I started learning Italian in 2013. After sitting through several engineering meetings in Bologna Italy, I decided if the opportunity came up again to visit “Motor City” Bologna again with its hub of Mechanical Engineering companies, I wanted to be able to communicate.

Since then, spending focused time each week learning Italian has been so much fun to take a break from reality, to learn a new culture and to laugh at myself the whole time. Learning a language requires a sense of humour to be willing to blurt out new sounds that just don’t make sense! It took me 3 years to roll my “R”s.

Learning Italian has made my experiences in Italy more valuable including an Art Residency in Sicily in 2014 (link to the project here), and leading an art workshop in Emilia Romagna next April 2018 (link to the workshop here) with Hotel Belvedere. Or smaller experiences like being able to communicate with locals while sketching in Riccione as they tell me the next places I should paint (see my latest Italian sketchbook here).

Me doing a speech (in Italian) in Sicily at the inauguration of my mural in 2014 at Graniti Murales Art Residency

Despite fumbling my way through Intermediate III Italian last year, my most recent class I went back to basics. It was a beginner class with 12 other Vancouver painters/artists. The newly formed collective 13 Feet Off the Ground is going to Sicily this fall and the group joined me to learn basic Italian to facilitate our adventure! We did a focused beginner class learning Sicilian foods and painting vocabulary. What a fantastic way to get to know this group of Vancouver artists before we set off to SICILY! We had so many laughs in the class and have since been challenging each other on Duolingo.

Group of artists: 13 Feet Off The Ground learning Italian at the Italian Cultural Center this past month in preparation for our trip to Sicily (photo Jenn Brisson)


Painting Vocabulary we learned in the beginner Italian class


Thank you to the Italian Cultural Center of Vancouver for hosting the class and to our very patient instructor Francesca.

To learn more about the Italian Cultural Center & their language classes, click here.

To learn more about 13 Feet off the Ground, click here.

To learn more about Graniti Murales Art Residency, click here.

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