The residency at the Studio at Santa Maria a Rignana is an exciting new project and will be up and running in May 2015. We are emerging members of Res Artis the worldwide organization of art residencies. Our studio and residency will run mainly as a self directed artists’ retreat. However occasional tutor led workshops are also planned. The aim is to provide an opportunity for visual artists to work freely in a new context and beautiful location in the expectation that this will inspire new work.
Many artists work in relative isolation and the intention is to create an enjoyable and rewarding experience in which individual preferences are respected yet where there are plenty of opportunities for mutual learning. Residents are entirely free to decide whether they would like to collaborate actively with other artists in a joint or parallel project or to work alone.
The Tuscan countryside has fired the imagination of artists for centuries and continues to be a source of inspiration today. The cultivation of vines and olives continues but the community is no longer the homogeneous, rural one it once was. The residency takes place in the church and priest’s house which served the locality up until the 1960’s. It is now deconsecrated but this programme of residencies aims to create a new social space in the neighbourhood. We ask those who participate to engage with the particular history of the house and community and to think about the role of the artist might play in its future. To this end residents are expected to participate in open studio days and to discuss their work with visitors where this is possible.
Catherine Bercusson, who founded the residency at Rignana, will participate and work alongside the group during their stay and be on site to solve any problems that arise. It is her aim that artists enjoy their time at the studio and learn and benefit from each others experience and knowledge. To this end the organization of the residency is essentially a collective one without being prescriptive. Artists normally eat together when they are at home or in the studio and everyday tasks are shared (e.g. cooking, shopping, clearing up, care of the studio etc.). Should it be preferred a cook for the evening meal can be arranged. A cleaner comes once a week to clean collective spaces and laundry is changed weekly.
Catherine will arrange pick ups to and from the airport or railway station in Florence. On arrival rooms are allocated and there will be a short orientation to the residency. You will be warmly welcomed to a first evening meal and shown your space in the studio the following day.
As the house is in the country, transport needs to be organized. Catherine will be driving to the local town and make occasional trips to visit museums in Florence and Siena and you are more than welcome to join her. However there is no public transport and residents are advised to bring their own car or arrange a rental.
There is a popular restaurant in Rignana which brings people to the countryside, especially at weekends. Visitors can be expected to visit the church to view artists’ work and we hold occasional open studio on Sundays.
Visits to local artists studios and other residencies in the area to be arranged as and when.
The studio welcomes artists living in the surrounding area to join the residency on a weekly rental basis.