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Artists from sister cities in Latvia, Italy to share their work at the Carmel International Arts Festival • Current editions

The Carmel International Arts Festival will get a boost this year thanks to the two new sister cities of Carmel.

The VanRiper-Woodard Family Foundation will sponsor artists from Jelgava, Latvia, and Cortona, Italy. Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard recommended that the artists be invited to the Carmel International Arts Festival, scheduled for September 24-25 in the Carmel Arts & Design District.

“During my time in Italy, while finalizing our Sister Cities relationship with Cortona, I was able to experience first-hand the art and culture of this region,” Brainard said. “I also came to learn more about Latvian art and culture. I look forward to our residents and visitors having the chance to share the experience as part of the cultural exchange of our new relationship. I appreciate the work that has been done by the festival board to make this happen so quickly.

Italian artist Sebastian DelBrenna works on his jewelry. (Photo courtesy of Sebastian DelBrenna)

Sebastian DelBrenna, an artist who works with jewelry, is Cortona’s representative. DelBrenna created her own collection using gemstones, Italian coins and chain design.

“I love meeting new people and explaining our family history and traditions,” DelBrenna said. “Because our jewels are the result of our intense manual work, they are best explained face to face, but also because we explain the work by crossing our history with the history of our land and territory, Cortona. I would like people from Carmel to come and visit Cortona and our family studio where the jewelry is made.

DelBrenna has visited US art festivals in the past, but this is the first since the COVID-19 pandemic halted travel in 2020.

DelBrenna’s grandfather started the business in 1947.

“My father invented four handmade chains. My idea is to use only these four handmade chains to build all our collections by hand, link by link in our family workshop (in Cortona in Tuscany),” he said. “DelBrenna incorporates its signature chain into every DelBrenna design. Iconic chains are at the heart and soul of our jewelry, where every step is done by hand. Each element of the signature chain is the result of an 11-step process patented by DelBrenna.

Latvian artist IIze-Emse Grinberga works on a sculpture. (Photo courtesy of IIze-Emse Grinberga)

Ilize-Emse Grinberga, from Jelgava, is an artist and sculptor. She is known for her chamotte sculptures, which are displayed in a garden by the river in her hometown.

Grinberga will be bringing large photo posters of sculptures to share her work at the Carmel Festival. She will also bring smaller pieces of china for Christmas tree ornaments.

“It’s like a miracle, combined with a happy coincidence,” Grinberga said. “As it happens, last July, I met the American Honorary Consul Andris P. Bērziņs and learned about the idea of ​​Sister Cities. After our meetings and our conversations, I took this opportunity as an honor and an incredible opportunity to present our work on the other side of the world.

Grinberga came to the United States for college in 1995. Sculptor and professor Māris D. Benson selected a few lucky students from the Latvian Academy of Arts to receive the scholarship to study at Humboldt State University, now Cal Poly Humboldt, in Arcata, Calif.

“I was selected and it turned out to be one of the most remarkable experiences of my life, not only to study my profession, but also to discover another culture, meet new friends for life and participate in many events and festivals,” said Grinberga. “I have visited art galleries in LA and many other arts and crafts related events in California.”

Grinberga said Latvia was not rich in gems and minerals, but had clay.

“Therefore, it is only natural that the second oldest profession, pottery, should be the most celebrated and honored artistic expression and craft in my country,” she said. “From childhood, I loved and felt familiar with clay. I understand it deeply. We have centuries-old traditions in ceramics, and our education is fundamental and monumental, from conceptual to practical. I have learned all mediums and materials, porcelain, stoneware, chamotte, clay, etc.

In addition, she will bring leather goods from her sister-in-law, artist Ilizan Grinberga.

Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on September 24 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on September 25. To learn more, visit

Provide a lift

Indianapolis businessman/artist/philanthropist Turner Woodard’s family has had strong ties to the Carmel art community, dating back to when his father-in-law, Guernsey Van Riper, owned the Van Riper Gallery. in Caramel.

Carmel-based Woodard studied art at Park Tudor School and Herron School of Art and Design.

“I’ve always loved the arts and arts communities and what arts society brings to the joy of living,” Woodard said. “I’ve always been a believer and supporter of this. I like to paint myself. When they needed help setting up this sister city project, I thought of it and was happy to help. »

Given her stepfather’s connection, Woodard said it was an easy decision.

Woodard said he enjoyed being involved in the downtown Indianapolis arts community when he owned the Stutz building.

“The arts will be in the top three in every vibrant and progressive city,” Woodard said. “Carmel seems to be doing her part. I didn’t know too much about the Carmel International Arts Festival. I’ve been before but never with a real connection. The international connection with these artists from Italy and Latvia should be a nice part of it.

Woodard was one of the founders of the Stutz Artist Society. Woodard will show his work during the festival in the former home of the Evan Lurie Gallery on Main Street.

Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.