Carrara presents its candidacy for Italian Capital of Contemporary Art 2026

Carrara's candidacy for the title of Italian Capital of Contemporary Art 2026 was presented this morning. The dossier will be sent to the Ministry of Culture by June 30.

Carrara aims to become the Italian Capital of Contemporary Art 2026. The city of marble has decided to apply to compete for the first award of the title: the proposal, drawn up with the support of the Fitzcarraldo Foundation of Turin, is being prepared, involving various local entities both public and private, after which it will be submitted to the Ministry of Culture.

The initiative, launched by the Ministry of Culture, aims to promote innovative and sustainable cultural projects. The call provides funding for exhibitions, festivals, reviews and the redevelopment of spaces dedicated to contemporary art. The winning city will be awarded a €1 million grant to implement the activities.

Carrara’s application file will highlight not only the planned activities, but also the positive impact on the area and the economic sustainability of the projects. There are several themes with which Carrara is refining its proposal: Carrara as a creative and knowledge city, Carrara as a city with a strong international vocation, Carrara as a city of the contemporary art supply chain, and Carrara as a city at the forefront of environmental and urban art. The technical and curatorial committee, headed by Franco Bianchini, includes Pasquale Direse, Federico Giannini, Emanuele Guidi, Alberto Gulli, Maura Crudeli and Cinzia Compalati. The final dossier must be submitted by June 30. After that, a jury will select the five finalist cities in September, and by the end of October, the winning project will be announced. Carrara hopes to win this prestigious title, which would be an important recognition for the city and a significant boost for local cultural development.

“For us, this announcement represents a bit of a manifesto of what we want to build in Carrara,” explains Carrara Mayor Serena Arrighi. “I have always made it clear that I consider culture an indispensable driver of development and revitalization for our city, and this is a concrete step in that direction. Carrara, as the title chosen for this candidacy reports, is truly ’contemporary for 2,000 years’ because it has been transforming matter and experimenting here since Roman times. Century after century, forms, tastes, techniques have changed, but Carrara, a Unesco Creative City for Art and Craftsmanship, has always remained a city of making and at the same time a city of tradition and a city of innovation. Our task and goal now is to systematize all that the city can offer and to do so with a high vision. If we want Carrara to keep up with its history there is a need for planning and design. Winning the title of Italian Capital of Contemporary Art would be a wonderful opportunity to give greater visibility to our territory, but also to develop ideas and give space to the many artistic realities, small and large, that are present in the city. I am convinced that Carrara is already one of the many Italian capitals of contemporary art, regardless of whether or not it wins the title. In these months, with the support of Fondazione Fitzcarraldo, it has already been possible to trigger a virtuous process of reflection on our city, on its many strengths and on the aspects that instead require intervention. This is not an easy process, but a highly stimulating one that gives us the opportunity to relate with so many realities in the area, both public and private, and with professionals from different fields and different sectors. In any case, we are confident that all this work will not go to waste, but will leave us with a wealth of knowledge and guidance on which to continue building the Carrara of tomorrow.”

“Carrara’s participation in Capital of Contemporary Art 2026 fully responds to the objectives of the ministerial call, which focuses heavily on the creation of networks between the public and private sectors for the promotion of contemporary art, urban regeneration through the recovery of spaces for culture, and the enhancement of young local and non-local artists, including through the system of artist residencies,” explains Carrara City Councilor for Culture Gea Dazzi. “We have already been working on many of these objectives for some time, also thanks to the actions undertaken by Carrara Unesco creative city, think for example of Carrara Studi Aperti, the Project Room, the Unesco international symposium of young sculptors and the many connections activated in different projects with various cultural subjects in the area, from foundations to associations. It will now be crucial for this candidacy to further strengthen this cooperation, and the willingness gathered to date has been truly excellent from all those called upon to support and promote this mission. The candidacy will also be a further input to give legs to many urban regeneration projects through contemporary art. Carrara has always been a destination and home to young national and international artists, many of whom, trained in our Academy, then choose to live in our city to refine their creative vocation, also by confrontation with our artisans and their ancient and precious knowledge. We count with this candidacy to build an even more receptive and systemic ground for them, which can offer concrete opportunities for growth and development to the new generations of artists and creatives, who will choose our city as a laboratory of the contemporary.”

Image: the Carrara Quarries and the Bridges of Vara. Photo: Alessandro Pasquali / Danae Project

Carrara presents its candidacy for Italian Capital of Contemporary Art 2026
Carrara presents its candidacy for Italian Capital of Contemporary Art 2026

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