Guglielmo Botter may have lived most of his life in Treviso, Italy, but a piece of him has always belonged in Pennsylvania, where his mother grew up.
Botter, who holds both Italian and American citizenship, was an architect in Italy before a financial crisis hit the country in 2012. So, he closed his architect office and started sketching American cities.
Now, Botter is visiting the land of opportunity yet again to exhibit his black-and-white ink sketches of Lancaster buildings and landmarks at the Lancaster City Visitor Center.
“It’s my goal to cover the country from East to West because I enjoy traveling a lot and seeing new cities every year,” Botter said. “The U.S. is very big, and I don’t know if I have time to see all the country. I’ll sketch two or three cities each year. It’s my chance to do this now.”
The architect-turned-artist started drawing as a young child and soon started sketching the buildings and sights around Treviso, his hometown. Botter first exhibited his work at 11 years old. At 13, he won a national contest in Rome against 350,000 other students for a drawing of Treviso, which later became an official Italian stamp.
As an adult, Botter typically applies for international calls for artists that are close to Pittsburgh to exhibit his work in the states and visits the country ever summer. He said that one of the hardest parts of being a foreign artist in the United States is building community connections to share his sketches.
“Big cities are very interesting of course, but they are very difficult to connect with,” Botter said. “I go to cities ranging about 600 or 700 miles outside of Pittsburgh. I’m expanding a little bit every year, so I hope to arrive in maybe New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., soon. I usually have one or two chances a year to exhibit.”
Although he has made sketches of various European cities and of cities in Indiana and Virginia, Botter stays loyal to his roots in Pennsylvania. Last summer, he exhibited sketches of Harrisburg in the Art Association of Harrisburg.
“I love Pennsylvania,” Botter said. “I started to go around the state and saw Harrisburg, and because they were close, I stopped in Lancaster and York. The life there is different, more vibrant.”
In the near future, Botter hopes to relocate his family and his art business to Pittsburgh, and even recently bought a house in the city.
“I’m feeling American for my heritage and my family, and I’m feeling Italian for my studies and my youth,” he said. “But I love to come here, so I think that I will spend as much time as possible here.”
“Guglielmo Botter: An Italian Artist in Lancaster” runs from Aug. 2 through the end of September at the Lancaster City Visitor Center, 38 Penn Sq., 2nd Floor Gallery, with an opening reception Aug. 2 from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information, visit https://visitlancastercity.com/first-friday/current-first-friday/.