Category Archives: art

May 2017 Edition – “May Flowers”

The May 2017 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges“May Flowers” – is now available online & in print.coverproof

April 2017 – Spring Cleaning

april2017-coverThe April 2017 edition of Pennsylvania BridgesSpring Cleaning – is now available online & in print.

March 2017 – “Helping Hearts”

march2017-coverThe March 2017 Edition of Pennsylvania Bridges – “Helping Hearts” – is now available online & in print.

February 2017 Edition: Moments & Milestones

february2017 cover.qxdThe February 2017 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges is now available online & in print.

January 2017: New Beginnings

january2017 cover.qxdThe January 2017 edition of Pennsylvania BridgesNew Beginnings – is now available online & in print.

Showcase Noir artist & designer exhibit seeks submissions

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announced today that it is now accepting submissions for Showcase Noir, Artist & Designer Exhibit and Sale to be held February 24-26, 2017 at the August Wilson Center. For the first time in the history of this Exhibit and Sale-showcasing paintings, sculptures, photographs, fiber art, jewelry, pottery and art in various mediums from emerging and established artists, both local and national, will be held over the course of an entire weekend. This art sale and show features work by artists representing the African Diaspora.

“Showcase Noir provides an opportunity for the most talented artists and designers from around the country to display and sell their art. Work derived from the African Diaspora, ranging from fine jewelry, to beautiful abstract paintings, to pottery and sculpture, is available for the entire Pittsburgh community to view and to purchase. Attendees will have the opportunity to simultaneously experience some of the finest craftsmanship and high quality art while celebrating the culture of the African Diaspora,” comments Janis Burley-Wilson, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Interested artists should submit photos of completed work, resume, artist statement and relevant supporting materials. Deadline for entry is January 16, 2017. Artists will be selected and notified shortly thereafter.

To submit your work for review, mail submission materials via wetransfer to goode@trustarts.org or mail to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Attn: DeVonne Goode, 803 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh, PA. 15222 by January 16, 2017. If you have questions, contact DeVonne Goode at goode@trustarts.org or call (412) 471-6070.

Showcase Noir has been presented in Pittsburgh for well over a decade. The event will take at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, located in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, 980 Liberty Avenue. Admission is free and open to the public.

The sleekly modern August Wilson Center, located in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, 980 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222, offers multiple exhibition galleries, a 472-seat theater for performances in all genres, an education center for classes, lectures and hands-on learning, and dazzling spaces for community programs and events.

For rental inquiries, visit TrustArts.org or email Devonne Goode, Program Manager-Pittsburgh Cultural Trust at goode@trustarts.org. FMI and a calendar of events presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust taking place at the Center, visit TrustArts.org or call 412-456-6666.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” celebrates its 15th season

nutcrackerPittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” celebrates its 15th season onstage with a 26-performance run Dec. 2-27, at the Benedum Center.

Fittingly, the milestone intersects with the 20th anniversary season of the man who created it: PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr.

When Orr arrived in Pittsburgh in 1997 to take the helm of PBT, a new “Nutcracker” was on his mind. He’d just relocated from New York City’s American Ballet Theatre and was experiencing the city’s traditions and history through fresh eyes.

When it came time to reimagine PBT’s rendition of the perennial holiday classic, the concept felt intuitive: He planned to revive classic story elements of “The Nutcracker” while creating a sense of place unique to Pittsburgh. His new staging debuted in December 2002 at the Benedum.

“I wanted this production to be the city’s own. I wanted Pittsburghers to feel a sense of familiarity, of home, because this show is such a tradition for so many families,” Orr said.

With help from artists, historians and locals, he began assembling relics and references to weave into the traditional scenes and story of “The Nutcracker.”

He commissioned scenic designer Zack Brown to conceive the sets and costumes, designed to reflect the color and vibrancy of Tchaikovsky’s score.

He consulted with the late Milan Stitt, then head of dramatic writing at Carnegie Mellon University, to help write the libretto and call forward essential elements of the original E.T.A. Hoffmann tale published in 1816.

He brought in an old friend and dramaturge – Long Island native Byam Stevens – to help implement this new dramatization, believing that the story telling, the theater, was vital to enhancing the dancing.

When a board member unearthed a vintage copy of “Kaufmann’s Christmas Stories for Boys and Girls,” commissioned by Kaufmann’s Department store at the turn of the 20th century, Orr wove it into the story. Onstage, the book spills out a cadre of toy characters who spring to the defense of The Nutcracker and Marie in the Act I Battle Scene.

And, of course, “The Nutcracker” is “nothing short of magical (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).” Local magician Paul Gertner trained the company in the art of illusion – mysteries that Orr’s performers hold close to the vest. For over a decade, Drosselmeyer’s sleight-of-hand tricks have left audience members of all ages marveling.

Inside the PBT Costume Shop, Janet Groom Campbell and her team brought Zack Brown’s costume renderings to life with 18 shimmering snowflakes, 16 colorful tutus resembling flower petals, a stage full of elaborate Victorian party dresses and many more hand-crafted costumes.

Of the 215 costumes of “The Nutcracker,” 110 were built in the PBT Costume Shop. For specialty pieces, the company enlisted artisans, like Pittsburgh local Svi Roussanoff, who constructed the head pieces for The Nutcracker as well as his rival, the Rat King, and his rodent army.

The scenery and special effects complete the picture with colorful set pieces and drops, including a growing Christmas tree and flurries of snow.

Throughout the show Pittsburghers can spot local character, including the Snow Scene’s Mount Washington view, a proscenium clock inspired by the Kaufmann’s clock at Fifth Avenue and Smithfield Street downtown, and a Land of Enchantment that pays homage to Pittsburgh’s historic amusement parks.

Over time, Orr has added new nods to Pittsburgh culture – and its sports. Act I has seen a toy penguin wearing a hockey jersey, rats waving Terrible Towels and even Party Scene cameos by local celebrities like Mr. McFeely, Hines Ward and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

Beyond the Pittsburgh and pop culture references, Orr has a tradition of creating unique casting combinations to ensure that no two performances are exactly alike.

“It carries the comfort and warmth of tradition, yet it is never the same show twice. We are always finding new wrinkles in the characters, new layers to the story and variations in the dancing,” Orr said. “I really do believe that you could watch each of the 26 shows and discover something new each time. There is something magical about that.”

Among the 26 performances, the company will present a Student Matinee performance, sponsored by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 2, as well as a sensory-friendly performance adapted for patrons with special needs at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27. (Photo by Rich Sofranko)

Tickets start at $28 and are available at www.pbt.org, 412-456-6666 or by visiting the Box Office at Theater Square.

FMI: pbt.org

Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival seeks entries

artists_crafts_188873-1The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is officially accepting applications for participants in the 58th annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, June 2-11, 2017. The nation’s premier free arts festival seeks a diverse group of visual and performing artists of all disciplines and career stages. This year’s call for visual and performing artists welcomes artists and performers who have never before participated in TRAF, emphasizing brand new art and original work. Applications will be accepted from October 3, 2016 through January 17, 2017. Application status notifications will be sent to all applicants in late March of 2017.

In 2017, artists will have the opportunity to explore the following opportunities:

Artist Market presented by Peoples – a renowned market, featuring over 300 artists selling one-of-a-kind pieces

Juried Visual Art Exhibition – showcasing new regional art in a variety of media, juried by an esteemed panel

Emerging Artist Scholarship Program – providing individuals with little to no experience the opportunity to produce their first show

Music & Performing Arts – showcasing the original work of dancers, actors, literary and performance artists

Special Project / Collaboration – creative original concepts, multidisciplinary work and collaborations that emphasize engaging the audience directly and working beyond traditional stages

Applications will be accepted through January 17, 2017. To learn more about the submission categories and to apply, visit TrustArts.org/TRAF or call (412) 456-6666.