Italian Art Walk, Jun 06 | All Things Italian in Fairfield, Iowa, in June

Pasta, pizza, madonnari, cannoli, bocce ball—just a few of the things Americans have come to know and love about Little Italy in Chicago and New York. On Friday, June 2, 2006, you’ll find la dolce vita just a short drive away when Fairfield’s square goes Italian as part of the 1st Fridays Art Walk, 6:30 to 10 p.m.

Co-sponsored by SOFIA—the Society of Fairfield Italian Americans—Italian Night has attracted support from the entire town—regardless of ethnic heritage. “All of us are participating,” says Jerry Fischer, of Top of the Rock restaurant. “Right from the beginning, we were made a part of this celebration.” Eight Fairfield restaurants are “going Italian” for the night of June 2nd, with special dishes and beverages.

Outdoor cafés will populate the sidewalks, offering unique Italian specialties like grilled calamari and sausage sandwiches in addition to a wide variety of pizzas and pastas. The At Home store will host Italian cooking demonstrations. On the south side of the square, Café SOFIA will offer heavenly fruit-flavored gelato (Italian ice cream) and Café Paradiso’s award-winning espresso. Yummy’s will sell its espresso-laced mini-tiramisu.

Fairfield’s quiet town square will be transformed into a festive Italian piazza, with strolling musicians, an opera tenor from the University of Iowa, an Italian folk dance troupe, and a zampogna (Italian bagpipe) player. At 9 p.m., visitors can get a bird’s eye view of the Italian peninsula with the film Visions of Italy, to be screened on the square.
Throughout the evening, displays and presentations will celebrate the contributions of famous Italians and Italian-Americans, classic Italian art, and Italian foods. Travel information will be provided by the Travel Designer. A Venetian bead display, a bocce ball tournament, and a collection of rare Italian motorcycles will be part of the festivities. SOFIA members will sell imported cheese and homemade Italian desserts, including freshly made cannoli.

The event will also include a professional demonstration of Madonnari sidewalk art, a street art form innovated in Italy. Craig Wilson, direct from Iowa’s first large-scale Madonnari Festival, will be creating a masterpiece on the square.

The Northwest Cultural Corner will feature an audio-visual exhibit from the Ellis Island Foundation and a display from the Italian-American Cultural Center of Iowa Museum in Des Moines. Heartland Realty will offer access to a computer program to research ancestry through U.S. immigration logs.

21st Century Books and Gifts will host Italian-American author and poet Joseph Benevento, professor of English at Truman State University in Missouri. Dr. Benevento will be reading from his novel Plumbing in Harlem, which recounts growing up Italian-American in New York City. will host a talk on Italian wines, with tasting, too.
Art galleries and venues around the square are finding innovative ways to connect with the Italian theme. Americus Gallery will feature original oil paintings by Christopher Kufner, who has just returned from the hills of Tuscany with 12 new landscapes. Betsy Huffsmith, of Skyline Fine Art Gallery above Somebody Cares, will be demonstrating a venerable Italian art form: painting on tile. ICON I will present photographs by Sam Oppenheim of New York City, the great-grandson of Italian immigrants. Deb Danaher’s Haut House will host Denise Gallagher’s Renaissance-inspired nudes and oil paintings, and Chris Soth’s oil landscapes. Galen Satterley will also present stunning photos of Italian architectural detail.

SOFIA has over 50 member families, all of whom are putting their hearts into making this a spectacular event. “Make your plans to come early and stay late,” says SOFIA President Dick DeAngelis. “And tell all your friends they won’t want to miss this one. It’s going to be a fun night for everybody.”

For more information on All Things Italian Night, call (641) 919-4277 or email

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