In 2016, the Fiorino d’Oro, Florence’s highest honor, was awarded to Jane Fortune, US author and philanthropist for her work as ‘Indiana Jane’, the ‘art detective’ on a quest to rediscover art by women in Florence’s museum collections and to rescue them from oblivion or decay, through conservation and public display. Such was the mission she fostered as founder and chair of the Florence-based organization Advancing Women Artists (AWA).
Dr. Fortune, who died last September of ovarian cancer, remained at AWA’s helm until her final days. But when Florence Mayor Dario Nardella heard from Jane Adams, AWA Partnership Relations, that she had kept the Fiorino d’Oro by her bedside during her roughest times and ultimately asked for it to be buried with her, he made a decision the city’s history has never seen. Mr. Nardella ordered a second ‘facsimile’ Florin to be presented to her organization’s representatives, so that all those who continue to participate in Fortune’s legacy for Florence could have ‘tangible’ proof its power.
“I am very happy to be here today to remember the Fiorino d’Oro awarded to Jane Fortune, as a form of gratitude towards AWA for its hugely generous philanthropic activities and the collaborative efforts it carries out throughout the year to the benefit of the city and the city administration," said Mayor Nardella. "I am thankful to AWA for its ability to mobilize so many professional forces towards art and the promotion of culture and I am certain that, for all of us, the Fiorino d’Oro represents the encouragement to move forward along this same path.”
AWA Director Linda Falcone and Partnership Relations Jane Adams received the honor on behalf of the organization at Palazzo Vecchio. “AWA was one of the first experiences in Florence providing volunteer support for the tutelage and valorization of the city’s artistic and historical patrimony,” Mayor Nardella continued, “After yours, many other experiences have surfaced which enrich the city’s cultural scene. But I will never forget the precious contributions that AWA has made to the city and I am certain that this commitment will continue to flourish over the next few years, in remembrance of Jane Fortune and the Love for Florence.”
To date, the non-profit US organization, operative in Florence since 2009, has restored over 60 paintings and sculptures representing five centuries of female creativity in Tuscany. These works include artists such as Renaissance painter Plautilla Nelli and Baroque masters Artemisia Gentileschi and Violante Siries as well as their twentieth-century counterparts (like Carla Accardi, Titina Masella and Amalia C. Dupre) who gifted their paintings to the city after the 1966 flood in a gesture of solidarity for the 14,000 works lost or damaged in the tragedy.
“For all of us at AWA, this Florin represents golden memories of our founder’s tireless efforts,” says Jane Adams. “It is also a symbol of a bright future ahead because our commitment to Florence and its hidden cultural heritage continues.