By Sparrow Butler
When picking a travel destination, the choices can become overwhelming. I mean, how are you supposed to choose between surfing in Costa Rica, hiking the Swiss Alps or taking a road trip across the United States when everything sounds so exciting?
For me, art has often directed my “travel compass.” Sometimes, when I’m not sure which city I want to visit next, I google where one of my favorite paintings is located and plan my trip around that excursion. It might sound a little unusual, but people have been throwing darts at a map to choose their destination for decades, right?
Whether you’re a painter, writer, musician or something totally unrelated to the arts, you probably have a piece of work that you deeply relate to, in one way or another.
A reputable art piece leaves its mark on many cultures rather than just the country it was crafted in. The cultural impact that art, of any form, leaves on the world can help society understand specific characteristics or challenges of the era it was made in or the direct mixture of joy and pain that generation felt.
Here at Pensacola State College (PSC), District Academic Department Head Krist Lien and Academic and Student Affairs Vice President Erin Spicer have done a wonderful job of bringing some of that artistic culture directly to our campus. On various buildings around PSC, you can observe larger than life replicas of paintings from artists like Vincent van Gogh, Steve McCurry, Gustav Klimt and Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer.
This year, the painting, The Kiss, by Gustav Klimt, located on the back side of the Ashmore Auditorium and Billy Joel’s song, “Vienna,” have inspired me to visit Vienna, Austria, which I probably never would have thought about doing had it not been for those two artistic pieces.
I have always been fascinated with Vincent van Gogh, so you can imagine my excitement when his painting, The Starry Night, was added to the outside of building 14. Item #8 on my bucket list reads, “I will see all of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings before I die.” Not including drawings, Vincent van Gogh has painted roughly 900 paintings that are currently on display.
This desire was the driving force behind my trip to Amsterdam, where the Vincent van Gogh Museum is located. In one day, I was able to see nearly 140 of his paintings. Throughout my travels, I have been able view over 200 of his paintings across eight different countries. This summer, I’ll be visiting Auvers-sur-Oise, France where Vincent van Gogh died and is now buried.
Rachel Giordano, a PSC student who has visited Vincent van Gogh’s grave herself, feels that traveling can leave a lasting impact on a person’s perspective. “It made me appreciate art more being over in Europe, going to all the great museums and seeing all the world-famous art,” Giordano said. “Traveling broadens your way of thinking. Seeing how other people live in other countries makes you appreciate your life more.”
If art is going to be a focus of your summer travels, you’ll want to buy a city pass for your destination of choice. City passes offer entrance into countless museums and parks, and sometimes they even include forms of transportation like hop-on, hop-off buses or subway tickets. You can find these passes for sale at a discounted rate on Viator or on a city’s official tourism website.
Next time you pass one of the captivating wall art pieces at PSC on your way to class, I hope it inspires you to remember that the world is so much bigger than our campus; the work you are putting into your degree today could lead to you leaving your very own artistic mark on this crazy, beautiful, world.
By letting art be your guide, you’ll never have to question which direction you’re going. Simply follow the inspiration wherever it takes you.