Arts & Culture

Arts and culture reporting from 90.5 WESA.

The city is now accepting public comments for PRESERVEPGH, the cultural heritage planning effort. Members of the community are encouraged to leave comments and concerns regarding the draft plan containing preliminary recommendations. The plan will be available online until June 19.

Kevin McMahon

May 21, 2012

Josh Raulerson covers the highbrow-lowbrow split with Pittsburgh Cultural Trust President & CEO Kevin McMahon.

McMahon recommends:

Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, Gideon's Corpse

On a clear, sunny, and warm Friday morning, Buhl Community Park, outside of the Pittsburgh Children's Museum, was cloudy, misty, and cool. That's thanks to a new sculpture currently under construction, which uses mist to create an ever-evolving cloud-like sphere.

International Art Museum Day In Pittsburgh

May 16, 2012

The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History in Pittsburgh are joining more than 100 museums in the U.S., Canada and Mexico Thursday to celebrate "Art Museum Day."

The annual event is sponsored by the Association of Art Museum Directors and features reduced or free admission along with special events and programming.

A structure that looks much like a playful moon bounce set up in Mazeroski Field on Oakland's Schenley Drive is actually an art sculpture.

James Gibson

May 10, 2012

Rabbi James Gibson puts in long hours in his book-lined study at Temple Sinai, poring over scripture and theological texts. But, as he tells Josh Raulerson, he's also an avid reader of spy novels and contemporary history.

Lately, Rabbi Gibson has been reading:

Benny Morris, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War

Walls are Bad, Outside is Good

May 10, 2012

Friday marks the start of Sustainable Pittsburgh's 11th annual Great Outdoors Week, or as organizers like to call it, the "ten day weekend." The event running from May 11th to May 20th is a compilation of more than 60 outdoor recreational activities over a week and a half period.

Sustainable Pittsburgh Communications Manager Ginette Vinski said people of all ages and all skill levels can participate.

Mary Frances Cooper

May 7, 2012

Mary Frances Cooper, President and Director of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, loves the heft and texture of a good book. But, as she tells Speaking Volumes, Cooper also sees a bright future for libraries and readers through digital publishing.

Her recent reads include:

Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

Cultural Trust Gives Sneak Peek At 2012 Arts Festival

Apr 30, 2012

People who were passing through Point State Park on Monday morning may have been tapping their feet a little more than usual, as they got a preview of things to come at this year's annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival.

One of the new attractions at this year's festival will include a day entirely devoted to Bluegrass music.

Marguerite Jarrett Marks, who oversees the programming for the Three Rivers Arts Festival, previewed all the unique festivities, art and entertainment that will be at this year's festival; which runs from June 1-10.

Pennsylvania Allows Vintage Plates for Vintage Cars

Apr 30, 2012

Owners of antique and classic cars are now allowed to place time period-correct vintage license plates on their vehicles. In other words, House Bill 1203, signed into law on Thursday, allows the car owner to use the license plate from the era in which their car was made.

State Representative John Lawrence (R-Chester) explains that the legislation does not change anything about the registration or use of antique or classic cars.

Recognizing The Youth Artists Of Pittsburgh

Apr 30, 2012

For more than 25 years, the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild has been a champion for youth, art and education in Pittsburgh. In the past, MCG has hosted an annual juried arts exhibition where talented students from the Pittsburgh Public School system competed for accolades and awards. Now, MCG is expanding the competition so more students can compete.

GMO Debate Should be Case-By-Case

Apr 23, 2012

The fight over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food began the moment scientists first learned how to splice a gene, but a University of Pittsburgh researcher thinks she has some new advice for those engaged in the debate.

Ted Pappas

Apr 20, 2012

Ted Pappas, Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Public Theater, talks books with Josh Raulerson.

He is currently reading:

Colum McCann, Dancer: A Novel

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.

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