The ceramics class of Summer 2018, led by instructor Alexis Gregg, undertook a very special project that will grace our campus for years to come. Together they researched, designed, sculpted, and fired a beautiful glazed ceramic monument dedicated to UGA Cortona’s beloved friend and caretaker, Gino Schippa, who passed away in August 2016.
Inspired by the Della Robbia ceramics they have been seeing on their excursions around Italy, the students in the class created a portrait of Gino flanked by four cherubim, watching over the city of Cortona and all its cats, including Gino’s constant feline companion La Bella Signora. Also featured in the monument are current director Christopher Robinson, associate director Kristine Schramer, and Schramer’s dog Dignan, who died in 2017. The words, “in bocca al lupo” (literally, “in the mouth of the wolf”, a colloquial Italian expression that is equivalent to the English language’s “break a leg” or “good luck”) surmount a row of iron rings that hold two sets of bocce balls. A sculpted wolf head holds the pallina in its mouth.
The monument was fired in sections and then assembled and mounted to a stone wall next to UGA Cortona’s pallaio, where Gino used to spend hours playing bocce with students. Gregg and her students were assisted by Gregg’s husband Tanner Coleman, who along with Gregg owns the company AnT Sculpture and Design, which specializes in public art and architectural ceramics.
We are proud to have this beautiful artwork on our campus and deeply grateful to Alexis Gregg, Tanner Coleman, and the Ceramics students of Summer 2018 who all worked so hard on this collaborative project that honors our friend Gino.