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Join us for a virtual coffee chat with Carol Brown and Michael Van Valkenburgh

By February 8, 2022Blog

When the upper portion of Allegheny Riverfront Park was officially dedicated in 2001, it was the realization of a vision that began in 1994 to connect Pittsburgh’s blossoming Cultural District to the Allegheny River.

The collaborative design by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and artists Ann Hamilton and Michael Mercil, working with client The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust under the leadership of Carol Brown, represented a turning point for Downtown riverfront open space and design.

Now, over 20 years since that dedication, Allegheny Riverfront Park stands primed for a new chapter of regeneration and activation as part of Riverlife’s work “Completing the Loop” of Pittsburgh’s 15-mile, 1,050-acre Downtown riverfront experience.

Hosted by Riverlife’s Headwaters Circle, this event is free and open to Riverlife donors and friends. Join us for a fascinating conversation with Carol Brown and Michael Van Valkenburgh, exploring the creation and future of this remarkable riverfront landscape.

Virtual Event Details:

“Allegheny Riverfront Park: The Origins and Future of a Cultural Landscape”
Thursday, February 10, 9:00-10:00 a.m. via Zoom

Carol Brown, former president and CEO, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Michael Van Valkenburgh, founder and partner, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.
Hosted by Matthew Galluzzo, Riverlife President and CEO

Email Sarah Spiegel for the Zoom link:


Carol Brown

Carol Brown was president of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust from 1986-2001. During that time, she contributed to the cultural and economic revitalization of downtown Pittsburgh and the surrounding region through many initiatives including most notably the development of a fourteen-block arts and entertainment center in downtown Pittsburgh—the Cultural District. Throughout her career she has been a champion for artists and design, commissioning internationally renowned artists, landscape architects and architects to create transformational works throughout Pittsburgh and the region. This can be seen through the impact of the Carol R. Brown Creative Achievement Awards, which have awarded funding to emerging and established artists since the 1990s.

Carol was born in Columbus, Ohio and earned her B.A. from Marquette University and her M.A. from the University of Chicago. From 1959 to 1967 she was an English professor at Chatham College in Pittsburgh.  Immediately prior to the Trust, she headed the Allegheny County Department of Parks, Recreation & Conservation. She has also served on the board of directors of Mellon Financial, Heinz Endowments, Duquesne University, Chatham College, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. She was a past Chair of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Michael Van Valkenburgh

Michael Van Valkenburgh is the creative director of MVVA, the landscape architecture firm he founded in 1982. Michael serves on projects as a Lead Designer and guides creative teams composed of the firm’s 100 employees. Raised on a dairy farm in upstate New York, he received a Bachelor of Science degree from the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For his leadership in design at MVVA, Michael was awarded the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an honor customarily bestowed on architects.

Michael lives near Brooklyn Bridge Park and spends his summers in Chilmark, Massachusetts where he has tended to and remade his one-acre garden for more than 30 years. Michael is the Charles Eliot Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture, Emeritus at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, where he has taught since 1982 and served as department chairman from 1991-96. His election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences recognized his exceptional work as an educator.

About Riverlife
Since 1999, Riverlife has worked to create, activate, and celebrate Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, connecting people through exceptional places and experiences. Riverlife has been a leader in building a community vision for over 15 miles and 1,055 acres of Downtown riverfront parks, trails, and public open space.