Melissa Conn, 2023 Honored Alumnus

Melissa Conn, Salem High School Class of 1983, has been chosen as the 2023 Salem High School Alumni Association Honored Alumnus.

Melissa is the Director of the Venice office of Save Venice, an American non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the artistic heritage of Venice, Italy. A long-time resident of Venice with thirty-four years of experience working for Save Venice in the field of Venetian art history and conservation, she coordinates Save Venice's art restoration projects and oversees the Rosand Library and Study Center at Save Venice. In addition, she is the director of the restoration track of Save Venice's Women Artists of Venice program. Melissa is a frequent lecturer in Italy and the United States on the preservation of Venetian art and architecture and the history of women artists working in Venice from the years 1500 to 1800.

A 1987 graduate of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with a degree in Art History, Melissa studied abroad in Venice in 1986 at Wake Forest's Casa Artom, where her life-long passion for Venetian art was formed. Upon graduation in 1987, she worked in Washington, D.C., for the Smithsonian Museum of American Art before returning to Venice in late 1988 to begin her career with Save Venice.

Melissa was the co-editor and a contributing author of the book Save Venice Inc.: Four Decades of Restoration, published in 2011, and was the managing curator of the 2019 exhibition Art, Faith, and Medicine in Tintoretto's Venice. She is a member of the Renaissance Society of America and sits on the executive committee of the Association of International Private Committees for the Safeguarding of Venice. In 2022 she was named the first female honorary member of the Scuola Dalmata di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni cultural confraternity, founded in Venice in 1451.

Melissa Conn lives in the historic center of Venice, Italy, with her husband, Venetian architect Fabrizio Tibolla, whom she married in 1993. They have two sons, Sebastiano Conn Tibolla (23), a Wake Forest University graduate who lives and works in New York City, and Lorenzo Tibolla (19), a student at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys hiking the Dolomite Mountains of the Italian Alps with her husband and dog.

Born and raised in Salem, Ohio, Melissa is the daughter of Attorney Harry Conn and Mary Lynn (Heim) Conn, who retired to Hudson, Ohio, in 2019 after living for 40 years in Salem. Melissa attended McKinley Elementary School, Salem Junior High, and Salem Senior High School. She graduated in 1983 in the top ten of her class and was the recipient of a Brooks writing award and a Salem High School Alumni Association scholarship. In high school, Melissa was active in American Field Service Club, the Spanish and French Clubs, the Honor Society, and Academic Challenge. She also played two years of varsity tennis. Summers in Salem during high school and college were spent as a lifeguard at the Salem Golf Club. Additional family members include sisters Susan Conn Sachtleben (Salem High School, 1980; College of William & Mary, 1984) and Elizabeth (Betsy) Conn Curley (Salem High School, 1992; Mount Union College, 1996), both now of Hudson, Ohio, and four nieces and one nephew.