With skills in ceramics, printmaking, speaking Italian, and driving a steamroller, there are few things Siena Baldi can’t do. She studied Printmaking/Drawing and Environmental Studies at Washington University in St Louis and graduated in 2011. While the ink was still drying on her diploma, she and a fellow art student founded MITCH Collective, a community-driven catalyst for promoting creativity in the Ohio Valley.
Why the Ohio Valley, you may ask? Well, there was a 100 year old house owned by her family that was being neglected and had all kinds of potential. MITCH Collective is named for Siena’s grandpa Mitch and stands for Mastering Innovation, Technology & Creativity House. The house is located in Martins Ferry, OH, the largest town in the county with less than 7,000 inhabitants. Since incorporating in 2011, five small grants have been awarded to MITCH Collective. Most recently, The Sprout Fund supported bringing Insta-tangram to life, a combination of traditional relief printmaking, collaborative designs, laser cutters, and using a steamroller as a printing press. 20 youth groups and local artists created designs for tangram shapes that were etched out wood with a laser cutter and participants of all ages created interactive designs at two outdoor art festivals in June 2013 that were printed on 3’x3’ paper and fabric. The spectacle of printing with a steamroller piqued people’s curiosity and introduced them to printmaking and interactive community art projects. In addition to bringing innovative projects to the Ohio Valley, the MITCH Collective residency program is growing and welcomes artists, writers, and musicians to make work and interact with the community. Facilities include book arts, printmaking, stained glass, letterpress, screen printing, and sewing.
Siena manages MITCH Collective as a volunteer, teaches at TechShop Pittsburgh and West Liberty University, and is working on a multimedia studio practice.