Community Trip to Italy - Artists Retreat in Tuscany | Northwest Arkansas Community College

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NWACC Foundation Community Trip
Experience Italy

NWACC Foundation Community Trip
Experience Italy

NWACC Artists in Italy 2020

Join NWACC Art Instructor Sean Fitzgibbon and Music Professor Miles Fish for a 10-day artistic adventure in Tuscany, Italy! Beginner and intermediate artists are invited to explore and document the Italian countryside with traditional methods using pencil, pastel, watercolor and collage.

Sites include the valley village of Pienza, a 14th century castle: Castello Delle Quattro Torra, one of the world's top art museums: Uffizi, and the stunning Piazzale Michelangelo square surroundings. 

Limited to only 20 attendees, artists will be instructed on using observation and drawing fundamentals such as perspective and composition to render the stunning, picturesque Tuscan scenery.

Develop as an artist during this week long immersion in beautiful, inspiring Tuscany!


NWACC Artists in Italy community trip is open to the public and offered through the NWACC Foundation. Learn how community trips support student scholarships on our blog




10-Day Trip: June 5 - 14, 2020

Excursions include (tentative):

  • Painting/drawing in Pienza
  • Painting/drawing at Quattro Torra (Four Towers Castle)
  • Half-day at the Uffizi Museum Florence
  • Sunset painting/drawing at Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence
Accomodations include: 

 Meals include:

  • Two meals daily 
  • Breakfasts daily at the hotels 
  • Lunch with wine/water/tips daily at local restaurants

Transportation includes:

  • Florence Airport to Siena's Hotel Palazzo Ravizza (for artists arriving by 1 PM on Saturday, June 5)
  • Artists excursions to Pienza, Brolio Vineyards and Quattro Torra castle 
  • From Siena's Palazzo Ravizza Hotel to Florence's Hotel Pierre

Art supplies to bring or purchase in Tuscany:

  • Sketchbook 9x12 (regular drawing paper)
  • Watercolor sketchbook 9x12 (watercolor paper)
  • Variety of drawing pencils 6B, 4B, 2B, HB
  • Watercolor pan set 
  • Plastic canister for water
  • Watercolor brushes
  • Soft pastels
  • Note: There are several art shops in Siena within walking distance of hotel


  • Non-painters are welcome to accompany painters (full price applies)
  • Minimum number participants of 16 or a maximum of 20


Trip Cost: $2,750
Total Cost (with $200 scholarship donation): $2,950*
*plane ticket not included


Join the Community Trip to Italy!

Ready to join NWACC Music Professor and tour guide Miles Fish, and experience the beauty of Tuscany, Italy? Register for your spot on the trip!

Register Now


Additional Information:

For our community trips abroad, you are not required to be an NWACC student or employee. It's open to the public.

Nine nights of accommodations, four off-site painting excursions, transportation to excursions and from Florence airport to Siena's Hotel Palazzo Ravizza (for artists arriving by 1 PM on Saturday, June 1), as well as two meals per day are included in the cost of the trip. 


  • Each hotel room will hold two beds for two people.
  • Price is based on standard Siena City View double rooms. Room upgrades are available. All room requests are limited to hotel availability. For more upgrade and pricing information, contact Miles Fish: or 479-366-3331.  
  • After the trip is full, there will be a meeting for those members who want to find a roommate within the group.


Art supplies to bring or purchase in Tuscany:

  • Sketchbook 9x12 (regular drawing paper)
  • Watercolor sketchbook 9x12 (watercolor paper)
  • Variety of drawing pencils 6B, 4B, 2B, HB
  • Watercolor pan set 
  • Plastic canister for water
  • Watercolor brushes
  • Soft pastels

Of the total cost for the trip to Italy, $200 will benefit the study abroad scholarship program for NWACC students. This $200 qualifies as a tax deductible donation to the NWACC Foundation.

Be sure and check that your passport is current at least 6 months after the end date of this trip. If it expires sooner, you must get it renewed.

  • Deposit of $500 due on November 21, 2019 (reserve your spot on the trip)
  • Final payment due December 10, 2019
  • Total estimated cost: $2,950 (plane ticket not included)

Cost includes:

  • Accommodations at Siena's Hotel Palazzo Ravizza for seven nights
  • Accommodations at Florence's Hotel Pierre for two nights
  • Two meals per day, breakfast and lunch or dinner
  • Four off-site painting excursions to Pienze, Brolio vineyards, Castello della Quattro Torra, and Piazza Michelangelo
  • Private transportation to all excursions


  • The maximum number of artists (and guests) for this retreat is 20, the minimum number is 16.
  • Deposits and payments are 100% refundable until December 6. After December 6, refunds are not possible. However, if a cancellation after December 6 is necessary, we will strive to fill the spot and should we fill it, a full refund can be made. Partial refunds for late arrivals due to personal or airline delays are not possible.


Dr. Miles Fish

For 19 years, NWACC Music Professor Miles Fish has spent summers teaching, studying and researching while based in Siena, Italy. 

Miles has taught and conducted music ensembles at NWACC for more than twenty years. He is a National Endowment for Humanities American’s Music Scholar, Conrad Kruaft Research Grant Award recipient, an NWACC Sabbatical recipient, and two time NWACC faculty Innovative Grant winner.

He is the founder of the Civic Symphony Orchestra of Benton County, and for 10 years, he served as conductor/artistic director. Later, he became a founder of the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra and served one season as a conductor.

For the past decade, in addition to teaching and traveling,
 Miles has been instrumental in creating innovative international study abroad programs for NWACC students and members of the northwest Arkansas community.

A history of Miles in Siena, Italy:

Since 2000, Miles has spent summers traveling, studying and researching in  Europe, and for the past 19 summers, he has been a resident of Siena, Italy. For four summers, he was associated with Sessione Senese Per La Musica E L’Arte (SSMA), an American music summer school in Siena, and for three summers, he attended master classes in conducting at Siena’s Accademia Chigiana music conservatory. For many years, Siena was home base for Miles during the summer. He traveled from Siena to Venice, Florence, Turin, Dresden, Vienna, Salzburg and Bonn while researching and writing about Italian Composer Antonio Vivaldi, Mozart and Beethoven.

Miles has hosted more than a dozen group tours to Tuscany and since 2016, has planned and accompanied students to NWACC’s study abroad campus in Siena. 




NWACC Art Instructor Sean Fitzgibbon explores unusual, real places and events through his work. He’s been teaching college for 16 years, and has an MFA in art and a passion for making art, visual storytelling and teaching. 

Sean has exhibited work throughout the US. He has illustrated books and is currently illustrating and writing a documentary-style graphic nonfiction that depicts the mythologies surrounding the Crescent Hotel’s years as the Baker Hospital, a Depression era experimental cancer hospital in Eueka Springs, Arkansas.  




Contact Us

  • For travel and itinerary questions, contact NWACC Music Professor Miles Fish at 479-366-3331 or

  • For registration and payment questions, contact NWACC Foundation Representative Lauren Cardwell at 479-619-4321 or


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