USAO - Monumental Ambitions

USAO - Monumental Ambitions


May 26 - June 15, 2019

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about the retreat

A special offer available to all students for college credit, in partnership with the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

The team taught 3.0 credit hour studio course is offered through USAO and is led by USAO faculty member, Blake Morgan and guest artist Cornel Rubino at a special rate of €4,198.00*.

The objective of the course is to consider the vast panoramas around the village with its spectacular views of the Tiber Valley and surrounding mountains, and reflect this experience in large-scale landscape paintings on site. This sense of vast spaces will likewise also inform huge, monumental scale drawings done in the studio from the live model.  In this way, participants will produce two distinct but interrelated bodies of work.  With this goal in mind, on alternating days, students will work from the live model in the drawing studio with Professor Rubino and from the landscape with Professor Morgan. The session will culminate with an outdoor exhibition of the work in the central square (in case of rain, the exhibition will occur in our beautiful Boca al Lupo Gallery space). Throughout the course, Visiting Artists and field trips will supplement class instruction.  Excursions will place particular emphasis will on viewing large – masterworks of Italian Art as a means of informing and inspiring student work.

International Airfare, art supplies, and museum admissions are not included.

Please join us in this remarkable opportunity to experience the grandeur of the Italian Landscape the monumental ambitions of its artists and join them in creating large-scale works of art!

*Please note €3,290.00 is paid to ICA and course registration fee must separately be paid to USAO to enroll in this retreat. Instate tuition begins at $201.00 per credit hour and out of state begins at $345.00 per credit hour, but subject to change. Please check for exact pricing. For more information, contact us.


  • Class instruction by Professors Morgan and Rubino

  • 3.0 Credit Hours (for those successfully completing the course) through USAO

  • Live models for the group two days per week

  • 1 Excursion per week (Rome, Florence, and Assisi)

  • Single or double occupancy accommodation (extra fees are accessed for guaranteed single rooms)

  • Three meals per day Monday through Thursday (no meals served on Friday excursion days). Brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday

  • Private or Semi-private studio space and classroom space

  • Transportation to and from Rome Fiumicino airport

  • Access to the facilities of the ICA (including WiFi) and the assistance of their 24/7 on-sight bilingual support staff

About the Instructors

Blake Morgan earned a B.F.A. in art from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma and received an M.F.A. in painting from the University of South Carolina in 2007.  He has taught drawing and painting at the International Center for the Arts in Umbria Italy and at the University of South Carolina from 2007-2013.   His work consists of narrative figure paintings and observational landscapes that he has exhibited nationally and internationally.  Blake is the Associate Professor of Art for the Division of Arts and Humanities.  He has been a member of the USAO faculty since 2013.

Cornel Rubino is a painter, illustrator, educator, lecturer, curator and native New Yorker with a 40 year career with over 60 solo and group exhibitions, Cornel Rubino relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, and is currently teaching painting, drawing, sculptural forms and visual thinking at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He is currently working on new paintings and drawings exploring narcolepsy and somnambulism for publication by Galerie Vevais, Berlin, Germany in 2020.

He is the recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Sculpture/Installation and has been profiled since being in Maryland on both National Public Radio’s “Inside the Arts” and Maryland Public Television “Artworks This Week”. His works are in the collections of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta, Georgia; Museum of American Illustration, New York; Museo del Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy and in numerous international corporate and private collections.

Many of the monumental drawing installations Rubino created include, “Cerca Trova”, exploring the fine line between victims and those who prey on them at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan; “Mondo Botanico”, commemorating life and death in the Richman Gallery at the Park School in Baltimore; “Out of Place” exploring how the able-bodied maneuver through the world of the disabled at the University of Maryland, College Park; “Stray Dogs”, a commentary on the homeless dilemma for the spare room space in Baltimore; “MOBTOWN”, spanning 2000 sq. ft. at the Creative Alliance Patterson Arts Center in Baltimore; “Obsession, Addiction, Passion”, American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore and “Cockfight, A Treatise on the Cruelty of the Petit Bourgeoisie” on the walls of the round gallery at the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center.

A winner of various awards including the Society of Publication Designers and Communication Arts Award and the Abby Award for Atlanta Artist of the Year, Rubino’s editorial clients include The New Yorker, where he is under contract as a regular contributor, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, Penthouse, Gourmet and other national magazines. Rubino has created numerous posters for various clients such as the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, International Habitat for Humanity, the Lincoln Center season of New York’s EOS Orchestra, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the American Institute of Graphic Artists, the High Museum of Art and the Atlanta Symphony among others.

Lectures include Picasso at the High Museum of Art; 20 th Century Art at the Nexus Contemporary Arts Center; Master Drawings from the Worcester Art Museum at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University and on his own work at Johns Hopkins University. Rubino also moderates the Annual Critic’s Residency Public Forum at Maryland Art Place in Baltimore. He lectured on the exhibit “Beauty and the Brain, A Neural Approach to Aesthetics” at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. He began his undergraduate work in graphic design at Parsons School of Design in New York and continued his undergraduate and graduate studies in painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy, where he lived and kept his studio for 12 years.

Required forms

All ICA participants, whether coming independently, with a group or through a college / university, must provide the following completed forms and information to at least 2 weeks prior to attending their program. For detailed information and to download the required forms, please visit our Guides and Forms page.

Emergency Contact & Medical Information
Liability Waiver
Proof of Insurance / Travel Insurance
Itinerary and Passport