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Posted May 31, 2016 by
Tags: The Arts Student Activities My Wheaton Global and Experiential Learning

Lights, Camera, Action: Arts in London 

Walking through Leicester Square in London’s West End, marquee lights shine and beckon audiences through their doors for evenings of art, theater, and music featuring The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, Guys and Dolls...and the list goes on. We walk past the marquees and enter inside, anticipating together an evening of new experiences and excitement. 

The best part of Wheaton’s Arts in London summer program is the chance to experience and study art, music, and theater in a city where these are embedded in their thriving culture. The program offers students credit for three classes: Art Survey, Intro to Music/World Music, and Music Theater in London. During the last two weeks of our time in London, we have been studying art in galleries, looking at paintings in museums while we learn about them, learning about music from numerous different cultures and ethnicities (particularly Celtic culture in the Welsh countryside), and discovering the history of music theater as it relates to London.

We decided to do the Arts in London program because London’s art scene encourages, facilitates, and enhances our ability to learn. This knowledge outweighs learning that can be done on campus at Wheaton, especially since the students on this program are from a variety of majors (a little over half of the members of our group this year are arts students at Wheaton). 

Wheaton’s art program on campus prepared us for this journey, and made London’s art scene accessible to us. For example, one of our professors, Mark Lewis, associate professor of communication and director of Arena Theater at Wheaton, always encourages us to linger and take an extra breath when most people would pass by or rush through moments. We are reminded to look with intention, and only then will we begin to truly “see.” This mentality has been a beautiful way to participate in the art that is happening everywhere, in and out of the galleries and theaters in London. This practice has also inspired me to see what art truly is and how to engage with it in everyday life--a crucial part of my London experience thus far. 

We are only halfway through our Arts in London adventure, but have already seen the iconic Globe Theater, the National Gallery, West End musicals, operas, and concerts, all the while being fully immersed in the bustling London metropolis. We also recently traveled internationally to Knighton, Wales, for a chance to breathe, relax, and experience Celtic art before returning back to the heart of London for another week and a half of exploration and study.

Alyssa Stadtlander ’18 and Jeff Melanson ’17 are participants in Wheaton’s Arts in London program. To learn more, visit Arts in London’s website. 

Photo Captions (from top): Contemplating a Monet in the Tate Modern (l to r): Jill Kuhlman '19, Enoch Leung '18, Max Pointer '18; Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament; Day trip to Brighton (l to r): Paul Hunter '17, Alyssa Stadtlander '18, Jon Bartolomucci '18, Max Pointner '18, David O'Reagan '17.