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A Call for Art in Difficult Times: 
a note from Scott McGehee

With the multiple crises unfolding before us, it would be easy to dismiss the need for art if conceived as an elitist endeavor. Indeed, art can present itself as little more than a decorative distraction to which its only function would be to cast the glow of good taste on the self-absorbed dilettante. As the pandemic topples the economic security for millions and triggers a political crisis everywhere, real physical suffering may appear on our doorsteps. How then could we allocate our limited resources to art in the face of such suffering? To be sure this is the wrong question, fundamentally because the problem is not now and never has been a lack of resources. The question is one of values; what value do we place on the creative spirit? The outrageous disparities of wealth and abusive social practices that we are witnessing today have long been understood but seldom have they become so visible to so many. When the old explanations of how the world works contradicts direct experience, old explanations begin to crumble and the search begins. The work of the artist at this point is to animate the creative spirit in all of us and to help each of us to reimagine the world. We should make art that screams when screaming is called for; we should make art that whispers when whispers are needed, but above all, we should make art that brings together the real conditions of life with the effervescent imagination capable of shifting our vision of how we see what lies before us.

The Accademia dell'Arte is on its path to renewal and will open with an intensified focus on art and social change. As always we will provide outstanding technical preparation with talented instructors but we will do so within the context of accelerating social change.

In spite of the current difficulties or perhaps motivated by these difficulties, we are excited by future prospects. We have begun to put together a dynamic ensemble of teachers who will excite students with possibilities, motivate them to challenge themselves and invite them to collaborate in a community of artists.  

In this regard, we are thrilled to welcome three faculty members who will join us in new rolls. CHIARA D'ANNA, PhD who has already proved her excellence in teaching Commedia dell'Arte for the ADA's Summer Physical Theatre Intensives will now become part of our Devising & Physical Theatre Program as a core faculty member. We are excited to have her join her talents and inspiration to our faculty ensemble. (Click here for Chiara's bio). ALESSIO TREVISANI, Italian by origin but a long-term resident of Germany, will join us as the Coordinator of the Dance Program. Actively engaged in the international dance milieu, we are excited to work with Alessio's infectious enthusiasm and see its impact on the school and our students. (Alessio's bio can be found here, on our Summer Intensives Faculty webpage. It will be added to our Spring Dance Program page when program revisions are completed in a few weeks). And finally we have SAMUEL McGEHEE who will take on the position of Devising & Physical Theatre Program Coordinator. Sam has been part of the ADA community for many years and we are excited to see him play a larger role in our programming. Sam, in addition to his artistic vision and perspective, brings a rigor and depth to both his physical and intellectual work that accompanies his inspirational approaches to devising. (Click here for Sam's bio).

At the same time, we have to say farewell to three of our faculty. Even though it is a sad goodbye we are immensely grateful for the impact each one of them had on the school. They leave deep footprints and have shaped the school in many respects. 

Undergraduate Physical Theatre Program Director, NHANDAN CHIRCO brought a unique point of view and passionate ethos to the school that was marked by a radical vision of art and the work of the artist and a profound respect for student colleagues. Her influence kept the faculty and students on their toes and challenged us all at every turn. As the school re-opens we expect that Nhandan will be a regular guest artist. SABINE FICHTER, Dance Program Director for over 10 years, leaves behind a program that she was instrumental in shaping. With her constant attention to each aspect of the program she leaves behind an excellent base for future developments. We will miss her professionalism and the warmth she generated within the community. And finally there is DORY SIBLEY. Fifteen years ago Dory came to the Accademia as an undergraduate student. She was also part of the first MFA cohort of the ADA and received her graduate degree in 2011. Working closely with Kevin Crawford as her mentor, Dory eventually moved on to become an outstanding voice teacher in her own right. We're very excited that Dory's next chapter will be as Assistant Professor of Voice and Speech in the Department of Theatre at Coastal Carolina University, one of our closest partner schools. Dory will continue to be part of the ADA community also as the Founder and President of the Alumni Association.

We wish all three success and want them to know that they are always welcome at the ADA.

In the meantime, we will continue to take our forced suspension from programming due to COVID-19 as a time to focus on development. To all those artists and creators reading, we invite you to join us and bring your unique voice to our ensemble.

Scott McGehee, PhD
Founding Director, Accademia dell'Arte

P.S. - Other changes have happened over the last several months, some intentional as we navigate this rare time with no programming, others a direct result of Covid-19. We invite you to read on below for Program & Curriculum Changes and especially to learn more about our New Scholarships & Enhanced Early Bird Discount for Covid-19 Relief.

Click here for full details about the Discount and New Scholarships!
We need your help to weather the financial storm between now and the Spring 2021 semester. Here are the 2 most impactful ways you can contribute:

Consider a Direct Donation. Use the Paypal App (send to: or click the button below to donate online through our website. 


Spread the Word about Spring 2021 Programs. Our recovery from the cancellation of Fall 2020 programs and 2020 Summer Intensives begins with robust enrollment in our Spring 2021 Dance Program and Spring 2021 Devising & Physical Theatre Program.

  • Do you have friends or family members studying theatre or dance as undergraduates? Encourage them to spend the Spring '21 semester in Arezzo.
  • Contact your theatre & dance mentors or colleagues at your alma mater or at the institutions you're connected with now. Remind them of the impactful, transformative experience students have at the Accademia and ask them to encourage their students to study abroad in Arezzo!
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 August 11, 2020