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Artists in Residence Program

May 3, 2012 - Emily Dimov-Gottshall
Monteverdi Tuscany Villas and Hotel Announces its 2012 Artists and Scholars in Residence Program Participants

The ultimate authentic Tuscan experience to feature renowned artists and scholars Maja Ruznic, Kenny Harris, Judy Nimtz and Kelly Fajack

(CINCINNATI, Ohio, April 24, 2012) – Monteverdi Tuscany, the ultimate authentic Tuscan experience, announced today the first four participants in the 2012 Monteverdi Tuscany Artists and Scholars in Residence Program. Maja Ruznic, Kenny Harris, Judy Nimtz and Kelly Fajack are world-renowned artists who will reside in the historic and luxurious Monteverdi Tuscany estate during May and June 2012 to share their knowledge and experience firsthand with guests. Monteverdi’s Artists and Scholars in Residence Program is now in its second year and has featured, outstanding musicians, historians, art curators and opera singers in the past

Born in Bosnia & Herzegovina in 1983, Maja Ruznic studied Psychology and Art at UC Berkeley and received her MFA from the California College of the Arts in 2009. Ruznic came to the United States as a refugee in 1992 and currently lives and works in San Francisco. Ruznic’s paintings, drawings and performances explore memory and how it shapes our understanding of reality. “Over the past year or so, I have been drawing and painting people, objects and memories of experiences that evoke a sense of failure and trigger a sense of psychological unease that echoes my childhood refugee experience” said Maja. “In documenting these people, objects and events with highly editorialized and projected-upon personae, I am simultaneously preserving them and destroying who they actually are. My intention in painting these subjects is to meditate on who they are and infuse them with a second chance…Through the glut of imagery and objects, I am interested in evoking the past, while fictionalizing it.”

Kenny Harris and Judy Nimtz have been working and traveling as a team since they collaborated in 2009. Both trained in traditional painting techniques, they gather inspiration for new work from the places they visit —Istanbul, France, China, and Italy. For noted Los Angeles painter Kenny Harris, the theme of light is paramount – and plays off every surface. He has a penchant for sparse interiors, where light from an indirect source reflects off floors and other surfaces drawing the viewer into the space. Judy Nimtz was born in Taiwan and raised on the island of O’ahu in Hawaii. After completion of her MFA in 2008 from the Laguna College of Art & Design, Judy decided to make Southern California her home. When working on studio paintings, the conception is entirely Judy’s own. The way light falls and creates shadows, or air particles accumulate over a distance and shimmer, or an unanticipated pose struck by the model, all affects her experiences as she works and affects the outcome of each painting.

Kelly Fajack was raised in Southern California. His career as a professional photographer began at the age of 13 when he sold an image to Surfing Magazine for $15. Since then, his camera has taken him to over 40 countries on 6 continents. Fajack’s easy-going professionalism and focus has earned him international advertising clients like AOL, Neutrogena, Fiat and Fujitsu Siemens. His work has recently been published in magazines like Men’s Journal, Shape, Travel+Leisure, Time and Grazia. He has also had the honor of photographing two American Presidents, having his work displayed in Italian museums and printed on African Currency. “Monteverdi Tuscany has, and will always be supportive of arts. It is in our DNA and at the foundation of the experience we are creating” said Mike A. Cioffi, CEO of Monteverdi Tuscany. “Our Artists and Scholars in Residence Program is very unique in the sense that it allows our guests to spend time or share a meal with a variety of celebrated figures and cultural luminaries in the fields of art, music, drama, as well as from the wine and culinary worlds. When you are at Monteverdi, you are partaking in the Monteverdi experience which includes cultural enlightenment, artistic enrichment and personal interaction with the many personalities that make up the celebrated Artists and Scholars in Residence Program”.

About Monteverdi Tuscany Monteverdi Tuscany, Villas and Hotel, located in the Medieval village of Castiglioncello del Trinoro, Tuscany, are luxury retreats available for rental. The private residences and the hotel are breathtakingly beautiful stone structures built on foundations that date to the 11th century –each retrofitted with European-style design and 21st-century amenities. For more information, please visit

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