During my first year at Central College in Pella, Iowa, an exchange program was initiated for art students to spend a trimester in the Yucatan, thanks to Dr. Larry Mills. 60 It was amazing to sleep in hammocks and see tarantulas, yet more profoundly for me was the experience of being in the region of extraordinary ancient architecture. Numerous sites were there yet some were not so easily accessed so we hiked through jungle areas being lead by a Mayan foreign exchange student who had previously been at Central College for a year. Being there opened a door to contemporary and historic cultures far beyond the Midwest, where I was born and raised. During that trimester in Merida, in the spring of 1969, I saw ancient Mayan ballgame patios, tall pyramids with thin stone stairs going to the top, corbel vaults that held these buildings up, cenotes (sinkholes) and more. This experience has stayed in my mind ever since. Visual Arts PHOTOGRAPHS BY ROBERT LOWELL. Ruth Hardinger o Ruth Hardinger.