Foundations Offer To 'Save August Wilson Center'

Apr 8, 2014

The debt-ridden August Wilson Center might have a buyer.

A group of local foundations, including the Pittsburgh Foundation, submitted a bid last week to acquire the downtown Pittsburgh African American cultural center which is delinquent on its $7 million mortgage.

John Ellis, vice president for communications with the Pittsburgh Foundation, issued a statement saying the group  “is developing a joint initiative in efforts to preserve the August Wilson Center and to safeguard its purpose as the preeminent community resource for African American arts programming.”

Ellis would not name the other foundations involved in the joint bid which was submitted to Conservator Judith Fitzgerald, a retired bankruptcy judge. Nor did Ellis provide details of the amount offered.

His statement went on to say, “Separately, the foundations are examining ways to maintain funding support for local African American arts programming.”

The statement indicated the foundations’ primary goal is “to save the August Wilson Center in the hope that it may re-open and remain operating for the long-term, fulfilling its essential role as the community’s hub for African American arts and culture.”

Fitzgerald had set March 31 as the deadline for bids on the center so that she can close a sale by June 30 for the center which opened in 2009. Ellis did indicate the foundations hope to have an answer about their bid in the next few weeks.