Dana Prescott
A Letter from the Director Greetings from a mild and balmy Umbria where a multitude of projects are coming to closure before our season opens on April 28. As always, these weeks before we open are full of activity.

Yesterday, for instance, we gathered as a staff for an 8 hour mandatory course on safety and security. Given the beautiful weather, we insisted on meeting outside under the budding gazebo which initially confounded our computer dependent instructor, but soon he was confessing it was the best class he'd ever held. For lunch we enjoyed typical Umbrian 'crescia' thanks to Antonio and his staff at 'Ristoro in Campagna.'

As for the Castle, the new 'Open Studio' on the ground floor is now ready for lighting, work tables, and equipment to be moved in. This beautifully vaulted cantina will have hand tools, a sewing machine, power tools, a compressor, and more. We'll have a cutting file, storage for materials left from previous Fellows, and both clean and dirty workspace.

Those of you who have stayed in the magical circular bedroom 'Gufo' on the third floor of the Castle will be happy to hear that a luxurious new bathroom and shower have been added.

Meanwhile, Maurizio and his new assistant, Ennio, are tending the 'orto' where lettuce heads are already rising. Maurizio plans to extend one new long and narrow garden bed to accommodate strawberries and corn.

Thanks to an anonymous donor, the secret garden is now graced with furniture by Fermob, a French design firm, whose product line was brought to our attention by the lovely people at Abati furniture in Perugia. We thank Mimi and Ed, Friends of Civitella, for the introduction.

We have also just received yet another 500 volumes from Mark Strand's extensive and important personal library. I have only had time to look through one box and was happy to see works by Thomas Hardy, Louise Gluck, and Susan Stewart. These are books for a life time of reading and we and future generations of Fellows are profoundly grateful for this gift.

Thanks to yet another donation, new lighting systems and wall boards have greatly improved the visual artists' studios.

It's a great beginning for our 20th year of activity. As we all toasted each other in New York, 'Long Live Civitella!'