Author’s note: This is the first installment of a serialized story that recounts my return to Italy and my grandfather’s journey to the U.S. My...
On August 24, 2016, a devastating 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy. Hundreds of lives were lost, historic Apennine mountain villages are now in ruins, and crumbled infrastructure has left the town of Amatrice devastated.
Since then, the San Francisco Bay area has hosted numerous fundraisers to assist in relief efforts, and on December 8, 2016, noted San Francisco Bay Area, national and international artists, and friends gathered at the San Francisco Istituto Italiano di Cultura for an art exhibition and auction to benefit the victims of this devastating earthquake. Over 20 artists donated their artwork for auction to help humanitarian efforts and the reconstruction of Amatrice. All artworks were adjudicated by silent auction.
Artists in San Francisco for Amatrice was hosted by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Director, Paolo Barlera. San Francisco Italian Consul General Lorenzo Ortona inaugurated the exhibition. The Mayor of Amatrice, Sergio Pirozzi, endorsed the event and extended his personal gratitude during a visit by Aldo Blasi, owner of Ristorante Milano on Russian Hill. Blasi is from Rome and has family living in Amatrice. He presented the Mayor with the Artists in San Francisco for Amatrice poster on October 26th during his recent visit.
The event featured artists Federico Arcuri, Gary Bukovnik, Jojo Capece, Jerome Carlin, Stacey Carter, John Colao, Rob Cox, Daniel Dallabrida, Jessica Dunne, Fabiola Gironi, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Bruce Hasson, Anthony Holdsworth, Archana Horsting, Naomie Kremer, Beryl Landau, Paulette Long, John Mattos, Richard Moquin, Gianmaria Mussio, Roberto Santo, Joseph Slusky, Umberto Squarcia, Jr, Chip Sullivan, Seiko Tachibana, Beth Van Hoesen, Jan Wurm, and Jack Zajac.
Istituto Director Paolo Barlera shared highlights of the event: “Artists in San Francisco for Amatrice was quite a success. We had on view works from 25 artists, about 75% have been sold so far, and the amount raised was close to $15,000. Attendance was between 150 and 200, remarkable considering the rainy night. Artists in attendance included Beryl Landau, Gary Bukovnik, Daniel Dallabrida, Bruce Hasson, Anthony Holdsworth, and Jojo Capece. Besides these artists, we also noted Peter Selz, former Museum of Modern Art curator and art historian emeritus at UC Berkeley, and columnist Leah Garchik of the San Francisco Chronicle.
“After a video-message from the Mayor of Amatrice, Sergio Pirozzi, the Consul General of Italy in San Francisco, Lorenzo Ortona, gave his remarks stressing the honorable character of the initiative and the bond between San Francisco and Italy’s towns struck by earthquake.”
The event was organized and facilitated in part by Curator Lori Sottile, with the Art Collectors Forum, and Charles Cunningham, with San Francisco’s Norfolk Press. The Norfolk Press website is at http:// amatrice.norfolkpress.com.
L’Italo-Americano spoke with Lori Sottile who shared the following: “The support from artists has exceeded our expectations. All artworks featured in the exhibition have been generously contributed to the auction to raise funds that will assist Amatrice as the town rebuilds and recovers.
“The idea for the exhibition began with San Francisco artist, Bruce Hasson, who reached out to prominent Bay Area, nationally, and internationally recognized artists asking for a contribution of an artwork for the benefit auction event. Hasson spoke with Istituto Director, Paolo Barlera, who set a date to host the event at the Istituto.
“One exhibit includes watercolors, paintings, prints, and sculpture, featured by artists who have a personal connection to Italy. San Francisco icon, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s father emigrated from Italy. While settling in as an immigrant Ferlinghetti’s father shortened the family name from Ferlinghetti to Ferling. Later, as an adult, Ferlinghetti took back the lengthier original Italian family name. Ferlinghetti was one of the first artists to offer his support.
“Also featured, watercolorist, Gary Bukovnik, was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome in 2005. Upon arrival the delivery of his refrigerator size crate of supplies coming from his San Francisco studio was held up. As depression set in, he visited a local art supply store purchasing minimal supplies. While making due, as stated by Bukovnik, “Italy gave my art and life a rebirth of sorts,” resulting in the painting included in the exhibition.
“Additionally, Anthony Holdsworth, began painting in Italy in 1967 while working as Head of Outdoor Restoration for the Uffizi Gallery after the disastrous flood of November 4, 1966. Now, returning on a regular basis, Holdsworth paints on location throughout Italy and also teaches outdoor painting workshops. Together with his wife, Beryl Landau, he discovered the view from Castel San Elmo that is captured in his oil painting exhibited in the show.”
If you were not able to attend the event, the Norfolk Press website provides a tab titled “Artist’s Page” at http://www. amatrice. norfolkpress.com/amatrice-benefit-auction. Visiting this informative website is a great way to explore the stunning works that were on display and auctioned for this worthy cause.
For more information on how you can help the Amatrice earthquake relief efforts, go to the San Francisco Italian Consulate website at http://www.conssanfrancisco.esteri.it/consolato_sanfrancisco/en/la_comun....
Support L'Italo-Americano Foundation through its fundraising efforts that allow us to promote and preserve the Italian culture and heritage in the US. Enter to win fantastic prizes Including a vacation in Florence. (20% will be donated to the “I Love Norcia” association to support the reconstruction of the town, dramatically hit by the recent earthquake).