CHICAGO – Italy's leading Digital and Figurative Arts Academy, Scuola Internazionale di Comics, an International school of Comic Art, has chosen Chicago for its first location outside of Italy. For 34 years, the school, headquartered in Rome, has trained artists who have gone on to work for creative agencies and leading comic book publishers in the U.S. and throughout Europe. The Chicago location will join schools in nine major Italian cities including Rome, Florence, and Naples.
Chicagoans will have a chance to tour the unique, Kinzie Corridor location when the Scuola Internazionale di Comics hosts a free, public preview event at their new school, at 1651-53 W. Hubbard Street Friday, March 22 from 5:30-9 p.m.
Dino Caterini founded Scuola Internazionale di Comics in 1979 in Rome. An accomplished comic artist in his own right, he fell in love with Chicago hospitality and the vibrant cultural arena here and promptly dismissed Miami and San Diego as possible sites for his first-ever U.S. school. Acknowledging this choice, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago, Silvio Marchetti, added that "Given the overwhelming enthusiasm and affection that Chicagoans showed for Maestro Muti, I am not surprised that Caterini had the vision to choose Chicago. Our city and cultural community will certainly benefit from this extraordinarily unique export of Italian culture. Most importantly, artists here and throughout the Midwest will have the rare opportunity to take advantage of a truly European art school.”
Major U.S. comic book publishers have known about the caliber of arts education at Scuola Internazionale di Comics for years. Sara Pichelli, a recent school graduate who developed the popular Miles Morales, for Marvel Comic’s Ultimate Spider Man series has been recognized as one of the Comic Industry’s most promising young stars. Pichelli took home three prestigious industry awards in 2011-12 for her unique talent: the Harvey Award (U.S.), and the Eagel and Stan Lee Awards (U.K.).
Guests at the free, public opening, March 22 from 5:30-9 p.m, will have a chance to tour the school’s creatively decorated facilities displaying comic art, inside and out. They will also have the opportunity to hear Caterini explain the enrollment process and why he and Lesley Pritikin, International Marketing Director, native Chicagoan and longtime resident of Rome, feel the time is right for the school’s attractively priced, signature three-year program. The school will be unique on the Chicago art school scene, with small studio classes that highlight individual attention, and extremely rigorous training in illustration combined with a strong focus on the craft of storytelling. Among course offerings are: Basic and Advanced Illustration, Comic Art, Animation, Creative Writing and Storyboarding, Maya 3-D and Graphic Design.
Pritikin points out that “Italian-ness” will be an important and integral part of the school’s branding. In fact, Italian language modules will be offered to Chicago students who may want to participate in a study program at one of the school’s nine Italian locations. She also cites the Master-Apprentice approach inspired by the method used in 15th century Italian Art Guilds as a prime example of how the school’s curriculum differs from other U.S. art schools. The school will welcome its first class of students for the three-year program in October 2013.
Attendees of the March 22 event will have the opportunity to view a spectacular exhibit, “American West Through Italian Eyes,” by internationally acclaimed artist and Artistic Director of all nine Italian schools, Paulo Eleuteri Serpieri, who will attend the opening. He will also present a special two-day illustration workshop entitled “Horses” on Saturday, March 23, 3 – 6 p.m., and on Monday March 25, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. Advance registration is required. The cost is $300 for the six-hour program, and it is open to all levels. Interested drawing students can register in person at the school 9-12 a.m., Monday through Friday beginning March 11 or call 312-265-0982.
U.S. art students will be attracted to the school’s alternative to the traditional four-year bachelor of fine arts programs offered at U.S. universities, all of which require non-art coursework. An “art-only” curriculum that excludes general education courses in math or literature, includes flexible scheduling and a price of $9,000 per year, will give young artists the chance to concentrate on finding what Caterini calls their “artistic soul” under the guidance of some of the industry’s best artists. Upon completion of the program students will also see their work published in large, beautiful albums, a hallmark of Comic Art in Europe. The school’s Chicago Inaugural Album displaying the highly individual, outstanding work of past students will be on sale March 22.
The more than 30 alumni currently working for leading U.S. comic publishers DC Comics, Marvel and IDW are the school’s best publicity. Graduates have worked on well-known titles such as Doctor Who, Avengers: The Origin, Ruse, Spike, True Blood, and X-Factor, to name a few. Prospective students will be able to see alumni works and have a unique opportunity to correspond with them directly vis-à-vis emails published on the school website (www.schoolofcomics.us), to be launched at the March 22 opening event. Sara Pichelli and other almuni will be making appearances at the Scuola Internazionale di Comic’s booth 1000, this April 26-28 2013, at the upcoming comic and entertainment expo, C2E2, which attracts fans of Comics from across the Midwest. Pichelli also created the spectacular weekend badge artwork for C2E2.
Enrollment for the three-year program opens in spring 2013, with specific application information to be posted on the new website. Well-known Italian artists, for example Elena Casagrande, Davide Messina, Davide Casagrande, and Valerio Schiti, will be teaching stimulating workshops already this spring and summer. Web-based workshops on portfolio development and Saturday courses for working professionals, high school art students and young children are also planned for spring and Summer 2013. For more information and images, visit http://tinyurl.com/b3yrun8.
Scuola Internazionale di Comics
The first International School of Comic Art in Chicago is a unique Italian art school from Rome that since 1979, has trained many prominent illustrators working today in the U.S. and throughout Europe. The school’s European Comic Art style, taught by professional artist-teachers, preserves a rich, old world quality. Students come to the school to find their “artistic soul,” in courses ranging from illustration and animation to graphic arts, creative writing and storyboard preparation. Scuola Internazionale di Comics currently operates out of nine major Italian cities, including Rome, Florence, Jesi, Turin, Pescara, Padua, Reggio Emilia, Brescia and Naples. U.S. students will also be able to study in one of these Italian locations. Over the years, the school has also participated in numerous cultural and educational exchanges and presently offers special scholarships to third year students at the Escuela Internacional di Cine e TV (Havana) and Tokyo Animator College (Tokyo).
The Scuola Internazionale di Comics, opening in 2013, is located at 1651-53 Hubbard St., its first-ever location established outside of Italy. More information will be available beginning March 22 at www.schoolofcomics.us.