Arts and Letters Live Spring Season

Carolyn Bess, Director of Arts and Letters Live, has kindly taken time to respond to questions related to her job and the upcoming spring season of Arts and Letters Live. To find out about Carolyn and her role here at  the Museum, read below!

Teaching Programs Coordinator

  1. Name and Title: Carolyn Bess, Director, Arts & Letters Live
  2. Years Employed at the Dallas Museum of Art: 13
  3. Describe your job at the art museum: I oversee Arts & Letters Live, the literary and performing arts series at the Museum, which is now entering its 19th season. We bring in high profile authors, actors, and musicians for special events. On many occasions, we connect themes in authors’ books with the Museum’s exhibitions and collections or create

    Carolyn Bess, Director, Arts and Letters Live

    unique performances combining art forms such as song, art, and poetry.

  4. What is your favorite part of your job? Creating the artistic vision for Arts & Letters Live and the opportunity to meet and talk with the authors and performers in person.
  5. What is a challenge that you face in your job? Like all non-profits in today’s economic times, cutting the budget and still breaking even financially is the largest challenge we face and one that requires constant monitoring. But I’m proud to say that we’ve done that successfully in these uncertain times and still maintained the high quality programs our audience has come to expect.
  6. Tell me about a memorable experience you had with someone who was participating in an Arts and Letters Live event. Last year I drove Elizabeth Gilbert to the Apple store at Willowbend after her event because she was getting error messages on her new laptop indicating that she might have lost the results of a productive day of writing. But the Apple guru saved it, and it’s now part of her newest book, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage (released January 5). I thoroughly enjoyed our conversations on the drive there and back, learning more about her life, new business venture, and travel tips for the future. I feel I connected with her personally.
  7. What are some of the highlights for Arts and Letters Live this spring? I’m so excited about many of the authors featured this January through June.

Some of the highlights include:

January 21      David Wroblewski (author of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle)

January 29      Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver

February 9      Vocal Colors: A Vibrant Collage of Arts on Stage (a multidisciplinary song-based performance inspired by exhibitions All the World’s A Stage and Performance/Art)

February 22    The first of five Texas Bound programs featuring Texas actors reading short fiction by Texas authors (this year at the Wyly Theatre!)

March 23         Pulitzer Prize-winning non-fiction author Tracy Kidder (Strength in What Remains)

March 28         Author-illustrator Jan Brett (author of The Mitten and many other books)

April 16            Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian and The Swan Thieves (connections to Lens of Impressionism exhibition)

April 18            Jeff Kinney, author of the bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

May 7              Laura Bush discussing her forthcoming memoir

May 13            Isabel Allende on her newest book Island Beneath the Sea (connections to the Coastlines exhibition)

May 25            Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi, will discuss his highly anticipated second novel, Beatrice & Virgil

June 12           Ira Glass, host of the ever-popular radio and television series,This American Life

Did you know that DISD teachers can book tickets free of charge to Arts & Letters Live’s BooksmART events (featuring award-winning authors for the young and young-at-heart) through Dallas ArtsPartners? Go to or call 214-520-0023 for details. BooksmART flyer. Please help us spread the word about these programs!

For more details on Arts & Letters Live’s 2010 season, visit I look forward to seeing many of you at our events!


1 Response to “Arts and Letters Live Spring Season”

  1. 1 Barbara Carr January 16, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Carolyn, a friend and I attended the Literary Death Match last night. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    We are still raving about the fabulous readings and the enormous fun we had. Please, please keep the Death Match going! And after the smackdown Louisiana received in Round 2 of the Match – we may need some Louisiana authors to make a rebuttal!

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