Civita Institute Board of Directors

Nancy Josephson, President
Nancy joined the Board of Directors in 2007 and is serving as President, 2018-2020. She considers the Civita Institute to be the living legacy of the late UW professor emerita Astra Zarina and her husband, architect Tony Costa-Heywood. She first visited Civita in 1984 as a teaching assistant to Professor Zarina and her study there and throughout Italy enriched her Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University, 1988. Her extensive career has focused on the design and construction of award-winning public schools in the Pacific Northwest, both in architectural practice and working for public school districts. She brings significant board experience to the Institute, having served as president of both the Washington Chapter of Educational Facility Planners International (dba A4LE) and the Cherokee Owner’s Corporation in Manhattan. During her years on the Civita Institute Board, Nancy has served as Treasurer; was instrumental in developing the Chapters Committee, which now boasts a dynamic Northeast Chapter; and established the Continuing Education Committee which offers AIA Learning Units in face-to-face settings and online at
Iole Alessandrini, Past President, 2016-2018
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. View her work here.
Anita H. Lehmann, Secretary
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.”
Stephen Day, AIA
Stephen, principal and founder of Stephen Day Architecture PLLC in Seattle, is an architect and developer focusing on the revitalization of historic buildings and cultural properties; an awardee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award, of Historic Seattle's honor award, and a Washington SHPO honoree. 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, leading the efforts in transferring the Civita properties and collections, and in furthering the long-held goal of of establishing The Civita Institute in Italy for fellowships, residencies, research and education, centered on these remarkable historic properties. 

Sharon Mentyka  
Sharon is a graphic designer, educator and writer practicing in Seattle with a BFA in Communications Design and an MFA in Creative Writing. 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, as well as been an adjunct professor at both Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. 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. Think Smart, Be Fearless: The Story of Bill Gates, the first of two picture book biographies forthcoming from Sasquatch Press, will be published in 2019. As the 2012 Astra Zarina Fellowship recipient, Sharon created a series of storytelling maps, using visual means to create an 'atlas' designed to envision Civita through multiple lenses, some of which might include 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. 
Plamena Milusheva 
Plamena is a multi-disciplinary designer who has been investigating the relationship between design and technology for the last ten years. Trained as an art historian and architect, her focus has been on the potential for technological advances to impact built environments at multiple scales, from design process to physical experience. After finishing her Masters of Architecture at UC Berkeley, she took a detour from architecture and spent several years in the Seattle tech and fabrication community at the local maker space Matrix Create: Space. Her entry back into architecture was as the research and development coordinator for Olson Kundig Architects where she was responsible for advancing research efforts and the incorporation of new tools and technologies. In 2016 she joined LMN Architects as part of their internal research group LMNts. There, she has been combining her interest in electronics, digital fabrication, and software to push the practice of architecture through research, development of prototypes, and collaboration with other industries. She focuses on interactive environments and how access to new and future technological developments has the potential to impact the role of architects and how people understand and engage with spaces. 
Photo credit: Adam Hunter/LMN

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.

Katherine Wright
Katherine is a licensed Architect in Washington State, and a professional Architectural Illustrator. She and her family moved to Italy in 2005. Free to explore & discover, she soon became involved in the Italian art world. By 2011, she was a partner a local gallery and was teaching watercolors to the community. She has shown her watercolor works throughout Italy. A 2015 Civita Institute Fellowship recipient, Katherine spent September 2016 in Civita di Bagnoregio to interview the local elders, past participants of the program, take videos of “la Tonna”, research historic books and photos, hike the difficult terrain, and create a record of this living heritage before it is forgotten. The result is a 10-minute documentary, “The Role of the Donkey in Civita di Bagnoregio.” Katherine’s passions are painting, hiking, skiing, and returning often to Italy to spend time with friends. You can see some of her work at  Photo credit: Brian Stanton