The Love Gallery lived up to its name during its most recent exhibition of Junior Graphic Design major, Mark Garcia’s photography. The show was curated to illustrate his “long-lasting love for the city of Paris.” The exhibition featured seven black-and-white photographs from Garcia’s semester abroad and was the gallery’s first of the school year. He spent the spring 2018 semester in Paris, France, studying art, immersing himself in the Parisian culture and, of course, taking photos.
Garcia entered college knowing he wanted to study abroad during his sophomore year, but it wasn’t until the summer after his freshman year that he decided where. The chance to participate in Euroterm, a faculty-led program offered by PLNU’s Department of Art & Design, made his decision clear. Art professor and trip director Lael Corbin, said the students visited five cities in three weeks and completed an upper-division contemporary art course throughout the summer term. Garcia said the trip was like a “pre-tour to see what was the best fit” and that it was during the program that he “decided [he] needed more time in Paris.”
Garcia’s visit to Paris during Euroterm wasn’t the first time he had visited the city. He recalls a trip with his parents when he was eight and “exploring the Eiffel Tower and going out at night to explore the beauty of the city.” The flashes of beauty he experienced as a child, as well as those he felt during Euroterm, brought him to Paris again, but this time for a whole semester. While abroad, Garcia took two French courses that challenged him. “I had to learn the language from scratch,” he said. But, by the end of the semester, he felt comfortable ordering food, introducing himself and engaging in basic conversations.
He also took a photography course that encouraged him to constantly document his experience. As Garcia took photos and explored the city, journaling allowed him “to store memories and feelings” as well as “reiterate the joy [he] received from going out for a walk to new places.” He discovered a newfound sense of curiosity while abroad that he decided to portray in his exhibit. “I would have these revelations when I was just out for a walk,” he said.
The theme of his show was “Explore. Observe. Rest.” and showcased some of Garcia’s favorite moments doing just that. Garcia had been planning a show in the Love Gallery since before he went abroad, but his project theme wasn’t clear for a while. “It wasn’t until the end of the semester that I realized what I had wanted my project to be about,” Garcia said.
Studying abroad gave Garcia the opportunity to step out of his comfort zone and into another country to learn, grow and explore. Garcia fondly recalls his experiences abroad and through his photos and memories, shares this experience with others.
For more information about the Paris program, the next Euroterm trip and other study abroad opportunities visit pointloma.edu/studyabroad or the Office of Global Studies on campus.