Maplewood MacArthur Genius Cites Passion for His Work

By mark-slade September 30, 2011

Maplewood MacArthur Genius Cites Passion for His Work

Ubaldo Vitali, the first silversmith to receive a MacArthur Foundation Genius grant, says he’s not a genius — he’s just passionate about what he does.

By Mary Mann

Vitali is currently working on a restoration of a replica of Independence Hall that was crafted for the Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia in 1876.
Analyzing the materials
Giving new meaning to “Hi ho, Silver!” — Ubaldo Vitali models his silver cowboy hat.
Anthony Cavalieri at work in Ubaldo Vitali’s workshop
Amrit Tamrakar came from Nepal to work with Vitali in Maplewood.
tools of the trade
Vitali with a replica of a medieval furnace that he built for a documentary
Visiting MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant awardee Ubaldo Vitali in his Maplewood studio
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“I like to be hidden away,” said Ubaldo Vitali, when Patch visited his workshop on Hilton Avenue in Maplewood recently.

Although Vitali has been unobtrusively working in the building for 31 years, he is hidden no more. The announcement made by the MacArthur Foundation on Tuesday, Sept. 20, that Vitali was among its 22 awardees for 2011 has brought the world to his doorstep.

Just before Patch stopped by, a German media crew had spent a portion of the morning interviewing Vitali. He’s been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and on CBS radio, noticed in The New York Times, and, on the day of the announcement, la Repubblica, a major Roman daily newspaper, ran a full-page story on Vitali.

For more about Mr. Vitali, please go to:

Mark Slade
Keller Williams