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European Art Classroom: Final Week Reflections

Scott Allenby

Proctor Academy’s European Art Classroom program enters their final week of studying and abroad in Aix en Provence, France. Over the past eight weeks, students have lived and created art in community, traveling all over Europe visiting the very art they have studied in their art history courses. They have learned to navigate city streets, public transit, cook meals, and appreciate the quirks in each other’s personality. They have lived to learn and learned to live. Read reflections from Conrad ‘25 and Norah ‘24 below. 

Proctor Academy  European Art Classroom

The rhythm and flow of life on European Art Classroom brings on new experiences and challenges daily. Yesterday evening, for instance, I thought I would try to use my admittedly developmental French skills to talk to an artist at a multinational art exposition in Marseille. Naturally, I quickly found myself way in over my head with one of the most talkative people I have ever encountered, hardly able to understand a word she said. But through persistence and patience, we were able to communicate in a primitive but mutually entertaining sort of way.

Proctor Academy  European Art Classroom

Experiences like that, the awkward floundering of an American abroad, are perfectly contrasted with picturesque sunsets and memories made exploring a landscape and way of life that is beyond idyllic. We’re almost done with week number five of EAC as I write this. For me, that’s deep enough into the term that what was at first mind-blowing and exotic, starts to become trivial. But every time we all pile into the van and get our socks knocked off by some incredible place that Dave takes us to, I come back home with a renewed gratitude and appreciation for this place and this opportunity. The fact that attending a prep school like Proctor is an option available to a minuscule number of people when considering humanity as a whole, is not lost on me.

Proctor Academy  European Art Classroom

The reality that I not only get to go to Proctor but that I get to do this is not something that I will allow myself to take for granted - no matter how entrenched into our routines we become. I know for a fact that the remainder of this trip is going to fly by faster than a speeding bullet. So my hope for myself and for all of us is that we are able to soak up every last drop of this experience, which is likely to end up being one of the highlights of my entire life. Wish us luck.

-Conrad '25 

Proctor Academy  European Art Classroom

This week, the proctor European Art classroom went on an extravaganza to Spain! We stayed in Valencia but traveled to Madrid for one day. Spain was a crowded but comfortable city. There were many plaza‘s around. The architecture was great! Very tall, but had an old feeling to it with archways and decorative stone. The second day in Spain, we traveled by train. It was very fun because it felt old-fashioned compared to what we are used to in the US. We attended a museum and spent lots of time going through the different hallways and floors looking at the art. The lesser number of people was easier because you were able to look at a piece of art and digest what you were seeing longer. We got to see paintings that date back centuries ago that are still in perfect color and form.

Proctor Academy  European Art Classroom

The paintings tell historical stories of either mythical beings or historical stories. Being a student in this kind of space is very enriching because we already kind of learn the history of a certain painting, or a certain artist, and seeing their work, or seeing that specific painting helps us make a connection, and it makes it more real for us. The food was great as always filling our hungry stomachs and left us very satisfied.The week flew by because we were just having so much fun exploring and seeing new things. Hey, if you ever want to see a real human hand that’s hundreds of years old....go to the Cathedral in Valencia. 

Nora ‘24 

Proctor Academy  European Art Classroom

Check out more photos from European Art Classroom 2023

  • European Art Classroom
  • Off-Campus Program