Domare: The Art and History of Italian Stone Carving in Northeast Ohio
Open February 24, 2012 through May 25, 2013
The contemporary work of world-renowned Italian American sculptor Giancarlo Calicchia is juxtaposed with the rich history and impact of Italian immigrant master stone carvers in this region in this new exhibit, presented in partnership with the Consulate of Italy in Detroit.
The installation explores the past and present of Italian stone carving in the region, drawing connections between area landmarks, such as monuments in Lake View Cemetery, carvings on the Hope Memorial Bridge and the great sandstone formations of Berea, with current work from Calicchia’s Cleveland studios.
The Italian term “Domare” was chosen by the artist because it symbolically represents both the actual work of the Italian stone carvers, as well as their settlement in, and adjustment to America. “Domare” means to domesticate,” says Calicchia, “but more than that, it implies control, mastery, judgment, even fate. It is an integral part of the processes of transformation. It is the essence of most artistic processes.”
Italian immigrants brought to Northeast Ohio an innate passion for the arts, architecture, and craftsmanship, according to Pamela Dorazio Dean, WRHS Associate Curator for Italian American History and exhibit curator, which is still very much relevant and present these days. “Many Italians expressed this passion through carving and sculpting stone utilizing skills acquired over the centuries in their homeland. They profoundly impacted the region with a unique aesthetic beautification.”
The first component of the exhibit focuses on the early history of Italian stone carving and carvers in the region. The story is told through artifacts and manuscripts from the WRHS Italian American Collection. Visitors will learn about Giuseppe Carabelli, his company, and the monuments he created in Lake View Cemetery. They will see the tools of Loreto Petti, one of the stone carvers who worked on the Hope Memorial Bridge.
The second component of the exhibit teaches about the entire process of working with stone, beginning with the quarrying. Northeast Ohio has a rich history written in stone: the great sandstone formations of Berea, Amherst and Holmes County are the finest sandstones anywhere and were once exported throughout the world. Visitors will be able to see actual footage of stones being quarried, cut, and sculpted.
The third component of the exhibit features the master works of Giancarlo Calicchia, a sculptor who carries on the ancient Italian artistic traditions while working out of his studios in Tremont and on Carnegie Avenue. As such, he has continued to carry the legacy of the first Italian stone carvers in Northeast Ohio. “I would be seriously remiss had I not presented to the WRHS the opportunity for this collaboration project, that so perfectly ties together a significant portion of the past and current artistic contributions of our Italian American community to Ohio,” points out Dr. Serena Scaiola, Vice Consul of Italy in Cleveland.
Learn more about Giancarlo Calicchia
Learn more about the WRHS Italian American Archives
Learn more about Joseph Carabelli
Learn more about The Carabelli Company
WRHS History Center Hours & Admission