Calls and Competitions


Italiano (Italian)

Fondazione Il Lazzaretto supports the search for emerging talents. To this end, it promotes the fifth edition of Lydia, a call for artists named after the sculptor Lydia Silvestri, who for years worked in the spaces where the Foundation is now based.

There has been a change in the composition of the board of professionals from the world of culture and art who, together with the Il Lazzaretto team, contribute to the choice of the winning candidate: Claudia D’Alonzo (lecturer and curator) and Gianni Moretti (artist and lecturer), Beatrice Oleari (designer and co-founder of FARE, AIR – artinresidence and STARE) who were also present in previous editions, together with the new participants Sara Leghissa (artist and performer), Daniela Lepori (Artistic Committee of Fondazione Lydia Silvestri), Diego Sileo (PAC Milano Curator).

Another novelty with respect to previous editions is the change in the mentorship that for 2022 takes the form of a widespread program that sees the involvement of several figures to accompany the realization of the project. This way, Il Lazzaretto intends to support the work of the artist winning Lydia also providing opportunities of exchange with experts who are as heterogeneous as possible in their approaches and backgrounds, both inside and outside the world of art.

From March to November 2022, the program will include moments of individual dialogue between the award winner and the board in charge of following the development of the project after the award ceremony. In addition, depending on the needs of the artistic project, opportunities for discussion with other experts, including those from non-artistic fields, may be created.

Lydia 2022 is open to artists under 35 years of age residing in Italy with ideas for an original work of art, with no limits to techniques, formats or contemporary artistic languages, including hybrids: painting, audiovisual, performance, photography, illustration, graphics, sculpture, installation, sound practices.

Built as a shelter for plague victims in Milan, historically the Lazzaretto was a place of confinement and isolation, a place of separation from the rest of the world. The gates of the Lazzaretto represented an impassable border, within which the plague victims were separated from the healthy: the walls separated the inside from the outside. This is why the reference to the Plague characterizes Il Lazzaretto’s approach to cultural work and the implementation of its activities.

In regard to Lydia, Peste (plague) is intended as a stimulus for candidates to stand on that boundary, to keep an open and multiple gaze, to train methods of artistic research capable of overcoming binary and oppositional modes. The invitation is to experience borders, overturn imaginaries and practice art as an individual and collective transformative process.

The jury, following its own free and unquestionable assessment, will evaluate the applications on the basis of: the effectiveness of the proposal in relation to Il Lazzaretto’s own approach suggested by the call; the portfolio; the relevance of the proposal to the background presented in the portfolio.


The competition offers the winner a cash prize of 5,000 euros gross, divided as follows: 3,000 for the production of the winning work and for any travel and hospitality expenses, subject to reporting; 2,000 as an artist fee. A widespread mentorship program with a group of experts. The presentation of the work within The Plague Festival 2022 (exhibited or in other presentation formats consistent with the work, decided by the artist in agreement with the group of experts participating in the mentorship and with the Foundation).

During the year there will be occasions of presentation and intermediate review of the project idea with the members of the jury and the Lazzaretto staff (end of May-mid June 2022, dates to be agreed upon). The Foundation recognizes the artist’s greatest freedom of method and work with respect to the research and realization of the project, free to work in the direction and in the manner that he or she chooses autonomously.


To take part in the Lydia Prize for Emerging Contemporary Art 2022 competition, all of the following materials are required under penalty of exclusion:

– Portfolio in pdf format. Any audiovisual or multimedia content must be present on platforms or websites and included in the portfolio in the form of a link.

– A letter of presentation of the artist’s artistic and professional career and interest in the competition and how the award will effectively support his or her ongoing research (max 2,000 characters, pdf format);

– A text presenting the project idea, the specific themes or subjects on which the artist is set on developing an original artistic project (max 1500 characters);

– A selection of a maximum of 5 images (JPEG max 72 dpi) created by the participant or taken from existing external sources (web, books, stills from videos, works by other authors, etc.) that describe the reference imagery of the proposal.

Each participant may submit only one application. The final work must be realized by October 2022 and presented during the Festival della Peste. There are no restrictions on specific techniques, formats or languages.


The complete materials must be sent to by noon on 21 February 2022.

The material sent will not be returned: it will remain in the material disposition of Fondazione Il Lazzaretto, although the artist retains the intellectual property and all rights of economic exploitation in relation to the work sent.

All participants will be notified of the outcome of the competition by 10 March 2022.


Organising Secretariat Alessandra Trovati | | Tel. +39 0245370810

Terms of reference and full call for proposals >