Guidebook Work in Progress

The young international artists of the Siena Art Institute are hard at work creating their artistic guidebooks, sharing their personal inspirations and interpretations of Siena’s cityscape using the format of a book, inspired by our visit to the artisanal bookbinding studio of Sator Print, and seeing the Librartis contemporary artists books at the Biblioteca Briganti and the ancient books in Siena’s City Archives collections.

Open Day at Il Punto + Workshop of Bik van der Pol

Sunday September 29th – FREE ENTRY

An afternoon of events dedicated to contemporary art, sustainability and deaf culture to celebrate the opening of “Il Punto | The Point ”, the new headquarters of Siena Art InstituteMason Perkins Deafness Fund and Siena School for Liberal Arts!

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Schedule details:

OPEN STUDIO of the artist-in-residence (15.00 – 17.00):
Meet the Welsh artist expert in social practice Honey Jones-Hughes or discover the ongoing work of young American, Greek, Dutch and Albanian artists who will study at the Siena Art Institute throughout the fall. On September 29, the artists of the Siena Art Institute open to the public the doors of their art studios – a unique opportunity for art lovers and the curious!

OPEN DAY (15.00 – 17.00):
Join our workshops in ceramics, silversmithing, photography, horticulture, creative writing, drawing, painting, watercolor and English: only at the inauguration of Il Punto | The Point special discounts for new participants will be offered! Moreover, if you are a student, ask for information on scholarships available thanks to the contribution of the Fondazione Mps for the #SpacetoMake project: you may be entitled to attend some of our courses completely free of charge!

STORIES FROM THE MARGIN: social practice workshop with Bik Van der Pol (5.30 pm – 7.00 pm). Made with the contribution of the Tuscany Region and GiovaniSì for the Toscanaincontemporanea2019 initiative:
How can creativity be used to actively involve isolated or marginalized communities? Discover the duo of Dutch artists Bik Van der Pol during this seminar open to the public but especially aimed at cultural operators, community leaders and representatives from the world of youth associations!

Visiting Sator Print

Our study abroad students visited the studio of Sator Print and met artisan Piergiorgio Bertolozzi Caredio .  Sator Print, in the heart of Siena just around the corner from the cathedral, specializes in making and restoring hand-crafted books, prints, manuscripts, etc. as well as beautiful examples of calligraphy, drawing upon traditions especially from Jewish heritage, linking the past with modern times.

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Visiting the Biblioteca Briganti

With our study-abroad students exploring Siena‘s Biblioteca Briganti part of the museum complex of Santa Maria della Scala, and seeing the Views of Rome (including the Campo Marzio map) by Piranesi, antique guidebooks from Siena, and contemporary artists’ books of the Librartis collection, providing inspiration for students’ own alternative guidebook projects!  Many thanks to the library staff for being so helpful in welcoming our students to utilize the resources of their collection!

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Upcoming visit to Sator Print and the Briganti Library

Students are currently diving into the Guidebook project,  a response to a single location or a response to a path that they follow in & around Siena.  Specific themes to consider in the booklet response: multi-sensory materiality, site-specificity, alternative/non-touristic approaches, living heritage of artisans, connecting past to present.

We are looking forward to our trip on Thursday to visit Sator Print and Biblioteca Briganti.  We’ll have the chance to meet artisan Piergiorgio Bertolozzi and see his creations of calligraphy and book-binding at his studio Sator Print.


At the Briganti library we’ll explore references of historic and contemporary guidebooks, including the collection of “Librartis” contemporary artists’ books in many different formats, and the antique fold-out prints from Piranesi‘s “Views of Rome.”


Looking at students’ Tempo Zulu projects

Today we held a group critique to discuss the proposals students have created as a response to the Tempo Zulu project, site-specific interventions in the streets of Siena to bring contemporary perspectives to this historic center.  The critique was led by Bernardo Giorgi and Irene Lupi and some of our resident artists attended as well, contributing different points of view and valuable feedback.

Past meets present: exploring Tempo Zulu stones and meeting Sienese artisans

Led by instructors Bernardo Giorgi and Irene Lupi, our students explored past meeting present in Siena through a guided walk: discovering contemporary interventions in the streets of Siena through the “Tempo Zulu” project, and seeing how artisans carry out the heritage of local traditions of art and handicraft while also being part of contemporary culture.  In particular, we met the master stone-carver Emilio Frati and saw his current exhibition in the loggia of Gli Uniti.  We then visited the metal-smith studio of Laura Brocchi, which has been her family’s occupation for many generations!  Resident artist Honey Jones-Hughes was able to visit us for the walk as well.

Looking at first Fall 2019 Intro Unit Projects

Looking at our Fall 2019 students’ first projects, a great start to the semester at Siena Art Institute & Siena School for Liberal Arts!  In the “Walk of Destiny” students were asked to create a response to an unexpected path they followed to an unknown destination according to a coin toss game, embracing uncertainty and non-traditional paths.  Projects ranged from photography to poetry to drawings to botany and more!  Responses were discussed amongst our students, faculty, and visiting artists including Honey Jones-Hughes, Pamela Lawton, Carlos Estévez,  and the resident artist of the Fondazione Musei Senesi Fatlumi Doci.  A lot of interesting ideas, already looking forward to the next projects!


Visiting Palazzo Pubblico and Siena’s City Archives

This morning we had the chance to visit Siena’s City Hall (Palazzo Pubblico) and the City Archives as well.

In Palazzo Pubblico, we spoke about the structure, admired the view, and looked at the representations of the Allegories and Effects of Good and Bad Government in the remarkable fresco cycle by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (painted between 1338-1339.)

In the City Archives we saw the Biccherne tablets (a unique tradition in Siena’s artistic history) as well as records from the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, other antique books, maps, and scrolls and other highlights from their collections.

Thanks to Fatlum Doci, current resident artist of the Fondazione Musei Senesi, for joining us for the trip and sharing his photos!

Of course a visit to the archives wouldn’t be complete without admiring the view from the balcony!