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Speakers 4/8/21 Celebrating Art & History at Museo Italo Americano

April 8 @ 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Benny Bufano sculpture/San Jose

Celebrating Art & History at Museo Italo Americano
Bianca Friundi and Mecca Billings


Since its founding in 1978, the Museo Italo Americano’s twofold mission has been to research, collect, and display works of Italian and Italian-American artists, and to promote educational programs for the appreciation of Italian art and culture, thereby preserving the heritage of Italian-Americans for future generations. Today’s talk, on current exhibits and future plans of the Museo, will be given in two parts.


In Part I, Bianca Friundi will focus on the Museo’s current retrospective of renowned Italian-American artist Beniamino “Benny” Bufano entitled “So Be it in Peace.” The Museo currently has in its permanent collection 47 works of his art, including lithographs, sketches, mosaics, paintings, and sculptures. The most recent Bufano piece added to the Museo’s collection, gifted to the Museo in October 2020, is a historical poster “dedicated to the people of the world” for the United Nations Conference on International Organization. That conference, which took place in San Francisco in 1945, resulted in the creation of the United Nations Charter.


In Part II, Mecca Billings will unveil the Museo’s plan for a new, permanent exhibit highlighting the history and achievements of Italian-Americans in California and beyond. This new 4,100-square-foot, interactive and innovative exhibit will be installed on one entire floor of the Museo’s future home at 940 Battery Street. This larger installation was inspired by the Museo’s other current exhibit, “In Cerca di Una Nuova Vita: Italian Immigrations from Italy to California,” (reprised from its original exhibition more than a decade ago), and will be dedicated to the memory and legacy of A.P. Giannini, founder of the Bank of America.


Bianca Friundi is the Curator and Communications Director of the Museo Italo Americano, and teaches all levels of Italian there. A native of Italy, she is attended the School for Interpreters and Translators “Silvio Pellico” in Milan, graduated from the IULM in Milan in Foreign Languages and Literature. In Italy, Bianca worked for the national consumer organization Altroconsumo, and has been with the Museo Italo Americano since 2012. She is deeply involved in the local Italian and Italian American community, and she leads the Museo Italian Conversation Group.


Mecca Billings is the founder and principal of Billings Consulting Group, a consulting firm with a special focus on capital campaign and major gifts fundraising. She is currently working on the Museo’s capital campaign to raise funds for their new home to be completed within the next few years. Since its inception, her company has supported regional, national and international nonprofits focused on wildlife, animal welfare, environmental education, performing arts, youth empowerment, and documentary filmmaking. Her counsel has consistently increased the capacity of her clients to execute major fundraising campaigns.



By Don DeBold from San Jose, CA, USA – Benny Bufano sculpture at the San Jose Center for performing arts, CC BY 2.0,


April 8
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
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