Everything started around the end of March, when the nation was caught in a tight lockdown. Covid-19 was spreading fast throughout the world causing pain, death and poverty. In the kitchen of her home in Woodstock, California, at the untamable age of 79 years old, Joan Baez sat in front of a camera with her guitar, and dedicated us a song in italian. In that particular time Italy was under the spotlight: “seeing those videos where the italian people sang from their balconies is source of inspiration. I’ll sing for you”. She was talking to us, and she sang Un mondo d’amore, a song she learnt from Gianni Morandi years ago.
The singing balconies is a phenomenon that will remain impressed in people’s minds for centuries, but in the meantime it lit the fantasy of the greatest folk artist of all time who has kept Italy in her heart since the 60’s.
After singing for us, Ms Baez has taken action in another way. Back in 2018, she decided to withdraw from the scenes and stated: “I’ve changed hobby: I’m dedicating myself to painting”. Just like that, Joan Baez concretely took paper and colored markers: a bell tower, clothes hanging from the balconies under the sun, colored flowers and the profiles of the italians singing, and most importantly the writing: “Viva Italia!”, the title of her masterpiece.
The drawing was posted on Facebook, and on the 25th of April, the artist announced that given the numerous request, 100 copies had been made to be sold. “Inspired by the videos of the singing citizens, where you could see the Italians united by music and in their spirits. All the copies have been personally autographed by Joan”. Then, a surprising announcement: “all the income will be donated, through Global Giving, to the the Foundation Specchio dei tempi, who is committed in helping the country in the fight against Covid – 19”. The donation of 50 thousand euros, has arrived a couple of days ago.
The Foundation Specchio dei tempi was born back in 1955 as column of the local newspaper, La Stampa, directed by Giulio de Benedetti. Telling stories of the daily lives of society and much more. In 1976 it became an actual Foundation that received donations and that handed out concrete help to those in need, both in the neighborhood and around the world.
Lodovico Passerin d’Entrèves, president of the Foundations, states: “Seeing that our work has caught the eye of a world known artist like Joan Baez pushes us to do more in taking concrete action and delivering help to those in need”. He is not much surprised, though, of the popularity of the Foundation in the US: “We have received numerous donations on Global Giving and support from America back in 2016 following the Earthquake in Central Italy”.
Global giving is in fact considered an institution in the US. Great online donations go through this platform, including the generous support of Joan Baez and other 473 Americans. In order to push the campaign, Specchio has worked hard on a targeted social media campaigns that have reached 67 different countries around the globe. These contributions have helped reached 7 millions within the month of March.
Being mentioned as the first go-to Foundation in Italy on Forbes has definitely helped spread the word of our work abroad and has reinforced our credibility.