Siri Berry '18 is now expanding her artistic knowledge in Florence, Italy.
Siri Berry '18, Fargo, N.D.
Majors: Art and German with a minor in women's and gender studies
How did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I don't know when I began wanting to be an artist because I was always drawing. Before preschool, during kindergarten, all through grade school and still today. There is nothing that gives me as much joy or sense of purpose than when I create art.
How did you choose Concordia?
A big reason was the liberal arts component. While my number one passion is creating art, one other is acquiring knowledge and learning from differing perspectives.
What's great about studying abroad?
I have been lucky enough to have a chance of a lifetime, and it's wonderful because I am studying art in the city known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. One of my art professors here is one of the most stern, precise, interesting, knowledgeable people I've ever met. She knows an incredible amount about each painting we see in each museum. Friend-wise, I have made many "artsy" friends, while back home my friends are science or language majors. It's so cool (and different) to have friends who I can talk about art with or ask for advice on my projects. I am staying with a host family, and I couldn’t be in a better home with a better family. The family is so welcoming. When I walk outside, I am just one neighborhood away from the Arno river and I am two bridges down from the famous Ponte Vecchio, which is the oldest bridge in Italy. Every night we have a large dinner comprised of a pasta plate, then a second plate of meat, salad and assorted vegetables, then dessert. After our meal, we dance, joke around, play card games, play mini-soccer, or talk in the family room.
What are you learning about in Europe that you couldn't experience the same way in Moorhead?
For sure, I wouldn't be able to attend the Uffizi, which holds "Birth of Venus," as well as some of Da Vinci's work. I wouldn't be able to see Michelangelo's "David," Caravaggio's "Medusa" shield. I've learned about these and more in the classroom, but it is without a doubt completely different to see it with my own eyes. I have been drawing these artworks and sculptures with them right in front of me, which is no comparison to drawing from an image.
How has your art grown?
Through my five semesters spent being a student at Concordia, I've learned from art teachers how to appreciate art that people don't understand, that people perceive as barbaric art. I've been challenged to improve my proportion skills when drawing. I've learned how to interconnect ideas from my art education to my other programs, German and women's and gender studies. My art through Concordia has been influenced heavily by the things I learn and by how my mind has expanded. Contrastingly, my art through Italy has been influenced by how I feel at that moment.
When I was a freshman at Concordia, I won Best In Show at the Juried Art Show, and I won first prize my sophomore year. I have been in some shows in downtown Fargo, as well as my participation in donation art shows. I am lucky because my Italian institution hosts a huge Art in the Square art show, which is a very big deal to get in here, and I'm looking forward for the chance to have my art shown there! The class I'm most excited about in Florence is Sketchbook, where my homework is nothing more than going to museums like the Galleria dell'Accademia (holds Michelangelo's "David") and the Galileo Museum to draw intriguing art pieces and objects.
What does your campus involvement look like?
At Concordia, I am a member of the National German Honors Society, I've been a counselor for the German Language Village, Waldsee, and I work for the art department setting up shows, collaborating with artists from the F-M community through city projects and art shows, and organizing the art studio classrooms. I've also participated in activism through Concordia (and alone) for women's and gender issues on and off campus.
Have you had any interesting internships?
Last summer, I was an art intern for Satshot, a satellite company. I learned how to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to make a 16-foot backdrop for Satshot's booth in last year's InfoAg Conference. This year, I hope to intern for either Lakeshirts or Disney Animation.
What would your dream job be following college?
My absolute dream career would be a storyboard artist in Burbank, Calif., for Walt Disney Animation Studios. My whole life, I've made up stories in my head and have drawn the characters and scenes up to match. I want to create and draw stories that children (and adults) all over the world could enjoy and learn from.
Concordia is more than a school. It's home. It's a place of opportunity, of chances, and of people who make it easy to love. That's one reason it is so hard to be away from Concordia during my time abroad!
Danyel Moe '17 is a content specialist at Concordia.