This week, justArts spoke with Alli Steinberg ’19, who went on the Brandeis in Siena summer abroad program.

justArts: Can you give some background on how Brandeis in Siena was structured?

Alli Steinberg: It is two Brandeis classes: one studio class and one art history class. It is fully immersive. You get to see works that you study in class in person, and oftentimes classes were held in museums.

JA: As an art history major, how did living in Siena affect your work and the art you created?

AS: It allowed me to evaluate the works of art from a new perspective. I not only looked at the paintings and sculptures from a critical art historical lens, I also thought more about the artists’ processes and the materials they used.

JA: What is your favorite type of art?

AS: I’m currently leaning towards contemporary art. I like the journey of discovering its meaning and the symbolism embedded in the artwork.

JA: What motivated you to go on the program?

AS: I learned about it during orientation. It really appealed to me for a number of reasons, but mostly I really liked that there was an immersive and intensive program through Brandeis that focused specifically on art history. Programs like this are few and far between, and I knew that this was an opportunity that could really enhance my understanding of and appreciation for art history.

JA:  What was your favorite part of the program?

AS: I loved being able to live and work in Siena. It is such a unique city, rich in culture and tradition. Some of my most favorite memories were being able to experience many of these traditions firsthand, like the Palio and the contrada parties.

JA:  What was the most beneficial part of the program?

AS: It broadened my knowledge of art history and my appreciation for the arts. There is not one moment that I can point to and think that it was the most beneficial or pivotal. Overall, it was an enriching experience, and I was exposed to art and culture my entire time there. It was incredibly engaging.

JA: What do you hope “New Work from at Home and Abroad” (the exhibition featuring artwork from Brandeis students’ summers) shows the Brandeis community?

AS: I hope that it shows students who aren’t majoring in studio art that they can go on this program and succeed. It’s not about talent or technique; it’s about experiencing the material in order to have a better understanding of how the masters worked. It’s about the process, not the final product.

JA:  Anything else you want to add?

AS: This program is so rich with experience that I will undoubtedly carry values and lessons from my time in Siena far into the future. I highly encourage anyone with any interest in the arts to go on this program!