Italian cultural director
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Patricia Civitate grew up in Des Moines's Italian community. Her family came to Iowa from Calabria in Southern Italy to work on the railroad at the turn of the century. Pat learned about Italian cooking, music, and dance from her family and community and later her husband's family.
Civitate is the dedicated director of the Italian Center, which was established in 1981 to “foster pride in, and an awareness of Italian culture.” Located in “Little Italy,” on the former site of the well-known Supreme Bakery on the southside of Des Moines, the Center offers cooking, language, and folkdance classes; provides exhibit space for community photos, family heirlooms, and artifacts of traditional Italian occupations. The center also hosts meetings and events, sponsors trips to Italy and Italian-American cultural events, and sponsors a traditional dance group.
As Patricia Civitate says, “It’s become increasingly necessary to help the general public understand that being Italian is more than pasta, pizza, and The Godfather.” By dispelling such stereotypes, the Cultural Center hopes to broaden the public’s perception of what it means to be Italian.
The Cultural Center’s hours are Wednesdays, 1:30 - 3:00, Sundays, 3:00 - 5:00, and by appointment.
Contact: Patricia Civitate, Italian-American Cultural Center,
1961 Indianola Avenue, Des Moines, IA, 50315, 515.244.4672