Arts & Culture

Arts and culture reporting from 90.5 WESA.

Visitors to the Carnegie Museum of Art are being asked to take photos, share experiences, and eat free cake as part of the museum’s two new projects.

Debuting February 9 and 21 respectively,  20/20: Celebrating Two Decades of the Heinz Architectural Center and Oh Snap! Your Take on Our Photographs are designed to help visitors see a trip to the galleries as part of a conversation.

Editor and critic John Allison works on the Sunday Books section at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Though much of his week is spent sifting through boxes of galleys for forthcoming books, it hasn't dimmed his enthusiasm for the printed word.

David Lodge, Nice Work 

Night Market Will Feature Art, Food, And Curling

Jan 21, 2013

Project Pop Up is back again this week with the third Night Market in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Gallery Crawl. This event will feature many food and craft vendors along with a curling demonstration outside its new location with the musicians' group Symbiotic Collusion on 7th Street.

Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, the sponsor of Project Pop Up, said this event will be slightly smaller than the last, but will still offer the same quality of talent.

Let Freedom Sing for MLK Day

Jan 21, 2013

The sixth annual Let Freedom Sing event is a set of two concerts performed in the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, aimed at bringing together different cross-sections of the Pittsburgh region—young and old; black and white; urban and suburban.

The first concert was held Saturday in East Liberty to a capacity audience. Monday night's concert will be held at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville.

Kris Rust, choral director of Franklin Regional as well as the co-founder of this event, feels many kids don’t see the significance of MLK day.

Peter Kope and Michele de la Reza are the co-founders and artistic directors of Attack Theatre. Their upcoming show draws heavily on opera, a genre that not so long ago was considered popular entertainment.

Ron David, Opera For Beginners 

Penguins on Parade at Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

Jan 18, 2013

With the cold temperature, the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium is letting its penguins out to get some fresh air. Every weekend in January and February, the penguins come out of their enclosure and walk outside, whether it’s clear or snowy.

“We’ll bring them out to play in the snow, and it’s so nice to see them play in the snow, they actually snap at the snowflakes and it enables Pittsburgh folks to come out and see the birds,” said aquarium Curator Dwayne Biggs.

Shady Side Academy math teacher Michele Ament puts her commuting hours to good use listening to audiobooks.

Edmund Morris, Theodore Rex

Stephen Foster's Life Remembered in Lawrenceville

Jan 10, 2013

The life of the country’s first professional songwriter will be remembered when historians, musicians and others gather at the Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville Friday.  The group will mark the impact that Pittsburgh-native Stephen Foster has had on the songs we hear today and the music industry in general.

Foster died 149 years ago Jan 13th.  He was 37 years old at the time, which University of Pittsburgh Center for American Music Director Deane Root thinks is remarkable given the impact he had on the world.

A seasoned journalist and senior lecturer for the University of Pittsburgh’s writing program, Cindy Skrzycki has an eye for a story. Her recent fiction and nonfiction book selections reflect what she teaches her students: Foundationally, good writing is informed writing. 

Joan Clark, Latitudes of Melt

Along with the holiday season, the Arts Coalition of the Alleghenies in Johnstown has wrapped up all of their food drives, but not before the food that was collected was put on display in a unique and unconventional way.

“Since we are the Arts Coalition, we figured we’d do something related to art, so we took all the canned goods and made them into sculptures,” said Michael Bodolosky, Executive Director of the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, one of the locations were the artwork was displayed.

Duquesne University’s Red Masquers is the oldest amateur theater company in Pittsburgh. It’s currently celebrating its 100th season. In that time, a lot has changed for the group, most notably – venue.

“We have floated around on campus from various theaters, we’ve had theaters burn down – twice, theaters ripped down, and we’ve been homeless until around the 1990s when they built a theater for us called Peter Mills Auditorium,” said John Lane, director of theater arts at Duquesne.

Pittsburgh's Saxifrage School is an experiment in higher education, rethinking the concept of college to emphasize purposeful learning and meaningful work. Founding Director Tim Cook's reading reflects that mission:

William Carlos Williams, Collected Poems

Pageantry and celebration return to downtown Pittsburgh this New Year's Eve with the Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2013.

First Night director Darcy Kucenic said families can choose from a number of activities early on in the night, including hands-on crafts, art displays, and musical performances at the Byham Theater and the Benedum Center.

Warhol Museum Ties Pittsburgh to Asia

Dec 28, 2012

The Andy Warhol Museum is using a traveling exhibition to connect students in Pittsburgh with students in Asia in a way that museum officials feel Warhol himself would have approved.  The retrospective “Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal” is spending two years visiting five different cities and the museum is linking students in each of the host cities with students at Pittsburgh’s High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA).

More than ten years of work has already gone into archiving the work of Pittsburgh photographer Teenie Harris, but more needs to be done. To that end, the Carnegie Museum of Art has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which will eventually fund a full-time archivist specifically for the Teenie Harris collection.

Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer and author of The Paris of Appalachia: Pittsburgh in the Twenty-First Century, talks about how fiction can impart a true sense of place, and the poetry of former Pennsylvania State Poet Samuel Hazo.

Kaui Hart Hemmings, The Descendants

Point State Park Fountain to Flow Once Again this June

Dec 21, 2012

The grand reopening celebration of the Point State Park fountain is set for June 7, 2013. The fountain has been off and under construction since April 2009. One of the partners in the reconstruction effort, Riverlife, said once it’s turned back on, it will still be the same fountain Pittsburghers know and love, but with some changes.

Popular Downtown Statue Being Moved To Airport

Dec 18, 2012

Arch will be traveling to the airport.  The Allegheny County Airport Authority has approved placement of Glenn Kaino’s sculpture Arch at Pittsburgh International Airport. Currently Arch is undergoing restoration work and will likely be placed in the Landside Terminal of Pittsburgh International Airport this spring, in time for the national convention of Americans for the Arts set for Pittsburgh June 14, 2013.

Renee Piechocki, Director of Pittsburgh's Office of Public Art, said the sculpture is immediately identifiable as a city icon.

Point Park University English professor Megan Ward is a Victorianist, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that her reading includes a lot of 19th century British fiction. She also loves the fiction of Michael Chabon, which Ward finds "Dickensian in its exuberance... its intricacies and weirdness."

Lately she's been reading:

George Eliot, Middlemarch

Woodland Hills math teacher Justin Aion uses young adult novels in the classroom and enjoys genre fiction in his downtime. Lately he's been reading:

 

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

Historic Preservation in the Steel City Debated

Dec 7, 2012

The president of the group Preservation Pittsburgh says he's learned a valuable lesson from the protracted battle over the demolition of the Civic Arena -- a lesson he'll put into practice for upcoming conflicts over historic building preservation.

Grab Some Lunch And Free Opera

Dec 6, 2012

Eating at the opera might seem to be incongruous, but for years, Pittsburgh Opera’s Resident Artists have entertained audiences during their December Brown Bag concert.

Debra Bell, Marketing Director for the Opera, said the concerts have been going on for a long time. 

Rabbi Aaron Bisno of Rodef Shalom Congregation values narrative for its power "to convince someone of the meaning of an argument because of its direct implications on someone with whom they have a relationship, who they care about."

Erik Larson, In the Garden of Beasts

Mayor's "Award For Public Art" Presented To Bridgeville Artist

Nov 30, 2012

At the Greater Pittsburgh Art Council’s annual meeting today, Toby Fraley of Bridgeville was honored with the 2012 Mayor’s Award for Public Art.  Established by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in 2007, the award acknowledges the power of public art in the community and celebrates those who are committed to supporting art in the city.

Fraley said his award-winning piece entitled “Robot Repair” was highly influenced by the memories he has of his father from when he young.  

From fiction to food, from history to science fiction, from sports to poetry, from biographies to artwork, the Heinz History Center this weekend will host the 11th annual “Books in the Burgh” holiday book fair.  Visitors to the event will have the opportunity to meet and greet local authors.

Carnegie Trees Back Again For The Holidays

Nov 28, 2012

A long standing holiday tradition in Pittsburgh returns as the Carnegie Trees at Carnegie Museum of Art kicks off its 51st year.

Seven grand, 20-foot trees, flank the museum’s perennial favorite, the Neapolitan presepio, a beautiful 18th century Nativity in the Hall of Architecture.

Each tree is stylishly decorated in an international theme celebrating Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851–1939, now on view in the Heinz Galleries at Carnegie Museum of Art.

"Conscientious" Consumerism During Holiday Season

Nov 26, 2012

If a product is considered to be “green,” the production of the item made little impact on the environment.  Similarly, if a product is “fair trade certified,” then the workers, who made it, received reasonable wages and the vendors sell the product at a fair price.

Zach Simons is a Pittsburgh-based standup comic and podcaster, and a lifelong Saturday Night Live fan. Lately he's been reading:

Tom Shales & James Andrew Miller, Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live

Laser Scan of Frank Lloyd Wright Synagogue Will Lead to Virtual Tours

Nov 25, 2012

Legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic Beth Sholom synagogue outside Philadelphia just had a laser treatment.

This laser won't do anything for your wrinkles. It's a valuable tool for buildings to create three-dimensional maps for historic documentation and preservation.

Three backpack-sized scanners mounted on heavy-duty tripods went to work inside and outside the landmark Elkins Park temple for several days this month.

Roethlisberger and Wife Welcome Son

Nov 23, 2012

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his wife Ashley are giving thanks for their new bundle of joy.

Benjamin Roethlisberger Jr. arrived Wednesday at 10:06 p.m., according to the athlete's website. The couple's first child weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce, and was just over 19 inches long.

The quarterback posted Thursday that mother and baby boy were doing well.

"We want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers, it really means a lot to us. God is so good!" he wrote.

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