Community Involvement


SACI student volunteers with the Angeli del Bello

During the Summer 2014 term, SACI student Kristine Cobb offered her time and good will to the urban volunteer project, Angeli del Bello. The organization cares for public spaces, parks and decorum around the city of Florence keeping the environment clean and beautiful. Kristine thoroughly enjoyed spending time in nature helping with other volunteers to spruce up the Stibbert Park located at the Museo Stibbert. Whether you speak the language or not, its a great way to meet locals and make new friends!

SACI students volunteer in community garden

Community GardenSpring is a great time of year to volunteer in the new Community Garden in Florence. During the Spring 2014 term, Samantha Hauser and Diana Pemberton enjoyed sharing their green thumbs with the local community of gardeners and nature lovers. They helped plant flowers and vegetables while maintaining the public grounds. The garden, called Orti Dipinti (Painted Gardens) promotes creativity for all ages. Some SACI students have donated their sculptural works to the garden.

SACI students volunteer as guides in local churches

Taylor HealyDuring the Spring 2014 term, SACI students Taylor HealyTory BirnesJessica Bastidas, and Annie Wilsey each volunteered for an organization called Ars et Fides. They acted as docents for tours in the main churches of Florence: Santa Maria del Fiore, Santa Maria Novella, and Santa Croce. Of her experience in the Duomo, Taylor said, "I really enjoyed volunteering in one of the world's most famous churches. It was an incredible opportunity and I highly recommend it to any student. Giving tours and answering questions really allowed me to learn more about the cathedral, and also the early history of Florence. An extra perk of volunteering was free admission into the other churches throughout the city! Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. Hopefully I will be back in Italy soon!"

SACI student volunteers at the Children's Lending Library

Children's Lending LibrarySpring 2014 student, Nicole Kimberly Price, volunteered at the Children's Lending Library in Florence. Of her experience, Nicole had to say, "I'm so glad that I decided to volunteer at the Children's Lending Library. I am very interested in illustrating for children's books, and I even make a children's book in my Illustration class at SACI. It was very fun and inspiring to organize and look through the books every time I volunteered. On top of that, the staff is so nice. All of them were extremely kind to me and every time I went to the library I had a fun time. I will definitely miss the Children's Lending Library and the memories I made there when I have to go back to my home college in the United States."

SACI Conservation Area restores San Gallo crucifix

The exhibition, I Sangallo: Una famiglia di scultori -- Arte, assistenza e devozione tra Firenze e Pontassieve features a crucifix restored over a three-year period by SACI students under the supervision of SACI Conservation Area Head Dr. Roberta Lapucci.  Roberta, who wrote an article for the exhibition catalogue, and SACI Conservation Teaching Assistant Philippa Norton (SACI Alumna, 2009-2010) represented SACI at the reception, during which the school was officially thanked and the project cited as an example of how collaboration between Italians and those from other countries aids Italy in the preservation of its unique cultural heritage. For more information, see the SACI-ART blog.

SACI student helps others in need at the Misericordia

SACI student, Hana Porter, volunteered her time in Fall 2013 to the Misericordia di Firenze, a historic brotherhood that provides free services for people in need, founded in Florence in 1244. Of her experience, Hana said, At the Misercordia I helped transport dialysis patients and intellectually challenged patients from their homes to hospitals or day centers. We picked them up in ambulances and drove them to various care locations around the Florence and throughout Tuscany. I would recommend this volunteer position. It is very straight forward and not difficult. There was, however, little interaction with the patients because many of them who are challenged are not able to communicate very well (plus I did not speak Italian). Yet, it was fulfilling to be able to assist them in any way I could -- whether it was holding their hand or just smiling to keep them at ease. Another benefit is that I was able to meet other Italian volunteers. I have had a few wonderful encounters with both young and older volunteers.

Illustration class project with students at the international school Lycée Victor Hugo

SACI students in Camilla Torna’s Illustration class met during the Fall 2013 term with third graders at the Lycée Victor Hugo international school in Florence.

The SACI students presented their illustrations to the children who made up stories based on these works.






SACI Students decorate Figline Valdarno Hospital

During December 2012, SACI’s Fresco class, along with instructor Mario Passavanti, donated time and creative energy to decorating the walls of the new radiology ward in the Hospital of Figline Valdarno, a town just outside of Florence. This project was part of the Community Involvement program which has led to SACI students decorating the wards of many hospitals in and around Florence. To read more on this initiative, view the SACI ART BLOG. For more images, please visit our Flickr account.

SACI Congratulates Kelly Bryden

Kelly Bryden at Nencioni Elementary SchoolSACI is pleased to announce that Kelly Bryden (Spring 2012) is this year's winner of the Clayton Hubbs Community Service Award. This $250 prize is awarded each year to honor SACI students who, like the late SACI trustee emeritus Dr. Clayton Hubbs, made special efforts during their period abroad to connect with-and benefit-members of the local community. Kelly helped the instructors at the Nencioni Elementary School to teach English to the children.  One of the instructors said, “Kelly is really on the ball, full of initiative, and has a sunny and playful disposition. She likes to ask, learn, and make suggestions. I commend her, as do my colleagues, the parents, and, most importantly, the children."

Giving Back to Florence

Drawing by Jessica ManningOne of SACI's missions is to help insert students into a variety of social and humanitarian programs, a helpful, yet gratifying, way to interact with the Florentine community. It is wonderful to see how many SACI students give back to Florence by volunteering their time and talents. In addition to decorating hospital wards with their artwork, students, under the guidance of SACI Student Affairs Coordinator Chiara Tolleri, serve as tour guides in Florence's major churches, teach English to immigrants, volunteer their time at the Children's Lending Library, and help Italian elementary school children improve their comprehension of English. Jessica Manning (Fall 2011) offered her time to the Italian community by teaching English to children at the Gaetana Agnesi Elementary School. Jessica describes her experience as a great opportunity for an Education major. "I saw the best of Italy through the children of Florence."

Presentation of Tabernacle Restored by SACI Students

SACI Mural Conservation student Vali SteeleOn January 27, 2010, the tabernacle Sacred Family by Giovanni di San Giovanni, recently restored by SACI students under the direction of SACI Mural Conservation instructor Daniela Murphy Corella, was blessed at its site in Via Palazzuolo 89. Immediately afterwards, there was a presentation of the completed restoration project inside the Parrocchia di Santa Lucia su Prato, with opening remarks by Cristina Acidini, Soprintendente del Polo Museale Fiorentino, and SACI President Mary Beckinsale. The restoration of this beautiful tabernacle was made possible thanks to the authorization of the Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della città di Firenze (under the direction of Dr. Anna Bisceglia), and the wonderful communal sponsorship efforts of the Comitato Quartiere di Via Palazzuolo e Strade Limitrofi, the Comitato per il restauro e il decoro dei Tabernacoli, Amici dei Musei Fiorentini, Albergatori per Firenze, and the Palazzo dei Cartelloni ONLUS.

(Read more about Community Service projects by clicking on the titles below)

SACI Fresco Class Decorates the Dialysis Waiting Room

SACi conservation and the church in Capalle

Book Seeks Story


SACI Brings Art into Hospitals