Pamela Lawton’s 2019-20 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant was hosted by the Siena Art Institute. During her tenure here she made art while forging new connections between her own creative process, her engagement with museums, and the city of Siena. During the Fall 2019 semester, in addition to art-making in response to the medieval built environment, she engaged through research and teaching with the community of people with low or no vision and/or hearing loss and the art and educational institutions that serve them in our region of Tuscany as well as in Athens, Greece.
Pamela Lawton’s multi-paneled paintings reﬂect the height of the World Trade Center, the cacophony of Times Square, and the rhythm of the Indian Ocean, all places where she has made art with zeal. Inspired by her students, she shares public art-making practices with them, including in the galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met), on the streets of New York while teaching for Eugene Lang College, and in places such as Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Corciano, Italy, the latter while teaching undergraduate and graduate students for American University.
Pamela Lawton has exhibited in galleries and museums locally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Galeria Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica, The Conde Nast Building, NY, 180 Maiden Lane, NY, The Atrium Gallery, NY, and the Galeria Isabel Ignacio in Seville, Spain. Group exhibitions in NYC include Pierogi Gallery, Sideshow Gallery, and Tibor De Nagy Gallery; also, The Artists’ Museum, Lodz, Poland, and the Emmanuel Heller Gallery, Tel Aviv. Lawton is an Artist-in-Residence (AIR) at Chashama, NYC, and was an AIR at the World Trade Center through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Collaborations with poets and authors include “Genet at Metray”, Dennis Moritz (United Artist Books, 2018), Sweet-voiced [mutilated] Papyrus, Anne Waldman (Spyuyten Duyvil Press, 2015), “Walking After Midnight”, Bill Kushner (Spuyten Duyvil Press,2011), and “A Place In the Sun” (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2010), Lewis Warsh. Her work is in collections in the US and abroad. Interviews featuring her exhibitions have been featured on NY1 News, and the BBC.
Pamela Lawton received a BA from Bennington College in visual arts and an MFA from the City College of NY and Scuola Lorenzo De Medici in Florence, Italy. While a faculty member at Eugene Lang College, New School University, she created a study- abroad art program in Sri Lanka. She has been teaching at the Met for more than ten years.
These online events are part of our ongoing series “StARTers LIVE,” conversations with artists, writers, and creative professionals of international repute explores art as an inventive process, meeting of experiences, a tool for change.
For more information on our activities please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
StARTers: Assaggi d’Arte:
Ogni martedì nel il mese di marzo 2021, stiamo esplorando i temi dell’accessibilità e dell’inclusione attraverso l’arte e il design, parlando con professionisti internazionali attraverso una trasmissione in diretta, in streaming sulla pagina Facebook del Siena Art Institute e sul canale YouTube alle 18:00 Siena / mezzogiorno NYC .
Questi eventi online fanno parte di “StARTers LIVE” una serie di chiacchierate con artisti, scrittori e personalità del mondo della cultura di respiro internazionale racconta l’arte come processo creativo, incontro di esperienze, strumento di cambiamento.
Per ulteriori informazioni sulle nostre attività: email@example.com
Our intern Aurora is interviewing faculty members at the Siena Art Institute, reflecting on the challenges of 2020 and looking forward as we move ahead with 2021. This is the third interview of her series, speaking with our Painting instructor, Franca Marini.
Building artistic knowledge
Franca Marini was born in Siena, where she attended the Istituto d’Arte Duccio di Buoninsegna; then she continued her vocational training at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. She is a polyhedric artist (she has made a significant number of art installations, videos and sculptures) but she is well-versed in painting, which is the subject she teaches at the Siena Art Institute. Siena and Tuscany represent the nest where Franca was born and grew up; completing her artistic studies, though, she felt far too enveloped in that nest, so that she suddenly decided to seek new horizons going to San Francisco. This decision was instinctive, guided by a strong will rooted in Franca’s soul: to work as a professional artist. These American years, spent in San Francisco and then in New York City, helped Franca gain perspective and experience which has given her renewed appreciation of her home city.
Franca’s experience with SART
Having returned to Italy after more than a decade, Franca started collaborating with the Siena Art Institute, which has given her the chance to remain in contact with many international artists through various initiatives organized and managed by SART, including the Brandeis-in-Siena summer program, StARTers and SART’s residency programs:
– Franca is one of the lead professors for the Brandeis-in-Siena summer program, co-organized with SART and Brandeis University, bringing international students to Siena for intensive coursework in Painting and Art History
– Franca follows StARTers, an ongoing series of artists talks at SART, which has continued in an online format during the covid19 pandemic, conversations with guest speakers from around the world about creative approaches, seeking inspiration, and overcoming challenges in work as professional artists, writers, designers, architects, etc.
– SART’s residency programs which began in 2011 have given Franca the chance to be in contact with many international artists and writers who come as guests of SART for month-long residencies throughout the year to pursue their artistic research.
Franca likes to highlight, “the great contribution of SART over the years in bringing contemporary art to Siena and its local community through both the residencies and StARTers, the latter open to the public and free of charge.”
These are only some of the various projects held by this institution, and they are majestically carried on by the Director Miriam Grottanelli De Santi, whose merits Franca praises.
The Siena Art Institute, where Franca has been working since 2009, “is a very complex and multifaceted artistic institution which does not behave as an elitist and self-sustaining international reality which remains clammed up, but, on the contrary, which is permeable to the outside and the territory. As a matter of fact, the collaboration with local institutions and organizations has always been part of SART’s mission, which leads to the realization of projects related to social themes such as marginalization,” as Franca herself says.
This particular kind of opening could be called interterritorial, because, maintaining a tight connection to the surrounding environment, SART can reach the marginalized. Interterritorialitycould be added tointernationality, the other important feature we have already quoted above: this dynamic duo makes up the ultimate SART leading feature, that is inclusion.
An endless stream: Franca’s journey mixed with the work of SART
Franca’s artistic career has been highly interdisciplinary and international. From her foundations in painting her experimentations led her to the realm of video-making and installation art.
For example, after leaving New York City she realized a video entitled Urban Lines about metropolises closely tied to her experience there. In more recent years she has realized video projects like those shot in the Gaza Strip and in Havana. Franca has also created numerous installations, which make people interact with and experience places, architectures, environments.
One of those art installations isTransnational Migration and Immigration, an immersive and multimedia installation realized in 2018 for the Human Rights Institute at Kean University (New Jersey, USA). Using this work, Franca meant to represent the journey undertaken by those migrants who attempt to cross the Mediterranean sea risking their lives but also their interior journey, which involves various feelings of change and hope. Franca feels to have, as an artist, a responsibility towards the topic of migration, an unprecedented mass event which had its peak between 2015 and 2017 but that is still ongoing. This recent wave of migration is a critically important contemporary phenomenon, which involves issues of human rights which are connected to Franca’s artistic research.
On the theme of migration Franca has realized not only installations but also videos in collaboration with the migrants she met. Settling in their “arrival country”, migrants become an international part of interterritoriality, and this is the bridge connecting Franca’s artistic activism which aims to bring about social change with SART’s projects and pursuits.
Currently, Franca is working on an artistic documentary about racism, commissioned by SOS Razzismo Italiaand financed by UNAR (Ufficio Nazionale Antidiscriminazioni Razziali). It won’t be organized as an actual documentary, but it will include some footage taken from the two-days-event Abitare la diversità held at the Officina Creativa dell’Abitare in Montalcino (OCRA). The work will also include testimonies by migrants welcomed in the territory.
These are the connections created to unite people and fight marginalization. And this is Franca Marini.