Posts Tagged ‘history’

walk on…

Posted in art, explore, journey, notice, timeComments Off on walk on…

Did you know there was a time in our history when the simple act of walking was America’s favorite spectator sport? A man has written a book about this:

Matthew Algeo’s ,” Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America’s Favorite Sport.”

It all started in 1860, with a challenge between two men resting on Lincoln winning the presidential election. The bet lost, the man had to walk for 6 days  from the State House in Boston to the unfinished Capitol building. Competitive walking events ensued and continued for over two decades!

I happen to love walking. It was my favorite thing about living in New York City. I walked to work every day, from Sullivan Street, through Washington Square up to midtown. It was the best part of my day. It was contemplative, and relatively pedestrian free at that early hour – not so much coming home. But it afforded me a chance to unwind and feel my bodies’ motion in a way that both grounded and lifted me out of my ever racing head.

In his book, “A Philosophy of Walking”, author Frederic Gros, calls this contemplative walking. It’s what you do to clear your head. One can also do walking as a form of meditation. I’ve seen race walkers, and  I must say it wears me out to see that unnatural gate. On this form of walking I must agree with Mr. Gros, who declares, “Walking is not a sport.”

As an artist who loves to walk, my favorite assertion from Gros is this.

” when walking, the body stops being in the landscape: it becomes the landscape.”

What more could a painter ever ask of an activity?

Wish you were here…

Posted in beginnings, family, food, gifts, home, journey, love, memory, Reno, time, travel1 Comment

Today was the annual Italian Festival in downtown Reno. There are numerous ethnic festivals throughout the year here, celebrating the Hispanic culture, the Greeks,  and more, but the Italian festival is the last big street fair event of the year before the town rolls up the streets for the long winter ahead. In my 5 years here, the event has always been lucky enough to have had a simply gorgeous Fall day, and today was no exception. Before you even park the car you can smell the garlic and food preparations and hear the music. There is of course a ‘best of ‘ cook-off for sauce, and fresh pesto is being made from one end to the other with giant vats of sauce  bubbling up and down the street,  all competing for the honors.

The smells are nothing short of heaven.

My father was a first generation Italian and the Italian side of my family was how we leaned . It was large and wonderful, teeming with Aunts and Uncles and a small army of cousins. Family mattered when I was growing up  as a child and  nearly every Sunday was spent at Gramma & Grampa’s house. I have nothing but wonderful ,  sweet memories of that part of my youth. Gramma spoke hardly a word of English, though it didn’t matter to her or us. Her goal was to make sure we were fed as often as possible before we left her house in spite of my mother’s protestations of, “Ma, they just ate! ”

There was always room for another bowl of my Gramma’s pasta.

I have only two dear Aunts left now, and all but one of my cousins. Sadly, I hardly ever see any of them, and when I do it’s to hear of yet another passing of these lovely people who made up such a big part of my young life. I’m sad to have grown so distant from my cousins and regret not being in touch as we now grow older.

They say every journey begins from home. I ventured out into the world as a young adult very confident of who I was and where and who I came from. I had a  solid home base as a launching pad in life. I had a culture and a family with a history to relate to. They gave me so much by simply  being there. I’m sorry that so many are gone and I no longer have the opportunity to thank them for that. And if they were here,  I would let them all know, that  family mattered  – very much.


(featured photo , canvas collage – WISH YOU WERE HERE , by Catherine Massaro)


saving ART

Posted in journey, notice, ponder, technologyComments Off on saving ART

Camille Paglia wrote the most amazing article, How Capitalism Can Save Art. Camille is a University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philidelphia.

I think I’ve read it about 10 times now, and it’s just so powerful and well written. Check this paragraph out:

…”Capitalism has it’s weaknesses. But it is capitalism that ended the stranglehold of the hereditary aristocracies, raised the standard of living for most of the world and enabled the emancipation of women. The routine defamation of capitalism by armchair leftists in academe and the mainstream media has cut young artists and thinkers off from the authentic cultural energies of our time.”

I love my iPhone too. And I love this lovely Mac Book I write this blog on. I love this amazing machine that allows my voice, art and website to reach out to anyone, anywhere. But thankfully I was educated in an ART school, where making something every day mattered. Looking deeply and thinking long and hard about what you saw was our everyday fare. The history of art was our timeline and connection to the past that put our history in perspective.

God, I loved art school. It taught me to think and see in a hundred different directions. It’s a sad thing to see the arts diminishing in our troubled public education system. It will make for a weak society.  Even as we advance technologically we are in fact getting less and less civilized I fear.

(featured image – DRAWING 101, canvas collage by Catherine Massaro)