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Bonjour Paris!: Summer Paris Art Trip
sonja holmberg 11 staff writer
May 27, 2010

With the restless energy that comes with the end of a school year, one can’t help but anticipate a relaxing return home. However on June 5th, fourteen Deerfield art students from Mr. David Dickinson’s classes will board a plane to Paris.

Deerfield Academy’s first ever DArt Trip is a two week program during which Deerfield students will stay with host families in various Parisian arrondissements and attend an array of art courses. The experience will enable them to explore many different media and artistic techniques.

The trip will include a sculpting class at Versailles, a painting and drawing session in Monet’s garden, and visits to the Louvre, among many other exciting artistic excursions. Immersion into the French culture will also play a key role as students learn new artistic techniques and familiarize themselves with different mediums.

The idea for this program first came to Mr. Dickinson about ten years ago. He was further inspired by his time spent with French teacher and wife Claudia Lyons, who will co-host the art trip, on her French language immersion trips over the past five years.

“What really spurred me to look further into this summer art trip,” said Mr. Dickinson, “was the number of students who were asking me how to draw and paint during the French language immersion trips.”

Mr. Dickinson explained that “the growing interest and depth of artistic skill of returning and new students alike” was yet another reason to offer the summer program.

With every new program come inevitable challenges. Mr. Dickinson believes “the hard part is finding a balance between challenging work and relaxed fun.” His hope is to create an environment for students with a rigorous course of study in the arts and also time for relaxation and exploration of the area.

Mr. Dickinson hopes the trip will inspire the advanced students and believes it will be a great chance to learn some French artistic history.

Although the trip will last only two weeks, it will no doubt be helpful in creating well-rounded college portfolios. The classes that students will attend in France are very different from those offered at Deerfield and will contribute to the breadth of each student’s portfolio.

Mr. Dickinson said the traditional “Beaux Arts” approach in Paris is part of what will make the student’s portfolios unique. The students “will work from live nudes at le Grand Chaumiere, one of the original famous ateliers in the Montparnasse region,” said Mr. Dickinson, which will, among other things, “make this trip an enriching experience for students before they head off to college.”

Considering all the exciting excursions and learning opportunities planned for the DArt Trip, it is no surprise that Mr. Dickinson cannot pinpoint one highlight of the trip. He anticipates “the whole trip to be a highlight.”