Painting on location in Florence, Italy

italyOn Aug. 18 – Sept. 3, 2014, students interested in art have the opportunity to study abroad and paint on location in and around Florence, Italy, with the ART-POLI (Art Painting On Location International) program. Students from around the country get together to travel and explore Italian language, art, culture and literature.
Every year, Program Director Georgetta Gancarz takes two or three professors and a group of students to explore sculpture art and painting, although recently the program has been extended to study other things like literature and philosophy. Students are able to earn up to 20 credits for their studies, making this program stand out from some others. The program also honors scholarships with about 70 scholarships that students can apply for, and recently started honoring AmeriCorps awards. Students who have awards can use them to study abroad as well.
Gancarz is the creator and director of the ART-POLI program. She teaches at Seattle Central College in addition to being a professional artist and author, with pieces in the Saatchi Gallery, London and Galeria Aberta, in Portugal. Gancarz has been leading trips since 2004 every summer. “Every time, I have new students [and] other talented people, I get to see Italy again through their eyes, and how they interact,”  Gancarz said, “It’s like first time I’m seeing Italy again, so that’s a joy for me.”
Students will stay in apartments in Florence and study in an art studio as well as painting on location. Students will experience excursions, they will visit the Italian Riviera and Venice as well as going out into the countryside to various painting locations. The program is open to students of all skill levels, beginners and experienced students alike are able to travel and learn.
In addition to painting and sculpture, photography as well is covered. BC English professor James Torrence is the program’s representative at BC and will focus on travel digital photography. Torrence stated, “For me, the most important learning is experiential learning, and we’re taking students on a journey. I like to think of myself when teaching as a navigator, and the students are the pilots. […] I think a good teacher meets people where they are and takes them where they need to be. […] Epecially when traveling with a group of students, we’re kind of representatives for Bellevue College […] or America. We’re there to represent for us, whether we’re in Italy or wherever we go, so there’s a cultural exchange that’s happening there, and that’s really invaluable, too.”
Information on the program can be found at the website and students interested in attending or seeking information regarding scholarships are urged to contact James Torrence at or Georgetta Gancarz at