Marisa Dipaola, USA / Portugal

Residency Period: August 1, 2016 - July 31, 2017


Marisa Dipaola was born barefoot on December 12th, 1977, and grew up in the cedar swamps and coastal Atlantic of southern New Jersey. She graduated with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000 where she majored in painting and began experimenting with site-specific sculptural installations. Upon graduation, Marisa received a travel grant to study la Mezquita, in Cordoba, Spain, which began a collection of travels to eighteen countries, studying the sacred architecture and natural wonders, producing site-specific artworks in Japan and Iceland as well as entire series of artwork while on residence in Spain, India, Italy, Egypt, Austria, and Bahrain.

She has exhibited her works internationally at museums, galleries, universities, cultural institutions, community gathering places, outdoors within natural sculptural parks and urban revitalization projects.


On-hiatus Proposal Summary

In the course of being a nomadic artist, Marisa Dipaola has wandered throughout the landscape in diverse surroundings, constantly inspired by the natural world that embraces us all. After residing in the southern Austrian Alps for three years, she and her family are ready for a road trip to move to southern Portugal, in order to buy and renovate an old farm as a sustainable, permaculture project: moonfarmers. Raising her three-year old daughter while this major project is on the go, she is unable to foresee any free-time to take part in the artworld, at least for a year or so. Instead, she will dedicate her time and artistic effort to turning an abandoned property into a sustainable small farm and retreat, and quite possibly a future artist residency.

Her time will be spent with rebuilding a sustainable habitation, sourcing and planting fruit and nut trees, native edibles, sacred seeds, establishing berry patches, grape vines, mushroom patches, a chicken coop, a small fish pond, a huge vegetable patch. She will use sculptural elements to create terraced farming areas, enhance microclimates and enable year-round cultivation courtesy of cold frames fashioned from old windows as well as illuminating indoor growing areas, a few wind-chimes, alternative-energy-generating works, and the interior redesign & redecoration of their living space. On a more scientific front, she hopes to incorporate the skills she learns during this time to create various sculptural projects that encourage growth, combining illuminated works with fungal works and garden projects to create sustainable, living artworks. Any additional free time she finds will be spent mending clothes from the pile she’s had gathering for years and to complete more butterfly carpets -- and there is that quilt she has wanted to make for her bedroom.

She hopes that the time working and reflecting while on-hiatus from the artworld, but proceeding with her moonfarmers project will guide the future, whichever way it grows.

Final Report




recent comments

On Jul 31 2017, mathieu commented on revival: part IV: thank you for the reports and for the gorgeous photographs, your adventure is very inspiring![...]

On Jul 31 2017, co-director (s) commented on revival: part IV: I'm all choked up... July 31 happened to be my birthday too; what a last day! Thank you to you all!![...]

On Jul 31 2017, co-director (m) commented on revival: part IV: Thank you so much for your generous contribution to this project Marisa - and everyone (we know it's[...]

On Jul 30 2017, co-director (s) commented on revival: part three: One thing we regret not to have done sooner is to make the comment section capable of posting images[...]

On Jul 29 2017, marisa commented on revival: part one: Most of our gardening is playing the long-game & indeed for the patient-hearted. some of our tre[...]

celebrating Spring

This past Friday,
Marmalade went on a school trip to Lisbon,
to go the the children’s theater.
She had a great time.
We were kinda nervous about signing her up,
since she’d be gone for twelve hours away from us,
half of them on a bus, and she’s only three and a half.
But we thought it’d be an adventure,
and be a great opportunity to connect with her peers.
Luckily, she had a great time.

While she was away,
we were extremely busy;
as it was a Flower transplanting time,
so we were transplanting,
for nearly all of the twelve hours.

We got the eight berry bushes planted on the hillsides,
some of the purple artichokes transplanted into larger pots,
and five organic sunflowers transplanted into the garden
(& covered with water bottle tops, to make miniature greenhouses;
a novel reuse for plastic bottles that I have seen a few locals doing
I plan to use these bottles a lot this Spring, for tomatoes, cucumbers & eggplants,
& again this fall & winter, to help some plants get an advantage over winter frosts.)

This past weekend was mostly “unfavorable time”
(when planetary alignments aren’t conducive to growth),
but the weather was warm and sunny,
so we did some cleaning & went to the beach again.
This time the water was cooler, so only Mohamed went swimming,
but we all enjoyed splashing in the waves and playing on the beach.
I also did some beach-combing, finding two nice pieces of driftwood
and more scraps of fishing rope (to be woven into a rug someday).

During Monday’s Leaf time, I weeded out the leafy parts of the garden,
especially around the twenty purple kohlrabi seedlings,
making a space to plant more seeds:
this time radicchio and lambsquarters
(radicchio I fell in love with while in Florence,
having it braised in a balsamic vinaigrette,
& lambsquarters is a wild edible I first found in Vermont,
& actually had some growing here last fall in between my onions,
but it didn’t survive the frosts, so I’ve planted more to replenish).

a few of the romanesco broccoli have begun to form their flower buds

During Norooz, I got up early
and was out in the garden before everyone else awoke.
The flowers were covered in dew and just beginning to open,
and the birds and frogs were singing in the new day,
welcoming Spring, and so I was out there with them.

Speaking of the frogs,
I’ve gotten very much into frog-spotting,
keeping a talley of who’s who, how many we have,
and where we are most likely and often find them.
I’ve always been able to spot at least one,
though twelve is my record: five tree frogs, three stripeys,
two green with spots, the big brown one, and a small grayish one.

playing “spot the frogs”
there are 5 tree frogs on the cattails

While clearing out some overgrowth,
I found a few more succulents growing near the boundary line.
They seem healthy enough, though will need some care to thrive.

As we have entered a few days of Fruit time,
I’ve gone through my seeds and selected some for planting:
a dozen more sugar snap peas and nine bush beans for the garden,
as well as two rows of rainbow quinoa next to the potatoes.
And in cups: six Mexican miniature cucumbers, four purple eggplants,
four orange Turkish eggplants, and fifteen blue ballet squashes
(a nice, smallish, greenish-blue winter squash with deep orange interiors).

As for our other fruits:
the two pears are in full blossom,
the peaches are blossoming and we have little peaches,
the stachelbeeren (gooseberry) bush has leafed out nicely,
as have most of our citrus trees, and the apricot and fig;
and our male kiwi plant is finally leafing out from dormancy,
so all three (with the two females) are now looking really healthy.
Some of the other fruit trees have swollen buds,
and others are still dormant.

And our Portuguese course has become something of a gardening class as well,
as we’ve not only been learning the names of wild and domesticated plants and animals,
but also we have been sharing seeds and gardening tips,
and this afternoon, our teacher brought us elderberry cuttings to root.
I’ve missed elderberries, as we lived near an elderberry orchard in Austria,
and had several wild ones growing amidst our backyard in Vermont,
and love the berries in pancakes.
Perfect way to end a Fruit time.

Leave a Comment (1)

co-director (s) wrote on Mar 22:

Happy Norooz to the moon farm! And way to go Marmalade and the brave parents! We're down with independent kids (: