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Umbria: Painting and Drawing in an Italian Hill Town

JULY 17 - AUGUST 8, 2015

(Registration Deadline: March 6, 2015)

This is an incomparable opportunity to explore painting, drawing, and journal keeping while living and working in a traditional Umbrian hill town. This intensive three-week program focuses on interpreting the landscape of central Italy through various media while integrating its rich art and historical heritage into a meaningful experience. Students will experience the culture, the language and rhythm of everyday life here while working independently in various media under the guidance of MICA instructors. The full range of drawing and painting media are accepted and welcome-one can focus in watercolor, acrylic, oil, charcoal, colored pencil, markers, collage material or experiment with several. The faculty encourages the full range of creative stances investigating a sense of place. A blend of slide lectures, visiting artists and field trips will complement working outdoors and in the studio.

Students, faculty, and visiting artists all live, dine, and work together in the ancient, walled city of Monte Castello di Vibio in Umbria, one of Italy's most beautiful regions. In this timeless environment participants find 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 leads to greater proficiency and enhances creativity.

Our program's home base will be the International Centre for the Arts (ICA) in Monte Castello Di Vibio. We are housed in a complex of historic buildings within walls of this well-preserved Umbrian town. Fees include housing, studio, all meals six days per week, all transportation within Italy, and transport to and from the airport in Florence.

Humanistic Studies Component (3 credits optional):

Residency in the Umbria program offers students the opportunity to reflect on the role of place, travel, culture, language, and history in their artistic practice and self-awareness. The optional Humanistic Studies component is an independent creative writing project (including a portfolio of critical essay and fiction, poetry, and/or memoir). The project takes shape in an initial conference with a MICA-based mentor from the Humanistic Studies department. Students work independently in Umbria. Upon returning to MICA, there are further conferences and completion of the portfolio. This offering is designed to respond with flexibility to students' discoveries as they explore the rich diversity of culture and landscape.


Ellen Burchenal is an artist who works in painting, drawing, and installation. A faculty member in MICA General Fine Arts department, she currently teaches in the Senior Thesis Program for Fine Arts, Painting & Drawing.

Howie Lee Weiss has been on MICA's faculty for 36 years. He has taught a variety of courses at all levels within MICA, and for many years has been Head of MICA's Senior Thesis Program for Fine Arts, Painting & Drawing. He was Senior Faculty for the MICA Sorrento Summer Program in Italy for 14 years.

Barry Nemett‘s awards include The Hugh Fraser Foundation, Maryland State Arts Council Individual Fellowship Grant, ITT International Travel Fellowship/Fulbright Hays Grant, and Ely Harwood Schless Award for Excellence in Drawing and Painting at Yale University. He chairs MICA's painting department.


  • $6,900 (does not include international airfare) Includes tuition for 3 undergraduate credits in Painting. Credits may apply as Studio Elective.
  • $8,490 (does not include international airfare) Includes tuition for 3 undergraduate credits in Painting (Credits may apply as Studio Elective) + 3 undergraduate credits in Art History (with approval from the dept.)
  • Graduate credit is available to qualified students for $85 per credit above the $6,900 base fee (contact program coordinator below).


Contact program coordinator Ellen Burchenal at

Open to undergraduate and graduate students in all majors--18 years or older with a valid passport--who have completed at least one year of college. For all programs, credits can be applied to Studio Elective. For more information, or to inquire about scholarships, contact the School for Professional and Continuing Studies at or 410-225-2219.