Listening to Liberty

A collaboration between Kent State University and Opera di Santa Croce

“Listening to Liberty” describes the pioneering collaborations within and beyond Kent State University that enable an interactive international conversation on “What is Liberty Today?” and “How has the concept of liberty evolved?”

Kent State University and the Opera di Santa Croce in Florence, Italy will celebrate a collaborative partnership in the creation of “Sisters in Liberty: From Florence, Italy, to New York, New York” – an exhibition opening on October 17, 2019 and running through April 26, 2020 at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, on Ellis Island in New York.
This project and exhibition debuts at a historically and politically significant time for our two countries, as well as a deeply important anniversary year for Kent State University as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the May 4th shootings on the Kent Campus. Born from the wound of May 4th, Kent State has become an institutional leader on the study of peace and reconciliation, advancing interdisciplinary approaches for listening to and advocating for all members of our larger community.”

Design Innovation to Divine Innovation

How a visit to the Basilica Santa Croce sparked innovation at Kent State

In June 2018, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Executive Director of the Design Innovation Initiative, and Director of the Kent State Florence Program met in the Basilica Santa Croce with the curatorial leadership of the “Opera di Santa Croce,” and through divine innovation, a year-long collaboration was born!

The Kent State collaborative team saw an opportunity to leverage unique digital and interactive visualization technologies and platforms from the Kent State’s College of Arts & Sciences, Design Innovation Initiative, Wick Poetry Center, College of the Arts, College of Aeronautics and Engineering and College of Architecture and Environmental Design to enhance audience engagement in reflecting on and discussing the concept of “Liberty.”

Kent State sent a research team to 3D scan and digitally capture Pio Fedi’s “Liberty of Poetry” statue, located in the Cathedral Santa Croce in Florence, Italy; utilizing the very high-resolution scan data to create a 3D-printed replica to scale. The nearly-full-scale reproduction will enable visitors to witness the Italian predecessor to the U.S. Statue of Liberty located directly across Ellis Island to Liberty Island.

At Kent State University, the Design Innovation Center reflects the university’s commitment to multi-disciplinary collaboration. The Sisters in Liberty project has seen participation from faculty members in Arts and Sciences, Neuroscience, Architecture, Theater, Engineering, and Poetry.

Listening to Liberty

Explore stories of art, architecture, and liberty with the Wick Poetry Center’s Listening Wall

As a part of the collaboration, Kent State also provides a Listening Wall, an interactive digital tool created by the Wick Poetry Center, that will allow a creative exploration of the relationship between Italy and the United States incorporating the themes of art, architecture, liberty, and the human condition. The Listening Wall will allow users to view historical documents, oral histories, and multimedia stories centered on the themes of the exhibit and then to create and share their own poetic reflections.

The Listening Wall will offer a new model for community engagement, connecting present voices with the past, providing a platform for creative and inclusive conversation.

Sisters in Liberty Exhibition

October 11, 2019 – April 26, 2020

Not only will the “Sisters in Liberty” exhibition showcase the “Libertá” statue and installation of the dual-language Listening Wall at the Ellis Island location – it will also link to two other “Listening to Liberty” Listening Wall installations:

  • one in the Cloisters of the Cathedral Santa Croce in Florence, Italy
  • and one on the Kent Campus

Each of these installations will be linked live so visitors on Ellis Island and in Kent can view the poems and videos that visitors in Florence have created, and vice versa!

Partners in Liberty

Kent State Project Leaders:

Dr. James Blank, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
J.R. Campbell, Executive Director, Design Innovation Initiative
David Hassler, Director, Wick Poetry Center
Fabrizio Ricciardelli, Ph.D., Director, Kent State University Florence Center

Kent State Project Supporters:

The Burbick Foundation

The Wick Family

The Woodward Foundation

Kent State Project Collaborators:

Joshua Talbott, Team Leader, Information Technology – 3D scanning, digital construction, technical project management
Dr. Robert Clements, Associate Professor, Neuroscience – 3D Acquisition and project planning
Tamara Honesty, Assistant Professor, Theatre & Dance – artist commissioned to paint exhibit items
Sandra Morgan, Director of Marketing, College of Arts and Sciences
Trent True, Lecturer – FEF Key Professor, College of Aeronautics and Engineering – Metals manufacturing
Samantha Battaglia – Assist. Casting Technician
Michael Nelson – CAD Mold Design
Jay Onders – Machinist – Physics department
James Maxwell – Videography and Marketing
Stephanie Snyder – Website design
Jason Bogart – Aluminum/Steel Welding
Travis Williams – Finishing/machining rays casting
Tetta Askeland – Painting and finishing assistance
Emma Hisrich – Painting and finishing assistance
Samantha Catone – Painting and finishing assistance
Alex Barnhart – Painting and finishing assistance
Steve Sawicki – Painting and finishing assistance
Brian Seckfort – Painting and finishing assistance
Brendan Ho – College of Architecture and Environmental Design – Vitrine Rhino CAD design
Richard Thomas – Sr. Electronic Technician, Kent State University – Tuscarawas, 3D printing
Simone Falcone, Facility Manager, Kent State University Florence Center

Kent State Listening Wall Project Team:

David Hassler, Director, Wick Poetry Center
Dr. Jessica Jewell, Senior Academic Program Director, Wick Poetry Center
Györgyi Mihályi-Jewell, Assistant Director, Wick Poetry Center
Charles Malone, Program and Outreach Manager, Wick Poetry Center
Stephanie Siciarz, Italian Program Coordinator, Kent State University

Design Team for Listening Wall:

Nate Mucha, Founding Principal, Each + Every
Alex Catanese, Principal Designer, Each + Every
Nate Hobi, Senior Developer, Each + Every
Ryan Hammond, Principal, Each + Every

Technical Partners and Consultants:

Matthew Proske – Visi-Trak – Casting Simulation and Mold Assembly

Company Name: Exact Metrology – Cincinnati Office
Contact: Chris Lafferty
Phone: 513-813‐4217
Responsible for providing consultations, hardware, and software that enabled the data acquisition and processing steps

Company Name: Freshmade3D – Youngstown
Contacts: Christopher Tomko | Founder and President
Phone: 724-624-9437
Rich Wetzel | Co-Founder/CEO
Phone: 234-254-0994
Consultations, 3D printed statue, 3 Lady Italy busts, and 3D modeling artist subcontractor to clean up the models

Kent State in Florence

Kent State’s Florence location provides a rich cultural platform for students to experience and interact with the cultural, architectural, design, science and socio-political past, present and future of Italy. As one of the largest American university presences in Florence, Kent State plays an active role in furthering cultural connection through study abroad experiences.

More information to be added soon!

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