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Support of Howard and Mary Kolarek Frank ’79 makes inaugural year of Save Venice internships possible

Incredible opportunity awaits two students this summer in Italy. Art major Erica Kamin ’11 (Woodbury, N.Y.) and art and economics & business double major Lauren Novotny ’11 (Montville, N.J.) will travel to Venice to serve fully subsidized internships with the world-renowned organization Save Venice, Inc.

Kamin and Novotny will assist with research and documentation based on the findings made during conservation of three ceiling canvases dedicated to the Old Testament heroine Esther by Renaissance master Paolo Veronese located in the Church of San Sebastiano. They also will participate in work related to other Veronese paintings in the church. Mary Kolarek Frank ’79 and her husband, Howard, have provided funding for Lafayette’s inaugural internship year. Mary Frank is a member of the boards of Save Venice and Miami Art Museum.

“Howard and I believe that travel abroad can be a life-altering experience for college students,” says Frank, who will deliver the annual Dorian Lecture in Art History at Lafayette in March. “We will continue to find ways to support such initiatives at Lafayette.”

Diane Cole Ahl, Arthur J. ’55 and Barbara S. Rothkopf Professor of Art History, has worked with the Franks as a liaison to Save Venice to arrange the Lafayette internships. She believes working directly with some of the great works of Renaissance art adds a unique dimension to the typical study abroad experience.

“Unlike internships during which students commute from home or school, the Save Venice internships require living in Venice,” she says. “Our students will have the extraordinary experience of seeing Venice not as tourists do, but as residents for a sustained period of time. They will live and work in the city, hone their Italian, and come to understand firsthand the integration of Venetian culture and life. This is a unique opportunity, and we are most grateful to Mary and Howard Frank for their support.”

Kamin and Novotny also will participate in field trips to churches, museums, and other historic sites with students from Columbia University and visit important historic sites such as the Villa Barbaro at Maser. Kamin is preparing with an Italian language class during the January interim and Ahl’s Age of Michelangelo course this spring. She previously served internships at Lafayette’s Grossman Gallery and Heckscher Museum of Art in Long Island.

“This internship is such a fantastic opportunity,” says Kamin, who is considering a career in art education. “I never imagined I would be able to combine my love of traveling and art history into a summer job. This will provide me with real-world experience as well as an up close look at some of the most amazing works of art. Very few people can say they had the opportunity to travel and actually see what they have been studying in the classroom.”

Ahl has known Frank since her days as a student. The Franks provided funding for scholarships and cultural enrichment for the 2008 interim course Ahl taught in Italy with Rado Pribic, Williams Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and will do so again this year.

“Our relationship has evolved over the past 30 years from that of teacher and student to that of mentor, colleague, and friend,” says Ahl. “It has been a privilege to see Mary’s passion for art, evident while she was an undergraduate, mature to leadership in the field of art history and historic preservation. One of the most rewarding days of my trip to Italy was spent with Mary discussing the works displayed at the Punta della Dogana, a new museum of contemporary art in Venice.”

Save Venice was founded in 1967 under the umbrella of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in response to the flood of the previous year. Its mission is to restore and protect the city’s threatened masterpieces. Each year, the board chooses projects to sponsor according to artistic merit and urgency of need. The organization has completed more than 200 restorations.

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