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PreviousEvents

Los Muñequitos de Matanzas
April 28, 2011


Performers for more than 50 years, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas visited Pittsburgh during their first U.S. tour in over a decade. The musicians and dancers of Los Muñequitos are recognized as members of one of the most vital ensembles to sustain and popularize the African roots of Cuban culture. It has been said that "Without rumba, there is no Cuba and without Cuba, there is no rumba."

Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra
April 2, 2011


Under the astute direction of trumpeter extraordinaire Sean Jones, PJO made its third highly anticipated appearance on The Center's stage — this time featuring new work and a world premiere performance by living legend and jazz master Jimmy Heath, of the legendary Heath Brothers.

Town Hall Meeting with Bev Smith
March 11, 2011


Every seat was filled and every ear was listening as The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, along with Congressman James Clyburn and civil rights activist Dorothy Wright Tillman told us all where and how to begin to rebuild the Black community in this town hall-style discussion — the second of four live radio broadcast town hall meetings with host Bev Smith, the "Queen of Late Night Talk."

Nora Chipaumire with Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited
March 8, 2011


lions will roar, swans will fly, angels will wrestle heaven, rains will break: gukurahundi took on another Africa, one that is neither pleading nor begging, an Africa in conversation with itself, asking the difficult questions, and celebrating its achievements and humanity. This new dance work dedicated to Africa's great cities featured performances by Chipaumire and Souleymane Badolo, formerly of the West African dance company Salia ni Seydou. It was the creation of one of the most exciting choreographers on the scene today in collaboration with master musician Thomas Mapfumo and his band, The Blacks Unlimited. Co-Presented with The Andy Warhol Museum.

Love Jones Week
February 10 - 17, 2011


Hundreds of people united under the theme of love as The Center presented several events based around the popular 1997 romantic drama film Love Jones, written and directed by Pittsburgh native Theodore Witcher. The week was full of steppers sets, live soul music with artists Wes Felton and Tamika "Love" Jones, both of Washington D.C., poetry and food — including a special reception and Love Jones film screening with Mr. Witcher himself.

The Dynamic Men of Dance ...Celebrating the Black Man
January 21 & 23


The August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble partnered with Kyle Abraham, Darrell Grand Moultrie and Antonio Brown to bring the most exciting, cutting-edge and DYNAMIC male choreographic voices to Pittsburgh. These three young, male choreographers, who have their fingers on the pulse of contemporary dance in America, will debuted three pieces performed by the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble as part of The Center's year-long Celebration of the Black Man.

Martin Luther King Jr. Community Day
January 17, 2011


For the second year, over a thousand people decided to spend Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at the August Wilson Center. Throughout the day, everyone enjoyed gallery tours, arts and crafts, clowns, movie screenings, theatrical performances and special presentations by the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble and much more. This free community event was made possible a second year in a row with a generous underwriting grant from Citizens Charitable Foundation.

Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra Holiday Concert
December 11, 2010 / August Wilson Center


A sold out crowd came to celebrate the holiday season with the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, led by multi-talented trumpeter Sean Jones. The orchestra, along with special guests Maureen and David Budway, served up a festive concert of seasonal favorites and non-traditional tunes the whole family enjoyed. The PJO is The Center's resident band.

Pharoah Sanders
November 13, 2010 / August Wilson Center


A sold out crowd witnessed a living legend when PHAROAH SANDERS brought his distinctive tenor saxophone sound to Pittsburgh for the first time in 28 years. This concert featured Pharoah's long-time collaborator, William Henderson, as well as Pittsburgh's own jazz masters—Roger Humphries and Dwayne Dolphin—all together as a phenomenal quartet.

Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)
October 10, 2010 / August Wilson Center


Innovative composer, violinist and bandleader Daniel Bernard Roumain wowed the crowd as he performed selections from his latest CD, Woodbox Beats & Balladry. DBR's latest musical exploration has been hailed by critics for its unlikely mix of synthesized, classical, hip-hop, jazz and dance music, which he has turned into a most intoxicating musical concoction.

Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra
September 18, 2010 / August Wilson Center


A rousing performance by the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra (PJO) opened the performance season celebrating African American men and boys. The nearly sold-out concert showcased the music of two local and national legends: Billy Strayhorn and Mary Lou Williams. On exhibit that evening was the captivating work of Frank Stewart, an award-winning, New York-based photographer whose work as been on display around the world.

First Voice: A Pittsburgh International Black Arts Festival
May 20 - 29, 2010 / August Wilson Center


The August Wilson Center's annual First Voice festival gives African American artists, both inside and outside the Pittsburgh region, an opportunity to speak through their artistry. This second annual festival honored and celebrated the creator and the creative process, and included music, film, spoken word, dance, hip-hop and the visual arts. This year, First Voice was the platform from which the first class of August Wilson Center Fellows presented new works created during their yearlong residencies. Representing a variety of artistic ventures in an array of disciplines, the inaugural class of August Wilson Center Fellows included six of Pittsburgh's finest artists and performers: Vanessa German, Anire Mosley, Jasiri X, Chris Ivey, Brett Williams and Greer Reed-Jones.

Also included in First Voice were riveting performances by international hip-hop ambassadors, the Philadelphia-based dance Rennie Harris Puremovement and also the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, the Center's resident company band lead by artistic director Sean Jones.

Shelly Garrett's Beauty Shop
May 15-16, 2010 / August Wilson Center


America's most successful black urban stage play had everyone in the aisles choking with laughter. All new for 2010, the story of Shelly Garrett's Beauty Shop continued, as the curling irons got even hotter, the gossip was juicier, the backstabbing was deeper and the he-said-she-said tipped the scales!

Sweet Inspiration: A Symphony of Voices
April 10-11, 2010 / August Wilson Center


Hundreds of people had their spirit renewed at this joyous evening of inspirational music featuring some of Pittsburgh's finest and highly decorated singers and musicians, including: James Ziegler, Deborah Moncrief, Anita Levels, Michael Austin, Nikki Smith-Porter, Curtis Lewis. Jr, Travis Malloy, Ministree, Anthony 'Pops' Mitchell and Trini L. Massie directing "The Remnant," Mt. Ararat's Concert Choir. Curator Dwayne Fulton, minister of music and fine arts at Mount Ararat Baptist Church, presented an evening of songs that reflected life, love, inspiration, freedom and triumph. Also, the August Wilson Center paid special tribute to Ma Valetta O'Kelly and Dr. Curtis R. Lewis, honoring them for their contributions to gospel music in Pittsburgh and throughout the world.

International Festival of Children's Films
March 6, 13-14, 2010 / August Wilson Center


From folktales, to coming of age dramas, to animated shorts, this festival of children's films - gathered from across the globe - included something for the young and the young at heart. The International Festival of Children's Films was comprised of works from China, Canada, Germany, Scotland, Greece, South Africa and the United States. Elizabeth Shepherd, Director of Children's Programs, Northwest Film Forum, Seattle, WA, curated the festival. This festival was also the Pittsburgh premiere of "Whistle Lesson" by Pittsburgh native Nikki Young. The Pittsburgh premiere of "Maharal" was co-sponsored by the 17th Annual Pittsburgh Jewish Israeli Film Festival.

Habib Koité
March 13, 2010 / August Wilson Center


From all across the region, hundreds were able to transcend cultural boundaries with Malian guitar virtuoso/singer Habib Koité. Hailed for his magnetism and musical mastery, Koité integrated live on stage the sounds of the Western world, such as jazz and blues, with flamenco, samba and the diverse regional styles of his native Mali. As a griot or storyteller, he used his three-octave voice and guitar skills to recount the ancient tales, legends and myths of the Malian people.

Tribute to Phyllis Hyman
February 19-20, 2010 / August Wilson Center


Hundreds of people rediscovered the regal beauty and vocal sophistication of the late Phyllis Hyman. Whether in a recording studio, on the Broadway stage or under the soft glow of an intimate jazz club, the Philadelphia-born, Pittsburgh-bred chanteuse sang with the kind of power and vulnerability rarely seen in today's music industry. Dynamic Pittsburgh-based vocalists Deborah Moncrief, Laila Bey, Tamara Faulkner, Teresa Hawthorne and musical director Alton Merrell paid tribute to the singer by performing 16 of her greatest hits, including "No One Can Love You More" and "You Know How to Love Me".

Tribute Concert: A Symphonic Celebration of African American Culture
January 26, 2010 / Heinz Hall


This celebratory performance showcased a fusion of musical styles that reflect the diversity of music. This year's concert - the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's fourth--featured local jazz trumpeter Sean Jones performing with the PSO. The program also included Adolphus Hailstork's Symphony No. 3 in its entirety and selections by George Gershwin and jazz legend Duke Ellington. "Tribute" is presented in association with the August Wilson Center for African American Culture and the Hill House Association.

August Wilson Center Free Day
January 18, 2010 / August Wilson Center


Courtesy of the Citizens Bank Foundation, approximately 2,500 people enjoyed free admission to the August Wilson Center on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The masses toured the exhibit galleries, participated in arts and crafts, listened to storytellers, enjoyed African dance and drumming and watched a film about Dr. King in our state-of-the-art Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Education Center.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet: Signs and Wonders
January 15-16, 2009 / August Wilson Center


This San Francisco-based dance company brought forth works that re-imagine, reinvigorate and reinvent ballet. Originally commissioned by the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Signs and Wonders incorporated indigenous drumming and vocals from a myriad of African tribes, as it examined the relationship between contemporary ballet and African musical traditions.

Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra - A Holiday Jazz Concert
December 17, 2009 / August Wilson Center


The August Wilson Center's resident big band - Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra - featuring artistic director/trumpeter Sean Jones - ushered in the Holiday Season with a special concert for the entire family featuring new and traditional Holiday favorites. Also featured were the extraordinary sounds of a guest vocalist Carolyn Perteete.

Regina Carter's Reverse Thread
December 12, 2009 / August Wilson Center


Internationally acclaimed jazz violinist Regina Carter and her quartet performed pieces from her Paganini project along with music from Mali, Senegal and Uganda. Carter brought sold-out audiences to their feet with a musical style Time magazine called "probingly intelligent" and "breathtakingly daring." This concert was presented in partnership with MCG Jazz.

Season Feature: The Aunt Ester Cycle
November 10-22, 2009 / August Wilson Center


In November, the August Wilson Center celebrated August Wilson through the exploration of his legendary character, Aunt Ester, with passion, commitment, style and sacrifice. For 10 days, the August Wilson Center stage was graced with established veterans, emerging brilliance and grand community women new to performance. The Aunt Ester Cycle offered full productions -- by visiting theater companies -- of three plays (two performances each), and something new -- "The Women of the Hill," a stage piece by the noted Ping Chong & Company that stages real-life stories that embody the legacy of the strong women at the heart of African American culture. The two-week event also included two symposia: The Legend of Aunt Ester and Reconstructing King Hedley II. The full productions included: St. Louis Black Repertory, "Gem of the Ocean," directed by Andrea Frye; Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, "Two Trains Running," directed by Mark Clayton Southers, starring Broadway's Anthony Chisholm and Eugene Lee and Penumbra Theatre, "Radio Golf," directed by Lou Bellamy.

The Marc Bamuthi Joseph/Living Word Project
the break/s: a mixtape for the stage
October 29, 2009 / August Wilson Center


This was a multimedia excursion through the land of hip-hop with poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph as our guide. A favorite performer on HBO's "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry," Bamuthi deftly combined movement, spoken word and personal storytelling to deliver a living history of the hip-hop generation.

Contract Resistance - A Hip-Hop Soul Collective
October 23, 2009 / August Wilson Center


The beats were tight and the grooves smooth as the August Wilson Center, the Shadow Lounge and Urban Kontent Brand presented an evening of hip-hop and soul collective performances featuring hip-hop artists Formula412, J-San & The Analogue Sons, Chen-Lo, Common Wealth Family, Kellee Maize, DJ Selecta provided the house music and Yah Lioness & Gene Stovall hosted the evening.

Drum Talk '09 World Rhythm Festival: One Heart, Many Rhythms
October 15-18, 2009 / August Wilson Center


The international rhythms of master drummers from across the globe were felt at the August Wilson Center in an extraordinary four-day weekend of master classes and exhilarating concerts featuring Giovanni Hidalgo, Glenn Velez, Zakira Hussein, Takumi Kato, The Army Drill Band, The Irish Drummers, Native-American: Rainbow Eagle and more. This event was co-presented with Afrika Yetu.

An Evening of Poetry
October 14, 2009 / August Wilson Center


Three dynamic poets shared the spotlight at the brand new August Wilson Center. Visiting authors Afaa Michael Weaver and Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, and Pittsburgh's own Terrance Hayes were featured. These three award-winning poets, each with a unique contemporary style, delivered an unforgettable program that's definitely inspired the entire room. This event was co-sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra
October 8, 2009 / August Wilson Center


Trumpeter Sean Jones took the helm as artistic director of the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, a resident company of the August Wilson Center. PJO comprises 16 brilliant musicians and performs pieces highlighting the genre that fed August Wilson's soul. Featured guest performers include Pittsburgh jazz greats Roger Humphries, Nelson Harrison and Nathan Davis.

Philadanco!
September 26 & 27, 2009 / August Wilson Center


The Philadelphia Dance Company returned to Pittsburgh to celebrate its 40th anniversary season with a new work from Urban Bush Women's Founder and Artistic Director Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. Hundreds experienced a performance filled with the kind of athleticism, passion and contagious exuberance that has made Philadanco, as described by The New York Times, "a venerable dance institution".

August Wilson Center's Grand Opening and World Premiere Tribute Ceremony & Celebration
September 17 & 19, 2009 / August Wilson Center


The August Wilson Center for African American Culture celebrated its grand opening with a World Premiere Tribute Ceremony hosted by actors Delroy Lindo and Anna Maria Horsford. The Center that bears August Wilson's name honored his legacy with a tribute ceremony and celebrated its opening as the newest contribution to the cultural landscape. The evening's entertainment included the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra, young African American and Latino musicians performing masterpieces by Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart, as well as works by composers of color, such as Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, George Theophilus Walker and Michael Abels. Broadway performer, pop vocalist and Pittsburgh native Billy Porter also performed, along with the August Wilson Center World Chorus and the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble. Then honorary chairs were Constanza Romero Wilson and Milt and Nancy Washington. On September 19, hundreds came out to the Center to enjoy a free Community Day for the public.

Lalah Hathaway
September 10 & 11, 2009 / August Wilson Center


Hundreds slipped into the rich, silky sounds of songstress Lalah Hathaway and Pittsburgh's own Carolyn Perteete as they kicked off the inaugural season of the brand new August Wilson Center. Hathaway hypnotizes with a soulful, jazzy repertoire rooted in the music of her native Chicago and filled with endless possibilities. Over the course of nearly 20 years, four albums, hit songs ("Baby Don't Cry", "I'm Coming Back") and countless concerts, Hathaway has garnered critical acclaim and a number one single with her burgeoning classic rendition of Luther Vandross's "Forever, For Always, For Love" from the 2004 tribute album of the same name. The daughter of 70s soul trailblazer Donny Hathaway and accomplished musician Eulaulah Hathaway, Lalah maneuvers her instrument from basement bottom lows to soaring gospel highs, captivating audiences in the process.

Chaka Khan
2009 PSO Community Partners Concert
June 25, 2009 / Heinz Hall


The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra featured the R&B sounds of Chaka Khan and the winner of the renowned 2009 Sphinx Competition, cellist Tony Rymer. The 2009 PSO Community Partners Concert Program was hosted by Honorary Chair Mr. Lynn C. Swann.

August Wilson Center Community Open House
May 30, 2009 / August Wilson Center


At this fun, festive, block party event approximately 10,000 people came out to take a first look at the brand-new August Wilson Center building and celebrate the art, culture and history of African Americans and people of African descent worldwide. Thousands brought their families to the new building for tours, children's craft activities, storytellers, art and food markets, and a full day of entertainment inside and outside the Center, which opens in September.

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, A Dance Company
May 2, 2009 / Byham Theater


This inspired evening of dance was choreographed to the music of Pittsburgh legends Billy Strayhorn, Mary Lou Williams, Phyllis Hyman and Ahmad Jamal, and featured classic images of 20th century African American life in Pittsburgh as captured by the renowned photojournalist Charles "Teenie" Harris. The August Wilson Center, Alcoa Foundation and Pittsburgh Dance Council presented this program.

"Tribute" - A Symphonic Celebration of African American Culture
January 27, 2009 / Heinz Hall


This celebratory performance showcased a fusion of musical styles from the orchestral, jazz, gospel, and spiritual music traditions that reflect the diversity of American music. Hundreds heard the PSO, with jazz pianist Marcus Roberts and his Trio perform James P. Johnson's "Yamekraw," as well as George Gershwin's famous Rhapsody in Blue as they have never heard it before - with a jazz trio twist! This special performance also featured the amazing sounds of the Mt. Ararat Baptist Church Mass Choir, who performed an arrangement of Richard Smallwood's "Bless the Lord" and the anthem "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing." The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with the August Wilson Center, presented this program.

Art Kings of the Hill
Gallery 209/9


This exhibition featured rarely seen art treasures created by more than a dozen African American men who produced a stream of visual art inspired by life in Pittsburgh's historic Hill District during its heyday. Many of these talented artists knew famed playwright August Wilson, or resided within blocks of his childhood home in the Hill. Through sculpture, painting, assemblage, photography, mixed media and the making of musical instruments, these artists brought to life Pittsburgh's own Black Visual Arts Renaissance. Art Kings of the Hill: Inspired by Life in Pittsburgh's Hill District was curated by Christine McCray-Bethea, an art consultant, salvage artist and nationally known quilt maker. There was a presentation of work by: Yoruba Batonga, Ernest Bey, Biko, Norman Brown, Dingbat, George Gist, Bo Hill, James McCoy, Jorge Meyers, Thad Mosley, Carlos Peterson, Amir Rashidd, Keith "Pizza" Smith and Charles "Teenie" Harris.

Charles "Teenie" Harris Centennial Birthday Celebration
Gallery 209/9

In honor of celebrated African American photographer Charles "Teenie" Harris' centennial birthday, the August Wilson Center for African American Culture displayed a portion of the Harris photograph collection at Gallery 209/9.
Teenie Harris, who died in 1998, would have been 100 years old on July 2, 2008. The Teenie Harris photographs on display were from the Center's past exhibition, LOOKING FORWARD: Images of Children by Charles "Teenie" Harris. The photos also came from the Center's first touring exhibition, entitled Rhapsody in Black and White: The Photographs of Charles "Teenie" Harris. This exhibition pays homage to Harris, whose photographs captured life in Pittsburgh's African American community over five decades of the 20th century. The images on view were from the Charles "Teenie" Harris Archive of Carnegie Museum of Art.

The exhibition complements One Shot, a new feature-length dance work inspired by Teenie Harris, choreographed by Ronald K. Brown and brought to life by the members of Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, A Dance Company. One Shot and Rhapsody in Black and White are touring the United States, and will be performed during the August Wilson Center's inaugural season in the new facility in 2009. Rhapsody in Black and White is owned and organized by the August Wilson Center with the help of the Carnegie Museum of Art and PMG Arts Management.

Oral Histories Project Collecting Fairs
September 6 & 20, 2008
October 4 & 18, 2008
November 1, 2008

In the fall of 2008, the August Wilson Center for African American Culture scoured Pittsburgh and surrounding communities to collect memories, stories and photos that may become part of the exhibitions when the Center's new building opens in spring 2009. The Center held "collecting fairs" in several communities, including Brookline, North Side, East Liberty, McKees Rocks and the Hill District. Many people in each community stopped by the collecting fair to share their great story and treasured family photos. All that attended learned from experts about collecting and saw a sneak preview of what there is to see and do at the August Wilson Center before it opens. At the fairs, attendees discovered how they could leave their imprint on the Center's upcoming programming.

Angelique Kidjo
October 29, 2008 / Byham Theater

Angelique Kidjo's striking voice, vibrant stage presence and fluency in multiple language takes audiences on an enthralling musical journey that spans the globe. The Benin native derives inspiration from her African roots, as well as many diverse musical styles, from salsa and samba, to reggae and rock-and-roll. Peter Gabriel sums it up best: "Angelique Kidjo's spirit is irrepressible and she brings life to everything she touches." The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, in collaboration with the August Wilson Center, presented this program.

Off The Wall: Dael Orlandersmith
September 26, 2008 / the Warhol

The New York Times has called Orlandersmith "an otherworldly messenger, perhaps the sorcerer's apprentice, or a heaven-sent angel with the devil in her." Weaving new tales, with the best from her acclaimed solo work, Stoop Stories offered a glimpse into the lives of people from her past, present and imagination. One of the truly groundbreaking, unique voices in contemporary American drama, Orlandersmith, also a returning Off the Wall artist, was one of the first to transition from a spoken word artist to a nationally produced playwright. Dael was a 2002 Pulitzer Prize award finalist for her work, Yellowman. The Andy Warhol Museum, in collaboration with the August Wilson Center, presented this program.

America I AM Across America
August 20, 2008 / PNC Park

The August Wilson Center hosted America I AM Across America, a free traveling exhibition preview leading to the "America I AM: The African American Imprint" museum exhibition, during its visit to Pittsburgh on its nationwide tour. The "mini museum on wheels" brought the exhibition's inspirational message to the hearts of more than 40 communities across the country. This unique traveling exhibit featured a collection of historically significant African American documents and artifacts, music, and cultural memorabilia that highlight every period of U.S. history. This exhibition provided visitors with a riveting and revealing presentation of the wide-ranging impact African Americans have had on the nation and the world.

Black Clay in PA: A Dialogue in Flux
Gallery 209/9

Curated by Dr. Sharif Bey of Winston Salem State University, a Pittsburgh native who discovered ceramics as a teenager through Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, this exhibition presented vessels, sculptures and installation art by nine African American ceramic artists who are from or reside in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. The cultural history of these artists and clay's potential to inform their personal excavations of identity were explored through a broad range of processes and techniques. Several of the artists employed traditional African ceramics processes and hand-building techniques, and drew from their interests in African rituals, African design and symbolism, slave narratives and folklore. Others, however, used European techniques while drawing inspiration from art history, popular culture, media representations, graffiti, and religious, political and historical references.

The 2nd Annual August Wilson Birthday Celebration
An Evening with Alfre Woodard

April 26, 2008 / Byham Theater / 8pm

Screen Actors Guild Best Actress Award-winner for her stunning performance in the Hallmark Hall of Fame Production of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson, Alfre Woodard discussed her successful career in an up close and personal conversation moderated by Lynne Hayes-Freeland of KDKA-TV2. This special evening also featured a short film that celebrates the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright's life and legacy, and the winners of the August Wilson Poetry Contest reading their poems.

There were also free programs on April 25 and April 26 where Dr. Kimberly Ellis, Rita Gregory, Sala Udin and Chawley P. Williams share their memories of August Wilson, and children enjoyed art-making activities and storytelling by Temujin the Storyteller.

Spirit of Uganda
March 9, 2008 / Byham Theater

"Invigorating the stage with that elusive thing called joy" (The New York Times), Spirit of Uganda presented a riveting program of music and dance for audiences of all ages. To the melodic tones of standing drums, with dramatic choreography, bright, layered rhythms, and gorgeous call-and-response vocals, a vibrant cast of performers, ages 8-18, oscillated between ferocity and softness as they brought to life the sounds and movements of East Africa. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, in collaboration with the August Wilson Center, presented this program.

SoulScapes by women of Visions, Inc.
Gallery 209/9

The August Wilson Center presented SoulScapes, an exhibition by Women of Visions, Inc. from October 2007 through February 2008. The term soul in the Black vernacular often refers to a sense of ethnic pride in language, customs, religion, music and social consciousness, but soul can also be found in art, nature, objects and daily expression. This exhibition by African American women analyzed the many manifestations of soul through an array of oil, watercolor and acrylic paintings, ceramics, computer-generated and silver gelatin photographs, fiber, collage and mixed media works. Marica Jackson, a ceramic artist and president of Women of Visions, Inc., co-curated SoulScapes with Cecile Shellman, a specialist in aqueous media.

Urban Bush Women/Compagnie Jant-Bi
February 9, 2008 / Byham Theater

Urban Bush Women/Compagnie Jant-Bi: Les ecailles de la memoire (The scales of memory) is a transcontinental collaboration between two dance companies charting fresh choreographic territory. Brooklyn's all-female company, Urban Bush Women, under Founding Artistic Director Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, and Senegal's all-male company, Compagnie Jant-Bi, led by Artistic Director Germaine Acogny, share a source of inspiration: the role of identity within a community. Their combined work, Les ecailles de la memoire (The scales of memory), is rich with West African movements, rhythms and styles, creating a rare and unforgettable dance experience. The Pittsburgh Dance Council, in collaboration with the August Wilson Center, presented this program.

A Tribute to African American Heroes
January 15, 2008 / Heinz Hall

Conductor Daniel Meyer and the world-class Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra paid tribute to a group of African American heroes in a celebratory evening of words and music on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. With an interfaith gospel choir and special guest artists, this very special concert honored the spirit of African American culture. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with the August Wilson Center, presented this program.

First Voice: A Pittsburgh International Black Arts Festival
October 10-20, 2007 / New Hazlett Theater

As a "first voice" institution, one in which the people of a culture speak for themselves about their art, history and heritage, the August Wilson Center honored the artists who conceived and produced the projects in its first festival. Curated by Janera Solomon, the 11-day event showcased an innovative and eclectic blend of performances and installations by artists of African descent, who are based inside and outside the Pittsburgh region. Included were theater, music, film, spoken word, dance, hip hop, the visual arts, educational activities and much more. This festival included performances by Awadagin Pratt, Tony Award-nominated actor Anthony Chisholm, Roger Humphries, Big Daddy Kane, Kyle Abraham, Nora Chipaumire, Deryck Tines, Step Afrika!, Chassity Cheatham a.k.a. Yah Lioness and so many more.

Download First Voice festival brochure here!

PHILADANCO
September 22, 2007 / 8 pm / Byham Theater

PHILADANCO, an internationally known dance company, highly respected for its exceptional skill, training and athleticism, brought its powerful and spectacular performance to Pittsburgh for one night only. In this performance, Philadanco included two world premieres: Zane A. Booker's In Between Time, which presents "the choreographer's view of utopia," and 2007 Pennsylvania Artist of the Year Rennie Harris' Philadelphia Experiment, an energetic hip hop piece that alludes to the rhythms, posture, physicality and speed of the city of Philadelphia. Also on the repertoire for this event was Talley Beatty's Southern Landscape, a dramatic dance set to Negro spirituals exploring the brief empowerment of freed slaves during Reconstruction followed by brutal repercussions inflicted by the newly formed Ku Klux Klan, and Gene Hill Sagan's La Valse, a passionate battle of the sexes.

Charles Dutton
Goodnight Mr. Wilson
May 23, 2007 / 8 pm / Byham Theater

In this brand-new production, the Emmy and NAACP Award winning actor and director, Charles S. Dutton, paid tribute to the late Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, August Wilson. A Tony Award Best Actor nominee for his roles in the Broadway productions of Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and The Piano Lesson, Dutton is perhaps best known for his hit TV series, "Roc". His other screen credits include "The L.A. Riot Spectacular," "Against the Ropes," "A Time to Kill," "A Low Down Dirty Shame," "Nick of Time," "Blind Faith" and "Black Dog".

Jerry Quickley
Live from the FRONT! April 14, 2007 / 8 pm / The Andy Warhol Museum

In Live from the Front, Quickley recounted his actual visit to Iraq before and during "shock and awe" to cover the war for KPFK and the Pacifica Radio Network. Through music, poetry, video, a unique insight and powerful performance style, he told of his experiences and ultimate expulsion from Iraq at the beginning of the conflict.

Drakensberg Boys' Choir
March 22, 2007 / 7 pm / Allegheny Center Alliance Church, North Side


In association with the Children's Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh – the region's premier children's chorus – the August Wilson Center welcomed the world-class Drakensberg Boys' Choir of South Africa for a unique family concert. Whether singing classical, rock, pop, jazz, African or folk music, the "Drakies" thrilled the audience with their diverse repertoire. Fresh from an early March performance at the exclusive American Choral Directors Association National Convention in Miami, the Drakensberg Boys' Choir performed in Pittsburgh as part of a 15-city tour of the eastern United States. Proceeds from the tour will fund their school in South Africa, a private educational institution that combines academics, sports and music. The program also included a performance by the Children's Festival Chorus.

The Drakensberg Boys' Choir's Pittsburgh concert was made possible by a grant from the Buhl Foundation.

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company
colôr-ógraphy, n. The Dances of Jacob Lawrence
March 10, 2007 / 8 pm / Byham Theater, Cultural District

This dynamic evening – a Pittsburgh premiere – featured four contemporary dance works inspired by the powerful paintings of Jacob Armstead Lawrence (1917-2000), one of the 20th century's great artists and an astute storyteller of the struggle for freedom and justice in America. DCDC's new production benefited from the different creative approaches of four choreographers – Donald Byrd, Rennie Harris, Reggie Wilson and DCDC Artistic Director Kevin Ward. Together, their works created a visual feast of movement that illuminated and commented on some of Lawrence's most famous paintings, including The Migration of the Negro (1941), Harriet Tubman, Alice and Her Tormentors, Wounded Man, Taboo, Dreams and American Revolution.

Aaron McGruder
Creator of "The Boondocks"

The August Wilson Center for African American Culture regrets to announce the cancellation of "An Evening with "The Boondocks" Creator Aaron McGruder, scheduled for Saturday, February 17, 2007 at 8 pm at the Byham Theater. The event is cancelled due to the artist's illness and will not be rescheduled.

Sweet Honey in the Rock
January 14, 2007 / 7:00pm / Byham Theater, Cultural District

The soulful a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock comprises dedicated performing artists, fierce songwriters, musicians and activists who perform and improvise a broad range of vocal styles, including African chants, spirituals, traditional gospel, jazz, rhythm and blues and hip-hop. This Grammy® Award-winning group blends lyrics, movement and narrative that relates history, chides injustice, encourages activism and praises love.

Celebration of Visual Traditions
September 29 - December 31, 2006 / Gallery 209/9, Cultural District

A touring exhibition featuring 40 pieces by 25 emerging and established artists of color, Celebration of Visual Traditions was organized by The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts' Preserving Diverse Cultures Division, and promoted the visual traditions of multicultural communities in Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh-based artists included: Leslie Ansley, JoAnne Bates, Tina Brewer, Vanessa German, LaVerne Kemp, Mary Martin, and Ruth Richardson

Carmen Jones
November 17 & 18, 2006 / 8:00pm / Byham Theater, Cultural District

Pittsburgh Opera Theater's new production, directed by OTP Artistic Director Jonathan Eaton and designed by Albert Filoni, featured a brilliant cast and chorus led by Metropolitan Opera National Council audition winner and Pittsburgh resident Denise Sheffey Powell in the title role.

Will Power: Poet to Playwright
October 14, 2006 / 8:00pm / New Hazlett Theater, Northside

A Pioneer of Hip Hop Theater and an award winning actor, rapper, and playwright, Will Power presented an intimate autobiographical performance.

Fashion Africana: Tribal Bazaar
September 22 & 23, 2006 / New Hazlett Theater, Northside

Fashion Africana where Culture met couture, a global celebration of the beauty and diversity of the African Diaspora, featured African-inspired design, dance and music inspired by South Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean.

LOOKING FORWARD: Charles "Teenie" Harris' images of children
April 28 - July 15, 2006 / 209/9th Street Gallery

"Looking Forward" featured over 50 photographs of Pittsburgh children and youth, taken by Teenie Harris from the 1930s-1970s. These photographs were selected from the 6,000+ transparencies that have been identified to date by Carnegie Museum of Art. It also included several prints that had not yet been identified - although many of the thousands of visitors who viewed the exhibit were able to help identify subjects in the photos. The images on view in the exhibition were from the Charles "Teenie" Harris Archive of Carnegie Museum of Art. The exhibition was organized with the help of Carnegie Museum of Art.

IMANI WINDS
April 21 & 22, 2006 / Kelly-Strayhorn Theater

In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Josephine Baker, Imani Winds, the Grammy-nominated woodwind quintet unveiled its latest project, "Josephine Baker: A Life of Le Jazz Hot." The World Premiere took place in Pittsburgh at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty, and featured renowned jazz vocalist and composer, René Marie. These performances were presented by The August Wilson Center for African American Culture, and sponsored by PNC Financial Services Group. "A Life of Le Jazz Hot" paid tribute to the legacy of Josephine Baker, one of the most important, vibrant and controversial African American performers in history. Her impact on the world — from her electrifying dance style to her dedication to the French Underground Resistance to her compassion for all the world's children — were all celebrated in this unique performance odyssey. The multi-faceted program reflected the areas of Ms. Baker's own artistry, including music, dance and drama. "A Life of Le Jazz Hot" featured René Marie singing signature works of Ms. Baker as well as her own compositions. Additional original music by Valerie Coleman accompanied a solo dance work performed by Rachael Ashley, and choreographed by the award-winning Christopher Huggins. Jeff Scott's original scores accompanied film footage of Ms. Baker herself.

CeCe Winans
March 11, 2006 / Heinz Hall

Following her 2006 Grammy Award wins for Best Gospel Performance and Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album, the sensational CeCe Winans brought her inspirational music, beautiful voice and heavenly music to Pittsburgh for one night only.

EXTREME CANVAS
Hand-painted Movie Posters from Ghana From the Collection of Ernie Wolfe III
January 27-April 1, 2006 / 209/9th Street

The August Wilson Center's third visual arts exhibition introduced Pittsburgh to an exceptional twist on form and function in an amazing juxtaposition of traditional African art and modernity. In the 1980s a group of entrepreneurs in Ghana created small-scale, mobile film distribution empires, hitting the road with videocassettes, television monitors, portable gas-powered generators and rolled-up, hand-painted, artist-signed canvas posters. This new medium created the first opportunity for some of the best young painters in Ghana to express themselves on a public scale. In the frequent absence of an original image upon which to base the work they had been commissioned to produce, the artists inevitably created cinematic paintings that were largely interpretive and imagination-driven. For over a decade art collector Ernie Wolfe III traveled Africa's West Coast in search of these "Extreme Canvases," hand-painted movie posters that originated in Ghana.

Universes' Slanguage
March 24 & 25, 2006 / Kelly-Strayhorn Theater
Co-presented with The Andy Warhol Museum

Universes - the boundary-smashing, multi-disciplined performance ensemble - explored the gamut of language and culture in their latest creation, Slanguage. Fusing poetry, jazz riffs, hip-hop, politics, down-home blues and Spanish boleros, Slanguage painted a vivid picture of the sights and sounds of New York City. A uniquely exuberant and insightful experience, Universes' Slanguage integrated theater and the street with humor and emotional truth. The Universes invited old and new generations of theater-makers as well as theater-goers and newcomers to reshape the face of traditional American theater.

An Evening with Spike Lee
February 16, 2006 / Byham Theater

The AACC presented An Evening with Spike Lee, a discussion by one of the world's most recognized filmmakers and one of Hollywood's most influential and innovative voices in film. Lee talked about his work as a form of art and social commentary, and the audience had a chance to ask questions during a talk-back session following his presentation. Lee's seminal work dates back to his entry into the world of American cinema and continues today: She's Gotta Have It, School Daze, Do The Right Thing, Mo Better Blues, Malcolm X, Bamboozled and others. He also spoke about his new documentary examining how race and politics collided in the aftermath of 2005's Hurricane Katrina. The film will air on August 29, 2006 on HBO - the one-year anniversary of the country's worst natural disaster.

Women of a New Tribe
September 30, 2005 - January 7, 2006 / 209/9th Street Gallery

The AACC's second visual arts show honored African American women, their strength, beauty and contributions to American culture, through an exhibition of striking black and white photographs. The exhibition of over 60 images featured dozens of women from the Pittsburgh region who have sustained the creative legacy of the African American community of Western Pennsylvania between the early 1970s through the end of the 20th century.

Handspring & Sologon Puppet Companies TALL HORSE
October 14 & 15, 2005 / Byham Theater

Co-Presented with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the AACC presented this stunning showcase one of Africa's oldest puppetry traditions-- the Bambara puppetry of Mali --which included a mix of magnificent puppets, live actors, captivating costumes and evocative music and dance.

Alonzo King's LINES Ballet
October 1, 2005 / Byham Theater

Co-Presented with Pittsburgh Dance Council, the AACC welcomed Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, who pushed the limits of ballet, with passionate choreography and glamorous technique, all set to exotic music from around the world.

Read Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Review http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05276/581587.stm

Generations: Six African American Artists
June 9 - August 20, 2005 / 209/9th Street Gallery

The AACC's inaugural visual arts exhibition reversed the roles of artist and curator, asking three Pittsburgh-based African American artists to select artists whose work they admired to be exhibited along side of their own work. The resulting exhibition, Generations, explored what it is about the work of others that inspires ones own aesthetic muse. Generations, which received both critical and audience acclaim, featured the work of Jo-Anne L. Bates, Tina Brewer, Lonnie Graham, Mary Martin, Thaddeus Mosley and Anire Mosley,

Read Pittsburgh City Paper Review

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Read Pittsburgh Tribune-Review review

Showtime at the Apollo on Tour
May 24, 2005 / Benedum Center

Co-presented with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Showtime at the Apollo On Tour brought the original Apollo Amateur Night format to the Benedum Center stage. 19 acts were chosen from the over 100 local acts who auditioned. In the end, the audience chose 18-year old hip-hop dancer Gabriel Ash as the winner. Ash, a resident of Pittsburgh's Hazelwood neighborhood, received $1,000 and two round-trip airline tickets to perform at New York City's famed Apollo Theater.

Sekou Sundiata: blessing the boats
May 5,6,7 / City Theater

Sponsored by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and presented in association with The Center for Minority Health, The National Kidney Foundation of Western PA and Center for Organ Recovery & Education, the AACC's presentation of Sundiata's blessing the boats was acclaimed as educational, entertaining and inspiring. This performance was inspired by s personal battle with illness of kidney failure, recovery through organ transplant, and the panic, chaos, hope and love that defined his journey. Told with honesty and humor, blessing the boats blended poetry, comedy and spoken word performance to portray his powerful story. With Sekou Sundiata's poetic voice, blessing the boats used the power of language to encourage discussions and thoughts about issuesSundiataessaycompelling manyhealth, history, mortality, friendship and love. A post-performance for a Q&A with Sekou Sundiata, Led by Stephen B. Thomas, Director, of the Center Minority Health was held on May 5.

Ralph Lemon: Come home Charley Patton
March 19, 2005 / Byham Theater

The AACC presented Lemon's Come home Charley Patton, the final part of his acclaimed 10-year pan-cultural project, The Geography Trilogy. Come home Charley Patton, explored the complex history and rich culture of the American South through a contemporary, post-modern lens with a mix of storytelling, literature, dance, video, digital animation and a range of music sources. Come home Charley Patton was co-commissioned by the African American Cultural Center.

Read Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Review

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
February 15 & 16, 2005 / Benedum Center

Co-Presented with Pittsburgh Dance Council, the AACC welcomed internationally acclaimed ambassadors of American culture, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The astounding program included "Love Stories," "Treading," "Juba" and "Revalations." On February 16th, the AACC held a benefit event, "Spend and Evening with Alvin Ailey," where the over 150 guests experienced the evening's superb program, then enjoyed a backstage reception, where they were joined by many dancers from the Alvin Ailey company.

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Marc Bamuthi Joseph - The Spoken World
January 15, 2005 / Andy Warhol Museum

Presented in collaboration with Andy Warhol Museum, the AACC welcomed lauded spoken-word artist, slam poet and choreographer Marc Bamuthi Joseph. This performance kicked off Warhol's 2005 "Off the Wall" performance art series.

Read Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Review

Fashion Africana 2004
November 7, 2004 / Carnegie Music Hall Foyer

Produced by Utopia Model Agency and co-presented with Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and the 2004 Carnegie International, the AACC presented Fashion Africana 2004, a global celebration of design, dance and music. The evening paid a unique tribute to "The Lost Boys of Sudan," Sudanese refugees who have found a home in Pittsburgh. 14 fashion and jewelry designers presented custom-created fashions inspired by the journey of these brave young men. The audience was wowed by designs influenced by the culture of the Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and America. The evening, which was emceed by Monique A. Greenwood, author and former Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine, also featured musical performances by Afrika Yetu and dance performances by choreographer Kyle Abraham, Pittsburgh Dance Ensemble and Expressions Contemporary Dance Company. VIP ticket buyers were treated to a private tour of Carnegie International 2004 artists Julie Mehretu and Senga Nengudi, a pre-show reception and post-show party, featuring African and African-inspired music spun by DJ Soy Sos.

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence
October 29 & 30, 2004 / Pittsburgh High School for the Creative & Performing Arts (CAPA) Theater

In these two performances, the Ronald K. Brown/Evidence Dance Company performed Come-Ye, a stirring piece co-commissioned by the African American Cultural Center of Greater Pittsburgh, and inspired by the music and legacy of Nina Simone. The program also featured Upside Down and Grace.

Read Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Review

Philadanco
September 18, 2004 / Byham Theater, Pittsburgh

The celebrated Philadelphia Dance Company performed for one night only, with a program featuring We Too Dance: African American Men In Dance.

Dance Review: Philadnaco floods stage with skill. - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 20, 2004

Diversity Revisited
June 9, 2004 / Pittsburgh
Keynote Speaker: Sekou Sundiata

In collaboration with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and as a part of the National Performing Arts Convention, the African American Cultural Center hosted a convening of cultural theorists and specialists to examine the complex issues of cultural diversity in the arts. A summary report on the findings and conclusions from this discussion will be published by the AACC in October.

Dance/USA Showcase
June 11, 2004 / Pittsburgh

As part of the National Performing Arts Convention, the AACC presented several African American dance groups at a Dance Showcase, held at The Pittsburgh Playhouse Theater. Featured groups were Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, Nego Gato, Xpressions Contemporary Dance Company, Rennie Harris Puremovement, and Pittsburgh Dance Ensemble.

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The Exonerated
May 24, 2004 / CAPA High School Theater, Pittsburgh

The AACC co-presented a special reading of the Broadway play, "The Exonerated," produced and directed by Tracy Brigden, Artistic Director of City Theater. This event was in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Opera's presentation of Dead Man Walking.  AACC President and CEO Neil Barclay led a discussion following the reading.

Sweet Honey in the Rock
May 16th 2004 / Byham Theater, Pittsburgh

The AACC co-presented this Grammy Award-winning female African American a capella ensemble with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Pittsburgh Post Gazzette Review

Los Hombres Calientes
April 20, 2004 / Byham Theatre, Pittsburgh

In collaboration with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the AACC presented this evening of Afro-Cuban and Latin Jazz.

Los Hombres Calientes Website

When the Spirits Dance Mambo
April 16, 2004 / 937 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh

The AACC presented a screening of this 90-minute documentary, which provides a comprehensive understanding of the rich sacred traditions of the varied African practices that were taken to Cuba.  The evening included a discussion with the film's director and co-producer Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, and dancing.

Reflections in Courage: A Commemoration of Brown vs. Board of Education
March 25, 2004 / 937 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh

The AACC co-hosted this gathering of freedom singers and civil rights leaders. Guests included: Minnijean Brown Trickey (one of the "Little Rock Nine"), Vivian Malone Jones (a student barred from the school door in Alabama by Governor George Wallace), Willie Shepperson (involved in Prince Edward County, Virginia Case, where public schools were shut down for four years rather than to desegregate) and Rutha Mae Harris (of the Freedom Singers).

August in February
February 17, 2004 / Byham Theater, Pittsburgh

Produced in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, this was an evening of staged readings of excerpts from August Wilson's plays, directed by Mark Southers. The AACC also sponsored a lectuee by Dr. Kimberly Ellis, niece of August Wilson, and University of Pittsburgh Professor.

Ralph Lemon Residency
February 1-13, 2004

During this commissioning residency, Ralph Lemon continued work on the development of his latest piece, Geography: Part III.

Free Jazz Concerts in Conjunction with the Teenie Harris Archive Project
September 25, 2003 and October 30, 2003 / Carnegie Museum of Art

In collaboration with the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, the AACC produced two free evenings of great jazz inspired by the photographs of Charles "Teenie" Harris and the sounds of contemporary Pittsburgh jazz musicians. Joe Negri's Quartet and the MCG Pittsburgh Jazz Legacy Project Big Band performed.