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.

Carnegie Library Archivist, Bookseller Charged In $8M Rare Book Theft Scheme

21 hours ago
Gene J. Puskar / AP

A library archivist and an antique bookseller are charged with stealing millions of dollars' worth of rare books, illustrations, maps and photographs from a Pittsburgh library over a 20-year period.

Courtesy of the Mattress Factory

It was the first time Ricardo Iamuuri Robinson had visited South Africa, but the coastal city of Cape Town looked strangely familiar.

Renee Rosensteel / WYEP

There’s a new plan to improve Pittsburgh’s music scene.

The Pittsburgh Music Ecosystem Study was released Thursday. The 86-page report, 10 months in the making, suggests that Pittsburgh’s scene needs more leadership, career development for musicians, regulatory changes and more.

Courtesy of Germaine Williams

Germaine Williams, CEO of the financially troubled Pittsburgh Filmmakers / Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, resigned Wednesday after 18 months on the job.

Board president Yasmeen Ariff-Sayedshe wrote a letter to "Friends of PF/PCA" Wednesday morning thanking Williams, who came to the group from the Pittsburgh Foundation, for his passion and service.

He gave no reason for stepping down, Ariff-Sayed said, but added that she and fellow board members had been expecting his resignation. She declined to comment further.

Michael Wyke / AP

Pro Bowl running back Le'Veon Bell and the defending AFC North champions failed to reach an agreement on a new contract by Monday's deadline, meaning he will play under the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise tag for a second straight year and hit the open market next spring.

Jim Cunningham Photography / National Aviary

A familiar room in Pittsburgh’s National Aviary looks like new.

Art by Rachel Masilamani / Courtesy of the artist

In a scene in Rachel Masilamani’s short comic titled “Who Does He Favor?,” a married couple discusses both the 2016 presidential campaign and the couple’s pregnancy, but the lines blur between the two topics. 

Nam Y. Huh / AP

The NFL Players Association filed a grievance with the league on Tuesday challenging its national anthem policy.

The union says that the new policy, which the league imposed without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on players' rights. The filing met a statute of limitations deadline and will be heard by an independent arbitrator, an NFLPA spokesman said.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


While drivers won't find a poltergeist hanging out on the 100-foot long abandoned on-ramp that sneaks up on drivers heading east on Bigelow Boulevard, they might spot trees and shrubs sprouting through concrete in spite of heavy barriers.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Would repainting a longstanding work of street art encourage vandalism?

Jim Judkis / Focus Features via AP

Tom Hanks is slated to play Fred Rogers in the film "You Are My Friend," which will begin filming in Pittsburgh this fall. 

Astronaut From New Castle Heads To Space Station In 2019

Jul 6, 2018
James Blair/NASA via AP

Lt. Col. Andrew Morgan always dreamed about going to space. In July 2019, his dream becomes reality.

Morgan, who has always called New Castle home due to deep family ties in the community despite never having lived there, will be living and working on the International Space Station, orbiting 245 miles above the Earth's surface, as part of a seven-month mission.

He was selected by NASA to become an astronaut in 2013, with the expectation of going to space after spending close to a decade training. Morgan achieved a space mission in six years.

Jakob Lazzaro / 90.5 WESA

A new art exhibit exploring sacred space in a secular world has opened at Regent Square’s Concept Art Gallery. It’s the work of Carnegie Mellon University architecture professor Doug Cooper and his wife, fellow architecture professor Stefani Danes.

Photo by Briony Campbell / Courtesy of Wood Street Galleries

Many artworks deal with mortality. Relatively few ask us to contemplate the fear of death in such a personal and visceral way as “Waterborne.”

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

Federal authorities say they have intercepted a shipment of 108 phony replica Super Bowl rings representing many past champion teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say the rings were found in an express consignment parcel that arrived June 18 from Hong Kong marked as alloy rings.

Courtesy of the City of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s city parks might be popular, but they’ve got a lot of spaces that could be livelier – think of that blank concrete pedestrian underpass in Schenley Park, or the featureless reservoir jetty in Highland Park.

A Tragedy And A Miracle: Southwestern PA's Mine Disasters Revisited

Jul 2, 2018
John Tanish / The Tribune Democrat via AP

In 1907, 240 coal miners went to work at the Darr Mine in Van Meter, and only one came home. Nearly one century later, nine miners went to work in the Quecreek mine in Somerset County, and all nine were rescued.

The Darr Mine disaster in Westmoreland County and nearby mine accidents with high casualties in a short time frame spurred change in government regulations, reducing fatalities and enabling rescues like that of the Quecreek miners in 2002, said John Urosek.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The former site of the Stephen Foster statue in Oakland is still generating controversy.

Photo by Victor Dryer / Courtesy of Creative.Life.Support

“Do you want my real name or my studio name?”

Asaun Brown, an aspiring rapper, hasn’t actually spent much time in recording studios, but he’s not fooling around. He’s 20 years old and goes by the name Sonny the Kid – a play on both his given name and his feeling that he’s a kid at heart, and prone to disregard authority figures.

And he wants to be a professional recording artist.

“I have some big goals for music,” he says. “I plan on changing the world with all this stuff.”

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has announced it will stop publishing the newspaper two days a week.

According to a letter sent to the newspaper's employee union Wednesday, the newspaper is shrinking its printing schedule as part of a plan to become a digital news organization.

Christine Schmidt of the Nieman Journalism Lab noted the Post-Gazette's decision comes as newspapers continue to struggle financially.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

After years of financial turmoil, Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts continues its latest effort to reorganize.

Courtesy of Sylvia Rhor

A former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial cartoonist who says he was fired because of his anti-Donald Trump drawings has found a new home for his work in Pittsburgh.

A new alternative weekly, the Pittsburgh Current, said Thursday it had reached an agreement with Rob Rogers' syndication group to begin running his cartoons.

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

Pittsburgh’s annual commemoration of slavery’s end has outgrown Downtown’s Market Square. The weekend-long Juneteenth Celebration & Black Music Fest is headed a few blocks west, to Point State Park.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


Most Pittsburghers notice the billboard while they’re watching the Buccos on the North Side. Soft light beams from a triangle slowly rotating within a rectangular sign on a rooftop in the downtown Cultural District. No words or pictures float through the display, just the revolving shapes.

Photo by Jared Alan Smith

Recovery memoirs have become a big part of our culture, both literary and televisual. 

Photo by Ryam Cardoso

A visit from a pioneer for women in punk rock is among the highlights of the fifth annual Ladyfest.

The three-day grassroots music festival welcomes Alice Bag, whose group The Bags helped create the 1970s Los Angeles punk scene along with legendary groups like The Germs and X.

Image courtesy of the August Wilson Center

The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival is back this year, but don’t look for it on Penn Avenue. Instead, you’ll have to walk one block south to Liberty.

Adelina Lancianese / 90.5 WESA

There's a decades-old mystery underfoot in Downtown Pittsburgh: small tiles placed in busy intersections that decry the media and ponder resurrection.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

President Donald Trump rescinded his invitation to the Philadelphia Eagles this week after reports suggested only about 10 players of the 90-member, Super Bowl-winning squad were planning to attend. The President tied the decision to past criticism of players who protested police brutality and harsh treatment of African Americans by kneeling during the "National Anthem."

Allegra Battle / 90.5 WESA

Nationwide, the natural hair community is growing. Between 2011 and 2016, sales of hair straighteners --  also known as relaxers -- fell 31 percent. Relaxers are made up of chemicals that flatten the natural kinks in many African-Americans’ hair, and Pittsburgh’s natural hair community is seeing an increase in new membership too.

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