When Camille McGriff ’22 arrived at the University of Seville to study art history and participate in a Spanish language immersion program, she decided to also explore her interest in sketching outside of the classroom.
“I had always wished I was better at drawing, so I challenged myself to draw little “moments” of the city every day,” says McGriff, a writing and rhetoric and architectural studies major.
The Montrose, Alabama-native and member of the HWS sailing team applied for a Student International Initiative Fund grant to make her goal more challenging. She used the funding to travel to museums of modern art across Spain, including the studio of Joan Miró on Palma de Mallorca and the Museo Picasso in Málaga, so she could write about, draw and study great works of art.
“When I flew to Mallorca to visit the studio of Joan Miró — that was a life-changing moment,” she says. “To be able to stand in the place where one of the masters of modern art worked, in a studio designed by one of my most revered architects, Josep Lluís Sert, was truly unforgettable.”
Miró’s studio, where he lived and worked for nearly three decades, is where he created some of his most important work — which McGriff was able to sketch.
In addition to helping her hone her drawing skills, McGriff’s elegant line sketches had another benefit: “My project was a fun way to connect with my host mother, too, because she is an artist,” says McGriff, who lived in the Los Remedios neighborhood, on the west bank of the Guadalquivir River, with her host family.
At the University of Seville, one class that was memorable for her was the “History of Islamic Art and Architecture,” which she took along with students from the Seville region. Seville was a notable center during Moorish occupation and the influence of Arabic culture is evident throughout the city.
The HWS Student International Initiative Fund awards small grants to help students pursue projects abroad that stem from their own interests, allowing them to have a deeper cultural and educational experience, and which can be brought back and shared with the wider campus community. McGriff plans to write about her project in The Aleph, the Center for Global Education’s study abroad journal.