Civita Institute Board of Directors




      Iole Alessandrini

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).




      Jim Corey
      Past President

Jim has been a director on the Civita Institute Board since 2008 and its president from 2014- 2016.  He has been intimately connected to Civita di Bagnoregio, Professor Astra Zarina, and Architect Tony Heywood since 1999.  He credits his experience with Civita as the one thing that encouraged him to become a true artist, both on canvas and in life.  Professionally he is a trainer and consultant across Washington and Oregon about employment for people with the most significant developmental and intellectual disabilities and has been employed at the Washington Initiative for Supported Employment since 2001. 




      Kit Coty


Kit is a doctoral student at the University of Washington, where she studies Renaissance Italian art.  In 2013 she argued her master’s thesis, “A Dream of Etruria: The Sacro Bosco of Bomarzo and the Alternate Antiquity of Alto Lazio,” which addressed both the Etruscan influences upon the Sacro Bosco and the park’s correlations with the topography and cultural geography of Alto Lazio.  Kit received the Civita Institute’s first University of Washington Rome Center Alumni fellowship in 2011.




      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, received MArch degree from the UW. She has participated in feast planning and food preparation for the last five Annual Civita Institute Fundraisers and joined the CI Board in June of 2014.  She appreciates fast motorcycles and garlic. 



      Nancy Josephson


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.




      Herschel Parnes


Herschel is a Seattle architect. He was introduced to Italy as a child, returned as a student to study and to work on restoration projects, and continues to believe in the importance of cultural exchange. He is a past president and long-time board member of NIAUSI/The Civita Institute.            




      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




      Lara Swimmer


A photographer of architecture, art and the built environment, Lara shoots on assignment around the country, and has been published in Metropolis, Architect, Architectural Record, Wallpaper*, the New York Times, Residential Architect, Seattle Magazine and Northwest Home. Her images have been included in books and exhibits nationally and internationally. Lara was made an Honorary member of the AIA Seattle in 2005. She first went to Civita on Fellowship in 2010 to document the city and produce a representational mapping with her architect husband, and has served on the Board since 2014. 




      Ross Whitehead

Ross has served on the Civita Institute Board of Directors since 2003, and as Secretary since 2007.  His passion for Italy began as an undergraduate student of art history, and grew exponentially as a participant in the 1989-90 University of Washington Italian Hilltowns (IHT) and Architecture in Rome (AIR I & II) programs.  He returned to Italy as Professor Astra Zarina’s teaching assistant in 1991-92.  An architect and principal at Schreiber Starling & Lane Architects in Seattle, Ross’ professional work is focused entirely on the public sector, where his Italophile tendencies on occasion run amok.