Warren Wilson College News

The Story Behind: Studying Art in Italy

This article is part of The Story Behind, a regular series that features extraordinary photos from Warren Wilson life. (Click here to see more.)

Tuscan Landscape

Italy offers a remarkably rich experience for artists. Students in the spring 2010 study abroad course Art in Italy, taught by WWC art faculty Leah Leitson and Dusty Benedict, experienced this first-hand. Students practiced their watercolor and ceramics techniques on campus, then traveled to La Meridiana, a ceramics school located in the Tuscan countryside, where they used the landscape and culture as inspiration for their art. Senior Becca Loeb’s watercolors created during the course reflect her surroundings at La Meridiana. Becca says the course “was an excellent opportunity to revive the old days of watercolor in a beautiful and inspiring location.” The group also traveled to Florence and Sienna to visit museums, galleries and artists working in the region.

Wendy at the studio in Italy

Professor Leah Leitson is the chair of the WWC art department. She works in porcelain, and her pieces have been featured in national and international exhibitions. She has also taught workshops in Italy and Israel. Professor Dusty Benedict has been teaching at Warren Wilson since 1979 and is a practicing studio artist. In addition to Art in Italy, He has taught other art-focused study abroad courses, including Shedding Light on Malta and English Walkabout.

Warren Wilson College encourages every qualified student the opportunity to study off-campus as part of a cross-cultural educational experience. Faculty-led study abroad courses in a variety of academic disciplines have traveled to locations as diverse as Chile, Ghana, and China. Study abroad is integral to the College’s academic mission.

Visit the International Programs Office website at to learn more about study abroad opportunities.

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The Class in Italy

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3 Responses to “The Story Behind: Studying Art in Italy”

  1. Chinese Lacquer:

    I would love to travel to Italy for art. I hear that the lighting is tremendous for artists. I also feel that the cultural and artistic heritage of Italy is conducive to some outstanding inspiration. Excellent that you offer such a program.

  2. Maria Thoreson:

    Great pictures! But someone forgot to add names especially my beautify Wendy, shown in the pottery studio.

    Thank you, for submitting the photos I can now sent this to my family and brag a little!

  3. Artemesia Gentileschi:

    Lovely article, but I wish you’d included some pictures of the students’ work. Ciao!