Civita Institute Fellows
Since 1985, the Civita Institute has annually awarded the creative explorations of architects, planners, designers, artists, writers and other creative professionals as Civita Institute Fellowships. These fellowships have had sponsors partnering with the Civita Institute or have been fully funded by the Civita Institute but all were selected through an independent, juried process. In 2022, self-funded Creative Retreat Fellowships, that are approved by the board of directors, were added to the Civita Institute Fellowship program. We invite you to explore the variety of inspiration and discovery resulting from this cultural exchange. Please click on the images to the right to enlarge. Past fellows: please submit any updated bios information or a representative image from your fellowship to the Communications Chair via this email.
Liza spent her professional career as a historic preservation planner in Portland. Her fellowship project focused on adaptive reuse and local strategies and approaches to historic preservation in Civita di Bagnoregio. The project resulted in a photographic study that analyzed how buildings and sites in Civita have evolved over the past few decades, particularly since tourism began in the late 1960s. Pairing architectural images taken in 1975 and earlier with images from 2012 of the same historic buildings and places, it highlights alteration strategies and patterns of change over time. Photographer Craig Litherland was Liza’s project partner.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND COMMUNITY FELLOWSHIP
Jing Jenny Zhang
This sketching project will aim to detect the city's concealed beauty–a Civita that goes beyond the stereotypes of images and stock footages; a Civita that arouses in-person exploring desire and intimacy. With inspiring local stories from the conversations between people who stop and watch, on-site sketching changes into a social medium, narrowing the distance between distinctive cultures, occupations, and languages. Focusing on both locals and visitors, this study will fathom their connections with endemic ancient architectures based on spatial and cultural interaction, aiming to discover and document activities that reveal the vibrance of Civita.
DREXLER FAMILY DIVERSITY FELLOWSHIP
This project will research the textile traditions of Italy that are relevant to her current practice of garment-making. As a response to this research and to her fellowship experience, a set of five (5) garments will be made and one text created as deliverables to the Civita Institute Archive and Collections. Civita di Bagnoregio’s landscape and architecture will be central to the garments’ design and inspire their form. The project will focus on the farming and use of linen for clothing in Central Italy, beginning with the Etruscans and continuing into the Roman civilization, especially in the context of Civita di Bagnoregio. Examples of the use of linen in surrounding regions can be found across media, such as in the wall paintings on tombs in Tarquinia, on the Francois Tomb in Vulci and from the textile tools of Poggio Civitate di Murlo.
ADVANCED CAREER FELLOWSHIP
Beanne is a graphic designer and educator who likes to paint her food, especially if it includes fresh vegetables or luscious fruits. She was a Design Department faculty member for 20 years at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. She will be amplifying her passion for all things food-related by engaging in a serious study of the history, production, distribution, consumption and sharing of food in the region of Civita di Bangioregio.
ASTRA ZARINA EARLY CAREER FELLOWSHIP
Anthony currently works and resides in Youngstown, Ohio. A native of blue-collar working-class people and is fascinated by the way information is retrieved, and how visual, and verbal language constantly changes. Anthony proposes to make a series of intimate paintings and drawings using found raw materials and paint. In particular, he will study and question how memory is retrieved and erased through humanity's indexical mark with technology, and in correlation to Civita di Bagnoregio’s complex layers of geology, architecture, and construction.
DREXLER FAMILY DIVERSITY FELLOWSHIP
Angela's background is in photography, design, and editorial writing, and she is passionate about supporting minority-run small and micro businesses in Washington. Angela’s fellowship project, Lost in Translation: The Power of Sustainable Food and the Potential Extinction of Cultural Heritage, seeks to illuminate what it means to eat sustainably and how traditional ethnic foods and recipes are at risk of disappearing from our cultural heritage. Part cookbook, part culinary love letter, and part cautionary tale, Lost in Translation will be a collection of local food traditions.
PARTNERS IN DESIGN CLIMATE ACTION FELLOWSHIP
Angela Brooks & Lawrence Scarpa
Angela and Lawrence are principals of the architecture firm BROOKS + SCARPA, based in Los Angeles, California, which has received more than 50 major design awards, including the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Award in Architecture and the 2010 AIA Architecture Firm Award. Their joint fellowship will investigate qualities that have enriched hill towns in the Lazio region and Civita di Bagnoregio's timeless culture—local climate, integration of building and site, regional materials and vernacular technologies—and identify, study and document a handful of significant and common historic structures/places that are model examples of how passive design strategies lead to design excellence and enrich cultural and civic identity. Culling principles of design that can be translated from the hill towns of Italy to the metropolis of Los Angeles will contribute to an understanding of what makes places special and loved by people.
ASTRA ZARINA FELLOWSHIP
Shelley will create a series of digitally woven tapestries inspired by data collected during her stay in Civita.
DREXLER FAMILY DIVERSITY FELLOWSHIP
Tom will develop a set of drawings and wooden maquettes that capture the unique sense of place in Civita.
Janet is a photographer and educator based in Seattle, WA. Her fellowship captured the present and past of Civita through pinhole photography, which provides a unique documentation of the passing of time. Her homemade cameras were placed in various locations in Civita and left there to be exposed for 30 days. Her hope is that viewers will find a sense of time passing in these images that is different than lens made photography. Additional images from Janet's fellowship can be viewed on her website as well as on The Pinhole Project. Photo (right): Entrance to an altar in an Etruscan Cave. A pinhole tin was placed on a door next to the Offerte box, the place where offerings were placed when you visited the altar inside the cave. The camera remained out of the rain, undisturbed for one month.
DREXLER FAMILY DIVERSITY FELLOWSHIP
Jennifer is an international educator, writer, photographer, and media consultant. An Arkansas native currently living in Olympia, Jennifer's project will focus on establishing Bayou Bartholomew, located in her home state, as a historic landmark, and ultimately, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The project's primary goal is preserving the intangible fragility of North America’s longest and second most diverse environmentally important historic waterway.
Laura will be following in the author Italo Calvino's footsteps and re-imagining the town of Civita di Bagnoregio as a collection of Invisible Cities. She would like to study the intangible sensations and unseen histories of Civita and create an illustrated book where each page becomes an isolated quality of this town retold as a new world.
Luann is a graphic designer and artist whose short film "Dovuto al Tempo" (Due to Time) uses audio, video and other media to record multiple perspectives about Civita di Bagnoregio including the significance of age-old places in our contemporary lives; their impact on how we view aging; and how these places adapt to change. The film's story arc explores how the aging of Civita, the role of place, and the aging of people intersect. In interviews and images, the film acknowledges the normalcy of aging, and the beauty as well as the decay of these processes. View the film's trailer here.
Milliner, felt-maker and educator, Jean Hicks uses lightly processed fibers to create both theatrical and functional headwear. She has exhibited her hats in the Ukraine, Finland, Italy, Scotland, Portugal and the Netherlands. For her fellowship, Jean studied locally-produced wool in the region surrounding Civita di Bagnoregio (Sopravissana, Sarda and Comisana sheep), wool cleaning techniques (such as scouring using Umbrian limestone and dolomite), dyes (woad and black walnut), and researched their use in fashion applications both historic and modern. The photo (right) shows one of the stages of dyeing wool using dyestuff from Civita and the valley below—pomegranate husks from local gardens, castanas from the chestnut grove, saffron from il gardino.
Taehyung Kim will be developing a series of analytical drawings that embody a phenomenological experience of the city, followed by a series of site-specific discreet installations that slightly augments the spatial perception of the city.
FELLOWSHIP / NE CHAPTER
American-Peruvian interdisciplinary artist Grimanesa Amoros creates light sculptures and installations that have been exhibited at museums in the United States and around the world. Inspiration for her works is drawn from her diverse interests in the fields of social history, scientific research, and critical theory, and make use of sculpture, video, and lighting to create pieces that illuminate and spark conversations on our notions of personal identity and community. For her fellowship, Grimanesa hosted art workshops for Civitonici worked with them to create an art video that captured the essence of their town and their lives, and projected videos displaying her light sequences for the entire town to experience.
John will draw upon his extensive international affairs experience to write a novel set in an imagined Civita. His protagonist, Alïana, leads a humanitarian mission into the city of Obeída to assist its citizens in their massive exodus, only to discover that Obeída is morphing from within, both physically and linguistically, and a new citizenry, with its own origin and displacement stories, is emerging from an underground labyrinth.
Micaela Skoknic Dockendorff
An attorney and historic preservationist, Micaela's fellowship explored how green infrastructure can give new life to historic towns in the Lazio region. She approached her one-month fellowship as a consultancy, with a focus on Civita’s social and cultural sustainability. At the time of her visit, the Bagnoregio authorities were preparing Civita’s nomination dossier for designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Conducting oral histories, interviews with authorities, and community stakeholders, she researched and documented the town’s current struggle with unchecked tourism, erasure of traditions and lack of political and economic sovereignty. Inspired by Astra Zarina's joint pedagogy and caretaking of the town, Micaela crafted a pop-up citizen plebiscite and museum at the Piazza. Early student work from the Hilltown Program archives was brought out from Lo Studio, back to the public realm and onto its protagonists: the Civitonici. Residents were surveyed and asked to map Civita’s current challenges and opportunities. From bridge to tunnel, from the Callanchi Valley to the Lazio Region, the community was invited to carve a common space for remembering their history and imagine Civita’s future. (Photo, right: Iole Alessandrini)
Artist Claudia Sbrissa will investigate both place and space, by referencing architectural forms and systems within the natural and built landscape of Civita di Bagnoregio. She plans to use locally sourced materials in her drawings, sculptures and site installations. During her time at Civita, visual artist Claudia Sbrissa explored the architecture and landscape as a place of exchange between antiquity and the present. These investigations resulted in the creation of large-scale rubbings of the site, with a focus on the 500-meter suspension bridge and other relevant locations. These ephemeral works were supplemented by a daily documentation of the sky, along with audio recordings of ambient sound, where nature and the built environment each contribute to the story of this magical place.
DENNIS TATE FELLOWSHIP
Steve Butler is the Planning and Policy Manager for Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC), where he conducts research and provides planning advice to local governments throughout Washington State. He received a M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A. from St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY). In 2008, Steve was elected to the American Institute of Certified Planner’s College of Fellows. His Fellowship project identified the key components that contribute to the quality of public gathering places in the Italian communities of Bagnoregio, Civita di Bagnoregio, Orvieto, Perugia and Siena, one objective being to compare old and new public gathering places, which he was able to do in Bagnoregio and Perugia. Using direct observation and discussions with planners and urban designers, he identified some aspects of successful Italian civic spaces that could be replicated in the Pacific Northwest. (Photo: Piazza del Campo, Siena)
Sharon Birzer is a painter and natural history illustrator whose work employs close observation, she utilizes traditional media as well as digital tools. Sharon holds an MFA from the University of Washington and teaches college art classes, school residencies, as well as illustration workshops. Her art work is exhibited nationally and internationally. She has created illustrations for exhibits and publications for the Seattle Art Museum and The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Recent work from Civita was exhibited at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. During her Fellowship Sharon documented her observations of the natural world in the unique and fragile remote hill town and surrounding canyons of Civita di Bagnoregio, including illustrations of lichen found in the ancient Chestnut grove. (Image: Ramalina panizzei, lichen, Civita, graphite and colored pencil on paper). www.sharonbirzer.com
Leslie Hickey is a visual artist based in Portland, Oregon. Hickey exhibits regularly, including shows at Studio Arts College International (SACI) in Florence, Italy and Edel Extra in Nuremberg, Germany. Her work has been published in Big Big Wednesday and Essentialist. Recent funding includes a Professional Development Grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) in 2017 to support her Civita Fellowship, and an Oregon Arts Commission Career Opportunity Grant in 2018. Hickey is also a founding member of two collectives: SCALENO and Small Talk, and the proprietor of a letterpress, Hoarfrost Press. Leslie’s Fellowship awarded her the time and space to expand on a series of photographs she began while living and working in Florence, Italy in 2014, photographing interiors and at night. In January 2018, she delivered a lecture at the Portland Art Museum about her work and its relationship to Italy, and in May 2018 showed this body of work in Nuremberg, Germany.
FELLOWSHIP / NE CHAPTER
Gary is a photographer specializing in architecture and fine art. An affiliate member of the American Institute of Architects, Gary has photographed many award-winning projects including numerous LEED certified buildings. He holds a B.A. in Fine Arts Photography from Southern Illinois University where he studied with Charles Swedlund. Living in Vermont’s beautiful Champlain Valley, he has photographed the landscape for over forty years. His luminous black & white prints grace the walls of many corporate buildings and private homes. Harkening back to 19th century photographic practices, Gary employed a large format camera and a meditative mindset while photographing in Civita. He then adopted 21st century technology, using modern color film, scanning his negatives to create archival pigment prints. Technological hybrids, Gary's photographs depict Civita today, yet express a timeless sensibility reminiscent of photography's earliest era. See more of his images from Civita in his book Civita di Bagnoregio, available to view and purchase at www.garyhallphoto.com.
After earning her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Drexel University in 2015, Julie Morningstar continues to work at BLT Architects in Philadelphia, now as a Project Architect. Throughout her studies and professional career, Julie has been interested in how the public can be educated about public services, especially solid waste management, through design. Civita, with its permanent population of under 10 people, is unique in that it welcomes almost a million day-only visitors a year across the pedestrian bridge. Her time in Civita coincided with International Earth Day, which inspired an installation, completed with the help of Cinzia Rocchi and supported by the Commune of Bagnoregio, to demonstrate the number of plastic bottles left behind by tourists. Julie is grateful to have had the experience of living in Civita, which will continue to influence her professional views for years to come. (Photo: Gary Hall)
After receiving a Master of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, John designed and built solar homes, then founded Black River Design in 1976, in Montpelier, VT. John's fellowship explored the potential for sustainability in Civita by applying the same Living Future Institute metrics he uses in his architectural practice. He considered potential net zero energy and net zero water options, addressed erosion in Civita, and proposed sustainable strategies for problems incurred by mass tourism. His field research was primarily "hands-on" with the goal of promoting evidence-based dialogue and inspiring sustainable stewardship of Civita and its environs.
ASTRA ZARINA FELLOWSHIP
Robert works primarily in digital compositing and collage, installation, performance and documentary, and teaches New Media at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle where he is co-director of the Institute of Emergent Technology + Intermedia. He began envisioning and producing a work, later titled Solastalgia, in 2016. The primary imagery was collected in Civita and surrounding areas (and also Rome) during his two-month fellowship in a country known for its stone hilltop towns and villages, pastoral landscapes, and heritage preservation—a kind of opposite to the current American ethos of renewal and development so keenly observed and felt in the current Seattle urban makeover. The work is composed of several sets of slow-moving synchronous tableaux displayed across four vertically placed 55-inch flat screen monitors that together form a traditional triptych. While digital in origin, the imagery can be thought of as belonging to a sub-genre of painting. Solastalgia, a neologism coined in 2003 by philosopher Glenn Albrecht, describes “a form of psychic or existential distress caused by environmental change. A loss of certainty in a once predictable environment is common among groups that express solastalgia.” More information and a single channel version of the work can be viewed at this link.
Trish Borden spent 40 years creating employment opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Woodworking was one of her hobbies. In 2014 she learned that there were wonderful Thonet chairs at the Civita residence that needed restoration and that, years ago, Astra Zarina had lamented that there were no longer any local caners. Trish saw a way that she might be of service, and taught herself the craft of chair caning through YouTube videos and books. Her 2016 Civita Institute Fellowship had two objectives—to restore the caned chair seats so they could be used and to research caning craftsmen in the Florence and Rome area. During the process of repairing the broken chairs, Trish discovered Magnani & Figli in Rome and spent time there observing and gaining additional knowledge at their small family-run shop. In turn, Roberto Magnani and his family came to Civita to see the beautiful Thonet chairs and other antiques Astra and Tony had collected over the years. The tangible outcome of Trish’s Civita Institute Fellowship: three chairs that you can now sit on! (Photo: Roberto coaching Trish in Lo Studio on caning techniques that he learned from his grandmother, while little Michelangelo watches.)
Katherine L Wright
Katherine is an artist and licensed architect now practicing in Seattle, and a professional architectural illustrator. She and her family moved to Italy in 2005 where she lived for six years in Puglia, Italy. Free to explore & discover, she soon became involved in the Italian art world, sparking her interest in the role of the donkey in Medieval Architecture. During her Fellowship, Katherine researched the role of the donkey in the history of Civita, both architecturally and culturally. She investigated the location and layout of some stalls, the rustic pathways to the fields, and interviewed several natives (and a few non natives) on their memories of how the donkeys were part of the community. The result is a 10-minute documentary, The Role of the Donkey in Civita di Bagnoregio with interviews, field videos, recordings, and photographs, creating a record of this living heritage. www.klwright.com
FELLOWSHIP / NE CHAPTER
Dr. Paul Bentel is a partner in Bentel & Bentel, Associates, a New York-based architectural firm specializing in hospitality projects. He is also a Professor of Architecture and History at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning, where he has taught for twenty-seven years. Paul traveled extensively in Northern Lazio, documenting and analyzing traditional dining venues, examining their historical roots and their evolving role in hospitality culture. His fellowship project, "Hospitality Culture in Northern Lazio," was a natural outgrowth of his professional practice, his academic bent, his Italian heritage and fluency in Italian. He notes, "In the willingness and the ability to engage outsiders peacefully and to invite them into one's home, there lies a cornerstone of human civilization. To examine these places is to begin to 'unpack' the elements of this human faculty." A video presentation of his findings can be viewed here.
Andrew operates at the intersection of architecture and discursive cultural practice. His work focuses on exhibitions, publications, and communications concerning architecture; in 2018 he co-edited the book, VACUUM, published by Columbia University GSAPP. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Texas, Austin, and Master of Arts in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture at Columbia University and currently works as a communications specialist and designer at PLANE—SITE in Berlin. Andrew’s fellowship project "Critical Preservation: Tracing the Precarious Ontology of Cultural Heritage,” explored and imagined the ways in which cultural heritage may be remembered, maintained and transferred, when the physical existence of a cultural object or site, such as Civita di Bagnoregio, is threatened, unstable, contested, or disappearing. A video presentation of his findings can be viewed here.
Brian is a New York-based photographer who for over thirty years has specialized in portraiture, working closely with design firms, agencies, and major corporations. His notable portrait subjects include a fisherman on the Arno River, Maya Angelou, Michael Moore, and artists and musicians at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Brian received a BA in English and Classics at St. Peter's College, NJ, then pursued four years of graduate study in art history at l' Universita degli Studi Firenze. With a portraitist's eye and sensibility, and fluency in Italian, Brian embedded himself in Civita. He worked collaboratively with Civita's residents to create a series of intimate portraits and chronicle Civita's age-old cultural practices. Taken over three months during different seasons, Brian's photos, "CIVITA In Black and White," capture Civita's compelling physicality and light, its architecture and rugged landscape. The Geological and Landscape Museum in Civita and the Commune of Bagnoregio will sponsor an exhibit of Stanton's photographs in the Museum in 2019. A video of his presentation and photographs can be viewed here.
ASTRA ZARINA FELLOWSHIP
Margo Aspholm and David Aspholm
Plamena Milusheva and Choong Ng
Plamena Milusheva, in collaboration with Choong Ng, fellowship project was a media series, including video, stills, and real-time generative projections. Titled DUE—Digital urban Environments—the series used a layering of physical and digital environments to develop processes for activating urban and architectural spaces. "Place Memory 1," (photo, right) is a whimsical test of one of their digital processes meant to engage "ghost architecture." Throughout the town of Civita di Bagnoregio there are many architectural elements that are left as remnants of their long lost functions. "Place Memory 1" brings this once-door back to life through a light painting that also references the beloved feline population of the tiny town.
ASTRA ZARINA FELLOWSHIP
Seattle-based Stephanie Bower is an award-winning architectural illustrator, teacher, artist, and globetrotting Urban Sketcher. With a background as an architect, she has taught in colleges, online, and in workshops around the world, including an annual workshop in Civita. Stephanie is the author of The Urban Sketching Handbook: Understanding Perspective, The Urban Sketching Handbook: 101 Sketching Tips, and The World of Urban Sketching. She spent two months in Civita di Bagnoregio learning about its history and documenting the town through drawings and paintings. Her fellowship project resulted in an architectural walking guide available for download here. www.stephaniebower.com Instagram @stephanieabower
Thomas Allsopp graduated in Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington. After working in that field for two years, he entered the seminary to study for the Catholic priesthood and was ordained in 1979 after three years in Rome. He is currently a chaplain at Seattle Children's Hospital. Thomas' own garden has been published numerous times and he does consulting on garden designs. His Fellowship resulted in a chidren's book and Civita and its people work their magic on him more and more with each visit.
ASTRA ZARINA FELLOWSHIP
Dave is a Senior Planner for Bothell, Washington, since 2005 coordinating a major downtown plan to revitalize the community's historic core, and continuing to play a key role in its implementation. A graduate of MIT and the University of Washington, he studied in the 1984 Italian Hilltowns and Architecture in Rome Programs, and has been a registered architect in Washington State since 1994 and has worked as a consultant and in the public sector. He presented his fellowship project on Italian Hilltowns at the 2016 International Making Cities Livable conference in Rome and led a tour from the conference to Civita.
Anita H. Lehmann is a teacher, an artist and an award-winning architectural illustrator. She is a registered architect in the state of Washington. After receiving her Master of Architecture at the University of Washington, she has taught freehand drawing in Rome, Civita and in Seattle. She currently offers small group classes in drawing, painting, and design. Her other skills include architectural design, graphic design, community planning and design illustration. Prior to receiving the 2013 Civita Institute Fellowship, Anita was a graduate student teacher at the University of Washington Rome Center in 1985. Anita brings over 30 years of teaching experience in teaching design and drawing. During her fellowship she created a lesson book, "Drawing Lessons from Civita: an Artist’s adventure in Italy," that illustrates a visual note taking process for architectural and urban design elements. The book instruct others on the essential elements of design drawing, with evocative and depictive concepts. www.ahldraws.com Instagram: @ahldraws
During his fellowship, Dan explored how topography shapes culture, food production, and livable density through a series of drawings that are part hybrid art-pieces, diagrams, and technical drawings.
ASTRA ZARINA FELLOWSHIP
Sharon is a graphic designer and writer practicing in Seattle. For the past 15 years, she has been a principal of the graphic design firm Partners in Design in Seattle where she specializes in book and public information design for cultural and public organizations. Her historical fiction book Chasing at the Surface published by Westwinds Press for readers aged 9-12 received the 2016 National Outdoor Book Award (NOBA) in the Children’s category. As the 2012 Astra Zarina Fellowship recipient, Sharon created Civita Immaginata, a series of storytelling maps, using visual means to create an 'atlas' designed to envision Civita through multiple lenses, some of which included culture, geography, food, history and the built environment. The visual results of her fellowship and her contemporaneous notes can be found here on her design blog. Instagram: @writerSharon (Image: Civita: Archetypes and Palimpsests)
Don is a Seattle-area visual artist. He’s been a Fulbright Fellow to Italy and a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar to India. He’s a grant recipient of the Jack Straw Foundation, Artist Trust, the Ferguson Foundation, the Ella West Freeman Foundation, and the Washington Council on the Humanities. Fels has received multiple grants and commissions from the Puget Sound regional arts commissions and from ArtsWA, the state arts commission. His Civita Institute Fellowship focused on his interest in the relationship between the history of global commodity production, culture and landscape, with a particular focus on alum and its historic role in the area very nearby Civita. He’s chased alum in several countries in Europe and the Middle East as well as India and Indonesia, where it was a highly sought mordant for natural dyeing. (Photo: centuries-old alum mines near Civita)
UW ROME CENTER ALUMNI FELLOW
Isabel used her fellowship, while a sudent majoring in Archaeology at the Univeristy of Washington, to research native plants and herbs in the Civita area and investigate how those plants have been managed in a public space and the applicability of that management to community participation.
ASTRA ZARINA FELLOWSHIP
Betty is an artist, an architectural colorist, and an educator. During her two month fellowship in Civita she researched and documented the colors and light of Civita and over a dozen additional Italian Hill towns, creating a visual narrative of differences and similarities in their use of color. Merken's work can be found in several galleries and numerous private and public collections in the United States, Asia, and Europe, and in the permanent collections of major museums, including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (the de Young Museum and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor), the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon. In addition to her Civita Institute fellowship, she has been honored with fellowships from the Pinea-Linea de Costa Foundation, in Rota, Spain, the BAU Institute in Otranto, Italy and New York. She is the co-author, with Stefan Merken, of Wall Art, Megamurals and Supergraphics (Philadelphia: Running Press, 1987).
Jon is an architect and co-founder of Seattle based firm goCstudio where he has worked since 2012. The studio's work is driven by the unique opportunities and constraints of site specific projects which evolve through close relationships with clients, artists, and craftsmen. Each project is strengthened through these relationships, grounded in a strong consideration of site, material, and craft resulting in authentic and tactile buildings that aim to enrich their cultural landscape. Jon's fellowship project entitled Ancestors of Civita explored an alternative and parallel universe in Civita using biocentric collages—visionary tales of several non-human species and their imagined lives in Civita. www.goCstudio.com (Image: Ancestors of Civita, Tale of the Birds)
Jonathan is a Principal at SHKS Architects in Seattle. Jonathan a is an architect and Principal at SHKS Architects in Seattle. His practice is focused on the renewal of existing buildings throughout the Pacific Northwest. During his fellowship in Civita in 2011 he drew in pencil and watercolor, documenting Civita in fragments, capturing the character of Civita as a place. Before and after his stay in Civita Jonathan graphically explored Ferrara, Bologna and Rome. In his drawings he tries to capture the feeling an observer might have visiting Civita for the first time. Each drawing represents a fragment of what was in view simulating what one might hold as a memory of their experience. www.shksarchitects.com
Amanda Sturgeon, FAIA is the CEO of the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). She is the author of Creating Biophilic Buildings, the founder and driving force behind the organization’s Biophilic Design Initiative and is a sought-after expert on biophilic design around the world. In 2013 she was elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in recognition for her extensive advocacy and volunteer service to the green building movement, for which she has been a visionary leader. She was named one of the top ten most powerful women in sustainability in 2015 as a recipient of the Women in Sustainability Leadership Award.
Lauren and Jon Gentry are Seattle architects whose fellowship project explored an alternative and parallel universe in Civita, using "biocentric collages" - visionary tales of several non-human species and their imagined lives in Civita, graphically presented.
UW ROME CENTER ALUMNI FELLOW
Kit built on her work as a graduate student in Art History at the University of Washington, Kit continued her study of the iconography of the “grotesque” in Italian gardens.
Lesley Bain is an architect and urban designer. During her fellowship, Lesley studied “intimate streetscapes”—the human scaled pedestrian routes of Civita and the surrounding areas. The time to study, the library and inspiration of the setting were key to the writing of Living Streets: Strategies for Crafting Public Space, published by Wiley. The fellowship also informed her work in Seattle's network of alleys, including activation of Nord Alley in Pioneer Square, improvements to Canton Alley in Chinatown, and Neighbours Alley on Capitol Hill. (Photo: World Cup Alley showing, Pioneer Square; Joe Iano photographer)
Gabriela Denise Frank
Gabriela Denise Frank is the author of, CivitaVeritas: An Italian Fellowship Journey, a collection of essays and prose poetry written during and about her residency in Civita di Bagnoregio. A writer of essays and fiction, Gabriela’s work contemplates identity, sexuality, gender, aging and the built environment. Off the page her installation and performance work transforms storytelling into experience. An alumna of Artist Trust’s EDGE Development program for literary artists, her work is also supported by residencies, grants and fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Mineral School, Invoking the Pause, 4Culture and Jack Straw. Gabriela describes her Fellowship as nothing short of life-changing—the first time in her life that she considered herself an artist—and credits it as raising the bar for her future work.
MiLa is a collaboration of urban activism by Jennifer Milliron and Edward Lalonde which originated through a series of architectural investigation of various city conditions. Edward is an Associate at Olson Kundig Architects in Seattle and holds a Master of Advanced Architecture from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Architecture from Washington State University. Prior to returning to the Pacific Northwest, he lived in New York City where he worked for Steven Holl on several utopian urban projects. Jennifer Milliron and Edward Lalonde's joint project for Civita, entitled VERTICAL CITY: SEATTLE examines the distressed pedestrian condition at the city’s urban core. Specifically, this project is a critical analysis of how Seattle’s growth and historic Master Plan has superimposed itself upon a place of extreme natural topography to create a challenging urban condition at the human scale. Our architectural proposal offers solutions based upon research and case studies here in Seattle and abroad in Civita di Bagnoregio.
Perri Lynch is a Seattle-based artist and member of the Seattle Phonographer’s Union. Her work examines the relationship between human perception and sense of place. Through combined techniques in sound, light, sculpture, and image, Perri’s work explores multiple attributes of a place simultaneously. This Fellowship is devoted to documenting sound as a spatial force in the landforms and architecture of Civita and surroundings. Field recordings, video and photographs will be gathered as source material for public art, paintings, and live performances in the Pacific Northwest upon return.
MiLa is a collaboration of urban activism by Jennifer Milliron and Edward Lalonde which originated through a series of architectural investigation of various city conditions. Jennifer is a designer at NBBJ in Seattle and holds a Master of Advanced Architecture from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Architecture from Washington State University. Prior to returning to the Pacific Northwest, she lived in New York City where she worked for Daniel Libeskind on large urban projects. VERTICAL CITY: SEATTLE a joint project for Civita by Jennifer Milliron and Edward Lalonde, examines the distressed pedestrian condition at the city’s urban core. Specifically, this project is a critical analysis of how Seattle’s growth and historic Master Plan has superimposed itself upon a place of extreme natural topography to create a challenging urban condition at the human scale. Our architectural proposal offers solutions based upon research and case studies here in Seattle and abroad in Civita di Bagnoregio.
Lara Swimmer is a Seattle-based architecture photographer who travels on assignment nationally, and whose work appears regularly in Metropolis, Architectural Record, Interior Design, NW Home, Residential Architect & LUXE. She has devoted much of her early career to documenting major civic building and renovation projects in the Puget Sound area, and while in Civita, had a joint fellowship with her husband, architect Robert Zimmer, to document and create a photographic mapping of the town and its surroundings. For full portfolio visit www.swimmerphoto.com or her assignment blog: www.facebook.com/laraswimmerphotography.
A Seattle-based architect for the past 25 years, Robert Zimmer is a founding partner of zimmerraystudios. His work is diverse in size, type and location for clients in Seattle, the Pacific Northwest, the Desert Southwest, as well as nationally and internationally. In a joint-fellowship with architecture photographer Lara Swimmer, they systematically photo-documented Civita's streets and surrounding landscapes. Their carefully catalogued photographs will be manipulated into a translation of Civita mapping multiple layers of data. Their collaboration will result in an artistic expression that illustrates the interplay between Civita's unique topography, built environment and human history.
Clair Enlow writes about architecture, urban design and related issues. Her byline appears in Crosscut and the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. During her Civita Institute Fellowship in 2009, she focused on construction, preservation and parking in the public realm, seeking examples of ways in which different municipalities cope with cars. She found them stored inside a hill (Orvieto) and accommodated in widened streets (suburban Rome). She also found Romans living surprisingly well among small parked cars (see photo, right). Clair received additional support from the American Academy in Rome, and her investigations encompassed locales in both Lazio and Umbria. www.clairenlow.com
Betty Torrell is a Seattle architect. During her residency in Italy, she studied "Hearth as Home", an architectural and cultural analysis of more than fifty historic hearths located in Civita di Bagnoregio. This study was the first comprehensive documentation of this central feature of the historic houses and public cooking spaces of Civita. Betty was also a past student of AIR 1975 and IHT 1976, and a program assistant for IHT 1979.
Ann Hirschi is a graduate of UW's Architecture in Rome and Hilltown programs and has been working as an arborist in the Seattle area, after practicing architecture for many years. She helps steer Green Footprints Action Works, implementing forest and wetland restoration projects in her Madison Valley neighborhood. During her fellowship in Civita she studied the ancient Chestnut grove in the valley adjacent to Civita, looking at its history, its meaning to the residents, and how community stewardship of the grove has evolved over time. She served as a NIAUSI board member from 2007–2018. www.greenfootprintsactionworks.org
When Bill Hook was awarded a fellowship, he had already had a 30-year career as an architect and internationally known and respected architectural illustrator. His fellowship was a major turning point in his art career, allowing him the opportunity to be free of deadlines and client requirements and to experience Civita with a totally open mind to observe, be inspired and respond. His response was a collection of pencil sketches and watercolor paintings recording daily events and experiences including plumbing repairs, bats in the bedroom, and special community events and religious processions in Civita. He also recorded the beauty of surrounding towns and landscape. www.wghook.com
Kristian Kofoed is an urban planner, attorney, photographer and art critic. While in Civita, Kristian explored and documented transitional edges - the interfaces between the historic built environment and recent building, between inhabited space and uninhabited space, as well as the physical edge conditions at Civita itself and their implications for the town and its future.
Dan Corson is a visual artist working in the public realm. His public artworks can be found in State Capital buildings, city parks, light rail stations, city halls, as well as the more intimate settings of interpretive centers and meditation chambers. His passion is creating immersive environments that viscerally effect the viewer; which clearly led to his interest in exploring constrained spaces. While in Civita, he explored and documented the caves, cisterns, grottos and other subterranean spaces in and around Civita. Through a series of stop action movies, photographic light boxes, he hopes to share his understanding of these haunting spaces.
Miriam Ginsberg was selected as a NIAUSI fellow in 2006. She is a graduate of SCI-Arc in Los Angeles. Miriam is currently working as an architectural designer for the Clark Design Group and has experience in both carpentry and design. Miriam is "intrigued by the way buildings remember their occupants." Through a series of journal entries, letters, and drawings (including the creation of a remarkable 20 foot scroll) Miriam documented various aspects of life, death and rebirth that take place in Civita.
Alan Maskin is a principal architect at Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects where he has worked for 15 years. Alan has also taught architectural design at Syracuse University and the University of Washington. His primary work has been museum and exhibition projects, including the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, designed with Rick Sundberg. Alan studied with Astra Zarina in U.W's Architecture In Rome Program in 1986 and returned to Italy with a NIAUSI fellowship in 2006. Alan's trip to Civita provided a chance to pick up threads of work and thought that he had started 20 years ago in his student work -- but this time returning as a professional - analyzing historical layers, spaces and architectural relationships through pencil, ink and mixed media, including PowerPoint manipulations.
As an artist James investigated the types of masonry based on the actions of making: stacking, spanning, turning, rebuilding, filling, etc.
Mary Ann Peters
Mary Ann was a resident fellow and is an artist who explored the ways that imagery is integrated into architecture, particularly within the fresco tradition, and to compared these observations to similar examples in non-Western cultures.
M. J. Anderson
M J is an artist who researched the placement of the architectural niche as it provides intimate emotional content to the fabric of village life.
Cory was a resident fellow who analyzed factors that have contributed to Civita's timeless inhabitability: local climate, integration of building and site, regional materials, vernacular technologies, and formal qualities. He is an architectural designer and sustainability consultant.
Valerio was an Italian scholar.
Lorna is an artist who studied the Italian garden as a theater for ideas and experiences at the nexus of nature and culture. Her findings are incorporated into her environmental art projects within the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Iole Alessandrini, Past President, 2016-2018
Born and raised in Italy, Iole is an architectural graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle, as well as from the University la Sapienza in Rome, Italy and received her Fine Arts diploma from the First State School of Fine Arts in Rome. She first met professor Astra Zarina in Rome in 1993 on the occasion of the SDO–an international competition–and this meeting was crucial to her relocation to Seattle. Iole’s life and professional collaboration with her mentor began then. Today, she balances her art and architectural practices by teaching Art History (Digipen Institute of Technology) and Color Theory (Seattle Central College). Her work moves through and lies at the intersection between diverse creative expressions – art and architecture. She is a 1996 NIAUSI Fellow, and has served as a Civita Institute director since 2000 and President from 2016-18. Together with professor Astra Zarina, her husband Tony Costa Heywood, and other members of the Institute she helped the Civita Institute obtain the World Monuments’ Fund 100 Most Endangered Site Designation in 2006. In 2019, in collaboration with and with support from the Institute, the Museo Delle Frane in Civita and the Comune di Bagnoregio she designed Astra Zarina in Civita, an exhibition honoring the life of her mentor professor Astra Zarina. View her work here.
Born and raised in Italy, Iole Alessandrini is an artist who has been living in Seattle since 1994. She received her diploma in Fine Arts from the First State School of Fine Arts in Rome and earned two master's degrees in Architecture: one from the University of La Sapienza in Rome and the other from the University of Washington in Seattle. It is the intersection between these two creative expressions – art and architecture – through which her work moves. She is 1996 NIAUSI Fellow, Civita Institute director since 2000 and President (2016-18).
Sue is an architect who investigated the historical context and contemporary uses of public and government buildings in Rome.
A landscape architect, Kenichi studied and recorded the quality of streetscape and open space connections in Rome. Observations to be incorporated in a Seattle case study using the Pine Street Corridor.
Judy is an artist who, with the architect Philip Helms Cook, planned to design and produce a published work which expresses the vitality of particular urban spaces in historic Rome and how it translates to Seattle.
Joan Stuart Ross
Joan, formerly Joan Ross Bloedel, is an artist who created new art works using the unique inspiration of color, light and layered texture of the Roman environment; displayed these works and shared what she has learned with architects, urban designers and students.
Carolyn is an architect who studied densely populated neighborhoods - how people live, with emphasis on how they use open spaces as a social environment.
Ellen is an artist who studied and recorded the relationship of the built and natural environments and the activities which take place in them.
Tony is a planner who studied the community planning process and its relationship to the development and protection of the built environment on the island of Procida in the Bay of Naples.
Don is an architect whose design ideas focussed on the technical, aesthetic and philosophical challenges of remodeling existing historic structures.
Denise Johnson Hunt
Denise was an architect who explored multi-family housing patterns in the neighborhoods surrounding Rome's historic core.
Lynn is an architect whose design ideas held a special focus on the technical, aesthetic and philosophical challenges of remodeling existing historic structures.
Beliz is a conceptual artist and set designer who studied current theater design in the European tradition of the 'theater of images' as abstract expressions of emotion and narrative ideas.
Nancy is a landscape architect and public artist investigated the integration of architecture, landscape form, and sculpture; concentrated on the relationship between buildings, people and art and the places they inhabit.
Catherine is an architect who studied street vistas of Rome, including monuments and portals; planned to publish a book of drawings as a record of her study.
Rysia is an interior designer who studied how old Roman interiors are transformed to fit modern needs, including technical and aesthetic aspects; shared her findings through teaching, lectures, and articles in professional journals.
Gail is a landscape architect who conducted a comparative study of old and new mixed-use housing in Rome and its environs, expanding on Gordon Cullen's book, TOWNSCAPE; incorporated their conclusions into the UW Urban Design Program and in professional journals.
Richard is a landscape architect who conducted a comparative study of old and new mixed-use housing in Rome and its environs, expanding on Gordon Cullen's book, TOWNSCAPE; incorporated their conclusions into the UW Urban Design Program and in professional journals.
During her Fellowship, Ellen Ziegler studied and photographed water features—fountains, aqueducts, drinking taps—in Rome and surrounding areas. She presented her work at the University of Washington—a visual study of Roman water features and their integration into the life of the ancient and modern city. Ellen's current work investigates the psychological and physical properties of materials through drawing. In addition to a Rome Fellowship from the NW Institute of Architecture and Urban Studies in Italy, Ziegler has been awarded a 2015 Artist Trust Fellowship in Visual Arts, a New York Foundation for Contemporary Art Travel Grant, an Artist Trust Fellowship in Design, Gap Grants from Artist Trust, and Individual Artists Grants from 4Culture in King County. She is also an award-winning maker of artist’s books, represented by Vamp and Tramp Booksellers, which are in collections nationwide; and a member of Seattle’s SOIL Gallery. www.ellenziegler.com (Photo: the nasone, a public drinking fountain in Rome)
Arne is an architect who studied the uses of wood in Roman construction to enrich the Northwest's architectural heritage of wood.
Diana is a transit planner who studied how various Roman streets and public spaces have been adapted to changing uses over time; published results of this work in ARCADE magazine and at a national transportation symposium.
Robert is an architect who studied the adaptation of older buildings for new commercial uses; produced an illustrated resource book for designers working in the Pacific Northwest.
Rebecca is an urban designer who studied the role of public open space in Rome; edited an issue of ARCADE based on this research.
David is an architect who explored Italy's lessons in urbanism as a model for the Pacific Northwest.
Stuart is an architect who studied the idea of procession in architecture; recorded impressions in a series of paintings.
The project will result in the production of a guide for high performance retrofitting of local existing buildings with a focus on preservation, sustainability, and health. The deliverables will include construction details, principles of passive house buildings, and identify locally available materials and strategies to achieve affordable, healthy, safe, and ecological renovations and preservation work. Researching and sharing the principals and methods on climate mitigation and adaptation through architecture and construction methods includes not only learning new techniques being developed today but also understanding how past and uniquely local strategies have proven successful. The efforts to preserve the unique qualities of Italian hill towns, such as Civita di Bagnoregio, will always be more successful when they are based on locally available resources and skilled tradespeople.