On an island filled with ancient wonders, vibrant culture and amazing people, brilliant and breathtaking little towns abound. Amongst these wonderful towns, Cianciana holds a special spot. Cianciana has had, over the years, its share of the same difficulties that all Sicilian towns face – high unemployment, the world wide recession, young people leaving to find work elsewhere in Italy and around the world, disappearing language and, to a lesser extent, culture. But, in spite of all these ubiquitous problems, Cianciana has managed to stay a vibrant and exciting town and much of this has to do, I believe, with the amazing talents and commitment of its residents, both Ciancianesi and stranieri.
One of these people is British contractor, Scott Thompson. Scott came to Cianciana about seven years ago and has thoroughly embraced Sicily. Scott is the kind of guy with ‘big picture’ thinking. Devoted to his new home, one can hear Scott’s ideas both from him and in conversation with others in Cianciana. These exciting ideas show his passion for helping Cianciana become the best possible village that it can be.
Some time ago, Scott came up with an idea to create an artists’ residency right in Cianciana and now, it seems, this vision is about to be realized.
Recently, Scott answered a few questions about Passareddu.
Who originally came up with the idea? How did the idea come about?
The idea was mine originally but it has certainly grown since, I discovered art whilst living in Sicily, for the first time in my life I had the headspace to get creative and the surroundings to inspire. Sicily has one of the longest heritages of art in the world and attracts many artists from all over the world; it also grows more than its fair share of talent. This is why I wanted to create a place where artists can come together, work and tell their stories.
What is your vision / mission statement?
We would like to create an Eco-friendly and up-cycled environment where artists and “creatives” can come together to work, exhibit collaborate and find inspiration. We hope to integrate art and nature by creating gardens and agricultural parts, which everyone can come get involved in.
Well, shipping containers are in abundance and using them means we are re-cycling structures. They are also super flexible in that we can arrange them in various ways depending on the artists’ needs and as we grow we can adapt them. They are also really secure so people can leave equipment and art inside without worrying. We have some fantastic designs for how we want to convert them to make some great spaces.
Was it difficult to get the town on side?
The town were all for it from day one, getting them to put their hands in their pockets and support it financially is another matter, but they do see how it will be a great thing for the town. I mean lets face it art lover or not I think everyone can agree that art is an important and valuable part to culture.
Who makes up your team and what do they bring to the table?
Olivia is our president and a passionate amateur photographer; Marta is an educator and works with films and documentaries; Fabrizio is a talented film and documentary maker and produced our indiegogo movie; Hilary is a passionate artist and cook; David is a craftsman able to make pretty much anything; Dave is a talented illustrator and designer and has travelled the world; Clarette is passionate about agriculture and nature; and I (Scott), well, I love art and am a pretty passionate amateur artist but more than this I have great friends who share a dream that is Passareddu.
When is the grand opening and what will that look like?
The grand opening will be on the 26th of July this year providing we raise the funds. We will host 3 artists back to back who will work from one of our studios; they will also hold workshops and exhibitions. Aside from the artists we will have a few concerts and public events, which should draw in the crowds.
Have there been any bumps or roadblocks along the way?
We had to deal with some permission for the land from the commune and the forestry commission but both are very encouraging of our cause and have been great in helping. We also have an architect and a geologist whom have offered their services to help get through the paperwork mine field as quickly as possible.
Mario Amari and Antonio Palminteri are both internationally known local artists. Antonio has just finished an exhibition in Brussels and Mario currently is exhibiting in Agrigento with 5 incredible artists. Walter Hugo an incredibly talented street artist from London has created his own unique brand of art and will be coming to do a series in Sicily where he has a place soon. Movana Chen, Elizabeth Breil, and Diane Huntoon come to us from Hong Kong where they live and work, when not in their places in Cianciana.
To see more about Passareddu, Watch their video below:
or visit their Facebook page at: