ART in Orvieto seminar & workshops page



Two Options

There are two options of study for ART in Orvieto participants: a Graduate Credit Option, or an Audit (Non-Credit) Option.

In each option, participants may take both the Seminar and a Workshop. Or they may take only the Seminar or a Workshop.

For budgetary reasons, priority for admission to either option is given to persons taking both the Seminar and one Workshop.


This option is a formal course of study and practice at the graduate level. Persons who complete the graduate requirements in the Seminar and/or Workshop may receive graduate credit in a program of graduate studies in which they are enrolled. The graduate credit may be used in one of the following ways: [1] the MWS-ART degree program of the Institute for Christian Studies; or [2] a degree program in the Toronto School of Theology; or [3] a degree program in another institution that accepts transfer credit. Credit for the MWS degree is given to students who are formally admitted to graduate study in the Institute for Christian Studies. Credit for another degree program in the Toronto School of Theology is given to students who are formally admitted to such a degree program.


This option involves regular attendance and full participation in the Seminar and/or a Workshop. In the Seminar, this includes completing the readings or other day to day assignments and joining in discussion. In the Workshops, this includes engaging in work on one’s own artistic project and sharing in artistic conversation with others. If desired, participants taking this option can receive a Certificate of Completion for studies in ART in Orvieto. This certificate would serve individuals seeking professional development rather than graduate credit.


The Seminar and the Workshops meet Monday through Thursday. Formal excursions take place on Friday in weeks 1, 2, and 3. The destinations are Rome, Assisi, and Florence. The excursions are an integral part of the program and everyone is expected to participate. The studio at the Servite monastery is available to Artists' Workshop participants for work on projects, and other spaces in San Lodovico are available to all participants for study and work throughout the program.

Dates & Deadlines

The program takes place in Orvieto, Italy, from JULY 9 - 29, 2023.

The Early Bird deadline to apply is DECEMBER 31, 2022. [Scholarship now closed.]
The final deadline to apply is FEBRUARY 28, 2023.  [Applications now closed.]

Early Bird applicants will be eligible to receive a $500CAD Ruth and Inès Memorial Scholarship for Artistic Education. Eight (8) of these scholarships will be available on a first come first serve basis to applicants who submit a complete ART in Orvieto application by the December 31 deadline. 

All applicants will be notified of admission by MARCH 15 at the latest and be asked to confirm their participation in the program by MARCH 31.

Participants will be expected to pay all program fees by APRIL 15.

Seminar & Workshop Leaders

Graduate Seminar with Rebekah Smick

Art, Religion, and Theology: Theologies of Art in the Christian Tradition: For some, the idea of an expressly Christian art is a literal impossibility in the contemporary art world context. According to such a view, the sheer notion of a “Christian art” defies the very nature of art as we understand it. It suggests that art is a form of propaganda rather than the free expression of an individual artist. Yet, explicitly Christian art dominates the walls of most Western art museums. Further, much of this art is thought to represent the height of Western art practice. What is this puzzling history able to tell us about the relationship of art to Christianity? How have Christians understood are to function religiously and what relation does it have to how art is conceived in the modern context? 

This course will examine the art traditions of the three main branches of Christianity in their historical contexts with a view to understanding the relationship of Christianity to art today. It will consider the art histories of Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christianity, the theology pertinent to their understandings of the religious image, and what contemporary Christian philosophers and theologians have to say about the possibilities for Christian art in modern society. Taking full advantage of our setting in Orvieto, we will explore the art of the area as well as in Rome, Assisi, and Florence. The methodology used in the course will be a mix of lecture and class discussion on assigned readings.

Artists' Workshop with David Holt

Artists' Workshop: The goal of this studio workshop is to help practicing artists make substantial progress with a particular body of work. Participants will develop their artworks through various stages, from initial inspirations, ideas, and studies to more fully realized visual forms, while exploring relevant religious, theological, and art historical dimensions. Although we will emphasize the process of the creation of the works more than their final completion, there will be opportunities to display work produced during the workshop. 

Works in a variety of media will be encouraged and supported. Practicing artists of all levels of experience are welcome and guidance will be tailored to meet individual needs, including help with regard to materials, techniques, and design issues; assistance with furthering technical skills; and direction in concept development, research, and interpretive methodologies. In addition to ongoing individual consultation, weekly sharing of one’s progress with the group will provide valuable opportunities for informed feedback and support.

Our well-equipped studio will be within the beautiful large space of a former 13th century convent, which will allow everyone a dedicated personal workspace as well as space for group work, discussions, and shared displays of artwork. Open access to the studio will ensure ample time to work individually or together with other participating artists. 

A list of basic supplies will be sent to participants upon registration.

Writers' Workshop with John Terpstra

Writers' Workshop: The primary focus of this workshop will be on place, on writing where you are, for three weeks in high summer. Through a combination of conversation, readings, exercises, assignments, in-class and on-site work, participants will delve into the metaphorical tufa of the Italian mountain town of Orvieto. Tufa is the soft stone of the mountain, and of the town itself. When dug and exposed to air, the stone is shaped into walls and homes—or into poem and song, story and non-fiction account.