Ugo La Pietra / EDITOR’S LETTER
The salvation and re-evaluation of art and the applied arts in Italy must pass through art education. However, schools with an artistic orientation, and in particular, art institutes, have been in a situation of serious cultural and managerial decline for too long. Everyone knows that the secondary schools concentrating on the arts and music are not a priority for the political class and a certain part of the intelligentsia, and even when they are not totally ignored, they are the Cinderella of the secondary school sector. Since the Gentile reform of yore, Italian culture has always put artistic disciplines on a lower level with respect to the humanities. Today in Italy, the arts are still considered as being reserved for a restricted set of the elite endowed with special attitudes, ignoring the fact that people feel the need more and more to give younger generations the qualifications for professional practice that can go beyond the figure of the “garzone di bottega”, or studio help, and develop skills of self-production in a so-called “firm” that can unite intellectual
and manual activities. The Accademia di Belle Arti “Pietro Vannucci” in Perugia, one of the oldest and most prestigious academies in Italy, risks closing; it seems that the glorious Istituto d’Arte in Monza must leave its age-old headquarters in the Villa Reale, which has long been waiting for a Biennale delle Arti Applicate, the biennial of applied arts. A cry of alarm and concern is coming from all of the art institutes, and as a result, C.I.A.N. (Coordinamento Istruzione Artistica Nazionale, www. istruzioneartistica.it), a coordinated effort for art instruction Italy, has been founded to give voice to the dissent against ministerial provisions that can cause violent upheavals in the world of art education and the whole of culture. There is too much talk about retrieving creative manual activities, and people forget that for decades, in the many art institutes located in the various territories and each characterised by its own resources, the studios and workshops have been gradually and inexorably dismantled.
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