Reflections Magazine Issue #54 - Fall 2000 - Page 15

A Legacy of Artists 15 VanHorn Memorial Garden planned for Studio Angelico Among the many places the students visited was San Domenico. Inside San Domenico is a chapel dedicated to Saint Catherine, built in 1460 to store her preserved head. Michele, David in the Accademia, the San Marco Monastery, the National Archeological Museum, San Miniato, Pitti Palace, Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, and the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi. The list goes on. ing as the tourists bustle past them. Since no motor vehicles are allowed in Venice, all traveling is done on foot or by boat. The buses are boats, the taxis are boats, and even the matchbox cars are actually matchbox boats. We took a side trip to Siena near the end of our stay in Florence. Siena is a beautiful little town. Few cars are allowed because the streets are too narrow and the hills too steep. We visited the Basilica of St. Dominic where St. Catherine’s head is kept in a reliquary. It was an odd thing to see, but very interesting. I also saw Catherine’s birthplace, about 5 minutes from the Basilica. We also visited the Siena Cathedral, an amazing building that is almost indescribable in its ornamentation and beauty. It was hard for me to believe, but the architecture was even more spectacular in Venice than in Florence. The buildings were older and the roads less used. We took in the Venetian sites: the Venice Accademia, Piazza San Marco, Santa Maria Gloriosa de Frari, Scuolo San Rocco, San Giovanni e Paolo, the Torcello Cathedral, and six of Venice’s more than 120 islands. One of the most important parts of the trip for me was the journaling and sketching. While in Italy, most of us worked on a studio course led by Professor Reising. To earn course credit, we did daily sketches and miniature paintings, recorded information about the art we’d seen, and kept personal journals. Upon our return to the States, we completed portfolios reflecting our Italian experience. During the three weeks, we spent many afternoons sitting on the steps of great monuments, writing and sketching. It was a rare chance to see so much art of such quality in person. After two weeks in Florence, we moved on to Venice, stopping on the way in Ravenna to see San Vitale and San Apollinare. In contrast to Florence, the pace in Venice seemed more relaxed. The Venetians love to stroll, smil- By the end of the trip, we had spent all our money on sandwiches and museums and spent all our energy making sure that we got the most out of every experience. We spent the last couple days on the beach at Lido collecting shells, relaxing, working on our journals, preparing to go home. The freedom we had to travel and absorb the richness of Italian culture is now just a memory, and we can only hope we are fortunate enough to go back again soon. Italy gave us not only an education in art, but also an education in everyday life. By stepping briefly outside of our own comforts and language, we began to sense how much of the world we haven’t seen. Siena Heights faculty, alumni and friends are creating a meditation garden outside Studio Angelico in memory of Father David VanHorn, a beloved member of the art faculty for 27 years who died in September 1999. Because of Father VanHorn’s interest in other cultures and art forms, the garden will have a Japanese theme and will reflect David’s love of gardening and his strong spiritual life. The space will be a 30’x30’ walled enclosure located to the east of the main entrance to Studio Angelico, outside Klemm Gallery. Completion of the Fr. David VanHorn Memorial Garden is estimated at $20,000 including hardscaping and plantings. The goal for completion is next summer depending on funding, with dedication in fall 2001. The Planning Committee includes Siena Heights faculty John Wittersheim, Jamie Goode, Sr. Barbara Cervenka, Donna Milbauer, Lois DeMots, Mark DiPietro, and Doug Miller. Anyone wishing to help may send contributions to Siena Heights University, c/o Advancement Office, designated for the Fr. David VanHorn Memorial Garden. To view plans or for more information, contact Jamie Goode ( or John Wittersheim (517-264-7865 or at