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Grand Valley receives ArtPrize painting from Sister Cities Perugia Committee

Posted on November 19, 2010

The ArtPrize 2010 painting, "The River Ocean," by Italian artist Luigi Marzo will remain in Grand Rapids, as a gift to Grand Valley State University. Marzo, who was born in southern Italy and currently lives and works in Perugia, presented his painting to the Grand Rapids Sister Cities International Perugia Committee, which in turn donated it to Grand Valley to give it a permanent home.

A reception to welcome Dr. Marco Nobili, Detroit Consul General of Italy, in conjunction with the painting dedication ceremony, took place Friday, November 19, in the Steelcase Library foyer, on Grand Valley’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus. The painting is installed in the foyer, to the left of the library doors. For more information about the artist and the painting, visit

Honorary Chair Marcia Knapp Haas, wife of Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas, accepted the gift on behalf of the university. Guests at the event included Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, representatives from Grand Rapids Sister Cities International, the Perugia Committee and Grand Valley.

Though the artist has returned to Italy, he stated that having spent his childhood between the Ionian and Adriatic Seas instilled in him a strong connection with water and the charm of Mediterranean myths. “The River Ocean,” an acrylic on canvas painting that measures roughly 11-feet by 2-feet, is described as echoing some melodic and rhythmic sensations, just like a river. Exhibited in the Ledyard Building during ArtPrize 2010, the installation included a brief video producing pictorial and musical work, which, along with the painting, evokes the Greek River Ocean and an aesthetic symbol of continuous transformation.

Consul General Nobili spent the earlier part of the day on Grand Valley’s Allendale Campus interacting with students in Italian language and culture classes. He observed presentations by students based on their projects celebrating the 10th Edition of Italian Week in the World. This year’s topic focuses on the contribution of Italian music to the language and its influence on the cultural identity of youth, with a comparison to the American music heritage.


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