The final weeks of any academic semester tend to be the most rigorous ones. SRISA is no exception. After all, we’re all enjoying a beautiful adventure abroad—but it is still school! Despite the stress of finals, papers, and critiques, the last event is one of the most exciting: The Student Show!
On the day of this event, you tend to see students rushing with no sleep to prepare their pieces for display. Some are more prepared than others, but the hours leading up to the opening of San Gallo’s doors are hectic. Sometimes the anticipation of the show keeps people awake and alert more than a cup of coffee at the nearby bar could do.
Last semester I was one of the people spending a copious amount of hours hanging pieces on walls, giving myself about an hour to rush home and get ready for the opening. This time, I decided to reserve plenty of hours for myself beforehand. I had prepped my paintings the day before the event, and quickly nailed a few photography pieces to the wall before going home.
I dressed up, second-guessed my outfit, was encouraged by my roommates, and finally left. As I walked through piazza San Marco the realization of my final semester abroad crept up my back. I smiled, my hands started shaking, and I looked up at the General Manfredo Fanti—the statue I was passing every day in this piazza. He looked different today.
When I arrived I entered the digital pin absent-mindedly as I always do, and as the glass doors opened I was greeted with beautiful, hard work displayed all around. The hall of San Gallo was filled with beautiful graphic design posters, magazines, pins, and even computers displaying font and animation. Huge metal graphs held up most of the work on the walls. Banners were draped from the ceiling. I met with a few friends and was immediately enlightened on the processes of some of the work surrounding me. The bright colors and excitement all around was much more intoxicating than the wine.
Tamara, Marta, and Seba seemed very busy in preparation. As I noticed Tamara slipping into the photography room getting the food and drink ready for the swarm of students trickling through doors, I remembered how amazing the catering was. My desire for sweets grew. Sure, there’s wine… some pizza, bread… But my favorite thing of all is some great pastries and cakes.
One needs to be ready to partake in the food, though. As soon as the door opens, people rush in and take as much as they can. I was a part of this mob, and I mostly picked up chocolate cake with banana and a glass of white wine.
Then I continued to go around, converse, and realize all the work that had been done around me this past semester. It’s quite strange to realize how much everyone accomplished and how much you don’t see. I think that the student show gives you the opportunity to not only let yourself show off, but also to get to know everyone in a new light. You spend 4 months together, and you only see small portions of the actual body of work one might create. Friends can surprise you with what they’ve been working on.
San Gallo had photography, graphic, drawings, and the fashion show that began at 7:30. The 3D building hosted beautiful installations, and media/sound pieces. Walking into 3D was a huge surprise—I forgot how beautiful of a space it could be for a gallery setting!
I could go on and on about all the amazing art I got to experience throughout the night, but the most memorable thing about the Student Show is saying goodbye. As the hours go on, and the food room becomes empty, people start to move into the night to experience their last evening in Florence. Hugs are shared, tears are shed (thank you partly to the wine), and hopeful aspirations of “I’ll see you again” spill out of lips.
This was a super sorrowful part of the evening. I’m so incredibly lucky to have been able to experience a second semester abroad, but my first SRISA Student Show didn’t feel like so much of a goodbye as this one did. I can’t thank SRISA enough for the program. I’ve met amazing people, and I’ve grown so much in not only my art—but as a person.
Until next time, I’ll see you again. Ciao!