Opportunities for artists amidst Covid-19

Our tenacious students and instructors at the Siena Art Institute continue working remotely in the face of Italy’s extended national lockdown.  Through individual skype chats and group video conferences we are able to stay in touch as students work to finalize their mid-term projects for our Art & Society course group critique on Tuesday April 7.

You can follow students’ work-in-progress on their individual blog pages:

This week the Pulitzer-Prize-winning American art critic Jerry Saltz is the springboard for our group discussion in the Art & Society course.  We’ve read his article published in Vulture magazine on March 20, The Art World Goes Dark” and some earlier materials by him such as the “New Ways of Seeingvideo by Tiffany & Co. and Navigating an Art Fairand “How to be an artist, 33 Rules...from Vulture magazine. He is a silly guy, but through his comedy he addresses a lot of serious topics, including challenging the entrenched systems of elitism, privilege, entitlement and censorship that seem inherent to the “art world.”

In his latest article from Vulture magazine, Saltz writes:

“Can art change the world? In respect to those suffering and about to suffer, we must say no. However, art does change lives, and lives can change the world.”
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What do you think?  Have you seen some encouraging or discouraging examples related to this?
Our group discussion on Wednesday will be focused on resources and tips for emerging artists, including opportunities, obstacles, strategies, emerging artists’ career development. Topics to discuss include working with galleries, commissions, grants, graduate programs, artist residencies, etc… If you have specific questions/ topics that you would like us to address in Wednesday’s chat please let us know!

Developing projects at a distance

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As our building is closed until April 3 as required by Italy’s stay-at-home mandate to lessen the spread of the coronavirus, it’s a reminder that the Siena Art Institute is not just a place or structure: more than anything it is a community of people brought together by their shared passion for interdisciplinary learning, creativity, and culture.
The Siena Art Institute’s young international artists and our instructors continue working remotely for our various courses: we are “meeting” through video-conferencing to provide feedback on ongoing projects & to provide moral support as well as we all work together to move forward in creative ways amidst these challenging circumstances.

Below is a list of some of the references we’ve been discussing this week in the context of our Art & Society course:

We’ve also been sharing information on additional cultural and artistic resources online. Let us know if you come across additional materials you’d like to share!

Working remotely in the coronavirus “lock-down”

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The entire country of Italy is currently in a national “lock-down” to help lessen the spread of the coronavirus.  The Siena Art Institute’s building is closed until April 3 as required by this national mandate, but our work and creativity continues. (Click here for more info on how the Siena Art Institute is responding to the coronavirus) The Siena Art Institute’s young artists and instructors are working remotely and “meeting” through video-conferencing to provide mentorship, facilitate brain-storming and project development, and offering feedback on work-in-process.

Some of our international participants have had to depart while our four Greek students are remaining in Siena in the apartment they share.  It’s true that it is a challenge to lead studio art courses remotely, and we wish we could be together in-person but it is imporant to abide by the national #iostoacasa mandate, so we are trying to be inventive with alternate possibilities!

In fact, rather than trying to just “carry on” despite the virus crisis, we are considering how we as artists can respond to the unprecedented times that we are living through, and how art an be a means to process and make sense of what is happening around us.  Here are some screenshots of our recent skype meetings together…

Be sure to follow this blog to keep up with our ongoing activities, and you can also follow the Siena Art Institute on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Visiting the Fisiocritici Museum and Tartuca Contrada Museum

This week we had the chance to visit the Fisiocritici Natural History Museum, inspired by the chapter “Blue of Distance” by Rebecca Solnit in which she discusses the rare blue pigment lapis lazuli.  We then visited the Museum of the Tartuca Contrada, located around the corner and showcasing the memoriabilia and regalia of the neighborhood’s centuries of history.

For more info on the museums, visit:



AARGH European Project Underway

The Siena Art Institute is participating in a project funded by the European Erasmus+ Program is AARGH!! – Art Against Radicalism and Genocide and for Human-rights!! This is an innovative multi-media, creative arts based youth exchange between five different countries, including UK, Armenia, Georgia, Italy, and Albania. Participants including Siena Art Institute alumni and interns are taking part in small scale multi-media creative arts based activities including painting, drawing, sculpture, performance, photography and video.

Siena Art Institute Onlus