Montclair State University Presents “An Italian Sense of Place: Land and Identity”

Italian Festival celebrates Italian culture with exhibits, programs and events January - May

MONTCLAIR, NJ -- The Italian experience - in both Italy and America - will be the subject of an Italian Festival of the Arts and Humanities set to take place at Montclair State University January through May.

Bringing together artists, photographers, historians, literary scholars, architects, musicians, film critics and chefs from the United States and Italy, the Festival will be presented in and around Montclair State University locations including the George Segal Gallery. The Gallery is the location of the opening art exhibit on January 8 entitled "An Italian Sense of Place I - Works by Giuseppe Morandi and Micio, and Angelo Novi."

"One of the main goals of staging the Festival in New Jersey stems from the undeniable presence within New Jersey of people of Italian descent ," says Andrew Atkinson, associate professor, Montclair State University Department of Art and Design. "In fact, as of 2003 the population of New Jersey was estimated by the US Census Bureau as being 8.4 million, of which 1.6 million were of Italian heritage, the largest single group."

The opening exhibit at the George Segal Gallery and the companion exhibit, "An Italian Sense of Place II - Works by Luigi Ghirri, Franco Guerzoni and Nancy Goldring," which will open February 19, will feature the work of four internationally renowned artists and one American. Giuseppe Morandi (along with his collaborator Micio) and Angelo Novi form the first photographic documentary show, and Luigi Ghirri, Franco Guerzoni, and the American, Nancy Goldring, form the second.

Drawing from the arts and humanities, the Italian Festival offers a depth of rich programming with experts from both Italy and the United States. Following is a sampling of scheduled programs:

Photography January 29: A Symposium, "Photography and Cinema in Post-War Italy." Speakers include Paolo Barbaro and Claudia Cavatorta, University of Parma; Victoria de Grazia, Columbia University and the European University in Fiesole; Stefano Albertini, New York University and director of the Casa Italiana Zerilli- Marimo.

Theater February 7-10: "Hey, Girl," from the Societas Raffaello Sanzio, directed by legendary avant-garde film director, Romeo Castellucci.

Film Beginning in February: lectures and screenings will feature films by Federico Fellini ("Amarcord," February 19, 7 p.m.), Michelangelo Antonioni ("Il Grido," February 21, 5:30 p.m.), and Roberto Rossellini ("Paisa," March 31, 5:30 p.m.) and the innovative "Billo il grand dakhaar," on April 8 at 7 p.m. directed by Laura Muscardin.

Architecture February 5: "An Italian Architect in America - Architecture in Italy and its Relationship to Landscape" featuring architect Umberto Squarcia, David Grahame Shane, Columbia University and William Menking, editor of Architect's Newspaper and architectural historian.

HistoryFebruary 7 at 10 a.m.: A Panel: "The Italian Odyssey through Ellis Island and Beyond" featuring author B. Amore, Pellegrino D'Acierno, author and professor of Italian and comparative literature at Hofstra University; Edvige Aiunta, author and professor at New jersey City University; Joseph Sciorra, author and professor at Queens College.

Food Lectures, demonstrations and sampling will feature food and techniques of Italian-American cuisine with author Louise De Salvo (February 27 at 6 p.m.), Jewish Italian cuisine with author Doris Schechter (April 2 at 6 p.m.) and Northern Italian cuisine (April 30 at 6 p.m.) with Donatella Gorreri.

Literature February 16 at 2:30 p.m.: "Italian Impressions: An Afternoon with Three American Poets," featuring Rosanna Warren, Karl Kirchwey and Robert Hahn, moderated by Wallis Wilde-Menozzi, co-sponsored by Watchung Booksellers and hosted by the Montclair Public Library. March 27 at 3 p.m. - University of Verona author and professor Rita Severi discusses mystery writing in Italy.

Music April 3 at 7:30 p.m.: "The Splendor of Italian Music under the Star of David" featuring Jewish Italian composers performed by the Ensemble Salomone Rossi of the Milan Verdi Conservatory.

The Italian Festival of the Arts and Humanities, "An Italian Sense of Place: Land and Identity," has been organized by the Montclair State University's Global Education Center, George Segal Art Gallery, Department of Art and Design, John J. Cali School of Music, Spanish/Italian Department, History Department, Health and Nutrition Sciences Department and The Joseph and Elda Coccia Institute.

Funding and support have been provided by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in part from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding was provided by The Joseph & Elda Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America and Whole Foods Market, Montclair. Artwork is provided by the artists and Cineteca Bologna, Fotografia Italiana and Biblioteca Panizzi.

Photo Credit: copyright Angelo Novi with the kind permission of Bernardo Bertolucci from the collection of the Cineteca Bologna. Digital images of selected artwork are available upon request.

For a complete list of participants and events, visit

Released: January 7, 2008