Bringing the Talent to you

Tuscan Arts Week
During these lazy, hot Italian summer days, holiday - makers can be seen relaxing on sun drenched beaches, or idily chatting or reading by the pool, taking time to sip long cool drinks and occasionally treating themselves to a delicious gelato.
The evenings however tend to be a little more energetic. After eating al fresco, (nothing starts before 9pm) there is a veritable feast of cultural and artistic events and activities to be found just about everywhere in Tuscany, and none more so than in the province of Lucca.
For jazz lovers, there are the free Friday evening concerts in the beautiful Botanical Gardens, and the Jazz and Wine Festival in nearby Montecarlo; or there are the Lucca and Barga Festivals, recitals, opera and theatre staged both in and out doors. Of course we mustn’t forget the sagras; a wonderful opportunity to join in the village fun, whilst sampling the local homemade Tuscan cuisine and dancing the night away, often with a local band. The list is endless.

In the village of Bagni di Lucca, inspirational local Italian/American artist, Morena Guanaschelli has organized a Tuscan Arts Week. Morena is the driving force behind an Arts Association, which she has founded to encourage local expats Artists to use their talents, alongside Italians for the benefit of the community.
The week began on 7 July at the Teatro Accademico with the presentation of the great Italian poet Mario Lena’s twentieth book, followed by the inauguration of paintings, sculptures and photographs at the nearby Regina Hotel by seven local artists, both events of course being accompanied by food and wine!
Yorkshire sculptress Maureen Halson trained with the sculpture Bruno Lucchesi, and on her return to England created porcelain figurines for Royal Doulton, Wedgewood and Royal Worcester. She now lives and works in the area.
Morena’s delicate and exquisite water - colours show her passion for this subject.
American artist, Frances Petitt spends a few months each year in his studio in the hills and donated these attractive water-colours.
Carla Guidi, one of the Italian artists represented, is also a journalist and writer. She lives and works in Rome but each year returns to the village she loves to see friends and take part in Arts events.
Scottish born artist Jenny Macintosh works in oils and is seen here with Italian Angelo Paionni, who like Carla, works and lives in Rome.

Apart from also organizing courses in photography and painting during the week, all proceeds of which go to the charity, Morena has been the main force behind the extemporaneous painting competition and lunch which took place the following day at the Parco Villa Fiori in Ponte a Serraglio under the umbrella of the Italian society, Borgo degli Artisti.
This was a very enjoyable event, and would be artists of all ages could be seen scattered along the banks of the River Lima and along the windy roads that lead up to the Terme, completely absorbed in their own creations.

Local villagers set up their own craft stalls and the Arts group took this opportunity to sell African goods provided by the charity.
While Roger Federer was producing once more his genius brand of tennis on the green turf of Wimbledon to the accompaniment of pouring rain, we sat in the shade, thankful to be out of the melting heat whilst the many paintings were put on display, ready to be judged.
The Arts Week ends on Saturday, 14 July with the second annual poetry competition to be held at the Terme, and has entries from Italians and English speaking Stranieri. The Lima valley has over the years become known as the Valley of the Poets. The Romantic poets, Shelley, Byron and Browning spent time there, as did other famous writers and composers, like Dumas, Paganini and Puccini, all relaxing, writing and taking the waters. It is good to see that Artists from other countries and cultures are still drawn to this beautiful valley, and that together with their Italian neighbours, their passion for the Arts continues to flourish and inspire a new generation.