Get Ready to ROME Around Italy With Your ART 290 Bloggers!

Buongiorno! We are anxiously counting down the days until we leave for Rome on Tuesday, January 3rd from Chicago. We will spend our three weeks in Italy exploring Rome, Florence, and Venice and learning about how these inspiring places have shaped the way we view art today. We hope that you will learn along with us on this blog!

Meet Your Bloggers

Ryan Koning

Hello! My name is Ryan Koning and I am a sophomore at Luther pursuing a studio art major with a minor in education. When I am not painting in the studio, I work at the Northeast Iowa Montessori School in Decorah organizing activities for the children that are enrolled. I love traveling around the United States in the summer, especially for music festivals. I am from Des Moines, Iowa and this trip to Italy will be my first time traveling abroad! Italian culture is fascinating to me and I cannot wait to experience works that I have studied in my Art History class in real life!

My favorite medium to work in is oil paint, especially figure painting, but I am so excited to become more comfortable with sketching in graphite during this trip. Along with the great studio practice and immersion into a new culture, I am eager to meet new people from Luther who share my interests. We have an amazing group and I can’t wait to share our adventures with you as a blogger!

Vanessa Mendez

Hello, My name is Vanessa Mendez and I am a Junior at Luther pursuing a studio art major and with a minor in communications. I am from sunny San Diego, California and I am proud to say that midwest winters don’t bother me… that much. When I’m not shivering or studying, I am usually watching movies with my friends, working in the studio, or volunteering at the Humane Society of Northeast Iowa with my sorority, Alpha Beta Psi.

As usual, you are probably wondering: why would someone from California come to Iowa? Well to put it simply, Luther is a family school. My grandparents and my older brother David are all Luther alumni and because of that, we share a special connection. This connection allows us share stories about their past experiences at Luther and in return, I am able to share my current experiences. Speaking of current experiences, I am so excited to be apart of this J-Term and share what I am doing with you guys! Traveling to Italy has been a dream of mine and I can’t wait to blog every moment!

Savannah Horn

Christmas morning is over and I still can’t sleep. Visions of pasta and Bernini sculptures and espresso shots have been dancing in my head because I will be off to Italy with a group of lovely people in just a few days! My name is Savannah Horn and I’m a senior at Luther, majoring in studio art with a minor in religion. Most of my time is spent hermit-ing in my studio, wandering the wooded paths of Decorah, and drinking buckets of coffee with good friends.

As a quiet small town Illinoian girl who has never left the country, I am ecstatic to step out of my rural comfort zone and experience a new kind of life in the big, ancient cities of Italy! My motto, as recommended by a friend, is to say yes. I will be saying yes to rooms filled with gold, evenings of aperitivo with friends, and days sketching the miraculous Italian life that I will be blessed to experience. I love life drawing and using gold leaf in oil paintings, so taking this course and viewing the opulence of Italian architecture and painting is a dream fulfilled! I cannot wait to share with you my experiences traipsing Italy with a wonderful group of art nerds!


Thank you so much to everyone who has allowed us to embark on this journey! We are so excited to share this amazing experience with you all on this blog throughout the month. Ciao!

Smiling because I am so excited for this opportunity!
Vanessa and a cute puppy!
Me (right) and my good friend, Miranda (who will also be traipsing Italy!)