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Local students can learn about Italian history with “NeoRealismo” at arte italia


Giacomo Pozzi-Bellini, A gleaner 
Sicily, 1940-41 © Eredi Giacomo Pozzi-Bellini / Courtesy Archivio Festival dei Popoli

When it comes to educational opportunities, what do local parents and teachers want? More often than not, they’re looking for free and engaging ways for their children and students to learn about history and culture.

Now through winter break, local teachers and students (and their engaged parents) can take advantage of an experiential learning opportunity — a new exhibit called “NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy, 1932 – 1960.” This exhibit has traveled throughout Europe, to New York and San Francisco and is now housed at arte italia.

Visitors will experience a series of more than 100 vintage photos, often paired with the original magazines, photobooks, and newspapers in which they circulated. These are curated from private collections, and they serve to reflect what life was like in Italy before, during, and after World War II.

“This collection of images is such a striking narrative that introduces Nevadans to the ancestors of our local Italian heritage,” explains Kristen Avansino, president of the non-profit organization. “Nevada has strong Italian roots, and this is a unique way to be a witness to their journey.”

As part of its outreach mission, arte italia is inviting local educators to plan a field trip to visit the exhibit or to offer extra credit for attending; additionally, parents are encouraged to bring their children to the gallery. It is an ideal destination for anyone studying history, journalism, art, art history, photography or film.

Alfa Castaldi, “Martinitt”
Orphanage Milan, 1960
© Archivio Alfa Castaldi

“We’ve also developed an interactive scavenger hunt, which is a fun, engaging way to experience the images,” Avansino says. “The online scavenger hunt can be utilized for different age levels, and it really helps to facilitate a stronger appreciation for the exhibit.”

Avansino calls “NeoRealismo”an engaging sensory experience for local students,” sharing that the photographs evoke an emotional response.

“Most of our experiences with art happen when we see copies of original works, either in books or on websites,” she says. “But this is a chance for students to get up close and personal with authentic snapshots of life around the time of World War II. They’re incredibly powerful to witness in person.”

Contact arte italia to inquire about group visits or if you have educational questions/requests, or sign up here to receive emails from arte italia. 

The exhibit is curated by Enrica Viganò, organized by ADMIRA (Milan), and exclusively sponsored by the E. L. Wiegand Foundation.


  • arte italia, 442 Flint Street, Reno
  • NeoRealismo on view through December 29, 2019
  • Gallery Hours: Friday – Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m.
  • Admission: Free of charge

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