artist in residence
Studio Verde self-directed Artist in residence program offers Artists a space where they can interact with the landscape. The mission is to provide artists and writers an environment where they can work on their own projects inspired by the land, with an emphasis on conservation ecology. During our three week ART & ECOLOGY program artists will be led by a team of experts in botany, entomology and zoology. This program is situated in the green heart of Umbria surrounded by centuries old chestnut groves, oak tree woodlands, and panoramic views of the central Apennine mountains. The house is at the foothills of the Amarini mountains, with trails that take you straight up to the peak of Monte Croce di Serra (994 m. above sea-level).
Medieval villages of Toscolano, Santa Restituta and Melezzole are all walking distance from the house. Since the middle ages, when Benedictine monks made use of them, the chestnut has been an important economic resource for this area. In the 13th century this area became well known for the production of chestnut, chestnut flour and timber.
Only a short 20 minute walk from the house through olive groves and chestnut forests is Grotta Bella, a cave which holds significant archaeological importance. In the 1970 excavations showed evidence of the presence of man from the Neolithic to the Roman age. In 2020 archaeologists began working on a new excavation and have discovered new cavities, opening up investigation that is continuing to this day.
Nearby is the Fossil Forest of Dunarobba. Considered a unique paleontological site, the trees remaining in this mummified forest are more than two million years old. Formed during latest Pliocene to early Pleistocene, 2.5 million years ago, the trees show an unusual fossilisation: totally insulated by clay, the trunks were preserved and mummified. The fossil forest is composed of more than 50 specimens.
studio & accommodation
Residents are provided a double bedroom. 24 hour access to the conservatory studio attached to the side of the house. With three glass walls the studio is full of natural light with expansive views of the oak tree forests and hills. The rest of the house is a communal working space where they are free to spread out and work how they wish. This 300 year old cottage has a pretty wooden patio with spectacular views, a large comfortable living room with an eclectic library and a bright and sunny kitchen on the ground floor. On the top floor, accessible from stairs outside the house, are two double bedrooms, a living room with fireplace, small second kitchen and bathroom.
Trips to local villages, archaeological sites and lakes can be arranged.
Introduction to local natural mineral and plant pigments and inks is also available. Outside of the structured ART & ECOLOGY residency local specialists on botany, entomology and zoology are subject to availability - however depending on the residents project during a self directed stay it maybe possible to collaborate with them in the field.
The house is nestled at the bottom of the hills, surrounded by chestnut and oak forests in the Avigliano Umbro district, in the province of Terni. It is an hours train from Roma Termini (Central Rome) to Narni Amelia where Artists will be collected and driven 30 minutes to the house.
Founder/ executive director
Maisie McNeice is an interdisciplinary artist working in printmaking, drawing, installation and botanical illustration. Much of her work has a deep connection with science and nature and is crafted using foraged natural materials. She makes her own mineral pigments and inks from rocks, clays and plants, and incorporates organic structures, human artefacts, and animal track impressions in her installations.
The integration of art and science is central to her artistic practice. She has spent years at biological research stations in the African and South American wilderness, seeking to shed light on the subtle forms, networks and patterns found throughout nature. By collecting discarded objects, plants, natural pigments, tracks, and insects, she gains a deep understanding of the constituents of habitats and how they fit together in harmony.
2021 she was awarded a conservation fellowship with ACEER and is now part of Amazon Aid Foundations program for Artists for the Amazon.
She is driven by the power of minutia and fleeting communications across space. This could be the olfactory and pheromonal messages dispersed by wind and rain; the animal tracks that leave behind brief histories before being deformed or eroded; or the story of habitat destruction told through the accumulation of toxins in flora and fauna. She is drawn to these entangled narratives, and want to illuminate complex networks through her artistic expression.