Joliet, Ill. – On May 17th-19th, University of St. Francis (USF) Art & Design program professors Michael “Chester” Alamo-Costello, MFA, and Paul Erschen, MFA, took ten undergraduate students and one program alumnus to the ACRE Art Residency in southwest Wisconsin for three days of intense experiential learning.

Students participated art-making experiences related to ancient technology and activities that required outdoor facilities and challenging physical labor, such as the manufacturing of drawing charcoal, green wood working, blacksmithing, the construction of a lime kiln, and the creation of a collaborative sculpture.

The retreat was the culmination of the course ARTD 212 “Art & Culture Travel Studies”, which took place during the spring 2022 semester. Students also submitted a journal of notes, drawings, collected ephemera, etc., for their final course activity.

USF’s visit marks the first time that undergraduate students have attended the highly rated international art residency and is the program’s first significant travel opportunity since the pandemic began in 2020. Costello and Erschen plan to conduct this trip on a regular basis.

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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