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“The Strange Artistic Genius of This People”: Ephemeral Art and Impermanent Architecture of Italian Immigrant Catholic Feste
December 8, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
About this event
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Italian working-class immigrants in the United States staged religious feste (street feasts) in honor of the Madonna and Catholic saints. The feasts’ focus were free-standing, Baroque-style chapels, many reaching four stories high, temporarily erected on city sidewalks to display the image of the feted sacred personage. The festa chapels were unique creations that this immigrant Catholic minority imagined and devised as bold artistic statements of religious and ethnic claims to urban space.
Joseph Sciorra is the Director of Academic and Cultural Programs at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College, City University of New York. He is the editor of Italian Folk: Vernacular Culture in Italian-American Lives, co-editor of Embroidered Stories: Interpreting Women’s Domestic Needlework from the Italian Diaspora, and author of Memorial Wall Art and Built with Faith: Italian American Imagination and Catholic Material Culture in New York City.