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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Florence, Italy
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Area of Study: Communication Arts Minimum GPA Required: 2
Language of Instruction: English Housing Options: Apartment
Recommended Program: Yes
Program Description:
Florence Revealed:
Drawing from the Wellspring of Renaissance Thought and Vision
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Florence, Italy
6 credits in COAR 391
1 June – 30 June 2018
$4,450 (includes tuition) + airfare. Find full details on the Budget Sheet!
Program Director
Professor Stephen Alcorn
Registration deadline: 21 March 2018.

Florence Revealed has reached capacity and is no longer accepting applications. Communication Arts students interested in studying abroad this summer are encouraged to explore the following program options:  
The Global Education Office and the Department of Communication Arts in the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University are pleased to offer a unique opportunity to study on site in one of the world’s foremost cultural capitols. Florence is a quintessential Italian city with cobblestone streets and art museums that are filled with some of the most impressive and historical art and architecture ever created. It has wonderful cafés and galleries and grand piazzas where one can watch the world go by. There’s something new to view around every corner – be it statues, fountains, churches or simply a picturesque winding alley.
Course and credit options
  • COAR 391: Florence Observed: Cultural Immersion Through Drawing (3 credits)
  • COAR 391: Beyond the Walls of Florence: The Art of the Travel Journal (3 credits)
Students will receive transfer credit for all coursework completed in this program, eliminating the need to pay VCU’s per-credit tuition rate and the Arts tuition differential. This saves an in-state Arts student more than $3,000 for a six-credit summer program.
In order to receive credit, students must earn the equivalent of a C or better.
Course description
COAR 391: Florence Observed: Cultural Immersion through Drawing (3 credits)
Instructor: Professor Stephen Alcorn
How did the most important currents of the late Middle Ages coalesce into a revolutionary rebirth of classical art and thought in a relatively small city in Tuscany? This course will address the artistic, architectural, philosophical, political and economic currents that made Florence the center of the Italian Renaissance. Through discussions in the venues where the key historical events of the period occurred, students will see how artists, architects, bankers and thinkers joined forces to create the fabled Quattrocento Fiorentino.
This course will be conducted in the heart of Florence, Italy, the cradle of the Renaissance, and its surrounding environs. It will revolve around the use of an 11 in. x 14 in. sketchbook. Employing mixed media to create imagery "all'aperto" (in open air), students will address the fundamental analytical, anatomical, structural and compositional challenges involved in drawing directly from life. These include, but are not limited to: linear and atmospheric perspective, proportion, space/shape relationships and their measurement.  Line, shading, color and composition will be explored while students are introduced to a variety of media including (but not limited to) graphite, pen and ink, colored pencils and watercolor. Considerable attention will be paid to the placement of content within the sketchbook, and more specifically, to the harmonious integration of text (in the form of copious course notations) and imagery (in the form of life-drawings).
COAR 391: Beyond the Walls of Florence: The Art of the Travel Journal (3 credits)
Instructor: Professor Stephen Alcorn
This second part of the program will be dedicated to the creation of nature studies ranging from macro (panoramic views of Florence) to the micro (botanical studies of Tuscan flora). An exploration of Florence’s surrounding hills (Fiesole, Bellosguardo, Piazzale Michelangelo, etc.) as well as visits to Florence’s fabled Boboli Gardens and Orto Botanico (Botanical Garden) will provide students with primary source material necessary to create their nature-based sketchbook entries. Excursions to Siena, Pisa, and Arezzo serve to put the Quattrocento Fiorentino into the broader cultural context of its time.
This program is open to all applicants, regardless of major, with a 2.0 GPA or higher. An academic letter of reference is not required. This program is open to non-VCU students.
Accommodations and meals
Housing will be arranged on a double occupancy basis in two-bedroom apartments, about a 15-minute walk from the Art Institute of Florence. Students will be able to prepare meals in their apartments or may elect to eat at the Art Institute of Florence or in one of the many local cafés and restaurants in the city.
Program director
Stephen Alcorn is a printmaker, illustrator, designer, painter and author with an international reputation. He studied at the Istituto Statale d’Arte in Florence before moving to the United States to study at Cooper Union New York, NY. His curriculum vitae lists 45 international, national and regional exhibitions, which includes five separate exhibitions at the Society of Illustrator’s Museum of American Illustration in New York City. He has illustrated 32 books and is currently working on Forever Dylan, a book focused on the life of Bob Dylan. Mr. Alcorn’s work spans a broad spectrum of technical excellence from traditional woodblock printmaking to digital communications. Professor Alcorn’s work may viewed at

A valid passport is required to leave the US. If a student does not already have a passport, they are advised to begin the application process as soon as they are accepted into the program. The processing time for new passport applicants can be as long as 8 weeks. For students who already have passports, they will need to verify that the passport’s validity dates extend 6 months past their return date. For more information about passports and the application/renewal process, please consult the State Department's website.
Payment of fees
In order to complete the application, students are required to submit a $250 registration fee and deposit. This $250 registration fee and deposit is refundable in two cases: if the program is cancelled, or if a student is rejected by the faculty member based on their qualifications to participate in the program. Reasons for rejection could include, but are not limited to, GPA, lack of a pre-requisite, unacceptable or inappropriate statement of interest, etc. and are at the discretion of the faculty program director. However, if a student pays the fee and is not given final acceptance to the program based on failing to complete application requirements, as determined by the Education Abroad office or faculty director, the $250 is non-refundable.
Students will receive one charge to their student accounts for this program reflecting the balance of the program fee (minus the $250 deposit and application fee). This bill will be charged through VCU Student Accounting and should appear by May.
Please note: It is the student’s responsibility to make sure the account balance is paid before the billing due date.
Withdrawal procedures and financial commitment policy
All withdrawals must be made formally in writing and submitted to the Director of Education Abroad. Otherwise, the program fee will not be refunded. After committing to the program, students deciding to withdraw will be held accountable for a portion of or the entire program fee based on the following schedule:
  • Formal withdrawal submitted later than 30 days before the first day of the program abroad: 100% of the program fee will be charged
  • Formal withdrawal submitted within 30-60 days before the first day of the program abroad: 75% of the program fee will be charged
  • Formal withdrawal submitted within 60-90 days before the first day of the program abroad: 50% of the program fee will be charged
In the event an unexpected emergency occurs within 30 days before the first day of the program abroad, students must provide a physician’s certification that his/her condition prohibits participation. In this case, refunds will be limited to only those funds VCU is able to recover or that have not already been spent on behalf of the student.
See above for refund policy on $250 registration fee and deposit.
Travel health
Students should schedule an appointment with their physician or at a travel clinic (such as VCU Student Health) at least 4 to 8 weeks before the program to inquire about recommended and/or required vaccines/immunizations. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all routine and travel immunizations are up-to-date.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on recommended and required immunizations for travelers. To view the health risks and requirements for the country to which you will be traveling, please visit the CDC's website.
Health Alert:  Zika Virus
The CDC has issued a travel alert for countries where the Zika virus is prevalent.  Check the CDC’s travel notices regularly as new countries are being added to this list.  Check VCU Student Health to stay updated as well.

VCU Student Health offers in-depth pre-travel consultation with a health care provider as well as most of the vaccines recommended for safe travel. Prescriptions for recommended medicines are also available. Please visit their website for full details.


Every effort is made to provide updated and accurate information at the time of publication. The sponsors reserve the right to make necessary changes to the programs and costs. The university reserves the right to revise or alter all fees, regulations pertaining to student fees, and fee collection procedures at any time

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.