Lessons from study abroad trip to Taiwan and China
October 17, 2019
In the summer of 2019, Professors Michael Grady and Hui Chi Lee led a group of twelve studio art students on a trip to four major cities in Taiwan – Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung – and to Hangzhou, China, where we visited artists’ studios, galleries, and museums. We gained insight into contemporary life in Taiwan and China by learning directly from artists and studying at their institutions.
The core of the trip consisted of visiting two art institutes – the Tainan National University of Arts in Taiwan and the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou – both of which are leading art colleges. We worked with leading Taiwanese and Chinese artists to learn traditional art practices as well as contemporary practices in 3D animation, and film. We also completed original artwork by using traditional Chinese methods, materials, and techniques in combination with their own artistic styles.
Students preparing the group exhibition at the China Art Academy, HangZhou, China
My favorite memory from traveling abroad in Taiwan and China is a get together my roommates and I held on our last night at an arts University in Tainan. We had met and befriended a handful of students during our time there, and invited them back to our shared dorm house in the hopes of getting to know them outside the studio. We were all worried the evening would be awkward and we partially expected no one to show up, however, everyone we asked over came with snacks and drawing supplies in tow.
In the weeks prior to our trip, my friends and I were absolutely terrified and had no clue what to expect, as this would be the first time many of us would travel internationally. Despite this, as we all sat around the dorm’s kitchen table with our new friends, listening to music, joking about our different tastes in food, and taking turns drawing in each other's sketchbooks, I think we all felt perfectly at home.
Papermaking workshop at the Tainan National University of the Arts, Tainan, Taiwan
This trip taught me that, despite language barriers and any amount of physical distance, everyone around the world is always willing to sit down with good company, pass around a bag of chips, and laugh until they’re red in the face. In order to be a good artist I think one needs to hold onto a close community of creatives and, thanks to this trip, I feel as though my community now extends much farther than I would’ve been able to ever achieve on my own.
by Luna Jareo