October 22, 2020

An art student’s journey to France

Jackie Richardson, senior, is a double-major in studio art and emerging media with a concentration in digital design, who decided to take a journey across seas. 

Picture courtesy of Richardson.

Richardson wanted to expand her education and travel to see new cultures. She had a top five list of places she wanted to go to in Europe. She decided to go to France even though it was not on her list. 

As she was doing research for her trip, she stumbled upon a schooling program called Studio Escalier in France and decided to apply because there was no application fee. However, Richardson did not believe that she would be accepted into the program because of how competitive it was with only 13 people being accepted each year. 

She was proven wrong. 

“Once I was accepted, there was no way I could throw away the opportunity,” Richardson said. 

Although she was accepted, expenses were still relevant. She emptied her debit card and applied for a credit card; however, that only covered 60 percent of the tuition, which also did not include living costs or airfare. 

The only way that she was able to complete this trip was because of the Capital High Impact Project Grant, which covered the costs of her trip.

Her sister, who is 12 years older than her, was accepted into the program as well. She was able to save money because she lived with her sister, her sister’s husband, and their three-year-old daughter in a townhouse. 

Richardson left Columbus at the end of May 2019, and returned one day before the fall semester started in August.

The program included 12 weeks of instruction in a small village in the French countryside and a one-week break in July. During that week, she spent time in Paris. 

Part of her experience included painting and drawing life for over 35 hours a week. She learned about various types of art including about human form, proportions and movements, and how to draw solely on observation. Learning about light and color and how light falls across a form helped her the most in her art practice.

“A lot of the lessons were actually very scientific which was surprising, but once I actually comprehended how our eyes perceive light, I felt as if I was drawing blind my whole life,” Richardson said. “It opened up a whole new world for me, and I can see a noticeable difference in the drawings and paintings I did before I understood those concepts.” 

Richardson had many great experiences during her trip. Her sister’s family and herself spent a weekend at Mont-Saint Michel and visited the Normandy beaches. It was the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, so it was filled with visitors. She also had the opportunity to visit the American cemetery. 

Pictured is Richardson on the Normandy beach

“[T]his was an incredibly meaningful experience and gave me a whole different perspective on the cost of freedom,” she said.

In addition, she was able to greet locals in their native language. Over the course of her stay, her fluency in French improved.

However, there were some obstacles she faced while on her trip. Those obstacles were the days that she couldn’t understand instructions. 

This is one of the first pieces Richardson completed when getting back from France.

“As rewarding as the lessons I learned have been, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t have days where I just wanted to give up and go home,” she said.

Richardson was glad that she was able to stay for three months because it allowed her to immerse herself in the culture along with getting to know the other students and professors. 

“Studio Escalier was the single most impactful artistic education I have ever received,” she said. 

The university has now nominated her to compete in the annual AICUO Excellence in Visual Arts Competition so that she is able to use her work from France and jumpstart her career.

“I would like to thank Capital and its faculty again for providing me with the means to participate in this life-changing experience. I only hope other students will have experiences as significant as mine,” she said.

  • Bianca is a triple major in sociology, criminology, and Spanish, treasurer of the Criminology and Sociology club, America Reads tutor, along with her position as a reporter for the Chimes.

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