Marcella Spinotti, President – A native of Italy, she graduated with a major in Modern Literature and then went on to get her master’s degree in art history at La Sapienza University in Rome. In 1976, she worked as a cultural manager in organizations such as ARCI. She became the national vice chief responsible for the theater department and organized plays with Dario Fo and Roberto Benigni. In 1980, she moved to Venice and she was nominated as the responsible contact for the press at the Goldoni Theatre and, after a few months, became the Production Manager of the Goldoni Theater. At that time she produced various plays by Italian and foreign authors such as Gabriele Salvatores, Jerome Savary for the Venezia-Parigi Carneval. She was also a member of the board of Directors of the Opera Theatre La Fenice from 1985 to 1987. From 1990 on she independently produced various cultural documentaries. She moved to Los Angeles in 1997 with her family.
Randi Malkin Steinberger, Vice President – A Chicago native, Randi moved to Italy where she lived for 10 years upon graduating university. In Florence she launched a photography school and gallery and worked as a fine art photographer, later producing artists’ books that are now part of the permanent collections of many museums. During the end of her stay in Italy, she moved to Rome where she collaborated with the renowned artist Alighiero Boetti. Together they produced the book, Accanto al Pantheon, published by Prearo Editions in Milan. She moved to Los Angeles in 1992 where she and husband Harlan Steinberger co-founded Tell -Tale Productions, a non-profit organization, dedicated to producing educational films.
Francesca DeMarco, Secretary – A Southern California native and Assistant Dean for Development and Alumni Relations at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC). She has been in the educational advancement industry for thirteen years. Third generation Italian-American with roots in the province of Salerno, she has lived and traveled extensively in Italy, as an exchange student (Imperia), research fellow (Salerno), and an assistant at the Department of Commerce at the US Embassy in Rome. She holds a Master’s degree in Italian from New York University and has been an Italian language instructor at the College of William & Mary, NYU, and Pasadena City College.
Lisa Melandri, Board Member – is the Executive Director of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM). Since joining CAM in 2012, Melandri has reshaped the exhibition program and launched such initiatives as Street Views, a monumental exterior facade exhibition series, and Audible Interruptions, a guest-curated sound art series. In addition, Melandri’s curatorial projects at CAM include Marco Brambilla: Materialization/De-Materialization, Toyin Odutola: Untold Stories, Jennifer Steinkamp: Orbit, Ron Gorchov: Serapis and Brenna Youngblood: Loss Prevention. Prior to joining CAM, Melandri served as the Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs at the Santa Monica Museum of Art (2001-2012), where her work included major exhibitions with such artists as Al Taylor, Alberto Burri, Philip Guston, Giorgio deChirico, William Pope.L, Mickalene Thomas, Beatrice Wood, and Henry Taylor. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a master’s degree in art history from the Williams College Graduate Program
Diane Ghirardo, Board Member – Diane Ghirardo teaches history and theory of architecture at USC, with special emphasis on 20th century Italian architecture, gender and architecture, Italian Renaissance architecture and urbanism, and contemporary criticism. Her books include Building New Communities: New Deal America and Fascist Italy (1989), translated into Italian in 2003), Architecture After Modernism (1996), Dopo il Sogno. Architettura e Città in America di Oggi (2008), Le duchesse, le bufale e l’imprenditoria femminile nella Ferrara rinascimentale (2009), Italy. Modern Architectures in History (2013), and Aldo Rossi. Borgoricco, il Municipio e il Centro Civico (2014). In 1985, she served as the American juror at the Venice Biennale, and in 1988 she became a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome (FAAR). She has lectured at universities throughout the United States, Europe, Africa and Australia. Her current research focuses on women’s spaces in a Renaissance Italian city, Ferrara, and on the architecture of Aldo Rossi.
Alessia Patregnani, Board Member – Alessia Patrgnani is an Italian actress, currently residing in Los Angeles where she is involved in several projects as both performer and producer. She has had experience experience in music, theatre, and dance, by working with significant directors , visual artists and composers both in Italy and Los Angeles. She attended the Acting School at Teatro Stabile de L’Aquila (Italy) and completed post-graduate courses at the Accademia D’Arte Drammatica Silvio D’Amico in Rome. She studied piano at the Conservatory “Luisa D’Annunzio,” Pescara ( Italy) and graduated in Literature at La Sapienza University, Rome (Italy) with a degree in Anthropology. Her most recent credits include: Italian Futurism Centennial: Science and the Unknown or Synthesis of Syntheses at UCLA , with director John Kellam and members of the Actor’s Gang ; Henry IV by Pirandello directed by Fernando Scarpa at IIC Los Angeles; Galileo 1610 directed by Fernando Scarpa- Steve Allen Theatre, Los Angeles; and HERSHEME by Constance Strickland, directed by Elena Vannoni at the ACTING OUT FESTIVAL, Los Angeles. Along with the actress Francesca Fanti she recently produced Orgasmo Adulto Escapes from the Zoo by Franca Rame and Dario Fo (Nobel Prize for Litterature).
Marco Cavalleri, Board Member – Born in Le Marche, he received his M.A. in Agronomy and Viticulture from the University of Perugia. After graduation he worked as an instructor at The School of Vine and Wine of Montalcino in Siena. Since then he has become one of the leading experts on winemaking and viticulture, working as a consultant to over 30 vineyards in both Italy and the States. In 1998 Marco and his wife Antonella founded Le Corti dei Farfensi estate family winery, using the land of the Farfensi monks. Situated in the southern Marche region between the Adriatic Sea and the Sibillini Mountains, it counts 140 acres of mature vineyards surrounding the beautiful village of Moresco. The winery uses organic farming techniques. Passion and vision have resulted in excellent wines and organic olive oil production. Both Marco and Antonella have been an integral part of Azzurra’s growth, sponsoring their events and providing their guidance.