Published on March 27, 2023 by Ashley Smith  
cory italy

Samford art professor Joe Cory spent his spring break attending the 10-day San Jacopo Artist Residency with four other Christian artists from the United States. The residency was hosted at a villa outside of Peccioli in Tuscany, Italy. During the residency the group visited different sites around Tuscany in towns including Volterra, San Gimignano, Siena, Florence and Cortona. As a group it engaged in conversations around the role the arts played in faith and society throughout the region’s history. Some highlights include visiting the Etruscan Museum, the Opera Duomo Museum, and the Museum of Sacred Art, along with several Cathedrals, churches, art galleries, and artist’s studios. The primary goal of the residency was to absorb the history and culture of the area and let it inspire the artist’s work when they returned home.     

Cory met the organizer of the residency through his work with Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA) where he serves on the Board of Directors. According to Cory, the residency is typically 100 days, but they wanted to test a shorter version for artists who wouldn’t be able to attend the longer one because of personal or professional obligations.  He was invited to be a part of the trial residency.

Cory hopes that the residency will influence his teaching and intersecting art and faith. “The experience deepened my knowledge of art history and the connection between art and the church. These connections are still felt today and I’m excited to continue to help our students learn how important their faith can be to their art,” said Cory. He enjoys helping young artists and designers find their calling.

The School of the Arts leads several Samford abroad trips each year as part of the SOA 200 class. Cory taught both the London class in 2018 and the Sydney class in 2020.  He recognizes how important these experiences are for his students and enjoyed expanding his own travel horizons on this trip.  “It’s impossible not to be inspired by the history and beauty of Tuscany! I learned so much from this experience. Participating in a residency with other artists and spending time in another culture has widened my perspective and deepened my understanding of the arts and my Christian faith,” said Cory. 

When asked what his biggest takeaway from the residency was, he noted “humanity is part of a long history, and the Lord continues to use artists to glorify Him.” 

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.