Italy serves as muse for Clemson artist, Hannah Gardner
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
-Augustine of Hippo
With its medieval architecture, blue gulf waters, galleries and bountiful history, it’s no wonder Hannah Gardner, a Clemson University senior studying visual arts, chose to spend six weeks in Genoa, Italy.
“A friend told me about the architecture minor program that spends a summer in Genoa at the Clemson Villa. She encouraged me to reach out to Dan Harding, the director of the program, to see if it would be possible for me to join along and do my own independent study,” said Gardner.
The Charles E. Daniel Villa in Genoa is Clemson’s little piece of Italy. Traditionally, the center serves as an off-campus learning environment for students in the College of Architecture, but Hannah Gardner saw potential for different kinds of learning there.
“After meeting with Dan, we both agreed that it would be a wonderful opportunity, not only for me as an artist, but also to expand the architecture program to include a different discipline,” said Gardner.
Gardner spent the summer creating mixed-media pieces, incorporating her skills in drawing, painting, sculpture and installation.
“I loved looking out from our balcony and seeing the city below me and the ocean in front of me,” said Gardner. “My favorite place in the city was probably the Cathedral San Lorenzo. It’s near the main piazza, Ferrari, and is one of the largest cathedrals in Genoa. We spent a couple mornings sketching there and some nights talking on its steps for our evening class. It is kind of in the center of everything.”
The intricate frescoes of cathedrals like Cathedral San Lorenzo provided inspiration to some of Gardner’s pieces.
“Some of the biggest inspirations in my pieces were how colorful the buildings were, how the arches on the buildings would frame other aspects of opposing buildings, the clotheslines that were hung on the side of buildings and the way the clothes moved on them, the ruins of the historical sites and the attributes of daily life lived there, such as bus tickets, gelato receipts or lunch menus,” said Gardner.
But new experiences have a price tag. Traveling abroad comes with a cost many are not willing to pay or cannot afford.
“The EETG was an integral part of my trip because without it I wouldn’t have had the funding to go at all,” Gardner said.
Those who receive this grant participate in a poster forum with other Honors College students in the fall following the trip.
“We hope the forum provides returning students a chance to summarize their experience and inspires newer Honors College students to think about what they can do.” said Ricki Shine, associate director of the Honors College. “That’s really the idea behind it – they can see what other students have done and get inspired.”
Italy wasn’t Gardner’s first experience studying abroad as a Clemson student. In 2016, she received her first EETG, which she used to travel to Tanzania to pursue an internship for three weeks with Art In Tanzania. The art therapy internship allowed her to incorporate both her majors, visual arts and psychology.
Students can apply for an EETG multiple times. Knowing it would be available to her again, Gardner sought out a travel opportunity that would allow her to expand her artistic interests and strengths even further.
“The students find experiences themselves. They arrange everything themselves. We just give the money to help,” said Shine. “The students are self-motivated; they’re driving this.”
“For 2017, I knew I wanted to spend my summer traveling and wanted to experience a different culture than I had before. I had never traveled to Europe before and was immediately drawn to Italy because of the rich history of art that was there,” said Gardner.
All Honors College Students and National Scholars can apply for an EETG. The deadline is March 1. Applications require a letter of support from a faculty or staff member outlining the experience and why it is important.
“Studying abroad can give students awesome experiences related to their major. It helps them stand out for scholarships, graduate school or jobs. There truly is an amazing effect on everyone that goes,” said Shine.
More information about EETG applications can be found here.