Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ARCA Farewell Party

My brother has made it safely to Amelia! While he is sleeping on the couch, I've decided to upload some memorable moments from the ARCA Farewell Party at a villa. There was a pool, delicious dinner, and good friends. Tonight we will have another farewell party for me with my Italian friends and the best pizza ever (from Porcelli, of course!) and "un jam session."

I'm not sure what's going on in this last photo, but I thought it was so funny! It was actually a bigger picture of everyone at the pool, but when I saw it looked like Michelle was jumping into the pool, I had to zoom in a crop! Click on the picture to make it bigger and check it out! It's funny!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Orvieto and Pseudo Graduation

Saturday night was the last terrace party, dubbed the "Triple Crown Get-Down." Before hand, Emilia invited a bunch of her school friends over for a dinner party. It was wonderful getting to meet more Italian girls my age! I made some new friendships, and we all enjoyed some delicious Italian cooking and a night of music, dancing, and (of course) endless vino.

Triple Crown Get-Down with Tess, professor of Cultural Property Law

On Sunday night, I went with the usual Italian group to Orvieto for an Italian folk concert. Since I hadn't been yet, I was very excited to see the town and the cathedral, which is absolutely breathtaking and MASSIVE. I swear we stood and looked at it for half an hour, and even they were taking pictures, and they live here full time. See for yourself:

Orvieto at night

Here you see where the concert was. The neon lights = the stage

One of my very favorite songs goes, "ciao bella, ciao bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!" It's so much fun to go and sing and dance at these concerts! We also ate some apple donuts that were like actual rings of real apple inside of donuts and covered with powdered sugar. Delicious!

Today we had class with Tess and Noah. We learned a lot about working organizations and different conferences in the field of art crime. We also got to talk a little bit about our dissertations that we will all be working on this fall and resources that will be available to us in the future. It's all so very exciting! Then, we were surprised with a brief pseudo graduation ceremony. We got certificates that state the completion of 300 hours of graduate level classes, and once we finish our dissertations (assuming they meet the standards) we will receive our diplomas via mail. Next summer, they will have the ARCA conference on Forgery and Deception (as we had to replace that course because of Travis McDade's unavailability) so that we can return for the conference and even maybe present papers ourselves and have a more formal graduation ceremony then.

One really awesome thing about ARCA is that we are able to attend any class in the program for the rest of our lives (or the life of ARCA) free of charge! This means if they have new subjects, new teachers, or I just want a refresher course, I can always come back and check it out without a hefty expense. YAY! So if anyone wants to come to Italy with me next July, start saving now!

Receiving my certificate from Noah!

We have one more day of class with Tess tomorrow, and the end of the year party has been moved to tomorrow night because it is more convenient for everyone. That will be my last villa pool/dinner party of the summer! :-( And then my brother arrives on Wednesday to start our tour of Italy! Watch for exciting stories and pictures from that adventure.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Another Media Mention

You can find reproductions or excerpts from the NY Times article on the ARCA course all over the internet, and in many languages. However, it's gaining enough attention to be mentioned casually in passing in regards to the world of art crime. Check out another article where we are spoken of! Go ARCA!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Brief Update

Travis McDade, who was going to teach Forgery and Deception, was unfortunately unable to make it due to a last minute back injury.

We have started Museum Security classes with Anthony Amore of the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum (where the biggest heist of the last century has taken place) and it's wonderful! He's such a fun character and very laid back, but extremely professional and knowledgeable. I'm really enjoying his class and getting to know him on a more personal level.

Because of the last minute change in schedule, we luckily get Sunday off (YAY!) as well as next Wednesday, which would have been the very last day of the program. This is wonderful because my brother gets in that morning, so we have the whole day to do whatever we like! We will leave the next morning for Venice, hitting up Bologna and Padua briefly along the way. After a couple days staying on the beaches in Venice-Lido, it's off to a fancy (yet affordable!) hotel in Rome, from which we will take day excursions to Naples and Pompeii (fingers crossed!).

Then on the 31st it's back to the States! I'm so excited to come home. That day also happens to be my nephew Giovanni's first birthday! I can't wait to celebrate and give him some Italian presents.

Once I get home, I will be very busy with the Miss Washington pageant where I will give up my title over Labor Day weekend, and then I'm holding a massive garage sale to get rid of much of my college stuff to make room for my new life down in San Rafael!! I can't wait to move back and into my apartment on the 16th of Sept! I'm also in the market for a job, so anyone who knows of someone within the art world hiring....please let me know!!!!! Actually, at this point, I'd be willing to take ANY job that will pay my rent.........

In other news, I have been spending a lot of time with Emilia since she has been back, and I've realized I will miss my Italian friends terribly! I'm so spoiled over here! I wasn't feeling well last night and I was completely taken care of! Then this morning I woke up to a delicious nutella croissant and a note for breakfast from Emilia and a friend Andrea, and as I stepped out the door, another friend Renzi was there with his car to offer me a ride to school! It's so wonderful having made these connections that I know will last a life time. I miss my Italian parents and brother though, who are no doubt having the most amazing time in Corsica. If only I could have gone too! :-(

Monday, August 17, 2009

Article in The Torch

Check out another article about me running off to Italy in The Torch!

Unlike the NY Times article, I actually don't sound like an idiot here. :-) Enjoy!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Notte Bianca

Today is my last day off until classes have completely concluded. That's right! I have class every day until the 27th, including Saturday and Sunday. From 10:00-5:00. Joyous is my life.

The timing, however, is great because I definitely needed today to sleep since last night was Notte Bianca (White Night) after some national holiday for the Virgin Mary. Basically, everything was closed all day until about 8:00 PM when all of the stores opened and there was a concert in every piazza and different outdoor taverns created specifically for the holiday were set up. The piazza my house is on which is usually a parking lot was turned into a restaurant/bar/concert stage with dancing!

From about 8:00 until midnight, all of Amelia is one big concert and dinner. Anywhere you go, there was live music and food (of course). And then once 12:00 hit, the whole town turned into a giant all-night rave! You could even buy glowing wands and devil horns or rabbit ears that lit up! Each piazza had a stage with a DJ and different techno-ish music, much of which could be recognizd from the early 90s in the States.

I spent the evening out with my Italian friends, whom I feel more at home with than the other American students. By 4:30 I was completely exhausted but forced to remain on the dance floor until the party ended at 5:00, after which I was dragged back up the hill to a little bar where we were able to get fresh croissants with nutella and cappucinos for breakfast. I didn't actually get to bed until 7:00 AM, but it was well worth it. A great way to spend my last night out in Amelia!

Below are some pictures of my Italian friends and me at Notte Bianca:

The piazza by my house! FULL of people!


With Marco e Marco

Emilia, Marco, me

With Alessandra, the singer of Fischi Per Fiaschi!

Tomorrow I start the last 10 days straight of class: Forgery with Travis McDade, and Museum Security with Anthony Amore. It should be a lot of fun, but also a lot of work! I'm currently caught up with all of my school work (after slaving over papers and presentations for the past couple weeks), and am now working on a paper focusing on money laundering in the art market. The guidelines are fairly strict, so hopefully I'll be able to get through it alright.

On the 26th, my big brother Cody will be coming to Italy for the final 5 days of my journey here. We will attend the farewell dinner and then leave early the next morning for Venice! Important stops on our journey include the Lamborghini factory, Padua, the beaches of Venice-Lido, then down to Roma, with a journey to Napoli and Pompeii! We rented a car to make sure we'll be able to do everything we want before we have to go home on the 31st.

Then it's back to real life! I don't know if I'm ready for it yet, but I'm definitely ready to not have homework and papers and tests for a while!! I will be so busy upon my return to the States: Labor Day weekend I have the NAM Miss Washington pageant where I will be giving up my title, and then the following weekend I am having a massive garage sale to get rid of all the junk I don't need anymore in anticipation for my move back to California on Sept 16th! I already have a nice little apartment in San Rafael ready and waiting for me!

See everyone so soon!!!!!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Generic Update

There's not much new or exciting to write a blog about, so I'll just give you little tidbits from my past week.

Any of you who have subscribed to The Provenance Network may notice the drama going on with the Museum Security Network played out to a point where the original administrator of the MSN will continue running it as opposed to closing it down, as was the previous decision. Therefore, The Provenance Network will be closing this week and encourages those interested to subscribe there.

Our teacher for this session, Dick Ellis--former Scotland Yard art crimes detective--and his family spent much time with me and my Italian family over the past few days. His wife and daughter are truly amazing people as well, and I have been very fortunate to become friends with them. I plan on visiting their home outside London in the near future. Dick will also be my advisor for my dissertation. I am very excited to work with him further. He is a great inspiration.

Amelia and the surrounding towns are full of life as Medieval festivals are taking hold on the summer season. Many nights I have been to plays, parades, regional dinners, modern dance performances, African and gypsy concerts, and local artisans selling their handmade crafts. My family should expect wonderful Italian presents! I love supporting the local Italians that spend so much time creating beautiful arts and crafts and everyday products, even if it costs just a little more. I've spent much time in the neighboring towns of Giove, Porchiano, and Tuscania. I have a few random pictures from here and there, and I'll see what I can do to upload them and give you a peek.

I have spent many days at a friend of Isa's villa, swimming, sunbathing, and eating fresh green grapes straight from the vine. It's truly a paradise! We had a few more days off, so I spent some time working on final papers for classes we took in the beginning of the summer. I can't believe I only have one month left! I've really grown to love this place. I hope to own a villa one day in the countryside of Umbria. Maybe when I get insanely rich?!?!

I've also made a great friend through Emilia named Eleonora and she is absolutely adorable. Next weekend she will take me to Viterbo to go shopping. We both love shoes! :-) Italian folk music has grown on me, as has popular Italian music on MTV. My playlist is slowly evolving into a mix heavily peppered with Italian lyrics!

When I think of something more meaningful to share, I'll be sure to blog. Until then, ciao from Amelia!