The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
By Jessica Laino, 2011 New World School of the Arts graduate
My New World School of the Arts graduating Visual Arts Class of 2011 and I were given an amazing opportunity: the trip of a lifetime. From the mutual generosity of the de la Cruz Collection and Knight Foundation, my fellow students and I were fortunate enough to experience, absorb and learn about the plethora of art within the historically rich cities of Venice and Berlin. While traveling through these cities, we observed how art is a pillar of a society that eats and breaths art. As a result, we had insight on how art has intensely influenced the cities' cultural growth and their impact on world history. On this trip the Dean of Visual Arts, Maggy Cuesta, and our professor, Fred Snitzer, led us throughout Venice and Berlin. While both teachers have guided us throughout our educational experience at NWSA, they have taught us even more outside of the classroom. Sharing this experience with the two of them was really an amazing conclusion to this chapter in my life, as they pushed us to keep our eyes and ears open and to absorb as much as we could. Furthermore, it was their incredible care and concern for our education that showed me how the love for art can motivate a young mind and change the way we view the world each morning.
On this journey, our team of approximately 35 staff and students awoke each morning and were promptly out the door by 9am. As Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz personally guided us through Venice, they provided us with their own insight on the city. They encouraged us to engage in as much as we could while weaving in and out of the canal-laden streets. We spent five full days in Venice and were privileged to attend the Venice Biennale, a personal dream of mine since the early days of middle school! Additional highlights included visiting several private art collections, museums, galleries and churches.
Once we parted from Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz in Venice, we ventured to Berlin for five more days. Berlin was very complex, filled with an intense history and a pulsing, vibrant and eclectic community. This Berlin community was filled with young and extremely ambitious artists. We had the exciting opportunity to meet with the well-known contemporary artist Jonathan Meese at his studio, which was full of life, energy, belief and determination. We saw the Borros Collection, which is housed in a historic bunker. It was amazing to look at contemporary art in that sort of archival and unconventional context. We also visited the Jewish memorial, the Pergamon, CFA, and other private collections and museums. In Berlin, Mark Coetzee, the program director of PUMAVision and chief curator of puma.creative accompanied us throughout the city. He facilitated heated, educational, thought provoking and influential discussions about Berlin, its art and its evolution. Berlin exposed me to another world far away, moving and progressing simultaneously with my world in Miami.
My experience in the two cities of Berlin and Venice brought clarity to the present moment in my life. I am grateful for how I got here and have a better understanding on the necessity of opening my eyes to the world, and equally important, keeping them wide open.