Faculty & Staff


Miriam Grottanelli de Santi, Director

Half British and half Italian, Miriam grew up in Siena, studied in Cambridge, UK, and lived and worked in Paris, Prague, Florence and Rome before deciding that Siena is by far the best place to live. She came back to set up study-abroad course offerings that she felt would give the ‘right’ social and academic experience to American undergrads. Having founded the Siena School for Liberal Arts in 2004. She is also the director of the Siena Art Institute, founded in 2010. 


Lisa Nonken, Academic Director

Lisa received her MFA in Studio Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, her Post-Baccalaureate Certifi cate in Sculpture from the Lyme Academy of Fine Art, and her BA from Mount Holyoke College in Studio Art and Art History. Lisa is an American artist who first came to Siena in 2008 as an Art Instructor for the Siena School for Liberal Arts. In 2010 she returned to Siena to help launch the Siena Art Institute. She is passionate about art education and exploring the intersection of art and civic life. Lisa’s multi-disciplinary artistic practice includes her work in sculpture, drawing, painting, installation, and photography, and she has exhibited in Italy and the US. She is the current Academic Director at the Siena Art Institute and serves as a Professor of Fine Arts, co-teaching the interdisciplinary Art and Society Seminar. She also teaches a Drawing course offered through the Siena School for Liberal Arts, the partner program of the Siena Art Institute. Lisa has been awarded resiencies at Yaddo, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Blue Sky Project. Awards include the REMET “Shaping the Future” Project Grant, and the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant.  info@sienaart.org


Jane South, Associate Director

Jane South is an artist based in New York who assists in the development of the Siena Art Institute’s Academic and Visiting Artist Programs, introduces SART to colleges, universities, foundations and organizations in the US and abroad and fosters these relationships in order to bring accomplished and talented artists, writers and students to work and study in Siena. A British-born artist with a BA from Central/St. Martins, London and an MFA from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, South has exhibited widely and her work has been reviewed and published in The New York Times, the LA Times, ArtForum, Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, New York Magazine, Frieze, Art News and NY Arts Magazine. Jane South has lectured, taught, and served as artist in residence in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Australia and India. She currently teaches in the Graduate Sculpture Department at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in the United States. www.janesouth.com


Roberto Fineschi, Academic Program Coordinator

A Native of Siena, Roberto has travelled extensivily, but has chosen to make Siena his home. He has lived in Siena, Berlin, and Palermo where he received his PhD in Philosophy. Roberto has been working for the Siena School for Liberal Arts since 2004 teaching: Italian, History, Philosophy, Literature, Art History, and Political Science. In addition to his teaching schedule he is our Academic Coordinator and works with students, faculty, and staff in our academic programming. Roberto loves culture in all of its aspects.  finances@sienaart.org


Chiara Ricchi, Program Assistant

Chiara got her MA in Political Science in 2008 from Università degli Studi di Siena. Several experiences of study and work abroad fostered her passion for languages and cultures. After her graduation she decided to settle in Siena, the city she fell in love with and were she always finds something magic. She loves reading fiction and hiking “under the Tuscan sun”. She works for the Siena School for Liberal Arts and Siena Art Institute as the Program Assistant.   office@sienaart.org


Simone Signorini, Siena Art Institute Onlus President

A native of Siena, Simone serves as the President of the Siena Art Institute Onlus and works in close contact with the organization’s advisory board. Simone is a trained musician and orchestra director and enjoys sharing his passion for music through presentations and the development of collaborative programming.

Sart life

  • Promo Siena Art Institute

  • Student Experiences - Fall 2015 (Michalis Fountedakis, Themis Istatiadis)

  • Angela Dufresne - Visiting Artist, january 2015

  • Brandeis in Siena