Monday, September 26, 2011

Integritas Fieldtrip to Chicago

Expanding on last week's theme of education as requiring the development of the imagination and the ability to see things from new perspectives, the Integritas program took a field trip to Chicago this weekend to explore life and art from many perspectives, to see the world in a new way, through the eyes of great artists, architects, and musicians.

The day began with an architectural boat tour of the Windy City down the Chicago River. Our tour guide put each building into its context, and the history of the development of Chicago's architecture also told the history of the city, from the Great Fire, to the old warehouses on the docks, to the early days of mail-order shipping of goods when Chicago was the hub for the developing midwest, right up to the present day of modern, post-modern, and art deco skyscrapers. The view from the river reveals welcoming pedestrian trails along the banks, public parks, and elevated outdoor dining areas; the city planners have carefully guarded public access to the banks of the Chicago River, to everyone's benefit.

Hungry after our morning on the boat, we feasted on a Chicago delicacy: deep dish pizza at Pizano's, and we were even able to catch part of the game against Pittsburgh before visiting Millennium Park. There, the perspective-bending reflective Bean sculpture became an object of fascination, worthy of the Surrealists whose paintings hang on the walls of the Art Institute, our next stop. The students had over two hours to explore the Institute, but that's never enough for the wealth of great art on display there. El Greco, Rubens, the Impressionists, and the European landscapes ranked among the groups' favorites, along with a special display of 20th century war propaganda on exhibit currently.

Before heading back to South Bend, we stopped off in Hyde Park for a free Jazz festival going on there. The main stage featured Rhythms of Thunder, three jazz percussionists who delivered a very impressive performance. It was a day of every moment crammed with beauty and newly perceived depth, framing ordinary scenes in new perspectives.

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