Imagining Venice: The Semiotics of La Serenissima is an art/communication travel course offered at California Lutheran University. It was previously offered in Spring 2013 and Spring 2011. It will be offered again in Spring 2018.
We hope this site will be useful to students going on the trip; parents interested in what their students are doing; and other artists and/or academics interested in using this travel-study course as a model for their own, either to Venice or any other semiotically rich locale.
Terry Spehar-Fahey (left) has visited Venice and Florence on her own “Grand Tour” and has returned to Europe many times to live and seek out her art heroes. She has stood in awe in the presence of William Joseph Mallory Turner’s oils at the Tate in London and painted in Monet’s garden at Giverny with her children at her side. To return to Venice and paint in the footsteps of Sargent, Turner and Monet in pilgrimage with students was a highlight of her artistic life’s journey that culminated in her Imagining Venice art show in the Kwan Fong Gallery of California Lutheran University from Aug. 20 to Sept. 28, 2012.
Spehar-Fahey is an award-winning artist who has held various teaching and corporate positions in the arts and in business over the last 35 years. She currently teaches at California Lutheran University and her courses include drawing, watercolor, and art psychology, in which she inspires her students with the joy of making art that reflects their unique self. She is interested in the study of creativity, art and neuroscience and in the role that the arts can play in mental health. Her latest work is derived from that interest as well as portrait painting, figure painting and a renewed interest in the light-filled landscapes of northern Italy.
Spehar-Fahey received her BA in Painting, Sculpture, and Graphic Arts from UCLA and her Master of Business Administration from Loyola-Marymount University.
Dru Pagliassotti (right) has visited Venice multiple times. Her first visit occurred while she was living in Naples, Italy, during high school, and her longest visit occurred in 2006, when she spent several months living in Canareggio while on sabbatical. Venice captured her imagination from the first day she visited as a teen, and she expects it to keep drawing her back through the years. The work that Imagining Venice inspired for her was a short story set in Venice, “Code of Blood,” that was published in Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances (2011).
Pagliassotti is a professor of communication at California Lutheran University, where she teaches journalism, various digital publishing courses, and film theory. Her past research has addressed mad scientists, steampunk fiction, and yaoi. She has written a number of short stories and novels and has edited and published a variety of fiction and academic collections.
Pagliassotti received her BAs in Communication and Sociology from UC Santa Barbara and her MA and PhD in Communication Theory and Research from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. She also holds a graduate certificate in Gender Studies from USC.
… And despite all appearances, Professor Terry and Dr. Dru are not related in any way.