Italian artist sketches New Castle landmarks for hospital exhibit

Apr. 29—Guglielmo Botter loves all things architecture.

A former architect, he tends to sketch 20 to 30 drawings of every new place he visits and adds to his growing collection.

"I'm making a big collection of cities," Botter said.

Botter, an Italian-American artist who spends his summer months in Pittsburgh, created a series of ink pen drawings of New Castle on display through June 13 at the Art at the Hoyt Atrium at UPMC Jameson Hospital. A public reception was held Thursday as the newest collaboration between Arts & Education at the Hoyt and the hospital. Hoyt Executive Director Kim Koller-Jones said the art displays are meant to connect with the public by focusing on community.

"What better way to connect than featuring familiar places," Koller-Jones said. "You don't realize how many gems we still have."

The list of locations and places in the exhibit include The Edward King home, Edwin Ohl house, former First National Bank building downtown, First Presbyterian Church, Olde Post Office complex, George & Alice Greer residence, George Johnson house, North East Street, Girl & Boy Scouts of America building, Henderson Residence, former nurses home in front of UPMC Jameson, John Bower residence, Kennedy Square, Lawrence County Courthouse, Little Sister of Lady Liberty statue, Raney Jameson Castle, Saint Mary's Church, Scottish Rite Cathedral, East Washington Street, North Hill, William Patterson house, William Reis residence and Zambelli Park.

"Every building is very nice," Botter said.

Calendars, reproductions and postcards of the exhibit are available at the Hoyt's gift shop at 124 E. Leasure Ave. Botter said his favorite picture to draw was the view from the North Hill near the "Welcome to Historic North Hill" sign. He said he discovered New Castle by finding out Zambelli Fireworks, responsible for the fireworks displays at Pittsburgh Pirates games, are from New Castle. He admitted he wanted to meet members of the Zambelli family whose founder, Antonio Zambelli, was from Italy. Botter was born in 1966 in Treviso, Italy. He has been drawn to art since he was a child. His father Memi, mother Lyù, and grandfather Girolamo were artists. Inspired by the sights in his hometown, he began drawing buildings.

His first solo exhibition, "Forty Drawings of an Eleven Year Old Boy," was held in Treviso. Botter won a national contest in Rome at 13 against 350,000 other students. His drawing of Treviso became an official Italian stamp.

He took after his father and grandfather and became an architect and later taught at the International University of Art at Guidecca Island, Venice. \ Following an economic crisis in Italy in 2012, Botter closed his firm and moved to the United States to pursue an art career. His mother did the same, settling in Pittsburgh in the 1960s and 70s and winning several awards. Besides Pittsburgh, Botter has sketched other cities including Harrisburg, State College and Lancaster and in countries places like the Republic of Serbia, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, France and The Netherlands. He's drawn to American skyscrapers, buildings that aren't found in Italy. Botter has had residences and exhibitions in Assisi, Italy and Belgrade, Republic of Serbia.

"I hope to continue my work. I think I can do more and more," Botter said.

Botter hopes to leave a lasting legacy for his children. He also laments seeing buildings torn down — many in Italy are hundreds of years old and older than the United States itself.