eligibility
Good academic standing.

Academic Credit
Participants may earn three (3) academic credit hours in ART 5000. WMU credit will be awarded for courses successfully completed on this program with prior approval of the student's academic advisor, academic advisors in departments outside of the student's major department (if the student plans to take classes outside of his/her major), and the Haenicke Institute for Global Education. Students are urged to work closely with academic advisors and HIGE staff to plan a course of study allowing for steady progress toward their degree.

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Cost & Financial Aid

The WMU program fee includes tuition, administrative fees, health and emergency assistance insurance, housing, on-site orientation, onsite materials and supplies, airport transfers, local transportation, gate tickets for cultural study activities, banquets and breakfasts in Verona and Cornuda. Not included are airfare, passport processing fees, immunizations, breakfasts in Venice, meals and beverages not specified, pre-departure journal book making materials, and personal expenses. An additional $391 applies to the program fee for graduate students.

Students applying for this program may be eligible for the Haenicke Institute for Global Education Study Abroad Scholarship.
Apply online for this scholarship.

Financial Aid
Students eligible for federal or state financial aid may use their awards for studying abroad. After a student has been accepted to the program, he/she must complete required paperwork with WMU Financial Aid to apply financial aid to the program costs. It is the student's responsibility to complete the paperwork prior to departure and to maintain compliance with financial aid regulations while studying abroad (i.e., remain enrolled full-time). *Non-WMU students must apply for financial aid through their home university.

Note: Program fees are subject to adjustment due to changes in actual exchange rates or other factors. In addition, programs may be modified or cancelled in the event of insufficient enrollment. Program dates are subject to slight adjustment by the home/host university.

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In Venice students will stay in shared apartments in the center of the city, very near to Piazza San Marco, the Accademia di Belle Arti, and the studio of the Scuola di Grafica. Students will also have a vaporetto (boat bus) pass which will allow them to traverse the automobile-free, boat city of Venice easily. In Verona the students will spend a weekend in a youth hostel, a dormitory-style accommodation. In Florence they will stay in a bed and breakfast near the historic center of town. In the village of Cornuda they will stay in an agriturismo--a country farmhouse that has been converted into a residence inn--within walking distance of Tipoteca.

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Mandatory pre-departure meetings:
Thursday, 2/28, 5:30 p.m. - RCVA 1004
Thursday 3/14, 4:00-5:30 - Brown Hall 2028 pre-departure meeting with the WMU Study Abroad
Saturday, 4/6, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. - Kalamazoo Book Arts Center

5/16 Depart from the U.S.
5/17 Arrive in Venice.
5/24 Transfer to Verona.
5/27 Transfer to Florence.
6/2 Transfer to Cornuda.
6/7 Transfer to Venice.
6/8 Depart from Venice and return to the U.S.

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Additional Resources


Program faculty director:
Professor Jeffrey Abshear
Frostic School of Art
Lee Honors College

WMU Study Abroad:
Sakhi Vyas
Study Abroad Specialist
(269) 387-5890

Host Institution Information (external links)
Kalamazoo Book Arts Center
Scuola di Grafica Internazionale
Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione

Country Information (external links)
Italy - Lonely Planet
Venice - Lonely Planet
Verona - Lonely Planet
Country Specific Information - Italy
Culturegram - Italy

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