A Tuscan Experience: Studio Art in Siena

Language Requirement: None
Academic Standing by Program Start: Sophomore or Above
Location: Europe, Italy
GPA: 2.5
Program Overview

This program is currently on hiatus.

Italy has a long history of fostering creativity and innovative art forms that build on the past but look towards the future. This history, as well as the rich culture and physical beauty of Siena and broader Italy, will serve as the context in which students will explore and develop their artistic skills through experimentation with a variety of painting techniques in the studio art course and the creation of personal journals. The Italian masters will provide examples in painting, and students will record their experiences and personal growth through both sketches and writing in their personal travel journals in the journaling course. The highlight of the program will be a trip to Venice to visit the Biennale, the renowned international art exhibition held every two years to showcase contemporary artists from around the world.

Interested in seeing what students are doing on-site in Italy? Click the following link to see what students were up to in fall 2019: Studio Art in Siena Fall 2019 Blog.

Dates and Deadlines

This program is currently on hiatus. 

Term Year Priority Deadline Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date
- - - - - -

Discount for Pell Recipients

To expand access to study abroad, GEO is offering a $400 discount for this program (Summer 2024 and beyond) to UO students who currently have the Pell Grant as part of their federal financial aid (FAFSA).

Academic Details

In the Painting and Drawing Concepts course, you will learn a variety of painting and mixed-media techniques in a studio setting as well as drawing on-site at locations around Siena and elsewhere that will culminate in a group exhibition at a professional art gallery near the famous Duomo, and the possibility of inclusion in an exhibition at the Palazzo Publico (City Hall) in the heart of downtown Siena. You will see masterworks of painting firsthand in Florence and Rome as examples of techniques you will be learning in the course, and sketch on location there as well. A highlight of the program is a trip to the Venice Biennale, a major international contemporary arts exhibition held every other year in Venice, which will influence and inform your artwork.

You may enroll in this course in either the introductory or advanced level. Students enrolling in the advanced level must have already had a foundational art class or instructor approval. This course may be recognized as studio art credit for art majors and minors by your home university. Check with your departmental advisor for more information.

In the Tuscan Travel Journal course, you will document your time in Italy through reflection, sketching and mixed media, concentrating on developing your drawing, writing and self-expression skills.
You will enroll in the two studio art courses taught by the faculty leader, or one studio art course and one cinema course. All students are required to take the Intercultural Communications course. For your remaining credits you will enroll in at least one additional course.

Required Courses:

In addition, students will take at least one additional course from the following list:

Food, Justice, and Sustainability Courses:

Language and Culture Courses:

An optional service-learning placement is available as an extracurricular activity of the Cross-Cultural Communications/Cross-Cultural Perspectives course. This is an exciting opportunity for students studying in Siena, Italy, during the fall or spring to immerse themselves in the local Sienese culture. Placements vary by term. In the past students have volunteered at local retirement homes, ceramic arts programs for community members with disabilities, pre-school and elementary schools, and rescue and social services.

All courses offered in Siena are recognized and approved for academic credit by various GEO partner institutions. Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

Course Equivalencies

UO students: please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.

Non-UO students: Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

Faculty and Staff

Shelley Jordon is a Portland, Oregon-based painter and moving-image artist and Professor in the Oregon State University Department of Art. She uses traditional drawing and painting media applied to two dimensional artwork, animation and animated installation to express the complex nature of memory; physical and emotional, collective and personal. Her artwork has been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally in group and solo shows including the Portland Art Museum, The Frye Museum and the Wexner Center for the Arts and has been supported by numerous awards and fellowships. Shelley loves travel and has lived and taught in Italy on numerous occasions. She is very excited to be returning to teach in Siena, one of her favorite cities in the world.


Housing Description

Experience life as part of an authentic Italian neighborhood, living in apartments with other GEO and/or International/Italian students or students’ residence (small dorm) with other American, Italian or international students throughout the town of Siena. Some apartments are within walking distance of the GEO classroom within the old city walls, while others are in neighborhoods just outside and accessible by public transportation. No matter where you live, close by you can find small local grocers, restaurants, and cafés unique to your neighborhood. Each apartment is fully furnished with beds, desks and a kitchen table and chairs. You will share a bedroom with one or two other students, as well as the common spaces (bathroom, kitchen, etc.). The kitchens are equipped with utensils, plates, glasses, cookware, an electronic oven and a gas stove. You will also receive two sets of linens and each apartment has access to a washing machine and drying rack.