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Welcoming Sony Ton-Aime

By News

Photo credit Dave Munch

Dear friends,

We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Sony Ton-Aime as the new Executive Director of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures. This announcement concludes an extensive national search process led by our board to find the ideal candidate to lead our organization into the future.

In his most recent role as Michael I. Rudell Director of Literary Arts at Chautauqua Institution, Sony has spearheaded innovative programming and built partnerships to engage the community. He coordinates online and in-person lectures and workshops, supervises staff, and runs a poetry makerspace and bookstore that serve over 100,000 community members annually.

Sony has demonstrated skill in collaboration and relationship building, forging partnerships with organizations like the African American Heritage House to launch the Mirror Project Reading Circle, monthly book discussion that has since evolved to include lectures by experts and a countywide book read. Sony worked with Jamestown High School to lead student writing workshops, and he partnered with the local radio station to broadcast the writing of their students.

Through collaboration within Chautauqua, Sony has brought acclaimed authors like Matthew Desmond and Elizabeth Kolbert to speak in the 4,000-seat Amphitheater. In response to the perceived deterioration of civil discourse in our country, Sony brought together literary organizations to pilot the Forum on Democracy at Chautauqua Institution, with a lineup of speakers that includes Sayu Bhojwani, David Blight, Suzanne Nossel, and Michael Waldman.

The board of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures comments, “We welcome Sony with enthusiasm and are eager for him to join as the next Executive Director, building on his experience from Chautauqua. We know he will continue the strong legacy of Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures and be a great ambassador for literature, artists, and the City of Pittsburgh.”

Sony remarks, “the staff, led by my remarkable predecessor, Stephanie Flom, has done an amazing job to bring Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures to where it is now, and I feel lucky to be part of this legacy. I feel lucky for two reasons—first, as Executive Director I am presented with a firm foundation to build on, and second, because the city of Pittsburgh has the best and most serious readers.

“I look forward to facilitating the deep connections that authors and readers seek out when they write and read books. Our goal will be to engage our community in meaningful and critical conversations that, in time, will lead to real changes for the betterment of our city and country. Together, we will foster a place where our community can feel a deep sense of ownership and confidence in their engagement with our programs.”

Please join us in warmly welcoming Sony Ton-Aime to Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures! His start date is Monday, October 2. Sony will greet Ten Evenings subscribers from the stage of the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall at our lecture with Matthew Desmond. We hope to see you at a lecture soon.


Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures Board and Staff

Executive Director Stephanie Flom Announces Retirement

By News

Dear Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures Community,

Stephanie Flom, who joined the organization in May 2014, will pass the baton in June. She will see out the exciting programming that has defined the 2022-23 season and provide a smooth transition for the next executive director. The board congratulates Flom on her retirement from the organization and thanks her for her outstanding leadership over the past decade.

Reflecting upon her tenure, Flom says, “I’ve been able to bring my full self to this role — my passion for the arts, for the community, and for the values that now reside in the organization’s mission statement. My curatorial choices, and the culture that I’ve nurtured here, embody artistic excellence, justice, equity, courage and compassion.”

Board President Kevin Lavelle comments, “The board is proud of the success of the organization under Stephanie’s leadership, and thanks her for her tireless efforts to bring world-class thought leaders and artists to engage in discourse with our community. She led us to expect consistently full-to-capacity halls for our Ten Evenings series, robust community participation through the Authors to Schools program, and new and expanded program series. Through the pandemic, she led the staff to execute high-quality virtual programs, engaging our audience and securing important funding to ensure a strong foundation amidst turbulent times.” The organization now presents close to 40 public lectures each year, having grown to five signature series: Ten Evenings, New & Noted, Made Local, Words & Pictures, and Poets Aloud.

Driven by her passion to connect the community and the arts, Flom has formed meaningful partnerships with organizations whose missions reflect the theme of visiting authors’ works. These relationships have integrated the community in various forms that include co-presenters and sponsorships, school and community visits, and awareness campaigns for nonprofit partners. Flom notes, “I am especially moved when I learn from an audience member or an educational partner that a profound, life-changing impact has occurred upon hearing the words of an author at a lecture or during a school visit.” She is most proud that author visits to schools and to community groups have become a vital component of the organization’s work. Through the Authors to Schools program, thousands of students participate in visits each year, and more than 1,500 books are provided for students at participating Title 1 schools and community organizations.

A visionary leader, Flom built her career in roles and by achievements in many positions across the Pittsburgh arts community, each notable for their valuable partnerships. As the founding director of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, she led the transformation of the long-vacant Regent Theater in East Liberty into a vibrant performing arts center. During her tenure as executive director of Dance Alloy, she relocated the contemporary dance company and community school to professional studios on Penn Avenue at the crossroads of Garfield and Friendship, again developing a community cultural asset while growing the company to six full-time dancers. Later, in her role as executive director of the Cooper-Siegel Community and Sharpsburg Community Libraries, Flom led efforts to build new state-of-the-art facilities that have a full range of library services. She was especially delighted to work with community partners to save the Sharpsburg Library from an impending closure. Flom was also a Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s prestigious Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, where she developed the Persephone Project, an environmental art project that explored gardening as an everyday art form, recasting gardeners as artists. The project resulted in the commissioning of artists to create garden installations in Frank Curto Park on Bigelow Boulevard and neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh.

As she shifts from her executive director role, Flom plans to engage in community projects related to the arts, the environment and social justice, and to spend time in her pottery studio, in her garden and with family and friends. Inspired by hearing hundreds of renowned authors speak about their creative process, she says, perhaps she will write.

“Stephanie has done an amazing job cultivating an unusually collaborative and positive staff and board culture,” Lavelle says. “We’re a dynamic team, and while she will be greatly missed, we look forward to a bright future, building on the momentum that Stephanie has helped create.” The board will undertake a national search for Flom’s replacement over the coming months.


Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures Board and Staff

Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

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Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures to Receive $10,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures has been approved for a $10,000 Grant for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts to support public lecture events and community engagement opportunities with critically acclaimed authors on our Ten Evenings mainstage series and our free Poets Aloud and Words & Pictures series. Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures is among 1,125 projects across America totaling more than $26.6 million that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2022 funding.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation with these grants, including Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies. The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”

For more information on other projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
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Events Impacted by COVID-19

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The staff and board of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures deeply appreciates your patience and understanding during this time as we work with both our authors and our audience members. Please email us at info@pittsburghlectures.or if you have any questions.

Ten Evenings

All Ten Evenings lecture tickets for the September 2020 through April 2021 lecture season will include a virtual option. If we cannot be together in person for a scheduled lecture, we will work with the author to create a virtual event viewable from home. If the lecture proceeds as scheduled, we will make livestreaming an option for those who prefer to view from home.

Video links will be emailed to all ticket holders on the day of the scheduled lecture.

Subscriptions for the full season are available and single tickets go on sale July 6, 2020 at 10 a.m.

Rescheduled Lectures:

Stephen Heyman’s free Made Local lecture had been rescheduled for Thursday, August 13, 2020 as a virtual event.

Robin DiAngelo’s lecture scheduled for April 14th has been rescheduled for Thursday, September 10, 2020 as a virtual event. All previous tickets will be honored for the new date. Ticket holders will be emailed a link to view the lecture on Thursday, September 10, 2020. You may share this link, which will be available to view for one week, with your seatmates.

Jodi Kantor’s lecture scheduled for April 27th has been rescheduled for Monday, November 30, 2020. All previous tickets will be honored for the new date. If we cannot gather in person according to the CDC’s guidelines Jodi Kantor will record a virtual event video for everyone to watch at home. If we are able to gather in person we will also livestream the lecture for all ticket holders who do not wish to come to the lecture hall.

Mo Rocca’s event scheduled for March 30th has been rescheduled for Monday, November 2, 2020 as a virtual event. All previous tickets will be honored for the new date. Ticket holders will be emailed a link to view the lecture on Monday, November 2, 2020. You may share this link, which will be available to view for one week, with your seatmates. Each ticket includes a copy of Mobituaries which will be shipped to your home by Mystery Lovers Bookshop, with a bookplate signed by Mo Rocca. If you need to change the address for the shipment of your book(s) please email us at info@pittsburghlectures.org.

If you’d like to request a refund in advance of these rescheduled dates please email us at info@pittsburghlectures.org.

Previously Scheduled Events

Michael Ondaatje and David Sibley’s lectures were presented virtually. Thank you to all who joined us!

Our Made Local and Poets Aloud events with Autumn House and Toi Derricotte will be rescheduled at a later date.

Anne Enright’s lecture on Monday, March 16th was cancelled – All ticket holders for this event have been emailed directly and refunded.

With our gratitude,
Stephanie's signature





Stephanie Flom
Executive Director
Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures

2019/20 Ten Evenings Season

By News

Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures Announces 2019/20 Ten Evenings Season

The 2019/20 season boasts a roster of literary super stars—all claiming bragging rights to prestigious awards and critical acclaim. With the exception of Doris Kearns Goodwin who appeared in 1993, each is appearing on Ten Evenings, the mainstage series of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, for the first time.

Sigrid Nunez / Monday, September 23, 2019

Sigrid Nunez has published seven novels, including The Last of Her Kind, A Feather on the Breath of God, and most recently, The Friend. Nunez won the 2018 National Book Award for The Friend, a story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the transcendent bond between a woman and her dog.

Ibram X. Kendi / Monday, October 14, 2019

National Book Award winner Ibram X. Kendi follows Stamped from the Beginning with How to Be an Antiracist, a bracingly original approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality. Kendi explores what an antiracist society might look like and the role individuals can play in building it.

Doris Kearns Goodwin / Monday, October 28, 2019

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian, public speaker, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. In Leadership in Turbulent Times, she draws upon the extraordinary leadership qualities of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Madeline Miller / Monday, November 11, 2019

Dramaturge and Classics scholar Madeline Miller appeared on nearly every Best Book of 2018 list with her bestselling novel Circe, a feminist retelling of The Odyssey from the perspective of Greek mythology’s island-dwelling sorceress. Circe follows her prize-winning debut The Song of Achilles.

Reza Aslan / Monday, November 25, 2019

Reza Aslan is writer, commentator, professor, producer, and religious scholar. In God: A Human History, Aslan thoughtfully explores the history of religion as an attempt to understand the divine by giving God human traits and emotions. He is a recipient of the prestigious James Joyce Award.

Richard Powers / Monday, December 9, 2019

National Book Award winner Richard Powers’ sweeping, impassioned novel of activism, The Overstory, unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fable that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Carmen Maria Machado / Monday, January 20, 2020

Carmen Maria Machado’s genre-bending short-story collection Her Body and Other Parties was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Kirkus Prize, and many other honors. Her revolutionary memoir In the Dream House reveals the history and reality of abuse in queer relationships.

Tommy Orange / Monday, February 10, 2020

There, There is the debut novel by Tommy Orange that caught the critics by storm, winning multiple prizes and topping year-end best book lists. Poignant, funny, contemporary, and entirely unforgettable, this instant classic is a stunning portrayal of urban Native American life.

Esi Edugyan / Monday, March 9, 2020

Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black is a dazzling adventure story about a boy who rises from the ashes of slavery to become a man of the world. Named a 10 Best Book of 2018 by the New York Times, this “lush, exhilarating travelogue reminiscent of Jules Verne” asks, what is true freedom?

Michael Ondaatje / Monday, April 6, 2020

Man Booker Prize-winning author of The English Patient and recipient of the Golden Booker, Michael Ondaatje delivers Warlight, a vivid novel of violence and love, intrigue, and desire. Set in London after World War II, the story is told through the lives of an unexpected group of characters.

The 2019/20 Ten Evenings series is presented by Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, in association with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. This is the 29th season of Pittsburgh’s literary lecture series. All programs are presented on Monday evenings at 7:30 pm in Oakland’s historic Carnegie Music Hall.

Subscriptions for the 2019/20 Ten Evenings season will be available on May 1 and single tickets go on sale July 8. More information is available by visiting www.pittsburghlectures.org or calling Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, 412.622.8866.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Arts Innovation and Management Program

By Media, News



Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures will participate in $43 million program

Pittsburgh, PA — September 5, 2018 — Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures announced that it is a grantee recipient of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Arts Innovation and Management (AIM) program. The invitation-only program seeks to strengthen the organizational capacity and programming of small and mid-size cultural organizations within Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. Through the $43 million multi-year initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide unrestricted general operating support as well as arts management training in areas that include fundraising, strategic planning, marketing and board development.

Stephanie Flom, Executive Director of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures said “we are thrilled and honored to participate in this important program to expand the impact of the work we do to make a difference in our region through the literary arts.”

AIM targets arts non-profits because of the vital role that they play in building communities, driving local economies and supporting artists. “The arts inspire people, provide jobs, and strengthen communities,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “This program is aimed at helping some of the country’s most exciting cultural organizations reach new audiences and expand their impact.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies will develop curricula and conduct seminars for the program in partnership with leading experts, including the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland, led by Institute Chairman Michael M. Kaiser and President Brett Egan. AIM organizations will engage in activities that strengthen their long-term health and goals, and will receive one-on-one consultations and implementation support for organization leaders and their boards.

All organizations invited to participate in the 2018 expansion of the AIM program are nonprofits that have been in existence for at least two years. Participating organizations will be required to secure 20% of their AIM grant in matching dollars; reach 100% board participation in fundraising; and maintain up-to-date information in DataArts, an online management tool that assists arts organizations across the country in collecting, learning from, and using data effectively. The grants will be unrestricted to allow recipients to utilize the funds to address their greatest needs.

Since 2011, AIM has helped more than 500 small and mid-sized organizations in all creative disciplines, including theater, visual arts, music, film, literature and dance. Participating organizations reported significant improvements in board development, fundraising and overall income over the two-year program. Watch this video for an overview of the Arts Innovation and Management program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KJy8DgjRDg&feature=youtu.be.

About Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures            

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!

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.

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.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 480 cities in more than 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $702 million. For more information, please visit www.bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Media Contact

Bloomberg Philanthropies, Rebecca Carriero + 1 -212-205-0182 or rebeccac@bloomberg.org

Contact: Lisa Christopher, 412.622.5578 or LChristopher@pittsburghlectures.org

2018/19 Season of Ten Evenings

By Media, News

Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures is thrilled and honored to share our 2018/19 line-up for Ten Evenings. Executive Director Stephanie Flom will announce the line-up from the stage at the start of the evening featuring the final lecture of this season by Viet Thanh Nguyen on Monday, April 9. The 2017/18 season has seen record-setting attendance with each lecture in the 1,800-seat Carnegie Music Hall sold to capacity.

The 2018/19 season boasts a roster of literary super stars—all claiming bragging rights to prestigious awards and critical acclaim. With the exception of Joyce Carol Oates who appeared in 1992, each is appearing on Ten Evenings, the mainstage series of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, for the first time.

Says Ms. Flom on the authors being presented next season: “These celebrated authors and their significant works reflect the topics of our time—immigration, racism, gender and class inequality, globalization, and identity—while conveying the human elements of compassion and hope. We need these books.”

Joyce Carol Oates/ Monday, September 24, 2018

The iconic, extraordinary Joyce Carol Oates is the recipient of the National Book Award and five-time Pulitzer Prize finalist. Beautiful Days is a collection of mesmerizing stories of passion, independence, and defiance.

Luis Alberto Urrea/ Monday, October 8, 2018

Master storyteller and Pulitzer Prize finalist Luis Alberto Urrea explores themes of love, loss, and triumph. The House of Broken Angels is a bittersweet portrait of a Mexican-American family facing the imminent death of its beloved patriarch.

Katherine Boo / Monday, October 22, 2018

Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo’s breathtaking book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity humanizes bewildering inequality through the stories of families striving toward a better life.

Masha Gessen/ Monday, November 5, 2018

Russian and American journalist Masha Gessen is the winner of the National Book Award for The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia—a powerful and urgent cautionary tale for our time.

Tayari Jones/ Monday, November 19, 2018

Critically acclaimed and award-winning novelist Tayari Jones provides a masterpiece of storytelling, asking brave questions about race and class in her instant bestseller and 2018 Oprah Book Club selection An American Marriage.

Dave Eggers/ Monday, December 10, 2018

The Monk of Mokah is the latest “gripping, triumphant adventure” (Los Angeles Times) from Dave Eggers, bestselling author of National Book Award Finalist A Hologram for the King and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Mokhtar Alkhanshali, the subject of The Monk of Mokah and the founder and CEO of Port of Mokah coffee will appear with Dave Eggers.

Jill Lepore/ Monday, January 14, 2019

Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore offers a groundbreaking investigation into the origins of our divided nation. These Truths: A History of the United States follows her riveting Secret History of Wonder Woman.

Ottessa Moshfegh/ Monday, February 18, 2019

A celebrated new literary voice, Ottessa Moshfegh’s debut novel Eileen was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and her short stories in The Paris Review awarded the Plimpton Prize. She writes with dark humor, tenderness, and compassion. She writes My Year of Rest and Relaxation with dark humor, tenderness, and compassion.

Valeria Luiselli/ Monday, March 11, 2019

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City. Her critically acclaimed narrative Tell Me How It Ends has been described as a call to action and “vital for understanding the crisis that immigrants to the U.S. are facing” (Publisher’s Weekly).

Min Jin Lee/ Monday, April 1, 2019

Min Jin Lee’s National Book Award Finalist, Pachinko, is a gorgeous, page-turning saga where four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family fight to control their destiny in 20th-century Japan, exiled from a home they never knew.

The 2018/19 Ten Evenings series is presented by Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, made possible with the support of The Drue Heinz Trust, and presented in association with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. This is the 28th season of Pittsburgh’s literary lecture series. All programs will be presented on Monday evenings at 7:30 pm in Oakland’s historic Carnegie Music Hall.

Subscription renewals for the 2018/19 Ten Evenings are available May 1, new subscriptions on June 1, and single tickets go on sale July 5. Ticket prices remain affordable ranging from $15 to $35; student tickets are available for $10 with student identification. More information is available by visiting pittsburghlectures.org or calling Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, 412.622.8866.