About Us

The mission of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures is to connect celebrated authors with the community, elevate civic discourse, and inspire creativity and a passion for the literary arts. Our commitment to knowledge, learning, integrity, and artistic excellence guides and informs our work. We endeavor to inspire members of diverse communities by providing opportunities to experience authors who speak on issues that reflect our values such as justice, compassion, civic responsibility, acceptance, courage, and equity.

Our Story

Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures was launched with a lecture by Pittsburgh native Annie Dillard on September 16, 1991 at The Fulton (now The Byham) Theater in downtown Pittsburgh.

Over the years we have connected thousands of Pittsburghers with iconic authors including Kurt Vonnegut, George Plimpton, Margaret Atwood, Edward Albee, John Updike, Alice Walker, Tom Wolfe, Jamaica Kincaid, Arthur Miller, Amy Tan, August Wilson, Susan Sontag, Spalding Gray, and E.L. Doctorow, just to name a few! (See the list of previous speakers.)

We now present five signature series and partner with area schools and non-profit organizations to maximize the impact of visiting authors to our region.

Our Board

Our volunteer board members bring diverse skills and backgrounds (and their passion for reading) to the stewardship and oversight of a sustainable Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures.



Sharifa Anderson

Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Fannie Mae

Vice President

Laura Mullen



Stephanie Taylor

Internal Audit Director
Highmark Health


Robert M. Turner II, MD

Assistant Professor, Department of Urology
University of Pittsburgh Physicians


Meredith Cohen


Kathryn Harrison

Campbell & Levine LLC

Sydney Rochelle Harville, Esq.

Associate (Litigation and Antitrust)
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

Pallavi Golla Patil

Founder and CEO
Lark Adventurewear

Gail Pesyna

Alfred P Sloan Foundation

Lissette Silverio

Entity Accounting Leader
Dow Chemicals

Balaji Srinivasan

VP, Product and Research & Development

Ron Vassel

Deputy General Counsel

Gabriel Welsch

Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Duquesne University

Our Staff

Our talented staff members apply their passion, expertise, and enthusiasm to achieve the dynamic goals of the organization.

Sony Ton-Aime

Executive Director

Lisa is a white woman with medium dark hair and bangs, she is smiling at the camera and standing on stage with her back to the empty Music Hall first floor audience seating.

Lisa Christopher

Marketing Director

Kelsey Swintek

Event Manager

Our Volunteers

Our dedicated volunteers offer much-needed support at our events, greeting our patrons, providing directional assistance, and working alongside staff at our Box Office.

Susan Anstandig
Erin Bridges
Jessica Cantlon
Florrie Chapin
Tricia Connolly
Anna Belle Davis
Emily Ann Davis
Hannah Dean
Em Domach
Ayelet Feinberg
Sivon Feinberg
Jessica Futrell
Judy Grystar
Sheila Halter
Dale Harmon
Kathryn Harrison
Samantha Jeffries
Doug Koebler

Sandi Koebler
Nadia Lazo
Susan Loya
Christy Martsolf
Kevin McGuire
Gesina Phillips
Tess Riesmeyer
Paul Schneider
Theresa  Stahler
Laurel Stevens
Julie Swartzentruber
Cindy Tipper
Mary Ullman
Sharon VanOuse
Phyllis Wanetick
Mary Warwick
Don Wentworth
Annouk Yoo-Polzin

Upcoming Lectures

Jan Beatty


Colm Toibin

SEP 16

Pico Iyer

SEP 30

Victoria Chang

OCT 24