ART in Orvieto seminar and residency page

Postponed to summer 2025. Exact dates TBA.



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 Studio Residency. Or they may take only the Seminar or Studio Residency.

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


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 Studio Residency 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 Studio Residency. In the Seminar, this includes completing the readings or other day to day assignments and joining in discussion. In the Studio Residency, 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 Studio Residency meet Monday through Thursday. Formal excursions take place in weeks 1 and 2. The destinations are Rome (first Friday), Assisi (second Wednesday), and Florence (second Friday & Saturday). The excursions are an integral part of the program and everyone is expected to participate. The studio at the monastery is available all hours to Artists' Studio Residency participants for work on projects, and a library, classroom, and common area in the monastery are available to all participants for study and work throughout the program.

Dates & Deadlines

The program takes place in Orvieto, Italy. Exact dates for summer 2025 are TBA.

The Early Bird deadline to apply is DECEMBER 31, 2024.
The final deadline to apply is MARCH 31, 2025

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 served basis to applicants who submit a complete ART in Orvieto application by the December 31 deadline. Visit the Fees page to find out more about this and other available financial aid for ART in Orvieto.

All applicants will be notified of admission by APRIL 15 at the latest and be asked to confirm their participation in the program by APRIL 30.

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

Seminar & Studio Residency Leaders

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.

with David Holt

Artists' Studio Residency: The goal of this studio residency 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 residency. 

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.