Whether you’re here for the semester or you’re a Florentine for the long-haul, contemporary exhibitions organized by Florence’s bounty of art schools can offer an intimate window into the city’s contemporary art world for those looking to break into the scene, feed their curiosity or spark admission to a school.

On Monday, May 11, the Accademia d’Arte (Ad’A) held a one-night exhibition called “MODE” at the famous Grand Hotel Baglioni by the Santa Maria Novella station.

Accademia d'Arte Exhibition Florence Italy Patrick Mimran

“Art doesn’t have to be ugly to look clever.” The statement spread across entrance tables at the doors of the show was originally made by French multimedia artist Patrick Mimran and remains the tag line for the Ad’A.

The show which featured work by teachers, two special guests and four professional students in a variety of visual mediums was titled “MODE” as a reference to the show’s presence in the exact room where Pitti Immagine, the most important fashion show in the world, was first held.

“It was like a New York exhibition,” said Patrizio Travagli, Director of the school since 2003, addressing the show’s fleeting pop-up nature.

This is the first and only time that the Ad’A has held an exhibition in the famous room at the Hotel Baglioni. Their exhibitions have been held in bars, restaurants and pubs for more extended lengths of time, and their next one will take place in June 2015 in a studio in Prato.

Accademia d'Arte Exhibition Florence Italy Art School

Travagli produces the Ad’A exhibitions in the same fashion he directs the school – spacially meshing the work and of teachers and students together in order to “avoid judgment,” encouraging a synergy devoid of hierarchy. While you paint in the Ad’A you can watch your teachers and other students of all levels mold clay and draw live models. He refers to the term “Bottega” to describe the school, which functions like a living organism.

The Director also designed the catwalk for Marco de Vincenzo in Milan Fashion Week 2015 based on his signature installation pieces. He is an accomplished artist in a range of mediums but his research focuses on “light,” how we perceive light and the behavior of light. His work wasn’t featured in “MODE” because he didn’t want to force his presence on the exhibition.

Jenna Millemaci