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The Virginio Ferrari Contemporary Arts Center will become the official active museum of the renowned sculptor Virginio Ferrari. Inspired from Virginio’s belief “that it is time to consider how fast things disappear and to become more aware of making art to live with”, the nonprofit art organization will function to educate the public of his extensive work in the field of contemporary sculpture and public art, while also seeking to be an active organization in the production or new public art projects, exhibition art programming, and community based initiatives that connect his adoptive home and motherland.
Since immigrating to Chicago from Verona in the 60s, Ferrari established a collaborative openness to work with international artists, architects, scholars, galleries and students creating opportunities in both his adopted city and native land through his studio spaces, academic and civic institutions and corporations.
Inspired by this connection to Italy and the desire to create new modes of reflection and production in Chicago, the Virginio Ferrari Contemporary Art Center would create initiatives ranging from workshops, happenings and exhibitions, creatively bridging Italy and Chicago to inaugurate projects where artists, scholars and students collaborate to engage with the public and revitalize ideas and spaces.
It is this profound connection to a tradition that is tied to form, material and meaning within a contemporary context in which the center would serve as beacon for the neighborhood and an arch for the city.
The University of Chicago currently holds six monumental Ferrari sculptures throughout their Hyde Park campus. An additional two monumental outdoor sculptures are in public parks in Hyde Park as well. With this public collection of works, Virginio’s prior teaching history with the University, and the Ferrari family connection and activity in Hyde Park and surrounding areas the center would become an important asset for the University of Chicago and other south-side institutions that the center would seek creative partnerships with.
Goals & Objectives
– Develop an active studio and museum to create contemporary art exhibitions, artworks and to permanently exhibit Virginio Ferrari’s sculptures through the care and maintenance of an established institution
– Locate a building or site for sale that will become a space to house and exhibit Virginio Ferrari’s artworks and archive, while creating the opportunity for new works to be developed in the coming years
– Create a bridge between the studio space in Chicago with his studio in Guardistallo, Italy for artistic and cultural exchanges between both countries and cultures allowing for artists to learn from each other and inspire new approaches to art
– Provide a space for the community to gather, workshop and learn
Proposed Site Assets
– The Arts Center is proposed to be in proximity to the University of Chicago Campus
– The Greater Hyde Park Area boasts extensive reinvestment dollars including the Obama Presidential Library and the new Green Line Arts Center
– The Arts Center can benefit with it’s proximity and connectivity to the South Side Museum Campus
– Washington Park and Jackson Park are becoming destination areas for the City
– There is easy access to public transportation including two CTA train lines, a Metra line and express bus service from downtown
– The area is served by a both the Dan Ryan and Lakeshore Drive, major transportation arteries in the city
Location & Space
– An existing building or vacant lot with an outdoor area for a sculpture garden
– Located in the Greater Hyde Park Area
– Includes workshop, flexible gallery space and dedicated museum space
– Possible sites include existing greystones, industrial or commercial buildings or a series of vacant lots for new construction
– Includes opportunities for cultural exchange and education through activities and providing live/work opportunities for emerging artists
– An important component of the project is for the space to be active within the community, offering exhibition spaces, lecture and workshop space for local residents and the larger arts community