Stephanie Flom—Pittsburgh Heroine
Santana Mitre (Sophomore)
For Women’s History Month, The Eagle Times would like to recognize Ms. Stephanie Flom, executive director of Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures, a non-profit literary arts organization. Ms. Flom is a food lover and lover of the Pittsburgh community. She has worked to connect the community of Pittsburgh with the arts for over 10 years. She is dedicated to making sure art is equally accessible to everyone in our city. Some of Obama’s students, including your author, have been impacted by Ms. Flom’s work. Obama Academy’s book club is able to meet and connect with famous authors because of her work. Listening to her speak in our interview, her passion for this city is contagious.
Growing up in the heart of Squirrel Hill, Ms. Flom has always had a passion for the arts. “Art is very personal,” she says. “It has changed my life, and I realized that being around creativity—whether visiting an art gallery, meeting an artist, or reading a book—impacts my life and makes me a better person…Everyone deserves art in their life.”
During her previous work as an environmental educator, Ms. Flom brought local artists to perform in neighborhood parks. It was in this job that she truly began to realize the importance of connecting people to the art in their neighborhoods. This is what inspired her to open the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty. Ms. Flom described the project as “bringing
art to a community that didn’t usually get art…There was a lot of fear around East Liberty at the time.” She didn’t want art to be seen as such a high-brow thing anymore and wanted to throw out the notion that art doesn’t belong in or can’t be found in certain communities. Ms. Flom is a big believer in the idea that art is for everyone, no matter social class, race, or where you’re from. “Art is not just an experience for the few. The power of the arts needs to be shared very broadly and widely. The broader we can make it, the better we can make our world.”