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Update From Virginia

We are back in Charlottesville after three weeks away. We all had a wonderful and productive time, except for Kameer, who stayed behind with Carlos Lopez, our collaborator and house sitter. Why is our dog called Kameere? It's simple—we never gave her a name, and she always responded when we called, "come here," hence the name.

Atlanta, Georgia

Our first stop was Atlanta, GA, where I enjoyed the hospitality of the Brock Family and got to know their children. The Brock family owns a delightful copy of "Young Virgin," a Carrara marble sculpture by Attilio Piccirilli. The Brocks have generously donated to "The Italian Factor," our film in progress about the Piccirilli Brothers. The film is increasingly focused on Attilio Piccirilli and his brothers, so much so that we might rename it "The Piccirilli Factor."

While in Georgia, I visited several monuments resulting from the collaboration between the Piccirilli, Daniel Chester French, and Henry Bacon. This collaboration is often highlighted in discussions about the Lincoln Memorial, which tends to overshadow other projects that cemented the relationships between the designer, the architect, and the sculptors. As Bill Sherman clearly states at the beginning of our film, monuments are the result of collaborations.

New York City

The Piccirilli Factor
With Caterina Pierre in Williamsburg, New York

From Atlanta, we headed back to New York, which has been my base as I work on "The Piccirilli Factor" and Joy Brown’s film. Both films are progressing simultaneously, each telling its own story. While in New York, I lectured at a workshop organized by the Fashion Institute of Technology, an event made possible with a grant from the NEH. During these sessions, twice a week apart, I shared parts of my film with an enthusiastic audience of experts, academics, and museum curators.

I also met with Caterina Pierre in New York to record her thoughts on "The Outcast," another monumental work by Attilio Piccirilli to which Pierre has devoted significant time and effort.

Also in New York, we had the opportunity to meet with Justin Davis at The Riverside Church. Justin, the archivist, guided us through parts of the church I had not previously seen, including the bell tower with all its hidden mysteries. It was a privilege to stand up there, looking down at the Hudson, Grant's Tomb, and a privileged view of Manhattan in all directions. The Riverside Church is an important part of my film on the Piccirilli Brothers, who carved all 500 sculptures inside and outside this magnificent building.

Photo by Eduardo Montes-Bradley
A View of Grant's Tomb from the Bell Tower at Riverside Church

Photo by Eduardo Montes-Bradley
Justin Davis | The Riverside Church, Archivist

Kent, Connecticut

From New York, we drove to Fairfield, Connecticut, where we met Philip Trager, one of New York’s most distinguished photographers. Philip and his wife welcomed us with a delicious meal and showed us some extraordinary work that may help us illustrate examples of the Piccirilli contributions to public art in Manhattan. While at the Trager’s, I wondered if Philip himself might be a fitting subject for an upcoming documentary about his work. After all, our goal is to tell stories that mainstream media never will.

The Piccirilli Factor
Philip Trager and his photo of The Atlantic at the Maine Memorial in New York

Joy Brown | Seated Friend

The following day, we drove a few hours West to Kent to see Joy Brown and discuss the progress of our film, her recent trip to China, and possible new explorations for her film. We also picked up one of her lovely sculptures to bring back to Virginia in hopes that it could be sold to help our fundraising efforts for the film.

On the way back to Virginia, we stopped to visit Joseph D’Oronzio in Madison, New jersey, who is collaborating with me on the sequence about The Leonardo daVinci Art School, founded by Attilio Piccirilli and Onorio Ruotolo in the early 1920s.

Now, back in Charlottesville, we are preparing to start the summer at a much slower pace, editing, gardening, and planning new adventures for the coming Fall and film festival season.

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