Packing up the Packs of She-Wolves
By Anna Bottinelli
After ten years in Rome Kristin Jones is heading home. The artist, best known for the She Wolf images etched on the banks of the Tiber River and the city’s torches, is leaving the Eternal City and heading back to the Big Apple.
“I have given everything I could. I worked hard night and day for eight years hoping to find the right team of collaborators who could make the project into a project of, by and for the City of Rome itself,” she said. “We have succeeded in making miracles on the Tiber. I have to trust that the seed that I have planted in Rome may one day take root and grow.”
After earning a master’s in fine arts from the Yale School of Art and Design, Jones was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and arrived in Rome in 1983. Dr. Vincent Scully, a professor of Architectural History, suggested that Rome was the right place for Jones’ combined interests in public space and art.
Jones had a vision. She wanted to create a site where the beauty of water and Rome’s historical past could blend with the creativity of a new generation of contemporary artists. Thus, the idea of “Piazza Tevere” appeared “where the river questions the relationships between us and nature,” she said.
The Tevere “offered a readymade gallery for grand-scale projects,” she said. While passion and creativity were Jones’ driving forces, she had to deal with one serious problem: the glory of Rome’s past impedes on the recognition of contemporary artists.
In 2001, Jones returned to Rome on a Senior Fulbright Fellowship and immediately turned her attention to the TEVERETERNO project. In 2005 the first of several events was launched. Twelve documented images of the She Wolf – the same number as Rome’s years – were lit. A choir of 100 voices completed the setting as, “all arts are powerful means of communication beyond language.”
Later in 2006, a second event called “Ombre dal Lupercale” entertained over 10,000 people on a summer night. Again, She Wolves, lights and music occupied the water-stage from sunset to dawn.
Every year since TEVERETERNO, Jones has organized events to merge art with nature. In 2008 it partnered with the River to River Festival in New York, projecting animations of the She Wolf on Castle Clinton, South Street Seaport and South Cove in Battery Park City. This year TEVERETERNO has organized TRILOGIA: an exhibition at the Capitoline Museums. Jones managed to defeat the deified Roman past by reviving the river in a modern way,