What won’t stick out when I look back on my time here at ADA? But I think what I’ll remember most is the pure freedom to create, encouragement to do so and collaborate with those around me from teachers, and willingness and excitement to work together and make something happen from my peers (or rather, my ADA family). I will also really remember the focus on getting back to what is natural as an artist. My most favorite memories are working on our voice final as a class and the day we had both voice and movement outside. I was so proud of how our class was able to collaborate. Starting from improv, we created a final piece that we all really loved working on and performing. So much of our work here is about getting back to what is natural through voice and movement, freeing the body through these two focuses. I have always loved nature and been so inspired by the beautiful outdoors. Having my two favorite classes outside was so exciting for me to see how using nature could inspire and affect art. We began to create voice pieces by practically using hide and go seek along with the acoustics of an outdoor amphitheatre in a nearby park. And we entered meaningful contact improv by beginning with letting a blade of grass or a leaf blowing in the wind inspire our movement. I have a feeling these memories will affect the way I think about art and what I want to do for the rest of my life.
– Laura Sack
When looking back on my time here at ADA, even though it’s next to impossible to choose, the two things that will stick out most are the times I had with the amazing people here and the way that the professors teach. I have made some of the most incredible friends here. Just last week I was telling my philosophy class that I have had a rough time making friends with people my age until I came here—I have made some of my best friends here and they are all my age. They all have something important to offer the world and I can’t wait to see what amazing things they will do with their lives. Secondly, the professors here have a way of explaining things that is so artful I could listen to them all day. They churn the passion inside of you to do your best and make you really want to work as hard as you can. I don’t even want to think about leaving this incredible place and these most amazingly special people, but unfortunately it is almost time to go. I am so incredibly lucky that I get to bring back all of these special experiences with me.
– Chelsea Montgomery Duban
Looking back on my semester here at Accademia dell’Arte, the environment and community are what I will remember most. There is a profound sense of the community that has formed over these past couple of months. When we all arrived, each of us had our own backstory. We all came from different backgrounds and had accomplished different achievements. Each person came for their own personal agenda and it could be seen in the work. Looking at this community now, there has been a dramatic shift. We have changed from a group of individuals to a chorus of distinctly unique people that are all pursuing art because of our love and passion for it. We all have grown together and worked together. We have failed and learned from our mistakes, but in the end, we all have overcome these obstacles and formed an ideal environment for growth and art on a hillside of Tuscany. This is all because of the environment that the Accademia creates. This program allows artists to live, breath, and simply do art and is something that I haven’t experienced before. We learned what was better for ourselves individually, and what was better for the group as a whole. In doing so, we were able to create incredible art and experiences that I will keep with me for the rest of my life.
– Jack Dee
Study abroad has always been a part of my life plan but this semester gave me an experience I could never have planned. As one of my great friends M.E. explained in philosophy class the other day, I do not think I will accurately understand how this semester has impacted my life until I return to The States. However, when reflecting on what will stick out to me the most about my time here at the ADA, I must say the environment.
Some exemplary evidence of this environment that will stick with me are the Open Mic Nights and dinners. Open Mic Nights serve as opportunities for the music and theatre students to join together and share a piece they may be rehearsing, try a new song, conquer a fear, share a Secret Turkey present, or just about anything that someone wants to perform. We typically schedule these on our own time, and despite exhausting school days or long travel weekends our group still joins together for two hours or more to share and support our work. We laugh, we cry, we cringe, we sing, we snap, we clap. No one could ask for a more gracious, welcoming audience to develop work or try new things, and the collaboration between students is truly humbling.
Dinner sounds like a funny example, but when I think of family, I often think of a dinner table. The students here quite literally spend every waking hour together, and yet, at every meal we continue to have engaging, exciting conversations around the table. Once again we present Secret Turkeys, we burst out into song, we play with our food, we discuss our classes, we have philosophical debates and we share personal anxieties. The people here understand how to balance immaturity and maturity, and this fuels our creative and personal energies. This environment is fundamental for making the progress in the work we do at the ADA, but also may serve as a foundational element of a healthy life; I can say quite confidently that I will bring those dinners and Open Mic Nights with me always.
– Amanda Garrigan