Vital Signs, Tuscany

43°33′11″N, 11°35′22″E

Reconciling with Nature through Holistic Techniques

Art Residency and show at Fattoria della Nave presented by Twisted Oyster

In partnership with Fattoria Della Nave and the Urban Mindfulness & Music Project for Healing (UMMPH), Twisted Oyster introduces the first of three art residencies operating at the intersection of art and activism. Vital Signs, Tuscany: 43°33′11″N, 11°35′22″E in the Arezzo province of Tuscany, Italy. Fattoria Della Nave located in the heart of Tuscany, comprises an 18th century villa that has been in the family for 200 years. The property’s botanical garden, Parco Della Nave, will be the setting of Vital Signs’ Public Arts Event to include visual arts, poetry, music and performance. The gardens are an integral aspect of this residency as it contains exotic vegetation from the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, Asia and North America.

Vital Signs, Tuscany: 43°33′11″N, 11°35′22″E aims to bring awareness to the impact of climate change in the Mediterranean region. Our frail environment is the single most important issue affecting humanity today. From pollution to scarcity, disappearance of species and migrations.

The 2-3 week residency will expose artists to a variety of meditation techniques, including Gratitude as a common thread throughout all of the mindfulness practices. The program will focus on the re-training of attention, the science of mindfulness, understanding positive psychology in order to understand the power of intention, belief systems, and deliberate thinking; the science of sound healing, and how we can use self-reflection, self-care and wellness practices to enhance our connection to mother Earth. These exercises will allow artists to rediscover the brilliance of nature through a variety of mindfulness practices and our connection with the space; infusing positive, mindful, radical acceptance, love, abundance and sensorial exercises to reconnect mind, heart and spirit to nature.

The goal of this residency is to reconcile with nature through the application of mindfulness for a synergy of the arts through a public event of the arts on week 3 of the residency. Local and visitors are invited to attend.

Through the duration of the residency, participants will create multimedia site-specific works: Sound, music, film/video, poetry, fiber, installation and new media artworks, and connecting with the local community through a site specific public arts event.

The connection: art-nature-community sits at the core of a residency proposing mindfulness techniques to reconcile with the Earth and at the same time use art (the process of making, installing and showing) to connect with people. Locals and visitors will be invited to walkthrough (studio visits), interact with artists and have an opportunity to enter into dialogue, experience the art making process and engage in conversations.

The approach to this residency program is its holistic foundation and support to each artist through mindfulness, healing and giving the opportunity to artists to be accessible through visits and site specific works for a publicly accessed botanical garden art show in the heart of Italy. Artists are encouraged to create new or expand existing work, self reflect, connect with nature, people and collaborate with other artists.

Twisted Oyster hosts a Post Residency Follow Up Program to encourage all participants to stay connected by becoming active ambassadors of our mindfulness program in your communities and sharing your experiences with us through videos and writing blogs. Post residency we will stay connected through blogging and webinars to continue to our contribution for a period of a year.

The program supports:

  • The creation of new work and the expansion of existing work
  • Mindfulness and self-reflection
  • Healing, self-care, and wellness
  • Connections and collaboration between visiting artists and locals (and other visitors)

Twisted Oyster opens call to artists, filmmakers, writers, poets, performers, activists, musicians, instrumentalists, producers, multimedia artists, vocalists, composers and wellness practitioners whose work is grounded in Social Change, Spirituality, Mindfulness, Individual and Community Healing, Self Care, Ecology and Natural Systems; and to everyone interested in creating site specific works during a 2-3 week residency in response to their personal experience with mindfulness, climate change and the preservation of our natural environment.

Residency Program Details:

Weeks 1 & 2

  • Introductions to artists, activists/presenters and wellness practitioners
  • 120 minutes presentation/symposium on climate change w/environmentalist
  • 180 minutes presentation/master class: Art and Activism in a Digital Era
  • 270 minutes movement/mindfulness workshop sessions
  • Daily sunrise and sunset meditation
  • Afternoon workshops including: science of mindfulness, principles of positive psychology, and how to best utilize music and sound healing in our artistic practice
  • Artists roundtable: colloquium, presentations, discussions, critique, studio visits
  • Excursion to local artist workshop
  • Excursion to The Gori Collection
  • Public, Arts/Live Event (site-specific)
  • Create new work or continue work
  • Reiki circle and New Moon Ceremony

Week 3

  • Morning one-on-one (individual) 30-minute session with mindfulness practitioner Arianne Urban
  • Site-specific public art exhibition at Parco Della Nave Botanical Garden Synergy of the Arts Live Event – presenting multidisciplinary visual arts, poetry, music and performance. All resident artists to be part of this great event.
  • Synergy of the Arts Live Event Program (subject to change) at Parco Della Nave Botanical Garden
    • Monday and Tuesday: Artists finalize their site specific installations. Public invited to observe and talk to artists
    • Wednesday through Friday: Live events to include live music, spoken word, outdoor cinema and visual arts exhibition

Cost Includes:

Shared Lodging (apartments with kitchens), 2 bedrooms minimum, private apartment option available. All with private bathrooms. Each apartment has fully equipped kitchen, a washing machine, outdoor area with table and chairs, wifi and bed linen and towels. Children are welcome (at no extra cost , if under 10 years of age). 

  • 2 (or 3) week residency (see details below)
  • Shared lodging (apartments with kitchens). Private 
  • Catered breakfast and dinner
  • WiFi
  • Community studio space – Artists are invited to create work for the residency’s third week public/site-specific art event (see below).
  • Excursion to The Gori Collection at Fattoria de Celle –  Famous private outdoor art collection holding works of many artists, including: Robert Morris, Dennis Oppenheim, Richard Serra, Sol Lewitt, Richard Long, Daniel Buren, Enrico Castellani. Luciano Fabro, Mimmo Paladino, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Burri and many others. (
  • Excursion to local artist studio
  • Excursion to contemporary art gallery in San Gimignano (UNESCO World heritage Center)
  • Access to pool and bbq area
  • Families and groups are welcome (please email – Families with kids under 10: eat free + if they sleep in the same bedroom with parents, their stay is free of charge.
  • Guaranteed entry to a future juried show exhibition by Twisted Oyster

Two options to attend: 

2 weeks: $1990 USD or 3 weeks: $2610 USD

Broken down in 2 & 3 installments. See at the bottom.

Optional at Additional Cost:

  • Private bedroom
  • Entire apartment
  • Additional mindfulness/wellness sessions
  • Excursion to nearby wineries
  • Excursion to Florence (77 Km/48 miles, 45 minute train raide) – Suggested:
  • Excursion to Siena (70 Km/40 miles)
  • Excursion to wine cellars in Chianti region
  • Nature Oriented Excursions: trekking, bikes or horse riding from a local partner
  • Other Cultural Attractions: Medieval villages of Gropina, Cortona, Poppi, Volterra and the attractions of Santuario della Verna and Camaldoli.
  • Additional wellness activities available, including yoga therapy, mindfulness, massage, acupressure, reiki, herbalism, provided by local practitioners—cost varies

Getting Around:

  • Taxis
  • Public transport:
  • Attendees are responsible for their own transport from and to airport.

Important Dates:

  • Spring Residency: May 25 – June 8, 2019 (2 weeks)
  • Spring Site-specific Art Show in Botanical Garden: June 8-15 (+1 week)
  • Fall Residency: September 14-28, 2019
  • Fall Art Show: To be determined

Artist/Writers/Curators/Musicians Application Requirements:

  • Email the following to:
    • Statement of purpose/proposal (PDF/100 words max))
    • CV Resume (PDF)
    • Short bio (PDF/300 words max)
    • Any special accommodation requests
    • 8-10 images/sample work (High resolution, 72 DPI, .png, .jpg, 2.5 minute max. Time-based media)
    • Artist website link
    • Filled and signed residency application form

Note to artists:

  • Artists must provide their own supplies/equipment and travel insurance
  • Due to limited space, please indicate if you would be interested in additional (Not Included) excursions like: Nearby Wineries, Wine Cellars in Chianti, Florence tour, Nature Oriented Excursions or Other Cultural Attractions.

Non-artist participants:

Must submit a statement (800 words max/PDF) of why are they interested in this program, how would their participation assist them in their personal/professional lives, including a brief description of their current understanding of climate change (there is no right or wrong answer, this simply helps us craft a great presentation), and let us know if you are interested in farming activities.

Individuals, collectives, ensembles and groups are encouraged to apply!


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About the Urban Mindfulness & Music Project for Healing: UMMPH is a mindfulness project lead by violinist Arianne Urban, a Chicago/Miami based freelance musician and an active solo, chamber, and orchestral player. Urban collaborates with recording artists, arrangers and producers working in film and session work. She is a member of the pioneering Nu Deco Ensemble in Miami, Florida and regularly records with Arranger Matt Jones in Chicago, playing on Grammy Nominated Albums with Chronixx, Ledisi, John Legend, and recently, the Grammy Winning Song “How Deep is Your Love” on PJ Morton’s latest album Gumbo Unplugged.

nu deco headshot

Urban is currently pursuing a Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher Certification, and completed an intensive eight week Mindfulness Stress Reduction Based workshop in 2012. Urban has collaborated with co-founder of Inner Sense Healing Arts Collective, Cassandra Justine, and is actively creating other collaborations with Vibrational Sound Healing artists in Chicago.

Arianne utilizes Mindfulness in her daily practice as a powerful tool in moving moment to moment through life with joy and ease. She has found through her own personal experience, the power of self reflection through awareness – shining light, compassion, truth, and connectedness in every facet of life.

Arianne has shared the stage with world-renowned artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Bobby McFerrin, Chick Corea, Yoshiki, Josh Groban, David Foster, the Marley Brothers, Johnny Mathis, Andrea Bocelli, Gloria Gaynor, Edgar Meyer, Jon Secada, Father John Misty, Gil Shaham, Gloria Estefan, and George Benson, to name a few.

Urban holds a Masters Degree in Music from DePaul University and received her Bachelors of Music from the Frost School of Music, where she was First Violinist of the Stamps String Quartet — an elite group of string students that represented the University of Miami through international performances. Urban was also the ConcertMaster of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, one of the nation’s premiere training orchestras for young emerging professional musicians.

Arianne’s desire is to elevate others’ experience of Being in this world, through an array of practices and techniques rooted in present moment awareness of thoughts, physical sensations, and emotional states of being.



Organizer’s Brief Bio

Pía Cruzalegui is a Peruvian born artist and independent curator based in Chicago. Her work focuses on the tensions, interruptions, displacements and inadequacies associated with culture, politics,  and socio-economics surfacing from the ethnic experiences as an immigrant. Central to her work is the subconscious dialogue brought forward by memory, time and space, and the observance and deconstruction of this perception by amplifying images as gestures to present a fragmented narrative. Pía received an MFA in Studio Practice from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, holds degrees in Communications: Film and Multimedia, and Latin American Studies from Florida Atlantic University, and Architectural Design from Miami Dade College. Pia Cruzalegui is the founder and director of Twisted Oyster Festival.


SOCIAL MEDIA: @TwistedOyster


More About Parco Della Nave:

Parco Della Nave was built in the second half of the 18th century. It’s owner, Ferdinando Della Nave was a botanist and a designer, who by following his scientific background and intuition created and dedicated his life to the par. Parco Della Nave contains an array of exotic foreign species to the region, all of which have have become perennial and even introduced to other localities, including England and France. Many of the species present today are: America: Sequoia, Taxdium, Magnolie, Chamaecyparis, Fagus, Aceri, Quercus etc. and the Far East (China and Japan): Gingko, Metasequoia, Criptomeria, Thuia, Salix babilonica, Nespolo, Camelie etc.

“Many of the specimens have dimensions and stems that arouse wonder and admiration; cedar conifers (Cedrus atlantica, deodara and libani) and the bald cypress trees (Taxodium Disticum) on the banks of the man-made lake with almost unreal chromatic results. Also, the vegetation that surrounds the lake is rendered in an unusual hues: Green in Spring, yellow in the Summer and golden in the Autumn, and by using the ‘tree of three coins’ (Gingko biloba) as an experiment successfully used by the architect Poggi in the second half of the 1800s in Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence. It is worth noting the use of the American walnut grove (Liquidambar Styraciflua) at the lake to create the effect of autumn foliage.

Most recently, up until the 1940s, the park was enriched with another exotic species – the Metasequoia (metasequoia glyptostroboiedes Hu Cheng) discovered in China during the Second World. Beforehand it was only known about through fossils and due to its elegant form and dense foliage it was introduced in Europe as an ornamental plant.

Amongst the specimens found in the park, one can find some of the most ancient flora here in Italy.

Finally, the gigantic centuries old Sequoia (Sequoiadendron Giganteum B.), unfortunately partly damaged by lightning, but continues to stand more than 35 metres tall with a circumference spanning more than 5.2 metres. It is included in the category of Monumental Italian Trees.”








Film and New Media Festival

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