Italian American Digest DIGEST Summer 2017 FINAL

Vol. 44 No. 2 Summer 2017 Circulation 20,000 Statue of Sainted Pope in the Works Gift from Archdiocese commemorating visit of Pope John Paul II will grace St. Louis Cathedral Pope John Paul II cont. on page 7 A clay model of the planned statue of Pope John Paul II by artist Franco Alessandrini, a native of Sansepolcro, Italy. Italians in Jazz Exhibit Opens at AICC T he American Italian Cultural Center recently opened the Italians in Jazz exhibit showcasing the range and scope of Italian contributions to and attitudes towards jazz in New Orleans. The exhibit highlights the musical careers of Nick LaRocca of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and Louis Prima, and honors the contributions of over 200 Italian American musicians from New Orleans. The American Italian Cultural Center is open Monday-Friday from 10:00 a.m.-noon and 1:00-4:00 p.m. The AICC is located at 537 South Peters St., New Orleans, LA 70130. The grand opening of The American Italian Cultural Center’s Italians in Jazz Exhibit. rchbishop Gregory Aymond has authorized the construction of a marble statue of Saint Pope John Paul II to be placed directly in front of St. Louis Cathedral to commemorate the pon- tiff’s visit to New Orleans in 1987. The American Italian Renaissance Founda- tion, along with artist Franco Alessandrini, will be coordinating the development of this project. The statue, which is planned for completion by the end of 2017, is a gift from the Archdiocese to the City of New Orleans for the tricentennial in 2018. Alessandrini is currently in Carrara, Italy, where he is purchasing the marble to create the statue. Franco Alessandrini was born in Sanse- polcro in the Tuscan Region of Italy in 1944. He studied at the Art Institute of Florence and quickly built an impressive portfolio. A master in many mediums, Alessandrini is known for his work in marble and bronze sculp- tures, graphic art design, and print media. In 1968, Alessandrini won first prize in the 10th Annual Southern Contemporary Arts Festival in Baton Rouge, and in 1970 he won the 8th An- nual Benedictine Art Awards in New York. Alessandrini settled in New Orleans and became a permanent resident in the 1970s, traveling back to Italy often for shows and com- missions. In 2003, he established the Franco Alessandrini Cultural Association, a non-profit organization that sponsors concerts, art exhibits and art instruction for the community of Sansepolcro. In 2011, the Franco Alessandrini Cultural Association Museum opened in Sanse- polcro. Alessandrini’s works are in private and public collections throughout the United States, Europe and South America. Some of his major works include a Byzantine Mosaic titled New Orleans, permanently installed at the Ernest Morial Con- vention Center, New Orleans; the Monument to the Immigrants at Woldenberg Park in New Orleans; the statue of Luca Pacioli in Sansepol- cro, Italy; the Columbus Monument in Baton Rouge; bronze sculptures of Blessed Seelos at Seelos Center in New Orleans; the sculpture of St. Francis of Assisi at Monte Casale Monastery in Italy; six life-size marble statues of religious A by Megan Celona