Authors of best-selling book will give lecture during Pablo Center celebrations

| Judy Berthiaume

The authors of a best-selling book that shines a light on the many ways small American cities are thriving will be in Eau Claire this month to help the community celebrate the opening of Pablo Center at the Confluence.

James Fallows and Deborah Fallows will give a lecture titled “Local-Level Renewal across the Country: What are Today's Secrets of Success?" at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, at Pablo Center. Admission is $5.

The Fallowses — both widely respected writers whose work regularly appears in prestigious publications such as The Atlantic Monthly and National Geographic — also will join in Pablo Center’s grand opening festivities Saturday, Sept. 22.

The Fallowses spent several years visiting towns across America to better understand what is happening in small urban areas, places often ignored by mainstream national media.

In their book, “Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America,” they share stories about small cities that are thriving as they reinvent themselves despite challenges ranging from declining industries to assimilating new immigrants to the opioid crisis.

“During their travels, the Fallowses discovered resilient communities filled with inspiring people who are reinventing and re-energizing their cities through grassroots efforts,” says UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt. “Eau Claire, a former logging and industrial town that is again thriving thanks to a vibrant and growing creative economy, is an extraordinary example of what can happen when determined people use their energy, talents and dreams to transform their city.

“Given Pablo Center’s critical role in Eau Claire’s renaissance, the grand opening celebration is the perfect time to invite the Fallowses here so they can experience our dynamic city and meet the people who are shaping its future.”

The $60 million modern arts venue in downtown Eau Claire will support community arts organizations and UW-Eau Claire.

Since the project was announced, what had been a struggling downtown has morphed into a vibrant urban area that is attracting a growing number of people who want to live, work and relax in the city’s center.

In recent years, more than $120 million in investments have occurred in the downtown area, including small businesses, apartments, boutique hotels, craft breweries, and an eclectic mix of restaurants and shops.

The community will celebrate Pablo Center’s grand opening with free music and events Saturday afternoon, and with a ticketed performance Saturday night.

A longtime national correspondent for The Atlantic and the author of several nonfiction books, James Fallows has served as chief White House speechwriter, editor of U.S. News & World Report and program designer at Microsoft.

Deborah Fallows, the author of two books, writes extensively for national publications on topics that include women, education, work and travel.

The Fallowses’ “Our Town” book — the basis of an upcoming HBO documentary — will be sold during the Sunday lecture event.

Ticket information is available on Pablo Center's website