July 26, 2016

Kathleen Gerdon Archer
July, 2015

More than anything else my time in Italy at ACRV gave me a chance to be anonymous. I was seeking a way out of my “everyday” and looking for a new direction for my work. Walking down a street, shopping for food and sitting in a park without the possibility of encountering a single soul I knew gave me space to reflect on what my life and work mean to me.

I knew only the person who accompanied me and only the most basic words of Italian. The pleasure of working every day until I felt like stopping was heavenly. Looking out my window at the medieval, flower-filled piazza belowI would smile at my good fortune.

Upon arrival, our host Eva took us on a tour of the beautiful town of Viterbo introducing us to the grocer, the baker and other local shopkeepers. Eva speaks little English but google translator helped with that. She invited us to the home of a friend whose English helped us to navigate any larger issues that arose. Internet service was intermittent and a blessing we came to love.

The living quarters were simple, comfortable and clean. We each had a small private room and bath. Across this same building we shared a large open studio space with expansive light-filled windows and beautiful views of the town.

No one residency program will fit every person. The ACRV artist must be flexible, independent and possess a spirit for adventure. Viterbo has a train and bus system that makes all of Italy accessible but it is the local communities that offer exceptional views and inspiration without the need for overnight accommodations. Bagnioreggio, Bagnia and Orvieto are spectacular and a simple day trip away. ACRV has resonated through my work and my thoughts ever since I left. The work I began there continues and grows because of the great gift I was given, the gift of time.