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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Student blogs


Short Hills, NJ
Art as Experience
Summer College 2007
My name is Erica. I live in Short Hills, New Jersey and will be entering my senior year at Millburn High School this fall. For the past eight summers I attended a summer camp in Maine which focused primarily on athletics and art. I made the most incredible friendships at camp and tried everything it had to offer from waterskiing to horseback riding. However, this summer I plan to focus more exclusively on my interest in fine art through the three-week program "Art as Experience" at Cornell. When I was younger I loved to draw, dance, and play soccer and tennis. Art, however, has always been the one constant passion in my life. I am involved in extracurricular activities which include the Art Editor position for the school academic journal and interning as an art curator for a student run art show. As part of this internship, I work once a week at the Elie Tahari administrative office, which is interesting for me because I love fashion. After school I am a teaching assistant for an afterschool art program at an elementary school; being in their calm but energetic environment was a great escape from the pressures and stress of high school. In addition to my interest in art, I love Art History, which was my favorite course this year. My favorite artist is Johannes Vermeer. I can't wait to meet new people and gain new knowledge this summer. Hopefully I'll see you there!

My first week at Cornell has been great. Although at first it was hard to get used to the check-in rules at eleven, I really have been enjoying meeting new people and spending time with friends. Everything that I have heard about Cornell is definitely true; the food is great, the facilities are awesome, and the gorges are beautiful. The campus seemed overwhelming at first, but now I am starting to know my way around. My course, "Art as Experience," taught by Professor Buzz Spector, has been very interesting. After taking a course during the school year in Art History, I loved my professor's stories on artists such as Mattise and Picasso. We have lectures in the morning, mostly based on readings, and during the afternoon we work on a project in the studio. The first project was to create our own 21st Century Pop Art piece, based on works created by Andy Warhol. I thought Dunkin Donuts coffee would be an appropriate subject matter for modern day, and the piece was fun to create. The course is so motivating because it not only works on studio techniques, but the thought processes and ideas behind creating art. I am looking forward to the next few weeks at Cornell and our class field trip to the Dia Beacon.

My second week of Cornell has proven to be just as eventful as the first. My class trip to the Dia:Beacon Museum in New York was exciting and interesting, despite the four-hour bus ride. I was especially interested in works by Richard Serra, John Chamberlain, Robert Smithson, and Andy Warhol. A great part of the museum was in Bruce Nauman's exhibit where my friends and I got to relax and lie down on a foam couch! After seeing installation art at the Dia:Beacon, our class took a trip to the gorge behind the art museum where we were divided into groups to create installations of our own. Several groups worked with the materials in the gorge such as rocks and stones and created small sculptures in the water. My group decided to use the suspension bridge as a vehicle to hang trash found in the gorge. Using eleven pieces of sturdy yarn, we individually strung trash such as water bottles, cans, boxes, shirts, flip flops, etc. and hung them from the edge. They hung and swayed under the bridge for about two days and it was a great experience to determine how to create such a piece, and an even greater experience to see what we created from the gorge below. A challenging week of class was followed by a fun night in Appel, the '80s night dance. The costumes some people wore were pretty outrageous! I am looking forward to my class' "Pop Art" art show at the end of the week.

My last week at Cornell was a sad but great week. In "Art as Experience," we worked on a project involving ghosts which was interesting and challenging. Each student approached the assignment differently to create unique representations of a ghostly image. I feel that this course has enhanced my understanding of relationships in the art world and I realize now that there was a special chemistry among the artists in our class. This harmony within the class made the summer session even more enjoyable. The experience this summer made me realize that I want to major in fine arts at a university. I love the atmosphere of the art classroom and the independence given to the student artists during studio time. I have made some great friends from various parts of the country and hope that we can continue to stay in touch. I've only been home for a day and I already miss eating in Appel and hanging out with friends. Although I was only at Cornell Summer College for 3 weeks, I think it gave me a great idea of what college life will be like and it was a privilege to have this experience. Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Cornell was a beautiful place to spend three weeks this summer and participation in the "Art as Experience" course provided me with many opportunities. I met great friends, some of whom I still keep in touch with. We already had a reunion in New York City the week after the program ended. Attending the three-week session in art definitely expanded my perception of different types of artwork. I gained experience in creating artwork with symbolic meaning and abstract ideas; some of which involved playing with light, shadow, or color. Other visual concepts such as materials and order were explored in Professor Buzz Spector's classroom. His class provided me with a nice transition from a classroom setting to a tour of London and Paris where I visited several museums such as the British Museum, The Louvre, The National Gallery, and The Musee d'Orsay. Cornell is a great school and I recommend the summer program for it offers not only interesting courses, but also offers a great opportunity to meet new people and get a taste of what college life will be like.