Civita Institute Board of Directors




      Iole Alessandrini

Born and raised in Italy, Iole 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).




      Stephen Day, AIA

Stephen is an architect and developer focusing on the revitalization of historic buildings and cultural properties.  Working with Astra Zarina in Rome as a student, and later as her teaching assistant in Italy, was a profound experience that still resonates in his life and work.  Stephen was honored to be the NIAUSI president for 6 years during a pivotal time for the organization.  He led the efforts on behalf of NIAUSI in the execution and planning with Astra Zarina and Tony Costa Heywood in transferring the Civita properties and collections, and in furthering the long-held goal of Astra and Tony in establishing The Civita Institute in Italy for fellowships, residencies, research and education, centered on these remarkable historic properties. Stephen is principal and founder of Stephen Day Architecture PLLC in Seattle, an awardee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award, of Historic Seattle's honor award, and a Washington SHPO honoree.  Stephen has worked in architecture, research, and historic preservation for over 25 years.  He has held positions as a King County Landmarks Commissioner, chair of the King County Landmarks Design Review Committee, and chair of the AIA Seattle Historic Preservation Committee.  Stephen has written and presented on a wide variety of architecture and preservation issues in conferences sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the American Planning Association, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation and the American Institute of Architects.



      Ann Hirschi

Ann is an architect and alum of both the UW Italian Hilltowns  and Architecture in Rome programs. She is one of the four founding members of ARCADE magazine and was awarded the Victor Steinbrueck Chair (a Thonet!).  She is a former NIAUSI Fellow (2007), an urban forester and currently serves the Board as chair of the Archive Committee. 




      Liz Jamieson

Liz is an architect, with a MArch degree from the University of Washington. She has participated in feast planning and food preparation for the last five Annual Civita Institute Fundraisers and joined the Civita Institute Board in June, 2014.  She appreciates fast motorcycles and garlic. 



      Nancy Josephson
      Treasurer; President-Elect

Nancy worked for the late Professor Astra Zarina as Teaching Assistant for the Architecture in Rome programs I and II in 1984-85. She earned her Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University in 1988 and was a co-recipient of The Kinne Traveling Fellowship for the video production Outside the Walls - Sequential Experience in Rome's Modern Quarters. She has practiced architecture in New York City and the Pacific Northwest, and led development of award-winning facilities in K-12 education for the Northshore and Bainbridge Island school districts. She is currently Manager of Capital Projects for the Mukilteo School District. Nancy brings previous board experience as past-president for the WA Chapter of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International and the Cherokee Owner's Corp. in Manhattan. She has been a director for NIAUSI/ the Civita Institute since 2008 and Treasurer since 2011.



      Anita H. Lehmann

Anita is a registered architect in the state of Washington. She is also a teacher and an artist. After receiving training 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 Rome, Italy in 1985. “Drawing is about attempting something beyond language and beyond representation. I connect with the world and experience life. Mine is the hand of a practiced artist who has spent thousands upon thousands of hours honing my tool. My pencil is a baton; the goal is to wield it as effortlessly as most people breathe. I strive for humor, humility, work ethic, and confidence.”



      Sharon Mentyka

Sharon is a graphic designer, writer and educator and a principal in the graphic design studio Partners in Design in Seattle, specializing in cultural and institutional marketing with a particular focus on public information projects, books, interpretive signage and web sites. In 2012, she received the Astra Zarina Fellowship from the Civita Institute, creating a series of storytelling maps documenting Civita di Bagnoregio. Sharon has an MFA in Writing from the Whidbey Writers Workshop and her stories and essays have been published in various literary magazines for both children and adults including ColumbiaKids, Cricket and Soundings Review. Her middle-grade novel Chasing at the Surface was named the 2016 winner of the National Outdoor Book Award in the Children’s category and an Outstanding Science Trade Book, K-12 by the National Science Teachers Association. She has two picture book biographies forthcoming from Sasquatch Press. 



      Clark Pickett

Clark has been a long-time supporter and member of the Board.  He joined in 1999 to introduce and work specifically with Professor Astra Zarina and Tony Costa Heywood on their proposal to donate the Civita property to NIAUSI. He served as Board President from 2003-2006 and, along with several board members helped Civita obtain the coveted World Monuments’ Fund 100 Most Endangered Site Designation in 2006.  It was, however, his studies under Astra in Civita and Rome that inspired his passion for Italy and its cultural relevance to design issues of today.  Professionally, Clark is a Senior Associate and Interior Architecture Design lead at NBBJ working around the world on projects from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to currently leading the interior architecture practice in the London office.

Newly Elected Board Members (as of 5/17):
Plamena Milusheva