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Welcoming Visiting Artists and Scholars at AAR

September 3, 2014

New ideas in the arts and humanities are often born from conversations across disciplines, cultures, and generations. With this in mind, the Academy fosters the presence idea via a number of programs beyond the Rome Prize Fellowship. Artists and scholars of any nationality can participate in the intellectual life of the Academy through the Visiting Artists and Scholars Program. Qualified artists and scholars in the fields of Architecture, Design, Historic Preservation and Conservation, Landscape Architecture, Literature, Musical Composition, Visual Arts, Ancient Studies, Medieval Studies, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, or Modern Italian Studies can apply online all year round to rent living and working space at the Academy.  Applications are reviewed three times a year.

The American Academy in Rome offers Visiting Artists and Scholars access to the resources of a cultural capital from the tranquil, private terrain of manicured gardens and busy studios. The Arthur & Janet C. Ross Library is a major resource with 150,000 volumes and a collection of rare books for consultation. The Rome Sustainable Food Project provides convivial meals to members of the community, resulting in mealtimes that famously facilitate the flow of ideas. Weekly Shoptalks by Fellows are open to the public, and along with regular public events such as lectures, exhibitions and concerts, ensure a connection between the Academy community and the wider network of artists and scholars based in Rome. The Eternal City is particularly peaceful during the winter months when the pace of tourism slows, allowing pleasant access to historic streetscapes and monuments.

Above all, it is the opportunity to become part of a vibrant community of intellectuals that draws Visiting Artists and Scholars to the Academy, where they can work alongside thirty Rome Prize Fellows and a number of Affiliated Fellows and Residents.  Visiting Artists and Scholars of exceptional caliber join the Academy every year, including luminaries such as Derek Walcott, Aaron Copland, Robert Venturi, Chuck Close, and Stephen Greenblatt. From the emerging talent of Rome Prize Fellows, to winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Academy is a place to participate in a dynamic laboratory of ideas.

Morley Safer, correspondent and co-editor for CBS’s 60 Minutes and a three-time Visiting Artist to the Academy once remarked, “three or four weeks at the Academy is a tonic for the soul, a treat for the brain and also a comfort to the palate… To be totally immersed in a society of philosophers, musicologists, historians, archeologists and visual artists is a visit to another planet, a break from the mundane concerns of our daily lives.”

Playwright, screenwriter and food writer Jonathan Reynolds and his wife, set designer and producer Heidi Ettinger, spent four months as Visiting Artists at the Academy, immersed in their respective projects. They noted: “Pleasant accommodations, brilliant studio space, and the knowledge that so many other artists and scholars spend all day focusing solely on their work gently encourages you to do the same”

Offering both independence and community support, material and human resources, peaceful environs and the city of Rome itself, the American Academy welcomes Visiting Scholars as an important addition to its varied  community of innovative thinkers.