Author, Filmmaker Mark Spano Named 2020 Outstanding Italian-American in North Carolina

Author, filmmaker, second-generation Sicilian Mark Spano

October 2, 2020 (Orange County, NC)  — The Triangle Sons & Daughters of Italy, a member of the Order Sons & Daughters of Italy in America, has named Blueplate PR client Mark Spano of Orange County as its 2020 Outstanding Italian-American in North Carolina. The organization will present the award during its Annual Picnic and General Membership Meeting in Raleigh on October 11.

“This is an unexpected and exciting honor,” Spano said after receiving word of the award. “I am deeply grateful.”

The grandson of Sicilian immigrants, Mark Spano has been a prolific and well-known member of North Carolina’s film and television production community for many years. Over the last decade, he focused his talents and energy on his family’s homeland as he wrote, directed, and produced “Sicily: Land of Love and Strife,” a feature-length documentary.

His goal, he said, is to introduce viewers to “the many facets of the island nation that are relatively unknown to the public: the natural beauty, epic human struggle, depth and diversity of culture, philosophic insights, and historic places.”

After its official premiere in Spano’s hometown, Kansas City, Missouri, in April 2018, “Sicily: Land of Love and Strife” played to packed houses during an initial limited theatrical run in the U.S. and Canada. It was warmly received at the Toronto Italian Film Festival and has aired on select public television stations both here and in E.U. markets. (He discusses his documentary during an interview airing now on YouTube.) The film and companion book are available on Amazon.

During the coronavirus quarantine, Spano has channeled his passion into producing a short video tribute entitled “Dreaming of Sicily.” He is also working on a show about Sicilian wines.

For more information about the 2020 Outstanding Italian-American in North Carolina and his work, visit MarkSpano.org.

Sons & Daughters of Italy in America, the Triangle

Established in 1905 as a mutual aid society for early Italian immigrants, the Order Sons & Daughters of Italy in America (OSDIA) is the largest and longest-established national organization for people of Italian descent in the U.S. with over 600,000 members and 700 chapters coast to coast.

Local Italian-Americans founded the Triangle chapter in 2004. Since then, the group has funded scholarships to support students studying the Italian language and conducted a series of programs designed to “celebrate and preserve our culture and heritage and to promote and enjoy the warm family relationships so many of us grew up with.” For more information, visit trianglesonsofitaly.org.

Architect Magazine’s Project Gallery Features Rabbit Hole Distillery by pod architecture + design

1. Night

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The crown jewel of an urban campus in the heart of downtown Louisville, the award-winning Rabbit Hole Distillery is a new, modern, 55,000-square-foot distillery introduced to an industry steeped in tradition. READ MORE

pod architecture + design to convert old industrial building in downtown Durham into new Liberty & Plenty Distillery

ENTRY WITH OPEN DOORS
RENDERING OF FRONT PORCH AND PUBLIC ENTRANCE, by pod a+d

pod architecture + design, an interdisciplinary design firm based in Chapel Hill represented by Blueplate PR, has been commissioned to design Liberty & Plenty Distillery, a new start-up craft distillery planned for downtown Durham that will produce rum, whiskey, gin, and flavored vodkas.

Solely owned by head distiller Tina Williford, MSc, of Raleigh, the project will involve the adaptive re-use of a former distillery in a one-story, brick, 3400-square-foot building at 609 Foster Street. Built in 1938, the structure was originally an RJ Reynolds tobacco packing house and warehouse. The back patio of the property’s Rickhouse event space (formerly an aging warehouse where packed tobacco barrels were stored) faces the old Durham Bulls stadium.

“I love the architectural concept of contrasting a fresh, contemporary space within the steel and wood patina of the prizery,” Williford says. The prizery was the place where the tobacco was “prized” or pressed into hogshead barrels for shipping. “Two traditional types of copper stills and other vacuum-based techniques will be used for distillation and blending based on the spirit created. This use of the space and the distilling processes complement and balance the old and the new.”

According to Doug Pierson, AIA, co-founder and principal architect at pod a+d, the architectural idea for Liberty & Plenty “focuses on the entry, the bar, and on the way visitors will experience the distillery.”

To that end, he and his partner, co-founder/designer Youn Choi, have custom-designed a multi-functional “furniture bar” to accommodate product tasting, retail displays, bottle sales, and casual seating for distillery events in one elegant furniture item.

FURNITURE BAR
RENDERING OF THE MULTI-FUNCTIONAL “FURNITURE BAR,” by pod a+d

The “furniture bar” will also create a visual and physical separation between guests and the production process. A physical separation is a state requirement for all operating distilleries.

“In other words, we’ll feed two birds with one seed,” Pierson said. “The furniture bar will satisfy the state mandate while accommodating a host of distillery needs.”

Like their client, the pod a+d team also believes the textural contrast between the clean lines and smooth wood of the furniture bar and the unrefined nature of the old brick building will be part of Liberty & Plenty’s appeal.

As for the name: The unique nomenclature for Williford’s future distillery is as North Carolina-centric as the location: It’s derived from the N.C. State seal. At the center of the seal are two robed figures,  “Liberty” on the left and “Plenty” on the right.

This project marks the fourth spirits distillery that pod a+d has designed, including the 55,000-square-foot Rabbit Hole bourbon distillery in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, which has received two design awards to date.

For more information on pod architecture + design, visit www.podand.com and follow the firm on Facebook.

About pod architecture + design

At pod a+d, we believe in the integration of architecture and all aspects of design to connect buildings + environment + identity. That’s why pod a+d is a hybrid firm, offering all architectural services, environmental design, experiential graphics, and wayfinding design. Exterior and interior architecture; furnishings and finishes; financial feasibility and scheduling; engineering and construction; and experiential graphics  –  considered simultaneously, these disciplines inform our hybrid/integrated approach to architecture. For more information: www.podand.com.