Hun School Students Explore Art and Culture in Mexico
Each year, Fine Arts Teacher David Bush takes advanced studio art honors students on a weeklong art retreat. The trip provides students with exposure to a culture different from their own, where they can explore art and individuality through travel and observation. This year, seven Hun School students travelled to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico during spring break on a journey of exploration through writing, drawing, and independent art projects.
Senior art student Maddie Carlson ’15 explained how the city of San Miguel de Allende inspired a flurry of creative artistic work. "Because we were only visiting for a week, we felt like we had to somehow capture everything around us – through photography, writing, sketching, and painting. Every medium added a different lens for us to attempt to capture the sensations of being somewhere new. San Miguel seemed tailored for this, in particular because of the breathtaking mountain landscapes and colorful city streets. San Miguel demands to be looked at, so one can’t help but looking."
The theme for the advanced studio art honors course is: "Who are we?" Throughout the year, students attempt to address this question, by including this theme in their artwork. “By travelling abroad, we had an opportunity to experience an external place and to make internal connections that helped answer that question,” said Mr. Bush. “That answer looks different for each artists, but ultimately it comes from meaningful work that allows each artist to understand themself better.”
Mr. Bush continued, “San Miguel de Allende was perfect for this type of work, because creativity comes from taking notice to the things around us. Paying attention is a skill that artists must practice, and San Miguel provided an ideal setting for students to pay attention to what they were seeing, as opposed to simply what was in front of them.”
A big part of art is learning to look at things in a different way. It becomes a lot more interesting to observe, when everything around you is different than what you’re used to. Simply because what we were observing was foreign to us, it was easy to see the artistic beauty of everything in our surroundings.
MADDIE CARLSON '15
Claire Shearburn ’15 explained how she enjoyed sitting for hours in public spaces – people watching, observing, and finding beauty in the details of everyday life. “Observation was such an important part of this trip – not only because it helped us to step out of our comfort zone, but also because it reminded us to focus ourselves. I began to appreciate the smaller details of everyday life and to notice things more acutely,” said Claire.
While students produced various pieces of artwork in San Miguel, they were additionally introduced to the people, food, and culture of Mexico. Students broadened their understanding of the world through international travel. The trip was Rachael Braender-Lipira’s ’15 first foray into international travel. She said, “I think this was the best trip I’ve ever taken. I was exposed to a new culture and new types of art that broadened my horizon. The food was amazing too.”
The Hun School of Princeton is an independent, coeducational, private day and boarding college preparatory school. Student-centered, hands-on learning prepares students for the global community in which they will live and work.