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All Families Can Afford This FREE Exhibit at Arte Italia

When I wrote the book “100 Things to Do in Reno Before You Die,” I wrote about “Thing” #77, arte italia, almost entirely from the perspective of their culinary arts programs — a few times a year, the downtown destination invites revered visiting chefs to cook for lucky attendees in the super-cool mansion’s state-of-the-art kitchen. (This, by the way, is the kind of kitchen we moms love to drool over, I should add.)

These cooking events are on a lottery system, meaning lots of people apply for the ability to attend — but not all get to go. It’s a cross-your-fingers-and-hope-hope-HOPE experience, because those who win this lottery have the incredible opportunity to learn from some of the world’s best chefs.

Enrico Pasquali "Children, outskirts of Comacchio"
Enrico Pasquali
“Children, outskirts of Comacchio” 
Emilia-Romagna, 1955
© Archivio Enrico Pasquali

But there’s an experience ALL can have at arte italia that doesn’t involve luck or a lottery: The cultural center hosts regular exhibits highlighting Italian arts and culture, and just a few weeks ago, they opened their newest exhibit: an internationally acclaimed photographic journey called “NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy, 1932–1960.”

Not only can all visit and witness these compelling images capturing the faces of Italy as it rebuilt after World War II — but everyone can do it for free during their Friday-through-Sunday exhibit hours! I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for engaging history lessons that don’t break the bank (especially during school breaks!).

Plus, it turns out this is an opportunity not many in the U.S. have had: “NeoRealismo” toured Europe to incredible reviews and then traveled to New York University’s Grey Art Gallery. Now exclusively sponsored by the E. L. Wiegand Foundation, “NeoRealismo” has exhibited at the Museo Italo Americano in San Francisco — and now at arte italia in Reno.

It took exhibit curator Enrica Viganò a decade to collect the 110 prints — primarily vintage photographs; many are paired with the original magazines, photobooks, and newspapers in which they circulated. These are curated from private collections.

Enzo Sellerio "Palermo, Via S. Agostino" Palermo, 1960 © Archivio Enzo Sellerio
Enzo Sellerio
“Palermo, Via S. Agostino”
Palermo, 1960
© Archivio Enzo Sellerio

“NeoRealismo” will be on display until the end of December, but I have lots of mom friends who are planning to hit it early to take advantage of the lessons around art, journalism, politics and world history. Plus, arte italia has created a scavenger hunt that provides a great launch point for discussion. I plan to customize this to my kids’ ages on my own, just to see if they can identify a few prominent themes from this international exhibit. (Fingers crossed!)

So if you’re a homeschooling mom, a parent looking to enhance your kids’ understanding of international history or just a mom looking for a free afternoon date with the hubby or boyfriend that involves a world-traveling photographic exhibit, might I suggest arte italia?

But of course, you’ll also want to add your name to their email list (at the bottom of this page) so you can enter the next lottery, too. Because someone has to win these cross-your-fingers-and-hope-hope-HOPE experiences. Might as well be you!


NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy, 1932 – 1960

On view at arte italia:
September 27 – December 29, 2019
442 Flint Street in the former Hardy House

Gallery hours:
Friday through Sunday, 12 to 5 PM

Free of charge


About Mikalee Byerman

Mikalee Byerman
Voted "Best Creative Writer" in 2018 by readers of the Reno News & Review, Mikalee Byerman will henceforth be talking about this distinction ad nauseam because it's the first and only popularity contest this former buck-toothed nerd has ever won in her life. She is a humor essayist whose highly controversial blog, Me 2.0, has been featured on the Huffington Post and TIME Magazine's websites. Her writing also has appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, Southwest Spirit Magazine and Alaska Airlines Magazine. Her debut book — 100 Things to Do in Reno Before You Die — was published last year by Reedy Press. During the day, she is VP of Strategy for the Estipona Group. Oh, and her name rhymes with "prickly fireman," though FYI, she's neither prickly nor a fireman.

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