It can be hard to believe that living in France studying art can count as school, and after completing the program it is even harder to imagine. That is not to say that living over here is smooth sailing 24/7. I am living and breathing art, creating art and seeing art from both my peers and the Dutch Masters. I love developing skills, working to become better at something and in this case art. So if you are taking this program seriously it isn’t always easy, but it can be a lot of fun.
My other half: Egon Schiele.
Vienna, Austria was possibly the most relaxing week of the term.; all of our school work was due before we left, the hotel was the best one we stayed in, there was no pressure to complete anything. At the same time, I made and saw just as much art as if I had I been doing it for school.
Standing in front of a Caravaggio
Seeing a real Raphael.
Looking at Proctor people.
Vienna itself was exquisite. Just across the street from our hotel was a children’s park, with knee high fences, trams went everywhere, a massive pedestrian zone with all kinds of shops and entertainment centers allowed for strolling amongst the old city. There were some smokers, but unlike France, the city did not smell like a 1920s lounge room.
The breakfast courtyard.
I am very happy with the progress I have made here, and my appreciation for the opportunities this program has offered me will only grow with the passage of time. The ending of this term comes at an exciting time of change in all of the lives within this group.
As I am writing this we have eight days until we graduate and move on to the next stages of our lives and for many of us that means college. I am not sure what the others plan to do with their lives, what they choose to pursue, but I plan on continuing and expanding my study of the arts.
Finding our Aix friend Paul Cézanne.
Taking in the ballet: Swan Lake (image from the web)
It is hard not to write about my future, for the future has been the subject most present in my mind for these past weeks. My ultimate goal is still uncertain, but I have a few ideas, and from where I stand now, on the precipice of the transition from old child to young adult, it is hard to imagine myself not enjoying the path to that goal.
Below are the students' final thoughts:
This year I have struggled with the idea of being a senior. More so, I have struggled with the reality that on May 27th my four years at Proctor will come to an end. That said, I could not think of a better way to conclude my Proctor experience than spending the last two months abroad on European Art Classroom. I have at times been far beyond where I feel comfortable and as a result, I will leave France with incredible memories, valuable relationships and a better understanding of who I am. Jen and Dave have challenged me to be present and open minded which has only made my experience here richer. I am so thankful to them as well as all the faculty and students that have made Proctor an extension of my home. I am also incredibly grateful to all the people who have supported my journey at Proctor. I am especially thankful for my parents always finding a way to make it work and providing me with insurmountable amounts of love and support.
Looking back on this term, its almost dizzying to see how far I've come since first arriving here in Aix. I've grown in so many ways that are somehow subtle but also make a world of difference to myself, and hopefully to others. I'm incredibly grateful to my family- in particular, my mother- without whom I would never have made it this far or become the person I am today. The support of my family, teachers, and friends has taken me from being a shy freshman to a college-bound senior on the verge of graduating, ready to take the next step in life. Thank you Jen and Dave for putting your heart into this program, and thank you to those who I have spent the last two months, nearly every waking moment, with. I'll be happy to be home, but I'll always look back on the times we had together. Much love and all of my best,
I can't believe this term of European Art Classroom is over along with high school and my time at Proctor. It has been one of those experience where I've made a ton of new friends and new memories that will last me a lifetime. I have also found a new love for art and appreciation for creating it and seeing the work put into it. But, I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for my parents and family who pushed me to go to Proctor and inevitably abroad. Also all the faculty at Proctor who've helped me learn and grow while at Proctor, along with encouragement, help, patience, guidance, and teaching. My overall take away from this program and Proctor as a whole is be true to yourself, don't be afraid to go outside your comfort zone, and never give up.
We'll be dreaming of you all. We wish you the best of luck next year and always strive to be in the moment. Remember what Pissarro said: Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.