On April 6, 2009, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake devastated the city of L’Aquila, capital of the Abruzzo region, in central Italy. 309 residents died and more than 10,000 buildings were reduced to rubble.
In June 2010, ArtBridge Founder Rodney Durso went to L’Aquila to visit Antinisca Di Marco, a professor of the University of L’Aquila, and her family. While touring the damaged neighborhoods, they both saw the potential to bring an ArtBridge’s outdoor art installation to L’Aquila as a way of bringing color, light, beauty and more pedestrian and tourist traffic back to the city center. The project would also give Abruzzo’s artistic community a pivotal role in the recovery of their cherished capital.
In 2012 Durso met art critic and curator Veronica Santi in New York City. He told her of the idea to bring an ArtBridge-style project to L’Aquila and in October 2013 he invited Veronica to L’Aquila to see if the idea could be brought to life.
Shortly after, Veronica decided to move temporarily to L’Aquila in order to design and organize the project she titled Off Site Art. Two municipal decree laws were written and approved to exhibit giant size artworks on any construction scaffolding of the historical center of the city, allowing the necessary stability to an ongoing public art project.