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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Student blogs


Toronto, Canada
Art as Experience
Summer College 2008
Hi, my name is Ashley. I am seventeen years old and completed my junior year at Havergal College two weeks ago. I currently live in Toronto, Canada, so spending my three weeks here in Ithaca will be something totally different. Among my activities and interests, art is definitely one of my greatest passions. That's why I'm thrilled to take "Art as Experience" at Cornell this summer. This year, I volunteered at a creative arts camp called March Break Respite Camp, at Bloorview Kids Rehab, Canada's largest rehabilitation teaching hospital. I've also had the opportunity to exhibit some of my works at Delisle Youth Gallery and the Senior Year Art Show at my school, and will be leading my school's Art Club next year! I'm so happy that I'll be able to study something I truly love in a wonderful learning environment. I'm also really looking forward to meeting new students and professors. I know that completing a university-level course in three weeks will not be easy, but I'm ready to face anything (well, almost anything) that awaits me this summer!

It's hard to believe my first week at Cornell is already over. From tasting the famous Cornell ice cream on Saturday, to completing my very first Pop Art painting, I've enjoyed every moment of my stay so far. (The food served at Appel is awesome--I wouldn't mind eating there everyday. ) I've met people from all over the world, and am glad that I'll be able to spend more time with them.

My first five classes have been awesome. Every morning, my friends and I walk to Olive Tjaden Hall for class. I love everything about the studio in the building; the large windows, white cabinets full of art supplies, easels... you get the idea. So far, I've worked on various assignments, including a photography assignment, a still life drawing, and as I've mentioned before, a 21st century Pop Art painting. We've also had discussions with Professor Buzz Spector and Anthony, our teaching assistant, on various artists and art movements. I particularly enjoyed discussing and watching films/slideshows about Andy Warhol and grids.

I'm so glad that I am enrolled in Art as Experience. I love the learning environment and am very fortunate to learn from Professor Buzz Spector and Anthony, who are passionate about what they teach. Being in their classes makes me want to learn something new everyday. I am looking forward to my next two weeks here, and right now, I'm especially excited for my first outdoor class tomorrow!

My second week at Cornell has been busy but fun at the same time. We've completed various assignments, including making a map from our previous still life drawings, creating a sculpture at the gorge, and drawing eleven different details of the gorge to create one composition. I loved our class trip to the gorge; even though it was challenging to find the "right" rocks and carry them across the water to build a rock-pyramid, I was extremely happy with our final product. I also enjoyed drawing at the gorge. Although the weather was extremely hot, it was interesting to view the gorge from the suspension bridge and capture the grandeur of nature on paper.

Our class discussions have helped me to gain a more comprehensive view on various subjects. For example, before we went to the gorge for our sculpture assignment, Professor Buzz Spector showed us some of Andy Goldsworthy's works, which were breathtaking. After our discussion, I began to appreciate nature's intrinsic beauty and the possibility of creating art by interacting with nature.

It was nice to have Friday off after four days of intense classes. Friday and the weekend was full of fun and relaxation, including a dance, fireworks, a movie at the Cornell Cinema, midnight pizza/Chinese food, and of course, sleeping until noon. Tomorrow, our class will be installing our paintings for the exhibition, and we will be visiting an artist's studio in the afternoon. I'm hoping my final week here at Cornell will be just as rewarding and memorable as the first two.

It's been almost a week since I left Cornell. Although it's nice to be home with my family, I miss Cornell very much. Our final week of classes consisted of a class trip to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, presentations on artists of our choice, self-portrait painting project (which involved conceptual thinking), our final critique, and our exhibition. During our final critique, I was blown away by the works we had created over the three weeks. The studio wall was covered with paintings and drawings that reflected what we had learned during Summer College. The final critique was a good way to end our last class; it was interesting to talk about everyone's thinking process behind his/her portrait. Our exhibition was also a success (largely due to the awesome refreshments, thanks to our professor) and I was glad to see so many people interested in our artworks!

After our exhibition, it was hard saying good-bye to our professor and TA. Their commitment to teaching and their passion for art helped us to literally "live art as an experience." This experience is something I hope to cherish forever.

Nothing will ever be able to replace my summer at Cornell. From the friendships I've made to the college experience I've had, everything was worth every moment and I miss it a lot. As well, attending Summer College has confirmed my goal of pursuing either arts or architecture as my major in the future. Thank you to Ms. Abby Eller for giving me the opportunity to share my experience at Cornell. To everyone, thank you for taking your time to read my entries. I mean every word, and I hope my entries will help you understand how amazing Cornell Summer College is.