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C.R.E.T.A. Rome is an international center for ceramics and the visual arts that organizes artist residencies, relaunching the concept of the ‘Grand Tour’ to rediscover the immense cultural heritage that Rome represents. Co-founded as a non-profit organization by American art historian Lori-Ann Touchette with Italian sculptor Paolo Porelli, its name reflects the bilingual character of the center: “CRETA”, the Italian word for clay, combined with the English spelling of our city, “Rome”.
Located in the heart of the historical center, between the Capitoline Hill and the Jewish quarter, the main studio of CRETA Rome in the 16th-century Palazzo Delfini reflects the layering of the eternal city. Rising above the ruins of ancient Roman apartments, the building backs onto the Crypta Balbi Medieval museum. The 15th-century vaulted gallery space preserves the memory of St Ignatius who composed the rules of the Jesuits here. It also concealed and thus saved a Jewish family during the Holocaust.
The position of the studio in the historical center provides direct contact with Roman life. Time in the shared studio can be alternated with full immersion in the sites and museums of the city. A second studio in the countryside offers the possibility of reduction firing, collaborative projects, and for artists to be accompanied by their partner and/or family. This is a particularly good option for artists working on collaborative projects or who seek tranquility. Resident artists there can bring their spouses/companions and/or families. The nearby train station allows easy access to the city of Rome.
The acronym C.R.E.T.A. spells out our main activities: ceramics, residencies, exhibitions, teaching, and the arts. Ceramics animates the entire project, combining Paolo’s 30-year experience in functional and sculptural ceramics with the Lori-Ann’s academic approach. Paolo teaches, provides technical assistance and curates exhibitions. A specialist in sculpture and Rome through the 18th century, and modern/contemporary ceramic art critic, Lori-Ann administers the program and provides art-historical support.
The interdisciplinary program has hosted more than 200 resident artists from 25 countries and 5 continents since 2013. A selection committee composed of artists, art critics and historians carefully evaluates applicants based on their artistic experience, merit and project proposal. Emerging, mid-career and established artists converge on Rome for periods of 1-3 months.
Interaction with the local and international community is an important aspect of CRETA Rome’s mission. 8-10 exhibitions per year provide a forum for resident artists to present their work to the public as the culmination of their experience.
CRETA Rome has been chosen by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts as an NCECA International Residency Partner Program in 2015 and 2020. CRETA Rome has received funding from the Annenberg Foundation and the Lighton International Residency Exchange Program.
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