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.

Agrupación Señor Serrano / Courtesy of Carnegie Museums

The ways migration affects people, animals and the environment is the focus of an upcoming event series through the Carnegie Museums featuring live performances, speakers and a documentary debut, all centered around the theme of movement.

If you don’t like poetry, maybe you’ve been reading it wrong.

So says Don Bialostosky. In his new book, the University of Pittsburgh literature professor contends that the reason more people don’t read poetry for fun is they were taught that reading poetry is work: analyzing metaphors and symbols, for example.

Bialostosky titled his book "How to Play A Poem," and he uses the verb “play” because, he says, we shouldn’t try interpreting poetry before we simply enjoy it.

Image by David Bernabo

These days, people are largely disconnected from the origins of most of what they buy or use, from the drill rigs where oil is pumped to the factories where electronic devices are assembled. Such places are often also sites of human or environmental abuse. The same goes for food – including restaurant meals.

Screenshot / Twitch.TV

It takes around 414 hours to watch all 886 episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and thousands of people around the world are embracing the continuous stream of programming.

Image courtesy of The Norman Rockwell Museum

At 17, it looked like Gloria Stoll Karn's -- known then just as Gloria Stoll -- dreams of being an artist were through.

It was 1941, and she had recently graduated from New York’s High School of Music and Art, but her father had died a couple of years earlier, and Stoll had taken a job with the New York Life Insurance Company to help support her widowed mother. The job was dull, but it paid the bills. And now her accumulated artwork from school was cluttering their Queens apartment.

Allegra Battle / 90.5 WESA

The work of Hollywood costume designer Ruth E. Carter is coming to Pittsburgh, including the futuristic African designs featured in the blockbuster film, "Black Panther."

Adelina Lancianese / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto exclaimed in jest, "Hello, scary puppets!" as he met puppeteers costumed as tropical birds, glittery penguins and even a massive effigy of Peduto himself in the City-County Building.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


Traveling from Forbes Avenue on Duquesne University’s campus to the South 10th Street Bridge, drivers and pedestrians making a right into the Armstrong Tunnel encounter something unusual for a tunnel: a curve.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

In the basement of the Keystone Church of Hazelwood, a group of high school students practiced a hip hop dance performance, counting aloud the steps in the routine in rhythm with a backing music track.

Bryan Conley / Carnegie Museum of Art

A young couple embraces in a kitchen. A man holding a shotgun stares from the corner of his living room. A naked woman regards the viewer from her couch.

Maria Scapellato / WESA

There will be a lot of celebrating in Pittsburgh this weekend and it's not just because of Saint Patrick’s Day. March Madness has come to town.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A summer music series, public art and spaces for local makers are all on the docket for Pittsburgh this year, according to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

The PDP says it expanded its arts programming in 2017, which included 300 days of Downtown programming, increased social media outreach and the launch of new events including Halloween's Fright Up Night. 

Photo provided by the author.

Author Sharon Dilworth has lived in Pittsburgh for 25 years. She moved here to teach at Carnegie Mellon University, met her eventual husband and raised a family. But there’s one code she said it took her most of that quarter-century to crack: the one that Pittsburghers use when discussing local neighborhoods.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

In its first 2017 budget, the Trump administration proposed phasing out funding for three federal programs: the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the *Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Arts advocates nationally mobilized and, in a rare bipartisan show of support, Congress restored funding for the three agencies, and even increased it slightly.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Acclaimed poet Sheryl St. Germain is a college professor whose son died of a heroin overdose in 2014, after a long struggle with drug abuse. He was 30 years old.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Evergreens, hemlocks and lush rhododendrons make the grounds around Fallingwater a remarkable setting even in the depths of winter. Located in the Laurel Highlands and suspended over a waterfall, it’s one of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s most recognizable structures.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Two local groups dedicated to cleaning up Pittsburgh are hosting a film festival that explores environmental issues around the country.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Marya Sea Kaminski said Pittsburgh made a big impression on her the first time she drove through the Fort Pitt Tunnel. 

Heather Mull

Gab Cody is a Pittsburgh-based playwright. But the inspiration for her newest work began some 3,500 miles northwest of here.

Allegra Battle / 90.5 WESA

How does Pittsburgh’s music scene need to change? That’s one critical question a new project involving local organizations aims to understand and address.

The project, called the Pittsburgh Music Ecosystem Project, was launched in October and is made up of 91.3 WYEP, the City of Pittsburgh Office of Nighttime Economy and Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. Leaders from these organizations will look at the regulatory environment, ways to build more opportunities and other aspects of Pittsburgh’s music scene.

Courtesy of Christina Springer

Pittsburgh is known globally for its jazz musicians, and for more than a century the city’s African-American community has provided a unique environment that fostered the talents of world-renowned artists. While some historic music incubators have disappeared, others live on.  

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Pasted to the wall of Department of City Planning is a large, colorful map of Pittsburgh. 

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

HBO / AP

An HBO biopic starring Al Pacino as late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno will premiere April 7.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

There aren’t many museums of cartoon art in the U.S. The handful of examples include Pittsburgh’s ToonSeum, which was launched in a hallway in the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh in 2007, and two years later expanded into a storefront on Liberty Avenue downtown.

Its smartly curated exhibits have explored everything from daily newspaper strips and superhero comics to the work of local comics star Ed Piskor, of Hip Hop Family Tree fame.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Winter is far from over, but a warm front through the Pittsburgh region is just enough to give Yinzers a taste of spring. With the high projected to be in the 70s Tuesday, we've put together a list of (totally silly) ways to take advantage of some unexpectedly warm weather in the heart of February. 

1. Go on a quick kayak trip ... on a major Downtown street.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

When Philadelphian Cyndie Carioli was a new mother in the 1970s, she was like most first time parents: nervous. 

Bill Haberthur / Bethel Park Historical Society

On a Thursday night, volunteers were gathered at the old Bethel Grade School building getting their hands dirty. Some sawed wood to use for new baseboards on the first floor; others, on the second floor, pulled down old ceilings. 

A similar scene has played out three nights a week since 2016, when the Bethel Park Historical Society decided to renovate and re-purpose the building.

It wasn't anything spectacular at the time. When the show first aired on Feb. 19, 1968, it seemed to be a typical children's educational program. On a black-and-white screen, a tall, dark-haired man nearing 40 years of age wandered into a staged living room, softly singing a song as he changed from a blazer into a much softer, cozy cardigan.

That man, Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, quickly rose into recognition and a half-century later is still an American icon.

David Bachman Photography

Pittsburgh Opera’s new world-premiere performance, Douglas J. Cuomo’s Ashes & Snow, might be an edgy, contemporary work, but it was inspired by a classic piece of music: Franz Schubert’s Winterreise, meaning "winter journey."

Schubert wrote this song cycle in the 1820s, as a musical setting for a series of 24 poems by German poet Wilhelm Muller. The poems tell the story of a jilted lover wandering a rural landscape in winter.

“I am finished with all my dreams. Why should I linger among the sleepers?” runs one line of the English translation.

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