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Cornell in Rome Collaborates with the Academy

May 13, 2014
Reynold Reynolds, Shara Wasserman, Jeffrey Blanchard and Julie Zhu
Photo by Saskia Reynolds
Julie Zhu and Reynold Reynolds
Photo by Saskia Reynolds
AAR Fellow Catherine Wagner and Cornell in Rome student Oat Luengvarinkul
Photo by Peter Feng
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On an evening in February, photography students and faculty from Cornell in Rome headed up the Janiculum Hill from the center of the city to attend a private lecture at the studio of visual artist Catherine Wagner at the American Academy in Rome (AAR). Arranged by Liana Miuccio, a Cornell visiting critic in art, the visit was the latest in a 27-year collaboration between Cornell in Rome and the AAR — a collaboration that brings Cornell in Rome students into contact and working dialog with prestigious Rome Prize winners each semester.

The American Academy in Rome is the oldest overseas American research institute, bringing together the country's best scholars and artists in yearlong residential fellowships. “Links between Cornell in Rome and the AAR have existed since Cornell started its program here,” says Cornell in Rome's Academic Coordinator Jeffrey Blanchard, who was a fellow at the AAR in 1979. “Indeed, former AAP Dean William McMinn founded Cornell in Rome after a residency at the AAR.”

The two institutions regularly exchange invitations to public events — exhibitions, open studios, performances, and lectures — providing frequent opportunities for fellows and students to interact. AAR fellows are also invited guests at critiques, studio visits, and the Cornell in Rome lecture series; Pablo Castro, Nicholas de Monchaux, Thomas Kelley, and Elizabeth Fain LaBombard have all presented in the past two years.

Cornell in Rome students also have a chance to spend one-on-one time with AAR fellows through an internship program managed by Shara Wasserman, visiting critic in art. These internship opportunities “have allowed students to be involved in concrete projects and gain professional experience in international cultural settings,” says Wasserman, who founded the internship program in 2010.

“I definitely acquired new technical skills working on an exhibition earlier this year,” adds Julie Zhu (B.F.A. ‘16), who had a spring internship with Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize winner Reynold Reynolds, a Los Angeles–based artist. “Being in the AAR opened my eyes to the vast possibilities created by interdisciplinary dialog,” Zhu continues. “By meeting the fellows, I’ve realized how art is inseparably tied to history, philosophy, and literature. It was a truly rewarding and fascinating experience.”

The recent lecture by Wagner provided another such moment for Cornell in Rome students. “[Wagner’s] interpretations of the city provided us with inspiration for our own photographic and architectural investigations while in Rome,” says Michael Raspuzzi (B.Arch. ‘16). Classmate Peter Feng (B.Arch. ‘16) adds, “I really appreciated the experience. [The AAR] is a truly valuable platform where study abroad students and accomplished scholars can meet.”