News

Second-graders in Perugia and Seattle learn more about each other’s history

SPSCA has an exciting educational outreach project underway developed by board member Marylin Bard. The project is focused on building awareness and fostering a greater understanding between diverse cultures, histories and geographic regions. Participants are second-graders at Collodi Elementary in Perugia and the John Stanford International School in Seattle.

Last fall, Bard explored Northwest Coast Native American history with students at Perugia’s Collodi Elementary. She shared stories, songs and legends and allowed the children to examine miniature Native objects created just for this project, such as baskets and wood carvings.

She also talked about the significance of Sister Orca, a 26-foot bronze orca fin created by well-known local Native artist Marvin Oliver, who is also Bard’s brother. SIster Orca was installed in Perugia nine years ago as a symbol of our sister-city friendship.

In Seattle, John Stanford second-grade teacher Karol Franz (left, shown with Bard who is holding an image of Sister Orca) incorporated information about both sister cities into her social studies units.

The students looked at photos and talked about the similarities and differences between the cities. Both classes exchanged letters and drawings, helping each child to personalize the exchange.

Bard is returning to Perugia this fall to continue the educational outreach.

Teaching the teachers: SPSCA helps with English proficiency

Recently Italy passed a rule requiring that high school seniors must take one of their subject matter classes in English. The problem is that the English language skills of the subject matter teachers are not strong enough to teach a class entirely in English.

Seattle-Perugia to the rescue! Leslie Keller, SPSCA president, and Jo Ellen Hathaway, a teacher at Seattle’s Roosevelt High School, spent three weeks in May helping 24 teachers at Perugia’s Scientific High School Galileo Galilei improve their English.

The lessons focused on listening, speaking and pronunciation. Fifty-minute morning sessions, devoted primarily to listening, involved smaller groups of teachers who all taught the same subject. In the afternoons, a combined three-hour class with all the teachers included a variety of fun activities focused on pronunciation, listening and speaking.

It was a very rewarding project for the two Seattle volunteers. “One of the most heartfelt experiences came during a listening activity that included Simon and Garfunkel’s song, Bridge Over Troubled Water,” said Keller. “After reviewing the lyrics and discussing their meaning, the teachers sang the entire song in unison, not once but three times, at full voice and with heartfelt emotion. After the first rendition, Jo Ellen commented that teachers in Seattle would never sing so spontaneously in a large group like that. We were both moved to tears and were left with memories we will never forget.”

Member event for ceramics exchange artist on June 23

Join us for an artist talk on Friday, June 23 at 7 p.m. at Pottery Northwest. It will be your opportunity to meet Qing Qu, the second recipient of the de Poi Award exchange program, sponsored in part by SPSCA.

The evening begins with light refreshments at 7 p.m., followed by a presentation by Qing, who will talk about her creative process, her residency at Pottery Northwest, and her first-ever visit to United States. It will also be a chance to tour the galleries and studio areas of Pottery Northwest and meet some of the local ceramic arts community.

Qing, a ceramic arts student in Perugia, was born in 1990 in Henan, China. She was chosen by a panel from the prestigious Accademia delle Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts) in a blind selection process. Qing arrived in Seattle on June 10 and is being hosted by staff and friends of Pottery Northwest. Her presentation will be in Italian with an English interpreter provided.

The de Poi program, started in 2016, honors Alviero Moretti (1933-2010), founder of the Moretti ceramic studio and the Ceramic Foundation. The two sister cities alternate hosting a ceramic artist for three weeks each year.

We hope to see you at this artist presentation on June 23. Pottery Northwest is located at 226 1st Avenue N, Seattle WA 98109.

More than 40 members turn out for SIFF film

We had an amazing turnout for the 43rd annual Seattle International Film Festival where the SPSCA-sponsored film, “The Truth About Love Is…” was very well-received. More than 40 of our members joined us for drinks and snacks at Triumph Bar on Sat., June 3, followed by the screening at the SIFF Uptown Cinema.

Still jet-lagged from his flight from Milan, Italian director Max Croci joined us at Triumph Bar before the film screening. At the theatre, Croci welcomed movie-goers at the beginning of the film and then spent about 20 minutes after the film answering questions. He began in  advertising before switching to cinema, and has directed more than 20 short films.This is his third feature film in as many years.

“The Truth About Love Is…” is a very snappy light comedy that follows the life of a multitasking mother Dora as she tries to juggle a job and two children after breaking up with her boyfriend of seven years Davide. As Croci explained, the film is based on the true story of a blogger, Enrica Tesio, who worked through her grief after a relationship break-up by blogging about it. Tesio turned the blog into a book and producer Guglielmo Marchetti optioned it for a film. The film does not yet have a US distributor.

SIFF’s film festival, the largest in North America, runs through June 11.

Exchange artist coming to Seattle in June

The de Poi Award artist exchange program is heading into its second year. In June, ceramic artist Qing Qu will travel to Seattle as the second recipient.

The exchange brings together ceramic artists from  Pottery Northwest, the Northwest’s premier pottery facility, with artists from the prestigious Accademia delle Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts) in Perugia. The two cities alternate hosting one artist for three weeks each summer.

Qing, a student at the Accademia, was chosen by a panel of artists and art educators in a blind selection process in Perugia. “Art is a way of expressing myself and showing my interior world to others,” she said. “I chose to participate in the de Poi Award because I needed new stimulation and also because it was an international artistic competition. I expect this experience will help me grow not only as an artist but also as a person.” A sample of her distinctive work is seen below.

Last year’s recipient was Seattle resident Myra Kaha who traveled to Italy to work at the Moretti ceramics studio in Deruta, outside Perugia.

The artist exchange program honors Alviero Moretti (1933-2010), founder of  the Moretti ceramic studio and the Ceramic Foundation. The exchange is supported by Chiara de Poi; Pottery Northwest; Accademia delle Belle Arti; Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association and its cohort Perugia-Seattle Sister City Association; Moretti Foundation; and City of Perugia.