In 2014 an ambitious and innovative project was born. Its target is to revitalise a wounded territory and to create a space for art where it is more difficult and less expected to be found. This project is called “Off Site Art” and the territory we are speaking about is L’Aquila, Italy, where contemporary art definitely seems to be ‘out of place’.

Many emerging artists have been selected to occupy, with their most interesting works, the hundreds of scaffoldings that connote a myriad of construction sites all around the city centre. The aim is to create a proper open-air art gallery that can be easily admired while taking a walk down the principal, and otherwise semi-deserted, streets of the town. Each work will remain exposed and cover the scaffoldings until the reconstruction of the designated buildings is concluded. It will be as if, in a symbolical way, art would have guided the city towards its rebirth.

By the 9th of last July, the first artists called out to participate in the project finished their works. Over 300 emerging artists from all over the world took part in it and more than 1200 images have been evaluated and consequently selected by a specific committee composed of Ida Panicelli, Cecilia Alemani, Cecilia Guida and Giuseppe Lignano.

At present, Off Site Art is really still in the making as it slowly takes form. The aim is not to run away from reality, all at once, but to substitute the omnipresent scaffoldings with a brilliant artistic form that could be of inspiration towards the building of a new city and future full of opportunities. We can already admire works by Federica Peyrolo, Carmen Mitrotta, Daniele Daviti, Arianna Lodeserto and Antonella Finucci, housed near Piazza Regina Margherita and Corso Vittorio Emanuele; at the same time they’re setting up Pietro Del Bianco and Iacopo Paqui works. And it’s only the beginning.

The initiative All Site Arts is a project conceived by ArtBridge especially for L’Aquila. ArtBridge is a not-for-profit organisation, connected to the public art of New York, whose main target is to transform the unsightly enclosures situated all over the town into unusually big, white canvases, which emerging artists can use to exhibit a blown-up copy of their works. Thus ArtBridge offers to each participating artist an unprecedented visibility.

ArtBridge brings art out of the usual contexts, encouraging debates around contemporary art and getting people closer to culture, with the idea that this represents one of the best ways to create a powerful social fabric and to transform simple public areas in welcoming spaces. Their latest project was Another New York, during the construction of the Barclays Center, a new stadium located in Brooklyn, NY.

A meeting between Rodney Durso, founder of ArtBridge, Veronica Santi, curator at Off Site Art, and a small group of citizens from L’Aquila, has made it possible to import this ground-breaking approach to art and to realise an ArtBridge project outside US for the first time; a unique occasion for the town of L’Aquila and its surroundings to be in the cultural forefront and to obtain international exposure.

Fabiana Aloisi

Fabiana Aloisi (b. !990) is currently studying towards a BA in Philosophy. Reading countless books is the activity that shaped her childhood and made her passionate about writing. Fabiana is working to build a career in journalism: in 2014 she won the writing prize ‘Montesilvano Scrive’ with her short novel ‘Via dei Salici n 12’. She is co-founder of the independent webzine ‘NEONZINE’ and regularly contributes to ‘Papier’.

Images courtesy of Fabiana Aloisi

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