The Return of Festa Della Terra
Through her annual Festa Della Terra, Chapel Hill realtor Natalie Marrone combines two of her loves: the arts community and giving back.
Now in its third year, Festa Della Terra is an “artful food drive” that benefits PORCH and is held in Natalie’s backyard each spring.
Natalie lives in a world brimming with wonderfully talented artists – many of them have been her Natalie Marrone Homes clients over the years. By launching Festa Della Terra during Covid, she formed a “dream space, where I could invent and co-create with friends, neighbors, and clients an inspiring space where we could convene in a meaningful way for a meaningful cause. Especially at a time when everybody was separated.”
Festa Della Terra features an art gallery amid Natalie’s backyard trees, refreshments, and plenty of reunions among neighbors and friends of all ages. Live music will be provided by West African harpist Will Ridenour, as well as classical guitarist Randy Reed and his daughter, opera singer Ariel Reed. Attendees bring non-perishable goods for PORCH, such as peanut butter, cereal, and rice. Last year, more than 100 bags were collected, and many gave financially to PORCH as well. In all, $7,000 was raised, including a corporate donation.
In addition to Natalie’s business, the event is sponsored by Movement Mortgage and An Aquired Style Staging and Design. Partners contributing to the raffle include Tarheel Turf Services, Salt Box Construction, Advantage Inspections, and Air Innovations Heating and Cooling.
Some of the artists featured at the event sell works and give proceeds to PORCH.
This year, the incredible artist lineup includes:
Vera Reed, who creates large, colorful paintings at her home in Chapel Hill;
Charlotte Hord Smith, who makes unique mixed media pieces using fabric scraps and paper;
Susan Brubaker Knapp, host of “Quilting Arts TV”;
Dana Dannehower, a Hillsborough-based gardener and abstract artist;
Gabi Wladyka, a fiber artist specializing in embroidery, crochet, and felt;
Natalia Favorsky, ink, watercolor, and acrylic artist, as well as framing specialist;
Deenie and Flip Jewelry Design, twin sisters creating artisan pieces made of handmade sterling silver, 18k gold, semi-precious stones, and pearls.
The event requires about 30 volunteers and plenty of preparation – Natalie’s 12-year-old son is in charge of marketing, as he and friends walk the neighborhood in the days before and distribute flyers. But Natalie, the daughter of Italian immigrants, is happy to give back to the community where she works, serves, and loves. “My relatives worked in the factories of New York,” she says. “We had family members with five children in a one-bedroom apartment. There was a real fight for survival. … As an Italian, everything happens at the dinner table. I look at my kid, and I’m like, ‘My God, what would I do if you didn’t have enough food?’ That is a basic human right.”
She selected PORCH as the beneficiary of her because it was well known and trusted within the community. “I just knew that they were a pool of volunteers that people treasured in the area,” Natalie says. “It’s been a great partnership with them. They do amazing things. And they do it quietly.”
Festa Della Terra will take place on April 22, 2023 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Natalie’s home, located at 102 Ironwood Place. The rain date is April 23. UPDATED ON APRIL 21: The event will take place on the 23rd due to rain being forecasted for the 22nd. Please bring non-perishables from this list:
- Low-sugar cereals and oatmeal
- 1 lb. and 2 lb. bags of rice
- Plastic containers of peanut butter and jelly
- Healthy snacks such as applesauce cups, granola bars, crackers, raisins
- Cans of fruits and vegetables of all kinds
- Pasta sauce
- Cans of hearty soups and stews
- Cans of tuna and chicken
- Bags of beans of all kinds
- Mac & cheese