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Industrial Collaboration in Innovative Sectors, Italian Culture, and Diaspora at the Center of Ambassador Zappia’s Meetings in Detroit

S.E. l’Amb. Mariangela Zappia e l’On. Governatrice Gretchen Whitmer

(Detroit, September 15th) The Ambassador of Italy to the USA, Mariangela Zappia, met with Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan since 2019 and a prominent figure in the Democratic field, known for the positive economic results achieved by the state during her tenure. The focal points of the discussion were the expansion of industrial collaborations between Italy and Michigan in the fields of sustainable mobility and connectivity – areas where innovative Italian groups such as STMicroelectronics and EuroGruppo Laminations are already active in Michigan. They also discussed the transition to renewable energy, as well as design and fashion. The Ambassador and the Governor shared the opportunity to strengthen the promotion of Italian culture in the state, which hosts excellent Italian studies departments at its universities, and to enhance inter-university collaboration and exchanges, building on the existing partnerships between Michigan universities and the Polytechnic Universities of Milan and Turin. The Governor also confirmed that Italy would be one of the countries she intends to visit in 2024, further expanding the comprehensive collaboration.

The cultural dimension was also central to the Ambassador’s visit, in a city known for its Art Deco architecture, adorned in the 1930s and 1940s by sculptor Corrado Parducci, and works by contemporary Italian artists such as Sergio de Giusti at Hart Plaza. The Ambassador visited the Detroit Institute of Arts, which hosted last year’s exhibition on “Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500 – 1800”. The Museum’s Director, Chevalier Salvador Salort-Pons, presented the important frescoes by Diego Rivera, the artist’s only works outside of Mexico. At the end of September, the DIA will inaugurate a new exhibition dedicated to Italy, “Masterpieces of Early Italian Renaissance Bronze Statuettes”, aimed at showcasing the artistic transformations inspired by the Italian Renaissance to the Detroit public, the only UNESCO City of Design in the USA. Four bronze sculptures from the collection of the Bargello National Museum in Florence will be displayed for the first time in the United States in the DIA’s gallery dedicated to the Tuscan Early Renaissance. The museum’s collection already includes sculptures by Donatello, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Luca and Andrea della Robbia, Benedetto da Maiano, as well as paintings by Fra Angelico, Sassetta, Sandro Botticelli, Benozzo Gozzoli, Neri di Bicci, in addition to ceramics and furniture. The museum also houses numerous other masterpieces by Italian masters, from Caravaggio and Tintoretto to Modigliani and Marino Marini.

During her visit, Ambassador Zappia also had meetings with representatives of the Italian and Italian-American community in Detroit, including businessmen, professors, and researchers, as well as COMITES and Dante Alighieri Society representatives, highlighting their central role in further developing bilateral relations in political, economic, scientific, and cultural fields. The Ambassador also emphasized how the Italian Embassy and consular network in the United States, under the guidance of the Farnesina (Italian Foreign Ministry), are committed to increasingly promoting the contribution of the Italian diaspora.