Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

The Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts – an arts showcase dedicated to premieres – is itself no longer new. But after previous iterations in 2004, 2008 and 2013, the fourth Festival of Firsts does promise to be the largest ever.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


Most Pittsburghers notice the billboard while they’re watching the Buccos on the North Side. Soft light beams from a triangle slowly rotating within a rectangular sign on a rooftop in the downtown Cultural District. No words or pictures float through the display, just the revolving shapes.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

This fall will be a good time to be an arts patron in Pittsburgh. 

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

An acclaimed British photographer will guide some local students to document their own communities as part of this year’s Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Joan Marcus

The record-smashing Broadway musical Hamilton will make its Pittsburgh premiere in January 2019 courtesy of a nationally touring production.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

What does the typical work day for the head of a major arts organization look like? According to Janis Burley Wilson, it’s unpredictable. Burley Wilson is the newly appointed President and CEO of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

A mix of journalists, artists and academics will take part in this year's Pittsburgh Humanities Festival. The 3rd annual event will take place Feb. 24 through March 4 in the Cultural District. 

Speakers include NPR's Guy Raz, paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Susan Faludi. A full schedule is available here.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

For the last two minutes of 2017, thousands of Pittsburghers will watch the glowing New Year’s Eve countdown ball at the top of Penn Avenue Place downtown.

The ball’s symbolic rise only lasts from 11:58 p.m. to midnight, but it takes about six weeks to prepare for the show.

Louis Stein / Arcade Comedy Theater

A growing non-profit theater in downtown Pittsburgh has a new home.

Arcade Comedy Theater is moving from its original storefront space on Liberty Avenue, where it’s been since 2013, to a fully renovated building right down the street. The new space more than doubles its capacity to nearly 200 seats between two stages.

Arcade offers about 10 weekly shows, including sketch comedy, stand-up and improv. It’s also enrolled hundreds of students in its comedy classes.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Jane Lynch is, perhaps, best known for her role as the mouthy coach Sue Sylvester on the television show Glee. Now she is going live - performing a new show that, so far, has only been heard once. 

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

A new film fest is coming to Pittsburgh.

The inaugural Black Bottom Film Festival will showcase contemporary, classic and independent black cinema this Friday through Sunday at the August Wilson Center in downtown Pittsburgh.

Joe Lewis of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust said there aren't enough platforms for black video, particularly locally produced and independent films. He said the jumping off points for selecting media for the festival, were the themes frequented by famed Pittsburgh writer August Wilson.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Preschooler Marleny Roasario sat cross-legged on a multi-colored carpet Wednesday, scrunching her face at a blue and purple snaggle-toothed troll. 

Performing artist Amber Ramsey Fantini laughed, bobbing her puppets at the class. "Turn around," she told the girl. "Show your teacher and all the other kids."

Eddie Welker / Flickr

 

Over the weekend, Pittsburgh was hit by the fringe of a blizzard that left more than two feet of snow in parts of the East Coast.

Public works crews and residents diligently spread rock salt on roads and sidewalks —an effective de-icing measure. But the traditional sodium chloride salt can potentially harm or kill trees.

Trees in one part of Downtown, though, might be out of danger.

Mark / Flickr

 

Roughly 40,000 people are expected to make their way downtown this year for Pittsburgh’s annual New Year’s celebration.

Kevin McMahon, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, said the events offered at “First Night 2016” are going to be more diverse than ever.

“Our theme this year is ‘Around the World, Around the ‘Burgh’ and so we’re telling people that you can experience all kinds of art and culture from around the globe without ever leaving Pittsburgh,” McMahon said. “So that’s our big, new thing this year.”

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

  The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council is launching a website they hope will be the go-to source to find all arts and cultural events in the city.

Arts organizations can post gallery openings, theater and dance performances and other cultural events to the new site – Artsburgh. Users can scroll through the calendar or create a profile to distinguish what types of events are most important to them.

Baby Theater: Pacifiers And Teething Toys Welcome

May 22, 2015
Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

These aren’t your typical theater-goers. They call out during the play. They try to join into the performance.

And some are sucking on pacifiers.

This is entertainment for the very young — baby theater.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Spring Gallery Crawl will look a little more like a pub crawl this season.

The Trust has partnered with Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week to bring 11 taste-testing stations to the Cultural District’s quarterly arts festival.

Three Rivers Arts Festival Set For June 5-14

Apr 20, 2015
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, the free 10-day music and arts festival that occurs in downtown Pittsburgh every June, will take place June 5-14 this year with the theme "Unseen-Unheard."

Headliners include singers such as Neko Case, Benjamin Booker and Rhiannon Giddens. There are dozens of other musicians performing at the stage set up at Point State Park, as well as visual arts projects. There will also be an artists’ fair and food for sale.

EQT Announces Children's Theater Festival Line-Up

Apr 13, 2015

The Cultural Trust announced their line-up for the EQT Children’s Theater Festival.

Pamela Komar, manager of Children’s Theater Programming at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, said they select the participating theatrical groups critically.

“We look at the ages of children in Pittsburgh, we look at their current interests and we try to balance and bring in art forms that will be of interest to all kinds of people from all different backgrounds and all different abilities in Pittsburgh,” she said.

PNC has donated the Lantern Building to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

The building at 600 Liberty Avenue currently houses the PNC Legacy Project exhibit, which highlights Pittsburgh’s history and PNC’s role in it. That will be moved to the Tower at PNC Plaza. As for the Lantern Building, the Trust said it will continue to use the gallery to showcase and enhance artistic programming, though exact plans are still unknown.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Carnegie Mellon University are joining forces to celebrate the humanities in March.

Smart Talk about Stuff that Matters is a humanities festival with a broad definition of humanities—knowledge of humankind and its works. The event will include speakers presenting ideas on everything from art, literature, and music, to science, and politics. 

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is celebrating ten years of gallery crawls with an Afropean R&B music performance, numerous art exhibits ranging from a billboard display to a cell phone disco and even salsa dancing.

Darcy Kucenic, Manager of Education and Operations for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, said the first gallery crawl was in 2004 and only featured four venues.

One Pittsburgh summer tradition, the Three Rivers Arts Festival, is behind us and another one is ahead – the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival.

The fourth annual celebration of jazz has grown since it started and has attracted a wide audience that benefits the region.

The Smithereens Rock the Arts Festival

Jun 12, 2014
M. Jeremy Goldman / Flickr

The Smithereens perform tonight as part of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. In the 80s and 90s, the group was churning out hit songs like “Only a Memory,” “Blood and Roses” and a “Girl Like You.” Pat DiNizio is the lead singer of the rock group, and joined us in studio to talk about the history of the group, and what he’s been up to since the group’s heyday.

DiNizio describes fame as “anticlimactic.” He says he finally realized the band had “made it” when he heard “Girl Like You," broadcasted on a radio station in New York, after six years. DiNizio says it was emotionally for him, because the band never expected to sell more than 3,000 records. They sold millions.

Three Rivers Arts Festival Goes Green

Jun 9, 2014
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust / Twitter

The Three Rivers Arts Festival got underway over the weekend. This year, the annual celebration made up of concerts, art exhibits and food has a decidedly green component.

Three River Arts Festival director Veronica Corpuz explained the importance of this component.

“It’s one of the few green arts festivals of its kind in the country. We say it’s a green festival, it means that our operations, everything from how we sort our waste and try to divert as much waste from landfills by recycling and composting materials… to create a zero waste event at the Arts Festival. Given that behind the scenes operations, we’ve tried to bring that more to the forefront, through the art.” 

Those attending the 55th annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival will find portraits of air, a 4 story figure named Lady Pneumatica and a tribute to the Fort Pitt Block House.

The festival that runs today through June 15 has a theme of aesthetic creativity and environmental sustainability.

“Many of our art installations explore either the built environment and architecture or the natural environment and how our actions can impact and affect the natural world around us,” Veronica Corpuz, Director of Festival Management, said.

Gene Kelly Fans / Wordpress

The life of Gene Kelly, legendary dancer, director, choreographer and Pittsburgh native, will be celebrated Wednesday evening in a show presented at the Byham Theater called Gene Kelly: The Legacy, An Evening with Patricia Ward Kelly. As his widow and biographer, Ward Kelly discusses both Gene Kelly’s career and personal life.

She explained that no matter which direction her husband took his career, where he came from was always a huge influence.

“Gene was very distinct among the Hollywood elite. He was kind of the outcast. He wasn’t in the upper crust, and in fact, he used to say he wasn’t even invited to the Basil Rathbone house. He was the lower, middle income guy. It started, obviously, with the Pittsburgh roots, which were very important for him. But, very distinct from [Fred] Astaire who hung out with the Vanderbilts and the Whitneys. That was not Gene Kelly.”

Flickr user Via Tsuji

With high temperatures in the 90s this week, it’s hard to believe Pittsburgh saw snow less than two months ago.

Thankfully, the Steel City has finally shrugged off winter just in time for a slew of outdoor events in and around downtown Pittsburgh.

Venture Outdoors Festival

Point State Park is the location for the 14th annual Venture Outdoors Festival, which takes place at Point State Park and runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Jessica Lasky / 90.5 WESA

The 55th annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival kicks off in Pittsburgh the first weekend in June. This year’s event will feature the signature Artist Market, live musical performances, and numerous art installations and performances throughout the cultural district. Festival organizers said this event, along with next week’s International Children’s Festival, the Jazz Live International Festival, and New Year’s First Night are huge economic drivers in the region.

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

The Cultural Trust’s Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival is making a “leap” from Oakland to Downtown May 14-18.

The 28th annual frog-themed festival is moving to help fulfill the Trust’s mission to make Downtown a “vibrant and inviting place.”

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