Artists in Residence

Our residencies for the (sm)art residency program 2018/19 have been concluded. We are grateful to our Artists in Residence for leaving a profound artistic footprint, paving the path for 2020/21 and beyond!

We had no idea what was coming around the corner, and with the pandemic we are still learning to adapt keeping our heads above water, co-creating with our growing international arts community.


Welcome to (sm)art festival 21

At (sm)art festival 21 we travel around the world in a digital way, until we can restart something that is in our human nature: the arts, the culture, the cinemas, the social, the travel, the discovery, the dreaming ...

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Come and join our festival, a presto! 

(sm)art festivals 21 logo

- Induction 2020 -


Entering the year 2020, in recognition for outstanding contributions to the arts, seven artists have been inducted into the (sm)art fellowship foundation!


The (sm)art fellowship provides the mental and physical space to develop artistic projects during Casale Flaminia's annual fall to spring residency term between the months of November and April, working in quiet and inspiring surroundings in the company of fellow artists, writers, novelists and poets.


The (sm)art fellowship also offers the opportunity to meet and collaborate with the international artistic communities of Spoleto, a cultural medieval city pre-dating Rome.

Melissa Hekkers

Writer in Residence


Adi Atassi

Artist in Residence


Sandy Marie Humby

Writer in Residence


Sam J. Grudgings

Poet in Residence


Jimmi Sandham

Writer in Residence


Niaz Maleknia

Photographer in Residence


Tommaso Faraci

Artist in Residence


Benvenuti to our ongoing (sm)art fellowship with the arts community here in Spoleto, creating new artistic possibilities in 2020 and beyond!


- Spring 2020 -

After careful consideration of the pool of prolific and talented international artists, the (sm)art committee has chosen four recipients to join us in Spoleto, Italy for our spring residency, planned for 14 to 21 May 2021.


Congratulations to New York based novelist and essayist, Janet Steen, Ireland based figurative artist, Rosie McGurran, Lisbon based writer and journalist, Vitor Pereira, and writer and visual artist, Margarita Gokun Silver.

Margarita Gokun Silver

Writer in Residence


Janet Steen

Writer in Residence


Rosie McGurran

Artist in Residence


Vitor Pereira

Writer in Residence


World-renowned author and dancer, Twyla Tharp, once said, “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” We are thrilled to offer these artists a place to run to this spring — and the time and resources to continue creating their beautiful art. Benvenuti to Janet, Rosie, Vitor, and Margarita!

- Fall 2020 -

Due to the Coronavirus travel restrictions and lockdown measures, the fall 2020 (sm)art residency has been moved to spring 2021, with tentative dates 14 to 21 May to be confirmed nearer at the time.


Consequently, all the submitted (sm)art fellowship applications for spring 2021 have been rolled over to fall 2021!

- Spring 2020 -

Due to the Coronavirus travel restrictions and lockdown measures, the spring 2020 (sm)art residency has been put on hold until further notice.


- Fall 2019 -

"Authentic, haunting, and evocative … Their work truly matters. These artists deserve the time and the space to pursue it.” These are just a few words from members of the selection committee after choosing three recipients for the autumn 2019 Artists in Residence Fellowship.


After careful consideration of the pool of exceptionally talented and inspiring international applicants, the (sm)art committee was unanimous in its short-list and final decision. We are pleased to announce that Cyprus-based journalist and writer Melissa Hekkers, Syrian-born artist, Adi Atassi, and energy alchemist, photographer and author, Sandy Humby are the recipients of our week-long residency at Casale Flaminia in Spoleto, Italy.


Melissa Hekkers

Writer in Residence


Adi Atassi

Artist in Residence


Sandy Marie Humby

Writer in Residence


The three artists left a profound footprint during their stay in fall 2019, manifesting the start of the annual (sm)art residency program.


- Summer 2019 -


During the summer of 2019, we welcomed visiting artist Lina Hermsdorf with her colleague artist Tomasso Faraci from the Mahler & LeWitt Studios in Spoleto.

Lina Hermsdorf

Visiting Artist


Tomasso Faraci

Visiting Artist


Lina visited Casale Flaminia to work on her art film project during her artist-in-residence at the Mahler & LeWitt Studios in Spoleto. 


The project is centred around the Lucus Bona Dea here at Acquaiura, a little known ancient sacred forest on the land of Casale Flaminia dedicated to the Roman goddess Bona Dea and 2000 years ago provided a sanctuary for women with rites that sanctified the temporary removal of customary constraints imposed on Roman women of all classes by Roman tradition.


Lucas Bona Dea by solo artist Lina Hermsdorf is exhibited in London at Jupiter Woods, a female led arts organisation.


- Spring 2018 -

For the opening residency program of spring/summer 2018, we hosted our first writer in residence Emily Haas and the sculptor Luigi Prevedel.

Emily Haas

Writer in Residence

Luigi Prevedel

Sculptor in Residence


Meet the Artists

Our residencies for the residency program 2018/19 have been concluded, meet the artists!


Melissa Hekkers

Writer in Residence

Melissa Hekkers is a freelance journalist and author, who has frequently been featured in mainstream news outlets and other publications in Cyprus. Her most recent publication (2018), My Cape Greco Mandala, which is the third in a series, is a colouring book inspired by the wildlife of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus and was preceded by My Akamas Mandala which focuses on a variety of endemic plants found on the Akamas Natural Reserve. In 2016, she published My Nicosia Mandala, the first of the above series, an innovative, interactive colouring book about the historic fortifications of the old town of Nicosia.


Since 2015, Melissa has been teaching creative writing to children and adults. Melissa also focuses on silenced communities in Cyprus: she writes about migrants, both as a reporter and author; profiles them and teaches them creative and script writing skills through European funded programmes. In 2007, soon after graduating with a Communications degree, she published her first children’s book in both English and Greek entitled Crocodile, which won the Cyprus State Illustration Award. In 2012, she launched her second children’s book Flying across Red Skies (in English and Greek), using an experimental approach to literature, for which she was nominated for the Cyprus State Literary award. Her third, similarly well-received children’s book was Pupa (Greek and English), published in 2014 and was adapted as a theatre play in 2019. In between her last two books, she published her first free-verse poetry book entitled Come-forth.


In 2019 she was contributing author to the anthology Nicosia Beyond Barriers: Voices from a Divided City, published by Saqi Books, London.

Melissa Hekkers is writer in residence at Casale Flaminia Residency program and advisory member of the Fellowship Selection Committee.

"Pupa" is live on stage!

An adaptation of the children’s book "Pupa" as a theatre play is currently being presented on weekends at the Theatre Dionysos. Bringing the book to life as a theatre play for the first time in Cyprus, the play is based on Melissa Hekkers’ third children’s book and is directed by Christos Yiangou and adapated by Natalia Panayiotou.

Photos Antonis Farmakas

"I'm not a volunteer, I'm Human"

Amir's Blue Elephant

During the residency week at Casale Flaminia, Melissa Hekkers reflected on her experience as a volunteer on the Greek island beaches and the hardships faced by refugees and migrants upon reaching European shores. From the perspective of a journalist, Melissa Hekkers recounted her footsteps as she joined the journey of thousands of refugees seeking safety in Europe. 


Telling the real story of a refugee kid Amir, holding on to his blue elephant toy, the new book pushing the creative boundaries of non-fiction, was born!

Amir's Blue Elephant Book Cover

At Casale Flaminia we are delighted for Mellisa Hekkers following through on her writing residency book project landing a publishing deal six months down the road.

No words can express our gratitude to the author for acknowledging the mentorship of Mellisa Felix and the support of our curator, Ralph Overbeck, grazie mille!

"Hekkers delivers a true tour de force–with her lyrical and evocative writing, she shines a mirror on the humanity that unites us all." Mellisa Felix | Head of Casale Flaminia Writing Residencies


Adi Atassi

Artist in Residence

Adi Atassi was born in Syria, in 1962. The beauty of the Syrian landscape covered with a mosaic of colours, strong light and shadows, history and religions, influenced his first years lived in the town of Homs. At the age of eighteen, he left for Damascus to study art at the University of Fine Arts. 

Like the sea gull flying to different lands building their nests, his fate brought him to Cyprus that provided for him his new home since 1987. The status of the foreigner, gave him the loneliness an artist needs, but at the same time, the familiarity of the climate and the history of place, gave him the love and warmth necessary for his creativity.

I'm interested in chaos and accident and the harmony and beauty found within. In my work I provoke the accident to later, during the creative process, embrace it looking for reconciliation and homeostasis. My approach as when creating is a construct-demolish-repair process; during this struggle I find a brute yet honest identity of my subjects.

Our perception of the world and ourselves is grounded on explicit or implicit agreements in society. I'm instigating this conventionalism and exposing the viewer to a visceral discourse concerned with our own bodily integrity and mortality.


Adi Atassi is artist in residence at Casale Flaminia Residency program and advisory member of the Fellowship Selection Committee.

"Vocabulary of Spoleto"

During the autumn 2019 residency, maestro Adi captured the "vocabulary" of Spoleto using ink and watercolours on paper and kindly donated his work to the collection of the Casale Flaminia Artist in Residence Fellowship.


"The hidden worlds of words"

An interactive art journey between Adi and friends, where he invites them to write spontaneously some words on a 42-30 cm paper before interacting with their words written in Chinese Black Ink by passing his drawing knife on their words while the ink is still wet, transforming words into shapes...

- Adi and Friends -

“...shapes that belong to the character of everyone who interacts with me. It shows their hidden meanings, the worlds of all spoken and written words, those words that you imagine before the beginning of writing, and they are after an abstract of the 'Kafka' in the conscious mind, reflected in interconnected shapes and letters that show certain meanings." - Adi Atassi - 

- The infinite worlds of shapes -

"My task as an artist is to reveal those hidden worlds of words, where words and letters turn into a form that can be related to the inner written words. It is the absolute abstraction of the content of the words or crafts and the creation of imaginary worlds hidden by words in their letters, this infinite world of shapes is the curiosity of the creative child inside me. From that I began to paint the hidden blanks that were formed between words or forms of words before turning them into a fairy, abstract, child features that are not subject to the authority of the mind or the logic that limit their departure from what we learned, understood or realised what words or letters mean." - Adi Atassi -

- Interactive Art Experience -

The experience of the "hidden worlds of words" has helped our writers in residence for their writing to flow..., and at the end of the residency, Adi gifted his artistic work to the individual writers, manifesting the interactive art journey between Adi and friends.

The "hidden worlds of words" manifested between Adi and Sandy, on display in the Rosy Temple in England.


Sandy Marie Humby

Writer in Residence

I am a multi disciplined energy alchemist, house whisperer, designer, photographer and author. My work is in inspiring inner transformation through a path of Beauty, Truth and Love. A calling to an alignment to higher Soul Self through the healing of residual trauma and suffering and activation of the Heart. A true homecoming.


My colourful journey has taken me deep to explore myself and heal my story through the different phases and expression in my life, and this led me to a defining visit to The Alhambra in Granada in May 2010. The visit opened the doorway to my current expression and the creation and the publishing of a Rose Oracle for the Heart in 2014.


The wheel is turning again and a book that takes my work to its next level is currently being incubated to be birthed.

Sandy is writer in residence at Casale Flaminia Residency program and advisory member of the Fellowship Selection Committee.

- House Whispering -

Traversing the casale with Sandra Marie Humby connecting to the spiritual energy of Bona Dea.

- Full Moon Rose Reading -

- Bona Dea -


"The Bona Dea releasing in a most beautiful colourful canvas what is past... to draw down deep with. To move to stillness, to nourish and replenish."

- Sandy Marie Humby, Writer in Residence -


Niaz Maleknia

Photographer in Residence

I was born in Iran in 1969 and left at the outbreak of the Revolution in 1979 at a time when photographs in Iran were banned. Escaping in the middle of the night, we left to come to London. 


I completed my schooling at the International school ,and went on to study English Literature and got my BA from London University. I worked as a fashion buyer for a number of years, before deciding to go back to university to become a teacher. I am both Montessori trained, and in Secondary English. I have tried to bring the Montessori approach into my secondary teaching. I have taught in Scotland, Brazil, Holland and Italy. Having worked and lived in these countries has enabled me to develop my teaching skills and to use the different approaches to education. 


Photography has always interested me, particularly the works of Eggleston, Klein and Friedlander. I enjoy reading about photography theory, and I bring theory and practical photography into the workshops I run at Young Photographers London (YPL).

I enjoy taking photographs of things which simply don't matter. I have a particular interest in Documentary Photography. Making young photographers think about the images they are taking and to discuss and critic them is my aim. Our 1 & 3 day courses are perfect for those who are interested in art and photography, looking for a skill towards a Duke of Edinburgh Award or simply wishing to get to know their camera better. The street photography aspect of all of our courses equips young people with confidence and a good knowledge of central London. 

Young Photographers London

I recently completed my postgraduate course in photography at London College of Communication.

Niaz is photographer in residence at Casale Flaminia Residency program and advisory member of the Fellowship Selection Committee.


Luigi Prevedel

Sculptor in Residence