As many of you are aware Enza Quargnali, founder of La Romita School, has been absent from La Romita this year in body, while fighting a battle with an illness that she calls the beast.  But she is winning this battle and her spirit has been present every day in this beautiful old monastery that is, perhaps most of all, a monument to her determination and her love of art.  She is in the prayers of all who love this place…and in daily phone conversations with all of us here at La Romita this summer.

Our good friends at Ball State University began the summer with the energy and verve that always accompanies this group of twenty young art students and their amazing professors, Scott Anderson and David Hannon. The walls were ringing with enthusiasm and dedication…and covered with wild, inspired art. Next, Fritz Kapraun, professor from University of North Carolina, brought a group of his followers.  His sense of humor and eye for painting locations kept everyone on their toes…and in great spirits.  Fritz returns to teach in June 2014.

The amazing Katherine Brimberry from Flatbed Press (Austin, Texas), along with Susie Davidoff, brought a group of print-makers who made use of Enza’s printmaking studio in the casetta in the lower building of the monastery.  They used non-toxic chemicals and solar-plate techniques to beautiful effect.

We also had wonderful visits this summer from the families of the sisters, Enza and Paola Quargnali.  Amina Quargnali-Diehl, the daughter of La Romita co-founder Paola Quargnali, came with her two children Cameron and Gabriella, while her brother Alessandro Quargnali-Linsley, Paola’s son, came with his wife Joanna and daughter Daniella.  Francesca Calisti-Benson spent most of her summer next door to La Romita in her ancestral home with her son Giulio, Enza’s grandson.  All came to better understand the workings of La Romita School, cementing their commitment to work toward keeping the School active in its mission of art and cultural exchange for generations into the future.  Amina and Sandro, along with Enza and Ben’s son Lars Benson, spent large parts of their youth here, where they played with childhood friend and down-the-hill neighbor Francesca: the families, in fact, have known each other for five generations!  It sounds complicated but it was fun to watch them share their stories with us and explore the wonders of the place with the ragazzini (kids) of the next generation.

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