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Celebrating BOOM, Garfield’s Place For Young Black Pittsburgh ‘To Hang Out And Create’

Sarah Bader
BOOM Concepts co-founder J. Thomas Agnew.


Garfield art space BOOM Concepts has aligned itself with some of the city’s biggest cultural institutions and well-known artists, including Mac Miller and Jimmy Wopo.

Co-founder J. Thomas Agnew, who also founded JENESIS Magazine, says it began as a way to celebrate community and give young black entrepreneurs a place to hone budding talent in art, music and design. Now more than a decade in, Agnew says he’s still energized by the city’s up-and-coming creatives.

Later in the show, a federal report lists Philadelphia International as one of 13 major U.S. airports that have at least one runway within 12 feet of current sea levels. State Impact Pennsylvania’s Susan Phillips reports there are many more at risk around the world, and some have already faced flight disruptions or closure from storms and floods.

In the latest from our Good Question! series, 90.5 WESA's Katie Blackley investigates a roadway in the North boroughs that changes its name as it weaves through different boroughs and neighborhoods.

And groups are rallying ahead of the midterm elections to inspire new and veteran voters to the polls. Founded by former First Lady Michelle Obama, national not-for-profit When We All Vote joins the local cacophony in Pittsburgh this week with a series of events, including one headlined by actor Tom Hanks at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall on Tuesday.

Communications director Stephanie Young was joined in studio by Eileen Olmsted, board member for the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh, and Lorenzo Riboni, president of the University of Pittsburgh’s College Republicans, to talk about partisan efforts to register and transport voters, how young voters engage with the electorate and the importance of participating in democracy.

 The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story erroneously reported BOOM’s tenure in Garfield. JENESIS Magazine was founded 11 years ago. BOOM Concepts opened in 2014.

Kiley covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
Megan Harris is a writer, editor, photographer and curator for Pittsburgh's NPR News station. She leads editorial coverage for The Confluence, 90.5 WESA's live, one-hour, daily morning news show.
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