student pictures on campus

Arts in Paris

student artist in parisThe unique attraction of this program is its focus on the arts. It is designed for students wishing to develop their interest and talent in areas such as ceramics, dance, music, painting, photography, sculpture, theater, and art history while experiencing another culture. The success of the program is intimately linked to its location: Paris is undoubtedly one of the most exciting places in the world for people in the arts due to its unique combination of historical resources, professional instruction, and public commitment to art and culture. Its incomparable art collections are displayed in more than thirty museums, while any street corner may inspire the photographer, the painter, the colorist. As many as 300 films from around the world are shown each week in the city's numerous cinemas and cinemathèques.

The Arts in Paris program is geared to take advantage of this richness by utilizing the museums, galleries, parks, and attractions as an integral part of its course instruction. Classes are conducted whenever possible in museums, studios, and historic sites throughout the city and in surrounding areas such as Chartres, Versailles, St. Denis and Giverny. The program offers a unique opportunity to pursue both theory and practice, by combining courses in the history of the fine and performing arts with extensive field trips and studio work.

"The Wells program was everything I was hoping for and more. Paris... is an artist's dream. The city, language, history, and culture surrounding you become your everyday classroom. Don't waste a moment while you're there - get everything you can out of this magnificent experience." (A.P., Rutgers University)

Host Institution

The Wells Center is conveniently located in the eastern section of the city adjacent to the famous Père Lachaise cemetery. Housed in a converted loft in a former industrial building, it offers a well-equipped and comfortable studio for painting and drawing, and classroom space for art history instruction. Its proximity to the major Paris museums, gardens and cultural attractions makes it easy for students to attend classes conducted in the museums and other important sites, such as churches, galleries, palaces, gardens, etc. Many of the studios used for dance, ceramics, jazz, sculpture and photography are located nearby, and are easily reached by metro, by bus, or on foot.

PERL, a well-established language school, is a private institution that caters specifically to the needs of foreign students. PERL is a five-minute walk from the Wells Center. The quality of the course offerings and an especially friendly atmosphere make it a special place; class size is limited to 10 or 12 students so that each student enrolled receives lots of attention from the instructor, and has ample time to participate actively in the class discussion.

Students with advanced language skills may also enroll in courses at the University of Paris X-Nanterre.
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Language Requirements

The program is open to any college student who is in good standing. The program does not assume any fluency in French; however, it offers very successful language training with special emphasis on the terminology used in the arts, assuring that all committed students reach a good mastery of French before their return. Though no previous knowledge of French is required, we encourage students to take at least one semester of French and an art history course at their home institution before joining the program.

"The Wells program was perfect for the student who wants to grow and be challenged by an experience abroad, while resting assured that they have a wonderful support system. The size, the professors, the city, the language, the art - I will never by the same!" (A.F., College of William and Mary)

Most art history courses and some studio art courses are taught in English; others such as theater, etching, sculpture, dance, etc. are offered in French and are a great way to build and improve linguistic abilities. It is important to note that in many of the studio art courses taught in local ateliers, students enrolled in the Arts in Paris program work side by side with French art students, a situation that promotes the use of French in a very natural context.
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Travel and Tour Information

Transatlantic flights (to and from Paris) and transportation from the airport into Paris are all arranged by the program and are included in the program fee. Once in Paris, each student is provided with monthly transportation passes which permit unlimited free travel on all public transportation within the city and immediate suburbs.

"It was a fantastic experience of living in and absorbing a new culture while opening my eyes up to the world of art and language. Personally I grew and became more independent. Academically the opportunities that abounded were exquisite - climbing above the vault in Reims, painting in the Louvre, photographing the bridges of the Seine, getting to know the culture. Overall it was amazing." (S.O., Amherst College)

During the semester, the program organizes a number of trips outside of Paris; these trips are free of charge for its students. These day or overnight trips take students to Chartres, Vaux le Vicomte, Burgundy, the Loire Valley, or Normandy.
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Photos courtesy of Kali Vermès

Professor Amy J. Staples - Director of Arts in Paris
Wells College 170 Main Street Aurora, NY 13026
Office: 315-364-3258 | Secretary: 315-364-3288 | Fax: 315-364-3257