the art monastery.

This article originally appeared on Josh Spear

In the immortal words of Sophia Petrillo…Picture it: Italy, 2008. In the green hillside of Calvi dell’Umbria sits a cherished 17th century Baroque convent. A group of artists, dedicated to their passion for finding new ways to communicate and collaborate, have come together to create, imagine, inspire and tend the walled garden that grows their food. At the end of the day, they meet together to sing a Gregorian chant before bedtime. Sounds a little too good to be true, doesn’t it?


This idyllic “life as art vision” is about to be realized by The Art Monastery Project. Soon Californian artist couple Peter Fülling and Betsy McCall will lead 30 artists to Italy and bring this dream to reality. Over the next few years they hope to build a community of artists and musicians, allowed to live in the monastery in exchange for renovating and caring for the property. Those retreating there, both visitors and long-term residents, will share a regular schedule (not unlike the convent’s former residents) designed to focus their minds and add fuel to their creative fires.

After searching 25 locations in Italy, there were formally invited by the Mayor of Calvi dell’Umbria to use the convent following a June 2007 visit of 30 artists that included a concert in the town’s oldest church, dancing in the piazza, and a great deal of wine.

McCall says their goal is to foster “an intentional community where the depth of collaboration and vitality of discussion produces genuinely transformative art.” Wow.

If it wasn’t for my lease (and job… and goldfish…), I’d be heading for the Alitalia terminal right now.


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