Los Angeles art trip provides culture, credit

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Art lovers can explore their priceless love for art during Dixie State University’s Los Angeles art trip.

The Los Angeles art trip is held twice a year, once during fall semester and once during spring semester. The trips offer students an exciting opportunity to view artwork and culture beyond southern Utah. The fall trip is taking off Oct. 29 and will return Nov. 1. 

Glen Blakley is an art professor at DSU who oversees the trips. He said the trips are a great educational tool.

“The reason we do our trips is so students can be exposed to art,” Blakley said. “If our students haven’t seen great artists, contemporary artists or historical artists, then how can they be good at art?”

Blakley said the class=room is “extended into six major museums” on the art trips.

“By making our classroom part of the experience of traveling and visiting the museums, seeing the grounds, and seeing how things are presented, it opens up the world like nothing else,” Blakley said.

Forest Lawn Glendale and the Norton Simon Museum are two of the six museums visited on the trip.

Jan Styka’s “The Crucifixion” is on display at Forest Lawn. The painting is impressive at 195 feet long and 45 feet tall. It took 32 years to complete and is considered one of the ten largest paintings in the world.

Navajo opera singer Lena Judee is a musical addition to Forest Lawn Glendale. Judee has been on the Los Angeles trip around 18 times and performs in the Gothic Cathedral. Blakley enjoys taking the group into the Cathedral to hear her sing.

A stained glass reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” by Rosa Moretti is yet another must-see at Forest Lawn Glendale. The piece was created through Da Vinci’s sketches, rather than the painting itself, and the color of the glass changes with the time of day.

“[Forest Lawn] is like getting to go to Italy, and it’s like getting to go to Poland because [The Crucifixion] was painted by a Polish painter,” Blakley said.

Blakley also has students view Giovanni Panini’s painting of St. Peter’s Basilica. The Basilica itself is located in Rome, but the painting is on display at the Norton Simon Museum.

Viewing certain artwork is an important goal for the trip, but Blakley has one main goal.“We do hope, ultimately, that every art major will be able to take the trip,” Blakley said. “What we’ve been able to provide is not only the students an opportunity, but this is professional development for the faculty [as well].”

The trips are encouraged for art majors, but they are open to all students and community members. Internationally-known designer and photographer Gene Butera has also gone on the Los Angeles art trip.     

Students have the opportunity to earn credits for the trip by taking the Art Travel Study class. The class also helps prepare students for the art trips. 

“We always orient everyone as much as possible here so that when they go [on the trip] they can experience it,” Blakley said. “On the bus, we show art videos and art-related movies so that they know something about the artists they are going to see.”

Anna Oaken is a former DSU student who has gone on the Los Angeles trip 10 times. She enjoys the trips and praised Blakley for his ability to make it all happen.

“Blakley is a true educator,” Oaken said. “He’s compelled to nurture and teach. He does it effectively through these trips.”

The exact cost of the trip fluctuates each semester depending on bus transportation, the motel price for three nights, and entrance into the six museums.

The 2016 spring Los Angeles art trip is scheduled for March 31-April 3 and organizers are already accepting registrations. Registrations and payments can be made online on DSU’s website. 

Students seeking more detailed information on the art trips can contact Glen Blakley at 435-652-7795 or [email protected].