The decision to interview Nadia Ghisalberti (Bergamo, 1958) stems from the desire to tell stories about women who have contributed and still contribute to generating beauty around them. This is the case of a Cultural Affairs council member, a role that Nadia Ghisalberti fulfils with a certain grace even when it comes to promoting culture during this current year, in a city that has been in the eye of the storm.
Our conversation started with some ideas that date back a little before the indicted year 2020, when trying to understand how it is possible to be a woman with a role in politics applied to culture, in a country like Italy that hardly ever changes.
Nadia has a degree in biological sciences and if her life were to be summed up in a few words, we could say it is adorned by art, professionalism, politics and family. She immediately offers me her insight on how, in her life, she has learned the fundamental importance of change, if a person wants to obtain different results. In doing so, she also makes it clear without much fuss, how her ambitious goal is to make Bergamo the capital of culture in 2023.
In a way, emphasising the support of Made in Italy in opposition to the myth of quantity.
The main focus has been dedicated to small and medium cultural organizations – in addition to council obligations – given that this is where the artistic drive of a city is generated. She tells me how she had been looking for them in every neighbourhood and how she had encouraged them to understand that it is essential not only to have an artistic director, but also an administrative director in order to really take a step out of the stagnation that often affects Italy’s culture.
The council member also points out how an invisible network between the associations has been created because the creation of a common project is fundamental for the people of Bergamo – but the suggestion applies to everyone – in presenting themselves as a united front standing for culture.
Among the names I hear mentioned is the nineteenth-century opera composer, Donizetti, who is the cornerstone of Bergamo’s cultural environment and who, is best known abroad, draws the attention of an international audience to the Italian opera. Hence, the initiatives to involve an increasingly contemplative tourism, capable of capturing the local beauties with intelligence. In a way, emphasising the support of Made in Italy in opposition to the myth of quantity.
Promoting culture during a pandemic has also become synonymous with staying outside in the open air but, according to Nadia, one cannot forget about the cold seasons when the temples of culture will be cut off and great exhibitions will be put at risk due to the few tickets sold. In order to deal with the problem of ‘balancing the books’ we need to be able to take a more proactive approach: we can certainly propose Web initiatives, but we must not be under the impression that it is enough to transfer real life content to a digital platform for it to be understood, appreciated and therefore, also purchased and supported.
It is not the picture of the paintings that represents the experience of visiting a museum! There is rather the need to create interpreters and translators of the artistic content on the Web, and these translations must be a frontline commitment because they will be necessary to experience the content to the full. I take the trouble in adding that this also applies to literature.
From the tone of her voice, her confidence and passion that I perceived during my interview with councillor Ghisalberti, there is no doubt that she will do everything in her power to ensure that the solid foundations are laid from which we can all follow. It is what is needed after all.
What we leave as a punchline is an open theme: whether it is really possible to translate the choral experience and the multiplicity of feelings involved when attending an exhibition, a concert or a play. As the councillor says, we are still sensitive enough to understand the difference between a live performance and one seen from our sofa at home. What I want and, with all my heart hope is to keep this sensitivity, no matter what.
Thanks to Nadia Ghisalberti for her time and inspired thoughts.