Summer Travel Intensives

SORRENTO: Experiencing Southern Italy Through Painting and Drawing

Summer Travel Intensive Program to Sorrento was cancelled on March 6, 2020 as a precaution and response to COVID-19 (coronavirus). MICA hopes to offer the Sorrento: Experiencing Southern Italy through Painting and Drawing during Summer 2021.


Travel Dates: Program cancelled on March 6, 2020

Program Overview

An incomparable opportunity to study drawing, painting, and journal keeping while living and working in Sorrento, one of Italy's most enchanting Mediterranean towns. This intensive three-week program will focus on interpreting the landscape and townscape of southern Italy through drawing with dry and wet media, while simultaneously integrating the rich art and historical heritage of the area into a meaningful experience. This stay allows participants to live in a Southern Italy town and experience its culture, the language and rhythms of everyday life there. 

Students will live independently in apartments around Sorrento. The program’s home base will be the Sant’Anna Institute, a school in a former convent overlooking the small fishing port of Marina Grande. The Sant’Anna Institute is a short walk from the center of Sorrento, where students can take advantage of the many summer activities, concerts, exhibitions, and street festivals. 

In practice, your days are spent drawing and painting independently outdoors on-site in varying locales around Sorrento, with a mind to producing artwork ranging from direct rapid sketches to more sustained approaches. You will also keep a sketchbook/journal. The full scope of creative stances is possible- from observational landscape to personal interpretation based on the unique local imagery. Participants work independently under the guidance of two MICA instructors and a MICA visiting artist. You will be encouraged to develop a portfolio of investigative work. You bring your own art supplies and you should be prepared to do a lot of walking carrying your supplies. NOTE: There are no indoor studio facilities. 

A blend of slide talks and field trips will complement working outdoors. Field trips include a walking tour of old Naples, a visit to the incomparable Naples Archeological Museum, , a day touring Pompeii, a city buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, and a day trip to Positano, Amalfi and Ravello on the peninsula’s famous Amalfi Coast.


Ellen Burchenal has been coordinating the Sorrento program for over 20 years. An instructor in the Senior Thesis program, she has also been Faculty-in-Residence at the MICA@SACI program in Florence, Italy. Burchenal has exhibited and lectured in galleries and universities throughout the region and in Italy. She received her MFA from MICA and her BA from Trinity College in Connecticut. The recipient of several Maryland State Arts Council Artist fellowships, Burchenal has lived and studied in Italy and maintains a passion for the Italian landscape and culture.

Howie Lee Weiss has been on MICA's faculty for more than 30 years. He earned his MFA from Yale University and his BFA from MICA. He has been a visiting critic and lecturer at numerous institutions, including Princeton University, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Vassar College, and the Corcoran School of Art + Design. His work has been exhibited in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., as well as in Italy and Japan, where he lectured in conjunction with an exhibit of his work. He is a two-time recipient of MICA's Trustee Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching.

Barry Nemett received his MFA from Yale University in 1971 and began teaching at MICA, where he was Painting Department chair from 1992- 2017. Since receiving a 1973 Fulbright/ITT Fellowship to Spain, he has received resident artist grants in the USA, Italy, France, Scotland, Africa, Japan, and China, lectured in over 50 museums and universities worldwide, and has curated numerous national exhibitions. Nemett has shown his artwork in museums and galleries throughout the USA, Europe, Asia, and Africa. He has had solo exhibitions at Denise Bibro Fine Art, NYC and at the Guilin Museum of Art in China. Nemett has published catalogue essays, articles, and poetry for numerous magazines and art blogs. He is the author of the college textbook, Images, Objects & Ideas, and the novel, Crooked Tracks.

Program Fees

•  $6,800 (does not include international airfare) includes 3 credits in Painting or Drawing, accommodations in apartments with double rooms, airport transfer with group, some meals, field trip transportation and field trip site admissions. Option to add 3 additional credits in Art History or Humanistic Studies for $1,700 with approval from faculty and department chair.


Contact program coordinator program director 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 MICA Open Studies at or 410-225-2219.