The concept of the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts and Media | Venice

The Venice Summer Academy follows the tradition of American summer academies in the 1940s[1] as well as the interdisciplinary concept of the Black Mountain College and Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center[2].

The following subjects are key:

  1. Beginner and advanced levels

    Art classes are offered for advanced students and for absolute beginners together. Classes are mixed, with some students contributing their experience and others bringing an unbiased approach to the table.
    All courses offer a separate training module for beginners where students will be taught comprehensive basic skills according to the latest didactic methods within a short time period. Due to the small size of the classes, individual attention will be paid to each student’s specific interests.
    Classes will be made up of participants of different age groups. Scholarships for young students facilitate participation.

  2. Taking a global view

    Not only the teachers but also the participants represent all continents of the world. This means that we are no longer focused on the European perspective but are able to connect the arts of various regions of the world. This approach is supported by Networking Tours, which you can book separately. They will take you to centres of art around the world. Such contacts are not only valuable for the attending students but eventually lead to the invitation of teachers from those continents.[3] The Summer Academy is a hub where different cultures come together.

  3. Interdisciplinary

    The small number of participants per class and class proximity allow lively interaction between the individual art classes. Courses can be booked by the week, i.e. participants may choose to immerse themselves into one class or to select different successive ones. Moreover, the establishment of “Cross Media Projects” provides the opportunity for students of different classes to co-operate in joint projects. The final presentations of works made in class as well as of the interdisciplinary projects each Saturday night provide an outside view on the students' works.

  4. Diversity of approaches

    The flexible concept of the Summer Academy allows us to offer more than one class in certain areas and to invite teachers representing different philosophies and approaches on an alternating basis. A lot of skills rejected by new and fast approaches today can in fact be valuable skills from which important innovations for the future may evolve. It is one of our key objectives to maintain this diversity.

  5. New media and a transformed definition of art

    Due to new media, smartphones, tablet PCs, the Internet and both the active and the passive use of it provided by Facebook, Twitter and various apps, the boundaries between the original artist and the anonymous public are being re-defined. As a consequence, new interfaces between the various art forms and new ways of dealing with art are emerging – a development that is just in its infancy and on which special emphasis is placed in courses at the Venice Summer Academy.

  6. An artist’s career

    It would be irresponsible for an art-teaching institution not to care about the artists’ careers and their future in economic terms. Development prospects, the networks they can establish and how to find ways to be successful in the business are crucial aspects for artists who want to live on their art. There will not only be presentations given by international gallerists, curators and artists but also a separate class on this topic.

  7. Venice

    Last but not least, Venice as the location of the Academy also plays an important role. Venice is a universe in itself and the Academy integrates the most prominent exhibitions, performances and Biennales taking place in Venice in its practical work. The controversial analysis of individual Biennale projects or notable exhibitions allows students to get an outside view and also to reflect on their own works. 


At the Venice Summer Academy you can choose from the following master classes:

  • Painting I
  • Painting II
  • Soundscapes - Choral Singing
  • Photography
  • Creative Writing – German
  • Career of the Artist

Most courses are held in German and English. The detailed schedule is provided on the registration form.

[1] Cf. talk with Barbara Wally
[2] Cf. Watermill Center
[3]  Networking Tour South Africa 2014
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