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.

The works of African American composers Moses George Hogan and Glenn Edward Burleigh are being celebrated by the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC).

The two-day festival held in the Foerster Student Service Center on CCAC's Allegheny campus is open to the public Friday and Saturday and will feature choral performances from groups across the country along with panel discussions.

Organizer Dr. Herbert Jones, who directs the Pittsburgh Gospel Choir, said this event is a first in North America.

The Hill House, in Pittsburgh's Hill District, traces its roots to two organizations from the early 1900's. Ever since then, more than 500,000 people have come and gone through the House's doors.

Now, some of these narratives will be recounted to the public by a group of Duquesne University students as part of the Hill House's 1000 Stories project.

Food Preservation Classes Offered

Apr 16, 2012

Ever have to throw away unused fruit or vegetables because you bought too much? According to Penn State Extension of Allegheny County, those days could be over when you learn to pickle and preserve your own food.

Penn State Extension will be offering classes on preserving food using research-based information. Class topics will include making jams and jellies, drying and freezing, pressure canning, pickling and relish making, and fall fruits.

Penn State Master Food Preserver Susan Marquesen said preserving food is a great way to save money.

Rallying for Wage Equality

Apr 13, 2012

Tuesday is National Equal Pay Day, and a rally in downtown Pittsburgh's Market Square today marked the first of several events that will be occurring across the region in order to raise awareness about economic injustice.

The Women and Girls Foundation, New Voices Pittsburgh, and the American Association of University Women hosted today's rally. This year's theme for Equal Pay Day is "Economic Justice for All," and Heather Arnett, Chief Executive Officer for the Women and Girls Foundation, says there is more to the issue than the gender wage gap.

Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania has released a joint statement against a provision within the Affordable Care Act that has drawn wide opposition from Conservatives and religious groups regarding health insurance coverage of contraceptives.

The city of Pittsburgh is bringing together community groups and individuals to promote the social aspects of the city, while trying to limit the rising crime rate in the city's entertainment districts.

Working with the Responsible Hospitality Institute, the only organization of its kind that uses research to promote safety and vibrancy in a nighttime economy, Pittsburgh will use $100,000 from this year's budget to present a summary of research into improving the South Side, Downtown and Lawrenceville neighborhoods.

Picture a team of librarians, poring through now-antiquated card catalogs and skimming through seldom-used stacks. They're looking for specific documents: pictures, books, trade catalogs, maps -- anything that helps define the metals industries that dominated Pittsburgh for the better part of the city's history.

Then, the boxes and boxes of books and papers are shipped off to a facility on the North Side, where they're scanned into hundreds of gigabytes worth of computer files.

Two feature films titled Spoil and On the Trail of Genghis Khan, will be presented at the Byham Theater downtown on April 6thand 7that 7:00 PM as Venture Outdoors presents the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. The festival also includes short clips involving skiing, human behavior, environmental issues and protection.

PNC Tower Construction Cuts Environmental Impact

Mar 27, 2012

In keeping with its goal of making its new headquarters the world's greenest skyscraper, PNC is requiring building contractors to follow company-specific environmental rules in addition to those enforced by the EPA and Allegheny County Health Department.

Construction is to begin this spring on the $300 million Tower at PNC Plaza in downtown Pittsburgh. Benson Gabler, PNC's Manager of Corporate Sustainability, says construction crews will have to curtail diesel emissions, a requirement the company has never enforced this strongly.

The Affordable Care Act and Marcellus Shale drilling were among the topics of discussion as 150 community representatives from Pennsylvania took part in the annual Community Leaders Briefing (CLB) in Washington, D.C. Friday.

Another topic was gay rights at the state and federal levels.

As Thomas Waters, Advocacy Chair for the Pittsburgh's Delta Foundation, waited in line to enter the White House, he spoke with Essential Public Radio. He urged the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) population to follow his lead.

Protesters Rally Against Healthcare Mandate

Mar 23, 2012

Demonstrators gathered outside the Federal Building in downtown Pittsburgh Friday as part of a Rally for Religious Freedom to oppose Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) guidelines.

Under the Affordable Health Care Act, most insurance companies will cover women's preventative services, including contraception, without charging a co-pay beginning this August.

As part of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, a new traveling exhibit will be debuted in Pittsburgh. The Senator John Heinz History Center will host the display over the weekend, before it heads to its next destination.

"The Civil War was the seminal event in American history," said Heinz Center President and CEO Andy Masich, "it shaped our nation and perhaps is still shaping it today. Issues of race and sovereignty, these are issues we grapple with today."

Wanted: Little Brothers and Sisters

Mar 19, 2012

Big Brothers Big Sisters is looking for more "Little" brothers and sisters. Due to successful volunteer recruiting of "Bigs" in the area, the Pittsburgh non-profit is now seeking more children in need of mentors.

Jan Glick, CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh arm of Big Brothers Big Sisters, explains why the tables have turned.

Movies and television are often criticized for not showcasing enough diversity. One Pittsburgher got tired of seeing the same images of black women in mainstream media, so she started a project aimed at debunking stereotypes, specifically those of black women. Essential Public Radio's Deanna Garcia met with Brittany McBryde to discuss her first documentary film.

Deanna Garcia: Tell me about your film The Image of Black Women.

Dozens of women artists from across the Pittsburgh region will gather on the North Side this week for a one-of-a-kind production.

SWAN Day Pittsburgh 2012 will bring together female poets, playwrights, visual artists, musicians, and other artists at the New Hazlett Theater on Thursday and Friday night.

SWAN Day (Support Women Artists Now) was founded in 2008, and is celebrated in hundreds of cities worldwide.

"It's funny how you can keep on losing," says Charles Naegele, a New York City musician in the 1950s. "…and yet find you're really gaining all the time."

Naegele's account, along with other pieces written by Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, and many others were broadcast on the CBS Radio Network's "This I Believe" series from 1951 to 1955. The idea of allowing common and famous people to reflect on and recite their day-to-day thoughts on-air was revived in 2005 by National Public Radio.

Overseers in Cambria and Somerset Counties are preparing for the Stonycreek River's first full season of whitewater recreation this year.

The Cambria-Somerset Authority expects healthy water levels in the Quemahoning Reservoir this spring, thanks to a relatively warm winter. CSA Chairman Jim Greco said that could mean more whitewater discharges from the reservoir into the Stonycreek.

Museum of Art Announces Additions

Feb 20, 2012

A 19th century papier-mâché pianoforte, a daguerreotype photograph of President Barack Obama inaugural address, and water decanters commissioned by President James Monroe are among the works acquired by the Carnegie Museum of Art in 2011.

Jason Busch, the museum's chief curator, said the pieces are a great fit.

February 22 to April 1 is not only a period to give up a favorite guilty pleasure for the Christian Lenten Season, activists also plan to make it a time to take a stand against abortion. The Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life Campaign plans to pray and hold vigils outside of the downtown Planned Parenthood location starting Wednesday.

Bringing the history of humans and their domesticated animals together, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History will display Andy Warhol's Dogs and Cats paintings through the end of June.

The Warhol Museum's director of exhibitions, Jesse Kowalski, said the display is a continued collaboration among the city's museums.

The Awesome Pittsburgh Foundation, a new local chapter of a national project, is on a citywide search for one thing: new projects it thinks are awesome.

Each month the group awards a $1,000 grant to an individual or group proposing a new way to help Pittsburgh stand out in the global economy, connect its communities, or celebrate local art and technology.

This month, they've written a check for a barge.

Play Explores Gammage Death

Feb 9, 2012

A new play exploring the 1995 arrest and death of Johnny Gammage opens tonight at the Henry Heymann Theater. It runs through February 19 before moving on to the August Wilson center Downtown March 2nd.

Essential Public Radio's Mark Nootbaar had a chance to speak with "The Gammage Project" author Attilo Favorini. He asked the University of Pittsburgh Professor what drew him to the nearly 17-year-old story.

Cardinal Bevilacqua Dead Age 88

Feb 1, 2012

After a battle with an undisclosed form of cancer and dementia, Retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua died Tuesday in his sleep at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in the Philadelphia suburb of Wynnewood. Bevilacqua served as head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for more than 15 years. Prior to taking that post he was the bishop of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese from 1983-87.

In order to prevent Johnstown landmarks from being stripped of their history and possibly even being torn down, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cambria County will formally transfer the ownership of three former church buildings to 1901 Church Inc., a not-for-profit corporation that focuses on preventing church structures in the Cambria County area from being neglected.

The three church buildings — Immaculate Conception, St. Columba's, and Sts. Casimir and Emerich — will be transferred from Resurrection Parish to 1901 Church, Inc. this afternoon.

Afghan War Exhibit Comes to Pittsburgh

Jan 20, 2012

"Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan" is making its next stop in downtown Pittsburgh this Friday. 45 murals from across the U.S., along with drawings collected from Afghan high school students, highlight suffering from war.

Scilla Wahrhaftig, program director for the American Friends Service Committee in Pennsylvania, said the idea for the exhibit came after the committee began its "Eyes Wide Open" project in 2004, in which empty boots represented each soldier killed in Iraq.

Nominees For Episcopal Bishop Of Pittsburgh

Jan 17, 2012

Four priests will stand for election as the next Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh April 21. A 16-member Standing Committee announced the slate of candidates Monday.

"Three of the final eight were from the state of Pennsylvania," said the Very Reverend George Werner, Dean Emeritus of Trinity Cathedral and president of the nominating committee. "All the four that emerged for our particular unique situation, none of them happen to be [from] Pennsylvania."

The four candidates are:

Rediscovering Lost Artwork in Pittsburgh

Jan 16, 2012

The murals at St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church in Millvale were once well known throughout the United States. Now, one Pittsburgh filmmaker is helping the world rediscover these artworks.

Maxo Vanka's Masterpiece: The Murals at St. Nicholas Church is a new documentary by director Kenneth Love that examines how these murals tell a key part of American history: the story of the immigrant.

96th Pennsylvania Farm Show Delights 400,000

Jan 11, 2012

It's a cliché, but you can't leave the Farm Show without trying the food, whether it's the milkshakes in the food court or free samples in the marketplace.

Brian Nicklaus sells Hammond's Pretzels. A bowl of pretzel bits sits out, free for the picking; apparently he's not worried about people filling up on samples. Nicklaus says that he doesn't see too many shameless freeloaders.

"Well, you see people but you don't say it to 'em," he says, chuckling.

Steel Town Library Receives Humanities Grant

Dec 27, 2011

The B.F. Jones Memorial Library in Aliquippa has received a $5,650 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to be used for the next steps in preserving their collection of regional history.

Library director Linda Helms said that they will use the money to hire a consultant who can help decide how to best preserve the documents about the history of the Aliquippa steel mill and the town, built largely by the mill's owner, Jones and Laughlin (J&L) Steel. The library is named after B.F. Jones, a co-owner of the original company.

The incoming leader of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is eager to direct the system out of choppy financial waters and to begin expanding services online and at branch locations.

The library system's Board of Trustees has named Mary Frances Cooper the system's new President and Director. She assumes the position on New Year's Day.