Art trips grant students worldly experience, education

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Students have opportunities to visit the Golden Gate Bridge, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Athens, Rome and more—all for bargain prices and academic credit. 

With about 30 years of refinement, the Dixie State University art department is continuing to host national and international art trips for students, faculty and community members, and the next adventure is rapidly approaching.

Art curator Kathy Cieslewicz and art professor Glen Blakley oversee the long-standing art trip tradition out of passion for its educational, cultural and life-changing value. Cieslewicz said the trips are inspiring and worthwhile to all students, no matter their majors or interests. 

“How can you have anything to write about with no experiences?” Cieslewicz said. “How can you compose music, or design art, or understand history if you’ve never been anywhere? If you learn to love to learn and travel, it just opens your eyes to the world, and there’s no other way to gain that kind of education.” 

Next month, registered attendees will visit six major museums in Los Angeles Oct. 24-27 for a cost starting at $290. Cieslewicz said trip occupancy (about 90 people) is filling up quickly, but students still the have chance to sign up.

Both Blakley and Cieslewicz encourage students to seize the opportunity because the costs of the art trips, Los Angeles in particular, are bargains considering the included travel, admission and accommodation fees.

“You couldn’t drive there for $290, let alone pay for all your admissions, your hotel and all of those things that come with a trip like this,” Cieslewicz said.  

The same goes for the other two trips happening next year, she said. The 20-day trip to Europe, during which travelers will visit London, Paris, Rome, Athens and other world-renowned destinations, will take place May 7-26.

Blakley said while the Europe trip would normally cost in the $20,000-price range, the DSU trip is offered to students for about $4,300.

“For all the things that we got to do, it was 100 percent worth it,” said Akasha Lawrence, a junior integrated studies major from St. George, who attended the Europe trip back in 2011.

Lawrence said the available payment plans make the trips reasonable for students who might first balk at the fees. She said she recommends the trips to everyone.

“Sometimes I’ll wake up and still be like, ‘Wow, I actually saw the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum and everything,’” Lawrence said.  

As for the San Francisco trip June 5-10, attendees will visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hearst Castle and other major destinations for about $800. 

Blakley said while the art trips are worthwhile for individuals on personal and emotional levels, they can also boost students in their academic and professional careers. For example, the Europe trip internationalizes students, sensitizing them to cultures around the world.  

“We have to get our students traveling and into museums where they’re seeing the world or experiencing things so they can compete in today’s world,” Blakley said. “Otherwise, they’re (kids) that grow up in St. George (thinking) the whole world is St. George and they’re big fish when, really, they’re just tiny fish in a small pond.”

Additionally, students can receive academic credit through the art trips. By registering in the communication courses 2910 (Los Angeles), 2920 (San Francisco), or 2930 (Europe), students can receive two to four academic art credits.

Blakley said he’s seen students change their entire outlook on life as a result of attending the art trips. Students and faculty members have even proposed to their loved ones during the trips, he said. 

“We’ve had thousands of interesting experiences on the trips that are emotional, uplifting and life-changing, and art is just part of that because while art is beautiful, it’s also educational,” he said. “Real, true education is a mind and life-altering experience. If you go on one of these trips, you come back on fire wanting to learn.”

For more information or to register for the trips, visit dixieculturalarts.com.