Freedom for the masks!
The commedia dell'arte: the rebirth of an art
In the year 2015, Pierangelo Summa, artist and craftsman who dedicated more than half of his life to the Commedia dell’Arte’s theatre masks, passed away. In almost 50 years, Pierangelo Summa had produced a remarkable collection of moulds and leather masks for commedia dell’arte, as well as an abundant intellectual research on the subject, becoming one of the leaders of the modern commedia dell’arte.
Since his passing, now over seven years ago, we have dedicated ourselves to saving, organizing, rearranging and innovating all of his thinking and technique on the commedia dell’arte masks. In 2019, a previous crowdfunding, aimed at copying, for saving them, around twenty first commedia dell’arte molds produced by Pierangelo Summa, already had a great success. It made it possible to lay an essential stone in the work that we have then built in the recent years - in fact, these magnificent copied moulds are now used in our neapolitan workshop (see photos!).
Between 2019 and 2023, we also succeeded with the publication of two books in Italian, containing unpublished texts by Pierangelo Summa. We also held in France, Italy, Canada, and soon in the United States, well-attended exhibitions of Pierangelo’s and his son Robin’s masks. Thanks to this whole dynamic, these masks are now used again in several theater schools, and by many theater companies and professionals in the world.
La maschera è libertà: a unique reality
On top of that, in August 2020, despite the difficult environmental and political contexts, we opened and inaugurated, in the very heart of Naples, Italy, a public shop entirely dedicated to Pierangelo and Robin’s commedia dell’arte masks: «La maschera è libertà».
Mostly created on the forms designed by Pierangelo Summa, we have already manufactured and sold several hundred masks in this space! - trying to be always moved by the idea of keeping alive this wonderful heritage, as well as the magnificent artistic and theatrical creation that is «commedia dell’arte»; and also trying to combine, as much as possible, quality requirements and economic accessibility.
To sum up, we have succeeded so far in bringing this unique artistic reality to life, achieving considerable successes both locally and internationally. We can venture to say today that this shop has become an essential and functional reality! Essential because, as our neighborhood keeps telling us, we are now one of the last purely artisanal and artistic realities in the historic center of Naples, and perhaps the only shop entirely and exclusively dedicated to commedia dell’arte’s leather masks in the world. Functional, because we have so far attracted customers from all over the world, opening the way, thereby, to many and diverse collaborations!
And we still need your help!
This is precisely why we still need you: customers, amateurs, friends, strangers who have appreciated or will appreciate our insatiable dynamic.
To make this workshop sustainable, autonomous, independent, to develop its activity, invest in new equipment, and finish copying all the original mask moulds of Pierangelo Summa, we are asking for your help one last time.
Thanks to you, we will have the requisite economic basis to get the national and regional subsidies that we are about to obtain. These public fundings in fact require an initial contribution of capital, that we ask you today.
The funds received successively will be invested progressively, according to a very precise and publicly controlled spending programme:
- restructuring the workshop, to make it a real space for creation and sales
- finishing the copy of the original moulds created by Pierangelo Summa (a hundred still to be copied, so that they don’t get destroyed by time!)
- purchase new digital and non-digital equipment to improve the quality of the masks produced in the shop
- try to move towards more environmentally friendly materials
- invest in marketing and advertising so that our Neapolitan reality becomes even more known throughout the world
- finally, hire a person to help us keep the shop open as often as possible.
Thanks to you, we will be able to definitively save a place of life and creation that is, now, very likely, unique in its kind.
The rewards that await you are many and precious! You will find all the details on this sheet.
Help us save «La mascherà è libertà»!