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.

Maria Scapellato / WESA

There will be a lot of celebrating in Pittsburgh this weekend and it's not just because of Saint Patrick’s Day. March Madness has come to town.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A summer music series, public art and spaces for local makers are all on the docket for Pittsburgh this year, according to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

The PDP says it expanded its arts programming in 2017, which included 300 days of Downtown programming, increased social media outreach and the launch of new events including Halloween's Fright Up Night. 

Photo provided by the author.

Author Sharon Dilworth has lived in Pittsburgh for 25 years. She moved here to teach at Carnegie Mellon University, met her eventual husband and raised a family. But there’s one code she said it took her most of that quarter-century to crack: the one that Pittsburghers use when discussing local neighborhoods.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

In its first 2017 budget, the Trump administration proposed phasing out funding for three federal programs: the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the *Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Arts advocates nationally mobilized and, in a rare bipartisan show of support, Congress restored funding for the three agencies, and even increased it slightly.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Acclaimed poet Sheryl St. Germain is a college professor whose son died of a heroin overdose in 2014, after a long struggle with drug abuse. He was 30 years old.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Evergreens, hemlocks and lush rhododendrons make the grounds around Fallingwater a remarkable setting even in the depths of winter. Located in the Laurel Highlands and suspended over a waterfall, it’s one of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s most recognizable structures.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Two local groups dedicated to cleaning up Pittsburgh are hosting a film festival that explores environmental issues around the country.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Marya Sea Kaminski said Pittsburgh made a big impression on her the first time she drove through the Fort Pitt Tunnel. 

Heather Mull

Gab Cody is a Pittsburgh-based playwright. But the inspiration for her newest work began some 3,500 miles northwest of here.

Allegra Battle / 90.5 WESA

How does Pittsburgh’s music scene need to change? That’s one critical question a new project involving local organizations aims to understand and address.

The project, called the Pittsburgh Music Ecosystem Project, was launched in October and is made up of 91.3 WYEP, the City of Pittsburgh Office of Nighttime Economy and Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. Leaders from these organizations will look at the regulatory environment, ways to build more opportunities and other aspects of Pittsburgh’s music scene.

Courtesy of Christina Springer

Pittsburgh is known globally for its jazz musicians, and for more than a century the city’s African-American community has provided a unique environment that fostered the talents of world-renowned artists. While some historic music incubators have disappeared, others live on.  

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Pasted to the wall of Department of City Planning is a large, colorful map of Pittsburgh. 

Sarah Schneider / WESA

What does the typical work day for the head of a major arts organization look like? According to Janis Burley Wilson, it’s unpredictable. Burley Wilson is the newly appointed President and CEO of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture


An HBO biopic starring Al Pacino as late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno will premiere April 7.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

There aren’t many museums of cartoon art in the U.S. The handful of examples include Pittsburgh’s ToonSeum, which was launched in a hallway in the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh in 2007, and two years later expanded into a storefront on Liberty Avenue downtown.

Its smartly curated exhibits have explored everything from daily newspaper strips and superhero comics to the work of local comics star Ed Piskor, of Hip Hop Family Tree fame.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Winter is far from over, but a warm front through the Pittsburgh region is just enough to give Yinzers a taste of spring. With the high projected to be in the 70s Tuesday, we've put together a list of (totally silly) ways to take advantage of some unexpectedly warm weather in the heart of February. 

1. Go on a quick kayak trip ... on a major Downtown street.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

When Philadelphian Cyndie Carioli was a new mother in the 1970s, she was like most first time parents: nervous. 

Bill Haberthur / Bethel Park Historical Society

On a Thursday night, volunteers were gathered at the old Bethel Grade School building getting their hands dirty. Some sawed wood to use for new baseboards on the first floor; others, on the second floor, pulled down old ceilings. 

A similar scene has played out three nights a week since 2016, when the Bethel Park Historical Society decided to renovate and re-purpose the building.

It wasn't anything spectacular at the time. When the show first aired on Feb. 19, 1968, it seemed to be a typical children's educational program. On a black-and-white screen, a tall, dark-haired man nearing 40 years of age wandered into a staged living room, softly singing a song as he changed from a blazer into a much softer, cozy cardigan.

That man, Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, quickly rose into recognition and a half-century later is still an American icon.

David Bachman Photography

Pittsburgh Opera’s new world-premiere performance, Douglas J. Cuomo’s Ashes & Snow, might be an edgy, contemporary work, but it was inspired by a classic piece of music: Franz Schubert’s Winterreise, meaning "winter journey."

Schubert wrote this song cycle in the 1820s, as a musical setting for a series of 24 poems by German poet Wilhelm Muller. The poems tell the story of a jilted lover wandering a rural landscape in winter.

“I am finished with all my dreams. Why should I linger among the sleepers?” runs one line of the English translation.

Chad Pizzello / Invision via AP

Black Panther opens Friday, and it’s expected to be a blockbuster, but for many people, the film is more than just another superhero flick.

This Marvel Comics character, created in the 1960s, is often credited as the first mainstream black superhero. The new film adaptation takes place in Wakanda, a fictional high-tech nation that's never been colonized and is led by T’Challa, who doubles as the Black Panther. It boasts an African-American director, Ryan Coogler, and a nearly all-black cast, led by Chadwick Boseman. 

Graphic via Sarah Kovash | Photos via AP and NCTC Archives Museum

In honor of Valentine's Day (or Galentine's Day, if you prefer), we've put together a list of inspiring quotes about love -- and life -- from some famous Pittsburghers. 



‘LOVE’ Returns: Philly Park Gets Its Sculpture Back

Feb 14, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

"LOVE" returned to Philadelphia on Tuesday, just in time for Valentine's Day.

The famous 1976 Robert Indiana sculpture was brought back to its namesake downtown park on a flatbed truck after making a number of stops at parks and statues along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway before the reinstallation.

School children cheered and those gathered spontaneously sang the fight song for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles as a forklift placed the sculpture atop a pedestal.

Wally Fong / AP

Marty Allen, the baby-faced, bug-eyed comedian with wild black hair who was a staple of TV variety shows, game shows and talk shows for decades, died Monday night. He was 95.

Allen died in Las Vegas of complications from pneumonia with his wife and performing partner of the last three decades Karon Kate Blackwell by his side, Allen's spokeswoman Candi Cazau told The Associated Press.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

"Carnegie’s Maid" tells the fictional story of an immigrant housekeeper who moves to Pittsburgh and accidentally ends up serving one of the city’s most famous families: the Carnegies.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Venezuelan authorities say police have rescued the mother of Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz three days after she was kidnapped.

Center for Biological Diversity / AP

An environmental group wants couples to think of wild animals before acting like them this Valentine's Day.

The Center for Biological Diversity is handing out endangered species condoms at the Carnegie Science Center's adults-only Valentine's event Friday in Pittsburgh.

The wrappers feature colorful artwork and slogans like "Before it gets any hotter...remember the sea otter," and "Can't refrain? Think of the whooping crane."

The group hopes to show how human population growth negatively affects wildlife.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council is considering a change to a zoning code dating back to the 1950s that determines where drag artists can perform.

Mark Tenally / AP

Pirates president Frank Coonelly says the team is working with authorities to secure the safe return of the mother of catcher Elias Diaz.

Team officials did not specify the circumstances, but Venezuelan media reported Thursday that the 24-year-old player's mother was kidnapped in San Francisco, a city about 430 miles west of Caracas.

Coonelly says in a statement that the team is "shocked and deeply concerned for Elias' mother, as well as for Elias and his entire family."

Diaz played 64 games for Pittsburgh in 2017, hitting .223 with 19 RBIs and 18 runs.

"Teenie" Harris / Carnegie Museum of Art Heinz Family Fund

Cities like Harlem and Chicago are often associated with “The Great Black Renaissance,” but for a brief  time in the 20th century, Pittsburgh was an epicenter for black art, sports, business and political influence.