Marianna Gatto is the executive director of the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles, a historian and author with more than a decade of experience in public history and education.
A lifelong resident of Los Angeles, Gatto attended UCLA and CSULA, graduating magna cum laude with degrees in Social Science and History and a teaching credential in secondary education. She began her career teaching high school in one of the most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods of Los Angeles.
From 2005-2010, Gatto worked as a director of history and education for the City of Los Angeles, where she oversaw matters pertaining to history and historic preservation, museums, exhibitions, collections, public programming and education. Gatto curated acclaimed exhibitions including At Work: The Art of California Labor; L.A. 225: Los Angeles Through the Eyes of Artists; Sacred Memories: Honoring the Dead Across Cultures, and served as the guest curator for Cheech Marin’s the Chicano Collection. Gatto also designed, wrote and curated the landmark exhibition Sunshine and Struggle: The Italian Presence in Los Angeles, 1827-1927, which welcomed more than 60,000 visitors during its tri-city tour. The publication she authored, My City, My History, a California Education Standards based curriculum exploring Los Angeles’ diverse history, is utilized in schools throughout the region.
As a historian of the Italian American community of Southern California, Gatto’s extensive research produced Los Angeles’s Little Italy (Arcadia Press: 2009). She spearheaded the Italian Oral History Project and has collaborated on local and national projects pertaining to Italian American history, including Italian Heritage Month and California State Assembly Concurrent Resolution 68. Gatto is a frequent lecturer on Italian Americans in Southern California. She has provided diversity training for the Department of Homeland Security, Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and is contributor to numerous publications. Her weekly column, Snapshots from Historic Little Italy, can be found in L’Italo Americano Newspaper.
Gatto created popular community events such as Taste of Italy, and has served as an advocate and consultant for non-profit organizations and the private sector in fields of policy, planning, development, marketing, grant writing and research.
Marianna resides in Highland Park in a historic, 1906, Arts and Crafts home that she and her sister lovingly restored. Her son, an accomplished scholar and musician, attends the University of California.