Dear Pittsburgh Ars 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