We had a great weekend at Artisti al Monte. I set my artwork up on the loggia at Valerie’s house in the beautiful Umbrian countryside. There were lovely views of the Aggia Valley all around, down to Sansecondo and the Upper Tiber Valley and on up towards Gioiello and Monte Santa Maria Tiberina.
In total there were 29 artists dotted around the wonderful landscape where visitors could follow the trail to various sculptors, painters and craftspeople from the area. The largest collection was in Monte’s castle vaults but more could be found in the restaurants, guest houses and local studios.
I spent the weekend sketching on the airy loggia, chatting with our guests, while Valerie sat below making a ladybird mosaic and telling people all about the process. Everyone was really interested, especially the kids.
Fun for the kids
The committee had come up with the great idea of awarding a prize to the child who collected the most signatures. We had an endless stream of enthusiastic artist hunters coming through our doors. The serious side was to help raise funds for this little school to help with trips and equipment, it was fabulous to see the little ones joining in.
Successful art event
This is a wonderful way of bringing the community together and showing off the talents in the area. It proved to be a popular event with picnics arranged, family trips out and lots of people happily chatting in the spring sun. Now in it’s 5th year the Artisti al Monte continues to help the local school, show off its artists and bring people together. What more can you ask from a weekend?
Art galleries have a long history of recycling old spaces, putting them to new and creative uses. The Ex-Tobacco Building in Umbertide, Italy is no different. After a €5.9m overhaul the old factory unit and surrounding grounds have been transformed into an arts, performance space with children’s play area and sports facilities outside.
Transforming the building
Exhibition space Umbertide
This large, fresh space provides a perfect void for showing art. High, whitewashed walls, spacious floor area and a mezzanine level for more intimate gatherings.
I was honoured to have been asked to be a part of the inauguration ceremony on the 24th October 2015, with the inclusion of seven of my paintings. Six other talented artists and sculptors displayed their works and the evening was topped off with a delicious buffet and an entertaining musical duet. Those who attended were treated to a cultural as well as a nourishing feast and it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces there.
By the numbers in attendance the event proved a great success and Umbertide now has an excellent area where its inhabitants can show off their skills and talents in this interesting building.
While Umbria’s once flourishing tobacco industry is rapidly being replaced, it is nice to see that the architecture of this period is being kept alive and put to new and creative uses. It would probably be easier just to knock the old factories down and start again but then you lose the history of how the area developed. Hopefully more of these crumbling ruins and derelict buildings, with a little imagination, can be put to good use.
Points on the Horizon
Well after a month of preparation, the “Points on the Horizon ” art show is underway. We’ve filled the 15th century church of San Fedele in Montone with 20 paintings and lots of nibbles for those who attended.
It was a great opportunity to see so many paintings gathered together in one spot but also provided a fabulous change to talk to people before many drift off to warmer climes for the winter.
Exhibitions perform a number of functions. Promotion of your work, an opportunity for networking, closing a chapter on a particular project. Or my personal favourite, meeting those loyal people who have supported you over the recent years and laying on some food and wine in their honour. This show was very much in the vein of “Grazie tutti”.
This is a fabulous little venue, both the town and the church. And with the famous Festa delle Bosco starting later in the week, it should go on to be a very successful show. Well at the very least well visited and supported one, hopefully with a few sales thrown in.
If you’re in the area between the 28th October and 2nd November pop in to see us, we’ve still lots of sandwiches and wine left.