Stancia Cicada / Cubani, Zminj, Istria, Croatia

Stancia Cicada / Cubani, Zminj, Istria, Croatia

Emerging AIR, not yet used as an artist residency, but as a guest house

Enjoy the fresh breeze
of lavender flavoured inspiration
in healthy nature and comfortable setting

Stancia Cicada is a restored stone farmhouse built in about 1920. Located in a small hamlet in the heart of Istria, Croatia, it offers a peaceful rural ambience in the vicinity of old Mediterranean towns and beautiful coast of Adriatic Sea.

Visiting artists have expressed enthusiasm for the beauty of the locality and desire to work there, as the creative atmosphere surrounding this place is distinctly perceptible. Enormous lavender and rosemary bushes spread an intense fragrance and the soft sunlight reflected by the light natural stone walls and broken by the wine plant covered pergola terrace. All natural materials have been used for reconstructing the mansion in a charming, restrained classy, and yet unconventional

way – like the shower situation with recycled wooden beams and a fancy pool in the back garden, passing the BBQ place, a fresh water fountain and plum trees. Even though it is a half hours drive from the sea towards the inlands, you can see the Adriatic Sea when the weather is clear.
The owner and mastermind of this AIR idea is Vladimir Kašnar, MD psychiatrist practicing in NY City, and traveling to his hometown Rovinj and the region of Istria about four times a year, where he grew up and spent his study times in the revolutionary 1960s. Also writing poems and running a poetry circle, he is well involved in the art scene on both continents. Art events are planned for spring 2015 at Stancia Cicada.
Of these and other grapes he produces own wine together with his friends.

Presently the Cicada is in a planning phase of converting to an AIR for individual artists or groups for artistic and cultural exchange activity. This has several reasons best described by Vladimir himself, to quote some sentences he wrote me in a message before we met up first. I never could put it in better words:
“Stancia Cicada has not functioned as a public artist residence yet. In 2011, greatly encouraged by my artist friends (they prevail among the people I am close to), I have begun to pursue ideas of offering the locality to creative work. Originally thought of it as a private residence, even during the restoration process, my now deceased wife who was an architect, and I, realised that we are creating a place where the artists would meet. Our house in old Rovinj has always been such an environment.
Thus, I began to look around as well, joined the network Res Artis, brought some of my artists friends in, who left enchanted and inspired, and started working on the logistics. In the meantime Cicada was rented to visitors.
However, the experience of rental gave me valuable information about how to accommodate guests, and experience with some retreats for artists gave me additional understanding.
Also I have formed a small circle of friends, successful artists and cultural organisers, as an informal advisory group.
The next steps are yet to come, like register this as an organisation etc.
I foresee that for individual, studio work, Cicada can at this point accommodate four to five artists who would have a live-work space.
The other form of work shall be workshops provided that attendees share the rooms, in which case it could be a group of 6-8, leaving one private apartment to the workshop leader.
Aside from knowing filmmakers, actors, composers and visual artists, I am also close to poets, I write poetry myself, and have planned poetry workshops.
Indeed, all domains of art lend themselves to workshops.

Cicada is a year round facility (it can be heated), so conceivably it can accommodate one or two artists for extended periods, such as sabbaticals or special projects. So much for some sketchy logistics, which obviously left out the financial structure.”

I was lucky enough to also meet these people Vladimir was writing about, being the friendliest and most wonderful hosts

inviting me for an afternoon with coffee and cake on the terrace towards the garden of their own house: The family who is taking care of the house and the property and also a couple running an architect office and being specialists on dry stone and ‘Kažuns’ or ‘Trulli‘, about 30 square metres big round stone shelters.
This exceptional relation to organic material shows at Cicada, giving the impression of living in harmony with nature and making breath easy.
That also Vladimir perceives the environment with all senses already showed when we met up in the city of Rovinj. He picked leaves from a laurel bush close to the harbour to grind them between his fingers and letting me smell. Then he admitted of always harvesting some laurel to take with him back to NY City as this is the smell of the Mediterranean region, his home.

Stancia Cicada online and on Facebook
Poetry by Vladimir Kašnar can be read on his blog.
Photos: A.M.; Interview with Vladimir Kašnar, 13th and 14th July 2014