ISF students at Palazzo Strozzi for Art Friday
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ISF students at Palazzo Strozzi for Art Friday

Palazzo Strozzi has collaborated with the International School of Florence to give students the opportunity to take part in a new educational program.

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Wed 19 Oct 2022 11:09 AM

Living in the heart of Florence, it is considered an expectation to acquaint oneself with art from the Renaissance, a period in history that boomed in the city. It is easy to find remnants of the Renaissance in Florence: museums such as the Uffizi and the Bargello are scattered around its center. However, Florence is also home to numerous museums and exhibitions that are not based on the Renaissance. The esteemed Palazzo Strozzi is known for its exhibitions that host art from around the globe, dating from pre-Renaissance times to the early 21st century. The magnificent façade and central location, along with acclaimed art, have given Palazzo Strozzi its rightful place as a cultural center of Florence and the world.

One of the museum’s most recent endeavours was a collaboration with the International School of Florence to launch an educational program called Art Friday.

The Art Friday program is an interactive experience for high school students, giving them an incredible opportunity to explore and immerse themselves in amazing art while training as docents and developing important skills like public speaking. After a successful application process, students begin to prepare for the highly anticipated Art Friday evening. Each student picks a few pieces of art that they would like to present and they spend months conducting research about their artworks of choice. Finally, on the evening of Art Friday, Palazzo Strozzi’s doors open up to members of the public and ISF’s community, allowing them to purchase tickets for a special night of insightful commentary.

Palazzo Strozzi has hosted three Art Friday events, the first being American Art: 1961-2001 in June 2021. A collection of pieces dating from 1961 to 2001 created by the likes of Andy Warhol and Barbara Kruger, American Art explored various important social and political issues. A few months later, students had the opportunity to participate as docents for Jeff Koons: Shine, a colourful and abstract exhibition consisting mainly of large sculptures and installations. The most recent Art Friday event for Donatello, il Rinascimento was held this past June, showcasing a collection of work from Donatello and his protégés. An artist deeply rooted in Florence’s heritage and culture, Donatello’s Renaissance pieces created an extraordinary collection that revealed some of Florentine and Italian history.

Having participated in Art Friday, we can both affirm that it was one of the most special opportunities either of us have had the chance to experience. Being able to surround ourselves with diverse and remarkable art from different eras by different artists and with different messages, all in the heart of Florence, was extremely enriching. We were able to hone our research and public speaking skills through a process that was also extremely interesting and rewarding, and even though both those things challenged us greatly, this experience taught us how to navigate such problems.

Devaki Menon (Grade 11) and Leela Menon (Grade 10) are students at the International School of Florence. ISF is grateful for this partnership with Palazzo Strozzi and looks forward to collaborating on future exhibitions.

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