Street Art in Spain: Community Engaged Artistic Practices

About the program

Over this two-week course, students interested in public art will be able to gain elective credit exploring street art and community-based art practices in Spain. In the Flâneur tradition, students will examine the visual culture of streets, canals and alleyways through plein-air painting, sketch booking and photography. This experiential learning will be supplemented with guest lectures and visits with local artists and studios, as well as a variety of the famous galleries and museums in both cities. 

Starting in the heart of Barcelona, students will stay in a central hotel and use public transit to explore from a local’s perspective the different neighbourhoods of the city, meeting with artists and engaging with works found in this vibrant public art culture. At the start of our second week, we’ll be relocating to Madrid, an artistic and cultural capital in Europe. It is home to world famous galleries and museums which we will visit alongside walking tours of local street art.

Don’t expect a typical classroom setting, this course will involve adaptability as each day we’ll be exploring new locales and creating our classroom out of the amazing variety of works we will view and discuss, while also developing our own artistic skills in response to the art we engage with.  


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General Timeline

Arrival: July 8, 2024

Course Dates:

  • July 9 – 15 (Barcelona)
  • July 16 (group travel day)
  • July 17 – 23 (Madrid)

Program concludes: July 24, 2024. Please note that this program starts and ends in 2 different cities.

We recommend that you stay after in Europe and experience the 2024 Olympic games in Paris (July 26 – August 11)

Barcelona (July 9 – 15)

Arrival in Barcelona, students will collect welcome packages and course materials. Orientation day will introduce students to their painting kits and sketchbooks, all assignment guidelines, and community guidelines and expectations. We will have 5 days of instruction in Barcelona. We’ll explore venues like the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Gothic Quarter and Raval as well as areas of Pobel Nou and the Museu Picasso. On July 16th, we’ll travel together to Madrid!

Madrid (July 17 – 23)

We’ll spend 5 teaching days exploring the city, including visits to Caixa Forum Pixar exhibition, Museo National, and the Decorative Arts Centre. As a group we will explore watercolour, photography, and various other mediums to capture the beauty that is Spain and the vibrance of the local art scene.

This program plans to connect students with contemporary local artists as well as historic works in the various museums and galleries.

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Eligibility and Prerequisite

This program is open to students in their 2nd, 3rd and 4th year. This course would be particularly beneficial to students in a BFA or BMS program, but any student with an interest in art is welcome to apply (a statement of interest or portfolio may be required for students without previous visual arts experience).


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Program Fees

Program fees: $3,200-$3,600*.

*The final program fee depends on the number of students in the program.

Note: The program fee will be offset by $1,000 for UBC students through our Go Global Award. If you have any pass/fail courses, we will assess your average with advice from your faculty.

Included in program fee Not included in program fee
  • Accommodations
  • In-country group transportation (transit passes & train to Madrid
  • Two group meals
  • Art supply kit
  • Gallery and museum entrance fees
  • Wifi
  • Guest lectures
  • Go Global fee
  • Flight
  • UBC tuition (three credits)
  • Health or travel insurance
  • Immunizations (if necessary)
  • Visas (if necessary)
  • Personal spending money for communications, snacks, souvenirs, etc.


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VISA 460X:

Special Topics in Visual Art – In the Flâneur tradition, students will examine the visual culture of streets, canals and alleyways through plein-air painting, sketch booking and photography, as well as reflective journaling. Students will be asked to respond to the works and artists they come across on the multiple walking tours of both Barcelona and Madrid, and in galleries and studios in both cities.”

Students are also welcome to take this course as VISA 290 if it better fits their degree requirements

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Program Director Bio

David James Doody is an experienced artist and a passionate art educator. David teaches painting, drawing, sculpture & public art murals at UBC Okanagan. David received a BFA in Painting & Collaborative Practices from UBC Okanagan in 2008. In 2011 he studied Traditional Sculpting and Bronze Foundry at Capilano University Vancouver BC. In 2017 he received a Masters in Ceramics and Sculpture from Concordia University Montreal Quebec. From 2009-2014 David was the regional working artist for Golden Artist Colors NYC . David worked in consultation with Golden Artist Colors on the development and launch of two revolutionary lines of modern acrylics, Highflow Acrylics and CORE high pigmented Water Colors. David is a street art enthusiast & the co-founder of the Uptown Mural Project with UBC instructor, Jorden Doody. The Uptown Mural Project is a grass roots public art initiative and street art project here in the Okanagan, that is focused on the revitalization of community spaces and the creation of open air art galleries together the duo has successfully co-produced over 30 large scale street art projects in Vancouver, Montreal & Kelowna.

David also teaches VISA460 special topics in public muraling in the summer. This one of a kind public art course takes students on a journey to work together to pitch plan and paint murals around Kelowna, including an 80 foot long Kokanee salmon mural, followed by a three-story great heron mural both located downtown Kelowna, and most recently and 25 foot tall Western Painted Turtle on Pandosy in June 2022.

Themes from the mural course and David’s interest indrawing design & architecture in public space will be integral to this Go Global seminar course, where students will explore and discuss traditions of public art and street art in a European context.


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