Explore the 60th Venice Biennale, the premier international exposition of contemporary art founded in 1895.

Dates:  June 2 - June 29, 2024


Program Overview

 In this interdisciplinary program, you will visit historical national pavilions in the Biennale Gardens and the nearby Arsenale as you witness first-hand the magical transformation of these spaces, including the work of Jeffrey Gibson, the first-ever indigenous artist to represent the nation with a solo show in the U.S. pavilion.

In addition to exploring the historical sites of the Biennale, we will seek out projects and installations located throughout the seductive architecture of this labyrinthine city. You will tour the centuries-old Accademia museum, Peggy Guggenheim’s jewel-like collection of modern art, the creatively curated Mario Fortuny Museum, the François Pinault Collection, and the Prada Foundation to gain insights into the international art scene embedded in Venice. As you absorb the sights and sounds of contemporary Venice, the Murano glass industry, the dramatic mosaic of the Last Judgment in the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta on Torcello, and Giotto’s Arena Chapel in Padua, you will practice the craft of art criticism on site. Finally, we will investigate centers of Venetian crafts, including museums and workshops centered around glass, lace, and textiles, such as the Stanze del Vetro on the nearby island of San Giorgio as well as the Museo del Vetro on Murano, and the textile archives of the Rubelli Foundation. We will also make day trips to nearby towns such as Ferrara, Trieste, and Rovereto. 

Classes are held both in the classroom and on location throughout the program. Local experts, curators, art historians, and participating artists in this year’s Biennale will provide special lectures. As you experience the sights and sounds of Venice, you will live on the beautiful breezy island of San Servolo, just ten minutes away from the historic Piazza San Marco. Fully equipped with wireless connections, an affordable cafeteria, luxurious grounds, and access to the nearby Lido beaches, San Servolo provides a wonderful balance to the academic side of this program. 


Jennie Hirsh has taught modern and contemporary art history at MICA since 2007. Co-editor of
Contemporary Art and Classical Myth (2011), and Ventriloquism, Performance, and Contemporary Art (2023), she has published numerous essays on modern and contemporary Italian art, architecture, and cinema, and is currently completing a monograph on painter and writer Giorgio de Chirico. She has directed MICA’s program in Venice since 2009, and has lived and taught in various cities in Italy for the past 25 years. She holds a BA in Classical Studies, with a minor in Italian Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in Italian Studies from Middlebury College, and an MA focused on Italian Renaissance Art as well as a PhD in the History of Modern and Contemporary Art from Bryn Mawr College.

Kerr Houston has taught art history, theory and criticism at MICA since 2002, and has served as an instructor with the summer Venice program since 2013. In his scholarship he focuses largely on Renaissance visual culture, but he also writes regularly on contemporary art and art criticism. He’s the author of two books, An Introduction to Art Criticism and The Place of the Viewer, and numerous articles, and is a regular contributor to BmoreArt. In working with students in Venice, he seeks to combine a spirit of shared inquiry and constructive critical analysis with a close attention to the city’s rich artistic legacies.

Program Fees

$8,100 estimated (does not include international airfare) includes tuition for 6 undergraduate credits in Art History or 3 in Art History and 3 in Humanistic Studies, housing for the duration of the program, and several meals.  All MICA faculty-led programs are self-funded and require student participation in order to operate.  If the required number of students enrolled in the program are not met, the Office of International Education reserves the right to cancel the program.  Students should never buy airfare, or make plans to travel to the host country until instructed to to do so by the Office of International Education or the faculty-led program leadership.

Commitment Deposit

A $300 deposit is required upon being accepted into the program - this fee cannot be waived.  After a student has been accepted, they will be sent an email outlining the next steps, action items that include submitting a commitment deposit through Nelnet, MICA's preferred online payment service, as well as critical follow up emails that will instruct students on how to proceed with their matriculation to the program.  Students must commit to checking their MICA emails on a regular basis, regardless, for important communications from faculty and study abroad staff.

Cancellation Policy

We ask that all applicants think closely and commit to either participating or not participating, shortly after being accepted to the program.  Students should be prepared financially speaking, to pay for the full program and travel fees out of pocket, regardless if they receive a need-based scholarship or not - there are no guarantees that an applicant will receive a scholarship award, and scholarship awards only pay for a small percentage of the overall cost of attendance.  Applicants who are approved to participate in the program will have until Friday, February 23, 2024, to cancel without penalty.  On Friday, February 23, the non-refundable acceptance deposit of $300 will be due in Nelnet, along with the student’s full commitment to participate.   

From there, the Office of International Education will begin making payments on your behalf (mostly non-refundable costs) to international and domestic program and service vendors (ex:  student residence, transportation, excursions, museum passes, material), once students have been accepted to the program. Refund amounts are at the sole discretion of the Office of International Education.  If a student withdraws their application after Friday, February 23, they will be responsible for a $300 withdrawal penalty (the non-refundable program deposit) and any or all costs that may have been spent or committed on their behalf.

To inquire further, or to withdraw an application before the deadline, email Mike Rini - mrini@mica.edu

Financial Aid

Summer study abroad applicants have an opportunity to apply to only (1) of two distinct, need-based scholarships being offered by the Office of International Education - there are no exceptions; scholarships cannot be combined.  Please read the scholarship descriptions below and apply only to the need-based scholarship that resonates with you the most.  The application for either scholarship can be found on the program's application, and students can opt to apply or not apply for a need-based scholarship.   Additional scholarships offered through various professional organizations that support study abroad can be found here, and we highly recommend that you take the time to research and complete applications that resonate the most with you. The (2) available scholarships for this term:

ISA Grant

This grant opportunity, made possible through the generosity of the Brown Foundation, is afforded specifically to MICA students of color, regardless of major, for studying abroad during the summer term on a MICA Faculty-Led Summer program. Award amounts are variable and determined based on the applicant’s need by a scholarship committee. 

Roberts Family Travel Grant

This funding opportunity, provided by the generosity of the Roberts Family, is afforded to all MICA students, regardless of major, for studying abroad during the summer term on a MICA Faculty-Led Summer program. Award amounts are variable and determined based on the applicant’s need by a scholarship committee.

Please note:  applying for any one of the aforementioned need-based scholarships does not automatically mean that a student will be awarded one; scholarships are competitive and based on a compelling Scholarship Statement provided by the student in the application.  Award amounts for faculty-led summer programs are not designed to pay for the prospective student's entire program fees, including airfare, transportation, and onsite activities. 

These scholarships are being offered to help students and their families subsidize only a part of the total costs associated with their program.  All prospective applicants should be prepared financially to assume the total cost of their summer study abroad program fees from the outset should they not be awarded a need-based scholarship award.  

The absolute deadline for scholarship applications is the program application deadline:  February 15, 2024 - there are no exceptions. 


Contact program director Jennie Hirsh at jhirsh@mica.edu

Open to MICA undergraduate and graduate students in all majors. For all programs, credits can be applied to Studio Elective. For more information on how to apply, or to inquire about need-based scholarships, contact Mike Rini, Associate Director of Education Abroad:  mrini@mica.edu