Arts, Sports & Culture

We seek to cover our region's vibrant art and culture scene, as well as our iconic teams and the fans that follow them.

Expanded Arts and Culture reporting in western Pennsylvania is generously supported by the Jack Buncher Foundation.

Photo by Briony Campbell / Courtesy of Wood Street Galleries

Many artworks deal with mortality. Relatively few ask us to contemplate the fear of death in such a personal and visceral way as “Waterborne.”

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

Federal authorities say they have intercepted a shipment of 108 phony replica Super Bowl rings representing many past champion teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say the rings were found in an express consignment parcel that arrived June 18 from Hong Kong marked as alloy rings.

Courtesy of the City of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s city parks might be popular, but they’ve got a lot of spaces that could be livelier – think of that blank concrete pedestrian underpass in Schenley Park, or the featureless reservoir jetty in Highland Park.

A Tragedy And A Miracle: Southwestern PA's Mine Disasters Revisited

Jul 2, 2018
John Tanish / The Tribune Democrat via AP

In 1907, 240 coal miners went to work at the Darr Mine in Van Meter, and only one came home. Nearly one century later, nine miners went to work in the Quecreek mine in Somerset County, and all nine were rescued.

The Darr Mine disaster in Westmoreland County and nearby mine accidents with high casualties in a short time frame spurred change in government regulations, reducing fatalities and enabling rescues like that of the Quecreek miners in 2002, said John Urosek.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The former site of the Stephen Foster statue in Oakland is still generating controversy.

Photo by Victor Dryer / Courtesy of Creative.Life.Support

“Do you want my real name or my studio name?”

Asaun Brown, an aspiring rapper, hasn’t actually spent much time in recording studios, but he’s not fooling around. He’s 20 years old and goes by the name Sonny the Kid – a play on both his given name and his feeling that he’s a kid at heart, and prone to disregard authority figures.

And he wants to be a professional recording artist.

“I have some big goals for music,” he says. “I plan on changing the world with all this stuff.”

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has announced it will stop publishing the newspaper two days a week.

According to a letter sent to the newspaper's employee union Wednesday, the newspaper is shrinking its printing schedule as part of a plan to become a digital news organization.

Christine Schmidt of the Nieman Journalism Lab noted the Post-Gazette's decision comes as newspapers continue to struggle financially.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

After years of financial turmoil, Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts continues its latest effort to reorganize.

Courtesy of Sylvia Rhor

A former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial cartoonist who says he was fired because of his anti-Donald Trump drawings has found a new home for his work in Pittsburgh.

A new alternative weekly, the Pittsburgh Current, said Thursday it had reached an agreement with Rob Rogers' syndication group to begin running his cartoons.

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

Pittsburgh’s annual commemoration of slavery’s end has outgrown Downtown’s Market Square. The weekend-long Juneteenth Celebration & Black Music Fest is headed a few blocks west, to Point State Park.

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.

Photo by Jared Alan Smith

Recovery memoirs have become a big part of our culture, both literary and televisual. 

Photo by Ryam Cardoso

A visit from a pioneer for women in punk rock is among the highlights of the fifth annual Ladyfest.

The three-day grassroots music festival welcomes Alice Bag, whose group The Bags helped create the 1970s Los Angeles punk scene along with legendary groups like The Germs and X.

Image courtesy of the August Wilson Center

The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival is back this year, but don’t look for it on Penn Avenue. Instead, you’ll have to walk one block south to Liberty.

Adelina Lancianese / 90.5 WESA

There's a decades-old mystery underfoot in Downtown Pittsburgh: small tiles placed in busy intersections that decry the media and ponder resurrection.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

President Donald Trump rescinded his invitation to the Philadelphia Eagles this week after reports suggested only about 10 players of the 90-member, Super Bowl-winning squad were planning to attend. The President tied the decision to past criticism of players who protested police brutality and harsh treatment of African Americans by kneeling during the "National Anthem."

Allegra Battle / 90.5 WESA

Nationwide, the natural hair community is growing. Between 2011 and 2016, sales of hair straighteners --  also known as relaxers -- fell 31 percent. Relaxers are made up of chemicals that flatten the natural kinks in many African-Americans’ hair, and Pittsburgh’s natural hair community is seeing an increase in new membership too.

Photo courtesy of City Theatre

Most theater companies have an artistic director – the guiding force behind what goes on stage. But Pittsburgh’s City Theatre did without one for about a year following the resignation of Tracy Brigden, who’d held the post for 16 years.

Instead, the troupe, one of Pittsburgh’s largest and most venerable theater companies, made it through the 2017-18 season led by a team of three top administrators.

John Beale / Focus Features

Morgan Neville never met Fred Rogers. Growing up, he had the same relationship with Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as did many people his age: Neville, now 50, watched the show, then more or less forgot about it. 

Courtesy of Sylvia Rhor

Rob Rogers' cartoons have been published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for more than 20 years. And as Pat Bagley can tell you, some friction with editors is part of the job.

Philadelphia Eagles Coach Says He Wanted To Go To The White House

Jun 6, 2018
Matt Slocum / AP

Eagles coach Doug Pederson said he was looking forward to going to the White House to be recognized as Super Bowl champions but he wouldn't further discuss a visit that was canceled by President Donald Trump.

"I was looking forward to going down, obviously," Pederson said Wednesday. "We did something last season that was very special, a milestone in the city of Philadelphia and for our organization. I was looking forward to being recognized as world champions. It is what it is."

Adelina Lancianese / 90.5 WESA

  

Rachel Sager is the accidental owner of a coal mine. She purchased property near her hometown in Perryopolis, Pa., three years ago.

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

Street photography is its own artistic discipline -- one in which 13 local high school kids got a crash course recently with a world-renowned shooter. Some of the results are on display this week at the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

City of Pittsburgh

It’s the first full week for the City of Pittsburgh’s annual line-up of free outdoor summer events, including concerts and films.

Photo courtesy of Germaine Williams

On Aug. 16, Sarah Huny Young started work at Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. 

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and its recently hired editorial director, Keith Burris, may be on the verge of another controversy over the direction of its editorial page. Over the past week, the paper has not published five cartoons by its editorial cartoonist, Rob Rogers.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

If you're headed to the South Side from Downtown on the 10th Street Bridge, it's easy to spy four black geese painted onto the arch of one of the tall towers. The artwork, created by Tim Kaulen more than 20 years ago, is at risk as the bridge goes through a major rehabilitation.

Mark Perrott

Barbara Luderowski fell in love with Pittsburgh in the early 1970s, when most outsiders – and not a few locals – were having the opposite reaction. It was still an old mill town whose population was gradually leaking away.

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration


Stanton Heights is filled with brick houses, families walking dogs, and lots of trees. It's also home to a 150-year-old piece of history.

Photo courtesy of Violoncheloops

Among the many things remade by digital technology, don’t forget the one-person band.

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