Silvio Barile Sculptures
Silvio Barile, an Italian World War II refugee, and self-taught artist known for his large sculptures. He and his family immigrated to the United States in 1954 ultimately settling in Michigan in 1960. He apprenticed at a local bakery and then, to honor the food of his homeland, opened his own restaurant - Silvio’s Rita Pizzeria - a pizzeria and pastry shop in Redford Township, MI. He was known in the community for his homemade bread, pizza, pepperoni rolls, and cannoli and after time, for his art. The sculptures were dedicated to the celebration of both his native homeland of Italy and his new adopted homeland of America. Barile called his art environment Italian American Historical Artistic Museum.
He proudly shared the stories about his art with his customers, some who came from afar to view his growing collection of sculpture. The museum took on enhanced importance after 2002, when the pizzeria was closed, although Barile continued to run a small business from this location while continuing to create sculptures and monuments in the outdoor patio and garden behind the shop. Before the shop and surrounding patio/garden were razed, Barile’s son reached out to KFI for help with the preservation of the work he saved from certain destruction. The three remaining pieces not sold to private collectors or destroyed were offered to KFI through the family.
Kohler Foundation gifted the 3-piece collection to John Michael Kohler Arts Center, for inclusion in the outdoor sculpture garden at the Arts Preserve.