Still Blooming In The Whirlwind: Pittsburgh’s Rich History Of Being A Mecca For Black Art

Pittsburgh city skyline

Source: tupungato / Getty

Tucked away on the outskirts of Pennsylvania is a small city filled with a long legacy of Black art excellence. Most Americans know Pittsburgh for its history of steel making, but it’s the city’s Black art culture that doesn’t get enough spotlight. From self-taught photographer Charles, “Teenie” Harris, to American playwright August Wilson, Pittsburgh has solidified a reputation as a center of Black art in America. Whether it is music, on a stage or a canvas, Pittsburgh’s Black art community has thrived by supporting one another.

Today, a new generation of practitioners is solidifying the reputation of Pittsburgh as a center of Black art.

NewsOne recently partnered with author Bakari Kitwana and the Authentic Intelligence Media Project to take a closer look at the enduring legacy of Black art in Pittsburgh.

The history of Black people in America is too often reduced to limited narratives that betray our totality, but how we evolved into the present is such an expansive story. I’ve traveled to 48 of the 50 states and I’ve consistently witnessed Black creatives at work; yet, too often the artists operating far beyond NYC, Chicago, and LA are overlooked. There is Black creative genius in many of these places– including Pittsburgh. Artists like Selma Burke, Lena Horn, Billy Strayhorn,and August Wilson are inspiring parts of that story, but that legacy continues. I wanted to take a look at artists who were continuing in this tradition, so I chose to highlight the cohort of Black creatives who won grants in 2023 from The Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Initiative. I reached out to Kirsten West Savali (VP of Content at iOneDigital) earlier this year and pitched the idea of iOneDigital as a space to publish the series. She liked the idea and agreed.”

In the 10-minute video, NewsOne spoke with artists, scholars, folks working in philanthropy and those building and maintaining Pittsburgh Black arts institutions to gain insight into this ongoing legacy.

“In a nation that has, since its inception, tried to deny Black people the right to create freely, Black art is freedom—and that freedom is a superpower that can create worlds, destroy illusions, and transform lives,” said Kirsten West Savali, iONE Digital VP of Content, who also served as executive producer and producer on this wide-ranging project.

“iONE Digital’s Content team is thrilled to partner with Bakari Kitwana and the Authentic Intelligence Media Project to recognize and platform some of the most innovative and brilliant Black artists in Pittsburgh,” West Savali continued. “Artists who extend us an invitation into their hearts, souls, and deepest selves, which, in turn, encourages us to explore and become more intimately familiar with our own.“

NewsOne Presents Still Blooming In The Whirlwind: Pittsburgh As A Black Cultural And Artistic Mecca

The post Still Blooming In The Whirlwind: Pittsburgh’s Rich History Of Being A Mecca For Black Art appeared first on NewsOne.

Read more

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign In


Reset Password

Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.