Mahler & LeWitt Studios
The Mahler and LeWitt Studios is established around the former studios of Anna Mahler and Sol LeWitt in Spoleto, Italy. The residency program provides a focussed and stimulating environment for artists, curators and writers to develop new ways of working in dialogue with peers and the unique cultural heritage of the region. The Torre Bonomo, a medieval tower once used as a residency and exhibition space by the gallerist Marilena Bonomo, is also central to the program. In the early 1970s, LeWitt was Torre’s first resident: using it as a studio he made a seminal group of wall drawings which continue to offer a unique insight into his production.
Currently the Mahler & LeWitt Studios hosts three residency sessions per year – in spring, summer and autumn – each lasting up to six weeks. Residents are provided with accommodation and studio space and are usually offered travel funds, a per diem and a materials budget, as well as expert curatorial and production advice. Each session accommodates approximately five full-time residents and the sessions represent different nationalities, age groups, and levels of experience, ranging from recent graduates to established practitioners. For shorter residencies, for example, week-long workshops and symposiums, the organisers can host as many as twenty residents. Each session has a unique dynamic and the diversity of a group is an important and inspiring aspect of the program.
The organisers pride themselves in producing a program which is tailored to an individual's needs and interests. The curatorial team work on a one-to-one basis with residents, facilitating research. Some artists join with specific projects and goals in mind, whilst most come with a more open-ended remit. When research is ongoing, the organisers often invite residents to return to Spoleto to participate in subsequent residencies and projects.
Where relevant to their work, an engagement is encouraged with local histories of art and culture, or with local landscapes, and these interactions are facilitated via partnerships with local institutions. There are several libraries at the Mahler & LeWitt Studios as well as a music room, facilities for making ceramic and a range of tools for production. Throughout a session, the team organise meetings and excursions. At the end of each session, residents are asked to participate in an 'Open Studios' event, sharing work in progress with each other and the public. Presentations have taken the form of exhibitions, conversations, screenings, performances or workshops.
They expect residents to commit to a period of research and development at the Mahler & LeWitt Studios and to be willing to share their work through the Mahler & LeWitt Studios networks. The residencies are open-ended - intended to alleviate any pressure to make finished work. The organisers do ask residents, however, to participate in an informal Open Studios event at the close of the residency, where work-in-progress may be shared with audiences. Residents are also asked to contribute to the end-of-year Mahler & LeWitt Studios publication which exists in print and online; contributions have previously included interviews, artworks, artist texts, etcetera.
They have a variety of studio spaces suitable for different types of artists, writers and curators. There is a range of equipment for sculptures and visual artists, a ceramic studio, a music room with grand piano. There are a number of libraries, and they have some audio/visual equipment.
Every resident is offered ensuite accommodation and studio space in the old town of Spoleto.
The Mahler & LeWitt Studios is in Spoleto, a hilltop town of approximately 30,000 population. A vast medieval aqueduct connects the old town to a mountain called Monteluco, giving it a unique disposition between town and country.