Art Teacher Renzo Ventrella passed away unexpectedly last year at Xavier High School where he founded and organized the annual comic con called X-con. His friends and co-workers are continuing this tradition on Saturday May 11 2019 from noon to five and all proceeds go to the school and his family.
Renzo graduated Xavier High School in 1992 and went on to CUNY and the School of Visual Arts. In 1997, he returns to Xavier as an art instructor and made an impact to countless students. “Mr. Ventrella was a good man, a gifted artist, and to many among us, family. He was our voice, our jester, our crooner, and Santa Clause all wrapped up in one larger-than-life person.” wrote Michael Livigni, class of ’21 on the school’s memorial page for Ventrella.
In 2016, Renzo and fellow teacher Steve Iannuccilli organized the first X-Con to help raise funds for the High School. Now in its fourth year, “The show will be a wonderful way to remember our friend and raise money for a program and a school that he cherished so deeply.“ Shared Iannuccilli on a Facebook message. The event will be located at the high school’s gym at 30 West 16th Street in Manhattan and will be held from noon to five pm. Admission will be $5.
The event will feature raffles, games, cosplayers, vendors and exhibitors as well as artists and creators from the local comic book community. Including Stan Chou, Omar Mirza, Keith Williams, Rebecca Friedman, Jon Roscetti, Jay Taylor, Claire Connelly, Brian Kong, Maxim Hobness, Carmine Street Comics and many more!
“I was stunned, because I had just seen him 3 days’ prior to his passing, at NY Comic Con.” writer Tony Wolf said of his passing. “He was always friendly, upbeat, and so excited about comics & art…(Renzo) was incredibly supportive of anyone who had a love for those things.”
Aside from organizing the con, Renzo was an accomplished artist and much beloved teacher. “Renzo was a role-model. He tried his best to show what a Xavier alumni could and should be for his brothers and the community at large.” Offered former student Tom Martinez.” He was always game for anything that would help the school and it’s students.” Martinez is now an art director for Scholastic and credits Renzo as a huge influence.
Current student Will Rugai had this to say on a YouTube post the day after Renzo’s passing. ”I’ve never met a 44 year old who was this relatable, this down to Earth…between teachers and students there is that age divide – ‘I am the teacher, you are the student, I will teach you.’That really wasn’t the case for him.” Many students agree.
Renzo Ventrella was a man of passion. Passion for his students, his art and, of course, his family. His creation, X-con honors all that and more.