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    Summer Study Abroad Program in Florence Welcomes Students From All Majors

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    Each year, Academy of Art University’s School of Fine Art organizes a summer study abroad program welcoming students from all majors to become immersed in the history, culture and art of one of the world’s most historically stunning Renaissance cities—Florence, Italy. While the seven and a half week program is centered upon instruction, coursework, day trips and three-day weekends, there’s plenty of room for spontaneity.

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    Fashion Campaign Brings Gladys Perint Palmer & Alumna Zhangchi Wang Full Circle

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    Gladys Perint Palmer’s illustration of former student Zhangchi Wang’s design adorns a tram in Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of Gladys Perint Palmer.

    Some coincidences are so amazing that it’s hard to believe they happened by chance. The series of events linking Academy of Art University Executive Vice President of Artistic Development Gladys Perint Palmer and her former student, Zhangchi Wang, to a promotional campaign for Asia-based retailer Joyce, falls into this category.

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    Kristin Abbott Carves Successful Career Designing Fantastic Walk-Through Worlds

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    A scene from one of Abbott’s worlds for the Forår Festival in Copenhagen (2014). Photo courtesy of Kristin Abbott.

    You wouldn’t find dollar store gift wrap at Kristin Abbott’s house when she was growing up. “If we wrapped a present, it wasn’t just wrapped—we made the paper and decorated it like crazy,” said Abbott, who graduated from Academy of Art University’s School of Illustration with a B.F.A. in 2006.

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    Strength Through Diversity

    Academy of Art University has always valued diversity. It’s a quality that’s evident in the work of School of Photography international students, whether they’re pursuing their education in San Francisco or online. Many of them use their art to tackle social issues affecting their countries or document traditions and lifestyles that are in danger of disappearing.

    “In my first semester teaching on campus, I had students from Russia, Turkey, China and other countries in my class,” said School of Photography Associate Director Adrienne Pao. “It was an amazing group of people who brought different sets of inspirations and resources based on their backgrounds. We always encourage students to highlight what is unique and individual about the places they’re from—the diversity of our international students’ work is simply stunning.”

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    Student's M.F.A. Project Explores Her Cuban Roots

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    M.F.A. painting graduate Abigail Gomez. Photo courtesy of Abigail Gomez.

    Long before diplomatic relations between America and Cuba were restored last year making travel to the island easier, artist Abigail Gomez yearned to go there. Her great-grandfather immigrated to the United States from Cuba. And although Gomez never got to meet him, she’s always been fascinated with the country and her Cuban heritage.

    “Cuba was beyond intriguing to me,” explained the 2015 Academy graduate who earned her M.F.A. in painting online. “I’m a third-generation Cuban, and the language and traditions weren’t passed down to me. It was necessary for me to experience Cuba and discover it so I could know more about my roots and who I am as an artist and a Latino American citizen.” 

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    An Intensive Architectural Expedition Through Europe

    School of Architecture students see a staggering 100 buildings on two-week study abroad trip

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    Students on the longest free hanging escalator in Europe at the Ruhr Museum by Dutch architecture firm and Pritzker Prize winner OMA - Rem Koolhaas. (L–R) Yubo Shen, Chao Chen, Vincent Meade, Liu Chunyao, Misch Alvarez, Nick Manderscheid (AIB), Fikret Cihan Asena, Reid Schultz. Courtesy of Mark Mueckenheim.

    For graduate student Michelee Alvarez, the significance of last summer’s study abroad trip to Europe became clear during a walk through a wheat field on the very first day. “We get off the bus and we’re in the middle of a wheat field, all the wheat is dry and it’s quiet,” she recalled.

    After landing in Frankfurt, overnighting in Bonn and traveling by bus to a tiny German village, Alvarez found herself on a path leading to the Bruder Klaus Field Chapel. The tiny structure designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor marked the first stop on the School of Architecture’s tour of Germany, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Led by Graduate Director Mark Mueckenheim, a group of eight students visited 100 buildings in two weeks. 

    “It transformed I think from just an academic tour to where we really felt like we were on a pilgrimage,” said Alvarez. “Walking through the wheat field you hear the buzz of the insects around you ... it was idyllic.”

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