We had the good fortune of connecting with Silvia Minguzzi and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Silvia, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I can say that risk taking is one the key word ruling my way of working. I moved to the U.S. in 2005, and started working for a theater production company in NY, WET – Women Expressive Theater (https://wetproductions.org/) as Art Director. As a got the job I went back home and google what exactly an Art Director does. We just loved each other and they hired me almost on the spot. Rick Takers was the name one of WET’s most successful program. A free educational program for teenage girls designed to bolster girls’ self-esteem by teaching them invaluable media literacy and leadership skills that enable them to navigate the 21st century’s media saturated landscape with wisdom, consciousness, courage and strength. (http://wetproductions.org/education.htm).

I guess that is where my passion for young, unserved population started, or when I actually realized that I have to start waking up and from my white privilege corner and do something.

I moved to Colorado in 2009 and risk taker again I was admitted to the Master in Fine Arts in Graphic Design at Colorado State University. I never had an art background or an education in art, but a bachelor in Communication and Italian literature. I loved those 3 years tremendously. And there is where I realized that even in my art practice I really wanted to use my skills to raise awareness about issues I care about: immigration, human rights, women’s rights, equality. My whole dissertation entitled Perspectives (http://www.silviaminguzzi.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/MFA-thesis_Perspectives.pdf) is my Artistic Manifesto where imagining another Perspective represents my personal interest in matters of human rights applied to a formal investigation on perspectives, not only as a technique, but also as a philosophical attitude.

Finally I started workin in the museum/art gallery realm, first in the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, now as a Director of the Hatton Gallery and Digital Performing Space in the Department of Art and Art History at CSU. What a rollercoaster, and leap, but mostly what great feeling was to see the word Director right after my name. When I got the position I printed out a little inspirational frase I found “Whatever you think you can’t do, just know that there is someone who is confidently doing it wrong right now. They have no plans at doing it better either and people are paying them to do it. Please, believe in your own excellence as much as they believe in their mediocrity”. I’m trying to stand by it.

My personal thrive is Risk Taking and Social Justice is the framework I’m trying to stand by: I work pro-bono for organization of immigrants and allies dedicated to educating, informing, organizing, and promoting change to facilitate an improved quality of life for immigrants in our community, like Fuerza Latina, Isaac, La Familia.

In 2018 I created a program called Social Justice thru the Arts in collaboration with Dr. Caridad Souza, Director of Women Studies and Gender research, a treasure of CSU, Dr Patricia Vigil, director of Alliance Partnership and Lisa Morgan from CSU Dance. (https://womensstudies.colostate.edu/social-justice-thru-the-arts). SOCIAL JUSTICE THRU THE ARTS (SJTA) teaches basic social justice concepts and advocacy through integrated work and exploration in the arts. Participants (high school students from underserved population in Colorado, engage in hands-on learning in storytelling, movement and dance, image theatre, designing and painting, creative writing, social and digital media, and film/video. We use the arts to emphasize concepts learned in dialogue and reflection that culminate in a group art project. Our social justice framework uses power, privilege, and difference to engage participants about their identities, histories, and communities. We emphasize collaborative learning among community educators, students, and faculty through team building, intercultural dialogue, nurturing individual and collective voice, and fostering communication across differences. I adore it, it is probably the biggest leap I took, and the project I’m most proud of. Our team is actually getting an award today from the College of Liberal Arts at CSU for our work in SJTA.

Final risk taking activity that is not directly connected to my job is that I started Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian Martial Arts in 2010, when I was still in and out of a wheelchair (yes, it was that bad). I was saved by an amazing surgeon, Dr. Timothy Wirt, from the Front Range Center for Spine and Brain Surgery who fixed my back and after 12 years I now run a Capoeira Studio in Fort Collins together with other 2 capoeiristas. My Capoeira name si Onda (wave)

I’m going to move to Los Angeles for the academic year 2022/2023 for my husband sabbatical, and making more connections there with immigration non for profits, artists and activists in the area I picked as our family location, Echo Park.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In my personal art I was always interested in how I could use the power of the Art language to raise awareness on issues I care about. At the same time I believe in the power of data, and in my work I always look for inspiration in different terrain: politics, economics, anthropology, psychology are my bread and butter. I believe that any modern artist needs to push the art forward, inventing, defining new paradigms of expression with powerful meanings. It can be done using new technology, or researching new techniques with old media. It is about the experience the artist delivers to the public – whether it is provocative, whether it changes how the viewer thinks, feels and views the world. This is what really matters to me, and it has nothing to do with the techniques that the artist chooses to use. Just as the development of acrylic paints in the 20th century did not mean that oil paints or even the practice of creating one’s own paint from pigments fell out of practice, so it is with technology. Just as some artists paint in oils only or acrylics only, some create their work digitally. Image editing and graphic design software programs are yet another tool to add to the artist’s palette. This is why in my work I try to use a wide range of media: from printmaking to digital fabrication, from graphic design and typography to motion graphic and projection.

I enjoy experimenting about techniques and mixing media together; I illustrated academics papers through Graphic
Design, Video, and Digital Fabrication. I played around analogical and digital media fusing them in a unique
piece, trying to find an answer to the question: is technology changing art? I believe that any modern artist needs
to remember about pushing the art forward, inventing, defining new paradigms of expression with powerful
meanings. It can be done using new technology, or researching new techniques with old media.

Imagining Another Perspective represents my personal interest in matters of human rights applied to a formal
investigation on perspectives, not only as a technique, but also as a philosophical attitude.
Social inequality is the result of innate differences between individuals. Yet, those differences are mostly
produced by the society in which we live: they are a construct. The importance of using different perspectives in
a physical and also mental way is a possible solution to break stereotypical patterns about race, sex, gender, and
class. I strongly believe that Art is a vehicle of knowledge; Art can help communicating difficult messages with
the power of visual representation. Furthermore, as a communication artist, I try to give my message a position
that is relevant to the times we live in. I want people to know what I stand for, and I think that the combination
of different media will give me the opportunity of reaching a wider public. People experience information and
Art in very different ways; giving them the opportunity to see a wide range of media is to me a valid way to raise
awareness on issues I believe fundamentals for a better society.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My home, the “Yellow home”, like my son Luca calls it, is my little paradise. Me and my husband built it in the heart of Old Town (thank you recessions of 2009 I guess…), and we love inviting people over, cook form them (we are Italians…we cook a lot), organize any kind of get together.

We also really love hiking and walking and biking so Martinez Park, Poudre trail, Horsetooth Reservoir, RMNP (I guess that is not really in town)

We spend pretty much every Sunday at the Exchange enjoying a Piadina made traditionally by our Italian/Hungarian friend Menyus Borocz. And we enjoy some live music at Odell’s brewery

The nature here is really amazing, I would wish for a longer summer and a shorter winter, but the 300 days of sun cut the deal for me to move from Rome to NY to little Fort Collins.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Feminist work is collaborative work, I’m a feminist and love to lead in collaboration. I have many many names, but here are the ones I really feel changed my life for the better.

Dr. Arpi Miller, activist, re-sista, immigration specialist, steering committee of Fuerza Latina and Isaac

Dr. Caridad Souza, Director of Women Studies and Gender Research
Cyane Tornatzky, Electronic Art area coordinator at CSU

Website: www.silviaminguzzi.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/silviaminguzzi/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/silviaminguzzi/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/silviaminguzzi2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/silviaminguzzi

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