Sarah Vanni has a special connection to Italy.
The art teacher at Sylvania’s Hillview Elementary studied art in Florence while she was an undergraduate at Bowling Green State University.
She then completed a postbaccalaureate program at Studio Arts Center International In Florence.
This winter, the connection deepened:
Five ink drawings by Ms. Vanni are in a show at Studio Arts Center International. Called the “Caccuicco Alumni Exhibition at SACI,” the exhibit is made up of work from the program’s alumni.
“An opportunity came up,” Ms. Vanni said.
“The head of the school was retiring, and they asked our group if we wanted to have a reunion show and we could submit artwork there.”
Ms. Vanni said she submitted eight pieces and five were selected.
“It’s abstract for sure. It’s kind of just based on what’s going on in my life. It’s always been sort of a diary of sorts, in the visual form. You know if you’re having ups and downs in emotions, it comes out in that sense.”
She said her style is also based on nature and she likes to incorporate the human form into her work as well.
She said she discovered her current abstract style of drawing when she was a senior in college, and filled sketchbooks with doodles.
“Of course, it’s expanded from there. It's that same quick style that I started.”
Ms. Vanni, who lives in Waterville, said she also brings back lessons from her own experience to her classroom in Sylvania.
“I talk about Italy all the time. I love especially Italian Renaissance art,” she said.
Taking pictures when she travels is another teaching tool that she uses. “It makes it a little more tangible for the students,” Ms. Vanni said of the photos.
Ms. Vanni, who met her husband in Italy, said she returns to Italy annually.
“I travel to Italy every summer. He owns a wine tour company ... I do part of the tour for him,” she said.
She also has the opportunity to reconnect with her school peers and professor via Facebook and on her visits there.
“It was a reunion also in that sense ... I haven't even seen some of them since we were in the program together, but a couple of them live in Italy,” Ms. Vanni said.