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Visual Arts

For visual artists seeking a guided class experience in Italy that is more structured than an independent residency.

Our Focus

Rather than promoting a particular ideology, following a particular approach, or stressing a particular technique, we encourage the growth of your visual art skills through interactive learning, guided discovery, and rich communication.
We engage in discussions on works of art as a community, striving to create an environment in which we exchange ideas and grow as artists together as well as individually.
We also emphasize the importance of looking at and experiencing great art. Because of this, visiting museums, galleries, churches, and cities with visual art exhibits is a common and frequent occurrence during your art workshop in Italy.
Intensive, specialized topical workshops focus on subjects such as human anatomy, historical techniques, as well as the production and use of historical materials.

What We Offer

In the 2-D area of the visual arts, we offer facilities for painting, drawing, printmaking, and photography as well as opportunities for uninterrupted studio time in individual spaces. Classes with renowned Artists and Faculty combined with a Visiting Artist/Critics series, exhibition opportunities, and weekly trips to some of the most compelling cultural sites of Italy allow for unparalleled artistic growth. Our program provides a spectacular setting for the learning trip of a lifetime!
Program participants, residents, faculty, and visiting artists all live, dine, and work together in the ancient, walled city of Monte Castello di Vibio, a hill town in Umbria, one of Italy’s most beautiful regions. In this timeless environment, participants find an equilibrium between the old and the new; a balance between solitude and community in which focused, intensive work and dynamic interactions between students and faculty lead to greater proficiency and enhance creativity.

Upcoming Visual Arts Workshops

Mosaic Treasures of Italy: A Workshop and Tour with Rick Shelley

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Landscape Painting Intensive with Rachel Constantine

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Cabinets of Curiosity, Monsters, Shrines, and Other Wonders with Rick Shelley

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Painting: Observing and Abstracting in Umbria with Kevin Wixted

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Of Sibyls and Source: Performance in the Landscape

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Anatomical Figure Drawing with Karen Warshal

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Pigments and Paint: A Cooking Class for Artists - ICA 2024 Renaissance Series

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Oil Painting Techniques of the Renaissance: Northern and Central Schools - ICA 2024 Renaissance Series

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Oil Painting Techniques of the Renaissance: The Venetian School - ICA 2024 Renaissance Series

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Cast Drawing with Karen Warshal

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Stories in Clay with Gerit Grimm

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Human Anatomy Intensive - ICA 2024 Renaissance Series

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The Approach

At ICA, we believe that the value of studying art in Italy is not easily defined by any single approach or aesthetic. Surrounded by great masterworks of Western art, our minds are opened to new directions of conceptual growth, to more expansive avenues of communication, and to more creative and sophisticated ways of using materials. This could be said to be the fundamental value in studying the “classics,” yet Italian art also challenges conventional notions of what “classic” art has come to mean. Far from the reserved stoicism that we often associate with the word, Italian art is often funny, whimsical, irreverent, inventive, and almost always, passionate. Thus, perhaps the experience of studying in Italy is as varied as Italian art itself. 

At ICA, we take art seriously, but like our Italian models, we also value inventiveness, individual innovation, and commitment to self-expression. With this in mind, we do not promote a particular ideology, follow a particular approach, or stress a certain technique. Instead, we stress growth in understanding the rich language of visual art, in learning to see, and in learning through example to use our materials as carriers of meaning rather than as a means to an end. We believe in guided discovery, in learning through dialogue, and in seeing great art as a living expression of real humans, like ourselves, from whom we can learn and grow. We engage in discussions on works of art as a community, striving to create an environment in which we exchange ideas and grow as artists together.

Visual Art/Studio Courses

Our classes are multi-level, suitable for introductory as well as advanced work. Classes typically occur four days per week, with an excursion on Friday and weekends free for independent studio work. They include topical and perceptual approaches, including work from traditional subject matter––the figure, landscape, and still life, classes on historical materials and processes as well as narrative explorations.
Our Faculty and Visiting Artists are known for making work that intimately connects to the Italian experience in some respect. Drawn from top institutions around the world, our Faculty and Visiting Critics are artists recognized for their achievement in their respective media.
Students in the program who are not necessarily interested in working observationally or in structured classes are welcome to spend time in their studios and are encouraged to sign up for regular studio critique sessions, in which participants meet weekly with a visiting critique. These students may also attend workshops but are free to develop individual directions in their work.

Included Features* of Visual Arts Studio Programs

Private or Semi-Private Individual Studio/Workspace

All program participants in the 2-D areas of visual arts are provided with private or semi-private studio space in the spectacular 14th c palazzo that houses our Studio Building. These are available on a 24/7 basis. Here, we accommodate individual artists' needs with the appropriate size and location of studio spaces. Through our application form, we determine your needs taking into consideration factors such as natural or artificial light, wall or table space, or even if you prefer a space with a view or one of our cooler, more atmospheric interior spaces.

One Field Trip Per Week

Each week of the program, an excursion is scheduled to extraordinary destinations around Umbria, Lazio, and Tuscany. In each week of your visit, scheduled trips include cities such as Rome, Florence, Siena, Arezzo, Orvieto, and Assisi. See your course itinerary or our Calendar for this year’s schedule of field trips. We also offer additional, topical guided trips upon request for an additional fee in addition to natural areas, shopping, wine tasting, and cultural events and festivals.

Readings, Presentations & Performances in the Teatro Concordia & Central Square

At the close of the session, participants have the option of participating in a public presentation of their work, a performance of their projects, a reading of their work, or a presentation. This provides participants an important professional-development opportunity to participate in a public exhibition/performance/reading in Europe attended by an exceptionally well-informed audience. Exhibitions are held in our In Bocca al Lupo gallery, final performances and readings, discussions, and presentations in the Teatro Concordia. And the central piazza overlooking the Tiber valley. These events are well attended by the community at the school and by residents of the village and region. Each event features a fully catered reception with wine and other beverages as well as light snacks prepared by our kitchen staff. The sale of work by artists is permitted and encouraged without commission.
*All of our workshops and retreats include Airport Transfers Upon Arrival and Departure, Single or Double Occupancy Accommodations, and Three Meals of Typical Umbrian Cuisine Daily. To view a full list of included amenities, follow the link below.
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    Photography Credit: Sarah Slade
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