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Antonio Bandini (Consul General of Italy in New York 2003-07) during the keynote speech of the FUA-SUNY 2016 Conference at Gabinetto Vieussuex in Palazzo Strozzi.


by Blending Staff Photo courtesy of the FUA Communications & Marketing Office

FUA and SUNY Stony Brook University’s annual fall conference was dedicated to Florentine journalist and novelist Oriana Fallaci. The conference, titled “The Force of Words - Oriana Fallaci: Florentine, Journalist, Citizen of the World,” featured many different student panels from corresponding FUA classes, as well as many influential speakers from within Tuscany and abroad. The first pre-event was held by the current Italian Vice Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Riccardo Nencini, who presented his recent book on Oriana Fallaci the day prior the conference.

The inauguration session on December 2 was held at the historic Gabinetto Vieusseux in Palazzo Strozzi and featured institutional representatives of the Florentine city council and Tuscan Region, keynote speaker Antonio Bandini (Consul General of Italy in NYC, 2003-2007), Fallaci's nephew Edoardo Perazzi, and Italian journalists Umberto Cecchi, Paolo Ermini, Riccardo Mazzoni, and Gabriella Simoni. Journalist Fiamma Nirenstein made a special appearance during the December 3 panels. A diverse body of international and Italian scholars, journalists, and FUA students and faculty commented on the challenge of journalism and ethics, social media’s effect on lit-

erature and the arts, freedom of expression, and how words shape culture in its many forms. As a student here at FUA, I was involved in two different panels in combination with my intercultural communication and travel writing classes. I had a great experience exploring these topics with the panels, and am thankful for being given the opportunity to talk about, and relate to, the challenges facing journalism today. From December 2-3, 2016, this conference opened the minds of FUA and local Florentine communities alike. Our upcoming fall magazine will continue to address this topic as well, “The Force of Words,” and will be released at the end of the semester.



by Grayson Glazer

Photo courtesy of the author

Florence University of the Arts has always provided unique experiences through internships, and continues to diversify its placement opportunities for students. Ranging from business to fashion, the internships give students an opportunity to see and experience Italy through a new perspective, helping each intern to grow and learn about what they love through hands-on involvement. This year was the first for an intern to be placed at La Tinaia, a center where artists with mental disabilities cultivate their creativity. First opened in 1975, La Tinaia was born within the spaces of the former psychiatric hospital V. Chiarugi. It represented a huge change in the healthcare system for the disabled and provided an important blueprint for many others in the field of health.  The artists of La Tinaia have exhibited their work all around the world – Paris, London, Chicago, New York, Italy, etc.  As the first FUA intern of La Tinaia, Grayson Glazer, an undergraduate art therapy student from Chicago and currently studying at Edgewood College in Wisconsin, speaks to the Blending staff about the chance to work alongside the gifted artists and staff of La Tinaia. 2

What role do you play in assisting the staff of La Tinaia? My tasks at La Tinaia have been very diverse and each has been a great lesson for me. Usually, we are either in preparation for an art exhibition for which I will clean and frame the artwork, or we will have visitors from galleries evaluating the art work while I’m labeling, photographing, categorizing, and shelving the art produced. Recently I even helped with the preparation for a school field trip to Tinaia. What have you enjoyed the most while being at La Tinaia? I truly enjoy every day there because there is always something new to do and important lessons to learn. However my favorite aspect about the internship is

the staff itself, from day one the team has been nothing but kind to me, and my supervisors help me to start every task and check up on my progress. What have you learned from working at La Tinaia? Oh everything! I had learned basic Italian before coming to Italy, but to my surprise the staff was primarily Italian speaking. It was tough at first, but I’m really happy that my colleagues speak in Italian because I enjoy speaking the language and I have become much more fluent. I have also learned a lot about the processes involved in exhibiting and selling art. This is very important to me because I hope to take on a career as an artist one day. Something I picked up through observation has been the differ-



ent art styles that have inspired me for my own work. I've also acquired a more open style of art therapy, which definitely plays a huge role here, and I believe it can be made even more widespread to

help people in the long run rather than solely through art therapy workshops. It’s also been interesting to be involved in an internship in Italy and see the differences in the work environment here. The

staff members at La Tinaia welcomed me wholeheartedly and to me they are my Italian family; I believe it's rare to develop a close bond right off the bat in other working cultures.


by Courtney Naughton & Regina Vargas

On November 17th, the “Enter Paradise” exhibition was held at Corridoio Fiorentino featuring FUA professor Marco Gualtieri’s photographs from his travels throughout the United States.

His work displayed mainly southern and western United States landscapes in the form of uniquely abstract photographs of contrasting imagery. The event was a success with students, faculty, and friends joining Gualtieri to help celebrate his artwork. The development of the theme began as both an intention and accident. It was always intended to create a fictional place, but the reference to paradise only entered the scene after Marco photographed a night club in New Jersey and subsequently created the title as an invitation to step into an imaginary world. When asked to further elaborate the “paradise” element of his exhibit's theme, Marco shares, “To me, paradise is the quintessential fictional place. I’m not a believer. It keeps changing in my mind, it doesn’t have a specific look but it appears in front of my eyes in different shapes when the light is right and I’m paying

attention.” Marco's first foray into photography occurred as a teenager, when he picked up his father's 35mm film camera and started playing with it. When he went to the movies, he felt the pleasure of stepping into a fictional present and “realized that photographs, both moving and still, were the art form that most resonated with me.” He cites light as the most important element in creating a connection with his subjects, while silence is also important for him to get in the zone and begin seeing. As for photographers who have influenced his work, the group of New Topographics (USA) and Luigi Ghirri (Italy) are important inspirations, along with film directors such as Michelangelo Antonioni and Wim Wenders. Marco is currently working his next project through a set of photographs called “A Story Told Twice,” taken in and around where he grew up near Florence. 3



by Amber Wright Photo by Blending Staff

For the legal safety of this publication, I will not confirm (nor deny) that I took a picture of the Sistine Chapel. However, I will confirm that no picture can do this room justice - no picture can do the entirety of Vatican City justice. With only 451 citizens, Vatican City is both the smallest country by population and by physical size, and when people think of Rome, they think of the Vatican as one and the same - the two seem to be synonymous to travelers. With a very long and complicated history, in 1929, through the Lateran Treaty, it was agreed that the Vatican would be its own self-sufficient city-state. It would be a neutral area completely governed by the Pope, who technically is the only absolute monarch in Europe in charge of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of its government. Its economy is completely reliant on souvenirs bought by tourists, admissions to the museums, Vatican publications, and by postage stamps. The Vatican also does not employ its own guards. Italy lends some armed forces, but there are Swiss Guards responsible for the personal security of the Pope himself. While personally I don’t remember seeing too many guards around, I do remember the gentleman inside the Sistine Chapel policing those who were talking loudly and trying to take photos - neither of which I was doing. The chapel itself is one of the smaller buildings in the Vatican, but I could have spent the most time there. The famous hand of God reaching for Adam, the Final Judgement painting on the back wall, and the entire story the room tells through art is overwhelming. 4

The center of the ceiling is a painted representation of the book of Genesis. It has nine panels and is meant to be “read” from the altar towards the back of the chapel. God creates light, then the sun and planets, and lastly creates water from the earth in the first three sections. In the next two, God creates Adam and Eve, and this is where the famous “snapshot” of the two hands reaching toward one another comes from. It’s become a representation of God consistently reaching out for man. The next panels show the Original Sin of Adam and Eve, then three different images of Noah and the Flood. Surrounding the main panels are images of Daniel, Isaiah, David slaying Goliath, Joel, and Ezekiel. The beauty and devotion this room demonstrates is arguably unmatched. It took Michelangelo four years to paint the ceiling – if my neck was hurting after ten minutes of looking up, Michelangelo’s chiropractor definitely had his work cut out for him. As I mentioned before, the entirety of the Vatican is impossible to capture through photos. St. Peter’s Square alone is teeming with architectural details and statues in every direction you look. My group was there just as the lights came on, and it took our breath away. For such a small country, you could say it is one of the most beautiful.





by Jess Pitocco Photos by the author

A usual weekend in Rome is filled with visiting monuments, eating pasta, and getting to see all the stereotypical sights and scenes as seen in movies. You go to the Vatican City, you sit by the Trevi Fountain, you “ooh and aah” at the Pantheon, and you explore the Colosseum and Roman Forum for hours on end until your feet hurt. A typical weekend in Rome involves taking a picture of the Sistine Chapel, illegally, just for the likes on Instagram. However, my weekend in Rome was much more:

As an Italian, I was lucky enough to have relatives in Italy. The last time I saw them was 15 years ago, when I was 6 years old and the only Italian word I knew was “gelato.” My family, cousins, uncles, aunts, and great aunts and uncles all live in and around Ciampino, which is only a 30-minute drive from the center of Rome. Through Facebook and my grandmother, I got in contact with a few family members to spend a day with them while traveling nearby. I didn’t expect much, only to get in touch with a different side of my heritage and see where I come from. What I got was much more than a little

family history, I received a whole new branch of friends and family I never knew I had. I arrived at Stefano’s house, one of my uncles, and was greeted by five different cousins with a huge hug and a kiss to both cheeks. On the table in the living room, there were 18 sets of plates, silverware, cups, and bottles of wine. To my shock over the next two hours, my whole extended Italian family from all over Southern Italy arrived to see me. We had a four-course meal of ricotta cheese, pasta, a pork roast, tiramisù, and more. It was all homemade and delicious; we were at the table five hours 5

straight, course after course. I was surrounded by the Italian language, and saw my little cousins for the very first time. I was overwhelmed by all the love I received from just one visit. Throughout the day, affectionate exchanges took place. I was asked any question my relatives were able to communicate in English while I tried out some in Italian. We laughed, told stories, and a friend who was traveling with me looked on with a smile. We exchanged gifts as a tradition to celebrate how much time has passed and how much we appreciate one another. The children held my hands as we crossed the street and forced me to speak Italian with them with their adorable, squeaky voices.

Since I wasn't able to celebrate Thanksgiving, this day became my personal substitution that generated memories, new friendships, food, and kindness. I hadn't anticipated how much I would want to spend more time there, or how comfortable I would be in the company of many who did not even speak my language. I knew I was loved, and I knew I was lucky to have this resource so close to me while I studied abroad. Next time I travel to Italy, I will go off the tourist’s agenda and take more advantage of the connections and roots I already have here. Monuments are timeless and beautiful, but the people you surround yourself with will give you more joy than a ruin ever could.


by Madison Hughes-Crawford Photo by the author

Idyllic, a well preserved piece of art, a picture-perfect example of rich Tuscan history. This is what many would consider Florence to be, before getting a firsthand glance. Prior to visiting Florence, I had a mental image of the city based on travel sites and blogs featuring pristine photos and descriptions. Arriving in this city and embracing it for myself, the mental image I had adopted clashed with the reality of the city. Wander further than the main streets, overflowing with tourists, and you will see another side of Florence. It is a city that can be gritty, frayed at the edges, and hold more than just stereotypical pizzerias and cafes. There are certainly the cobblestone roads leading you to countless restaurants serving only the best Italian cuisine, while artisans work on handmade Italian leather goods in shops nestled along the way. But there 6

are also cobblestone streets where that charming feeling is absent. There is construction, graffiti on the buildings and garage doors, and stagnant water sitting where stones were neglected to be replaced in the street. Cheap souvenirs produced abroad are sold for absurd prices. There are the quintessential Italian luxury brands, Valentino, Prada, and Versace displayed in elegant shop windows on certain streets, as well as homeless in tattered clothing asking for change in others. Florence, like all bustling cityscapes, is more than the flawless painting it is made out to be by so many; it is a bustling metropolis that cannot be limited to stereotypes and clichĂŠs.





by Cassidy McNeill Photos by Jessica Myer

For the last ninety days I have awoken to a chime, a symphony rather. Church bells. Each one with it’s own unique rhythmic beat. Swaddled in my complacent comforter I can just catch the west side of the Church from my window. As I rise for the day and approach the window, a full span of the church comes into view. Three doors and a large circular window. Ninety days have come and gone, and I had yet to create a more personal interaction with this intricate monument. Venturing outside my apartment walls I am now parallel to the Santa Maria Novella church. It is constructed of teal, white and burgundy tiles, faded from the sun’s persistent beams. I am distracted by the voice of a passerby strumming the beat of a familiar tune. His raspy melody is disrupted by the bustle of tourists, here with the same intent

as me, to see. To experience. I pursue this adventure further, and approach the large entrance. The teal double doors are sealed, preventing me from invading. I wander to the side of the church, reaching a garden. The garden is a runway to a side door, I enter. Promptly the chaos of the square ceases. My ears are filled with the synchronized notes of a church choir, the lyric is foreign. In-between rushed breathes the parish is silent. I allow the tips of my fingers to brush the pew, tracing the carvings. My flesh is growing warmer from the thick walls, blockading the frigid winter air, almost as if I am bundled as I was in my room this morning, but by something else.


by Jennifer Gilligan Photos by Jessica Myer

Several times a week, I stroll through the winding sea of people on Via de’ Neri and take a left turn towards a friend’s apartment, at the corner where the coffee aromas wafting from Ditta Artigianale tempt me. For so long, I walked past an unassuming brick building in San Remigio only to stop and think that it seemed a bit out of place amongst the apartments, scattered bikes, and parked cars. It was never the type that begged to be photographed. For a recent class assignment, I truly noticed the building, the Chiesa di San Remigio, as I stood outside and took a picture of it. After the discovery, somehow, this small church became beautiful, a place of respect. Though I believed deep down that it wasn’t ugly, it had never appeared as striking, or even quaint - it was just there. I

stood on the stoop knocking on the sealed door until a woman and a playful group of children opened the door from within. As soon as I stepped inside, a chill crept up my spine as my eyes wandered around the hidden gem. It was not intricate nor excessively detailed, but the high ceilings, flickering candles, smell of incense, and beautiful center alter gave way to a

sense of peace and safety. Ever since my first visit to this church, it has become my sanctuary. On a bad day, the minute I walk inside I am struck by the same feeling of awe every time, and in an instant my day is changed. The plain building that had never earned a second glance from the outside has now captured my adoration from its inner beauty. 7



Supplemento di / Supplement to Blending Magazine

Direttore Responsabile / Editor in chief

Reg. Trib. di Firenze n° 5844 del 29 luglio 2011

Matteo Brogi

Anno 6 - Numero 8 - Dicembre 2016 Year 6 - Issue 8 - December 2016

Caporedattore / Editorial Director Grace Joh

Editore / Publisher Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore

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BLENDING Newsletter December 2016  
BLENDING Newsletter December 2016