AUGUST WILSON AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL CENTER UNVEILS AN INSPIRING ’23-’24 SEASON CELEBRATING ARTS AND CULTURE
September 27, 2023 (Pittsburgh, PA) – The August Wilson African American Cultural Center (AWAACC) is proud to announce its captivating ’23-’24 season lineup, showcasing an array of remarkable events, exhibitions, performances, and educational programs that delve deep into the heart of African American culture and beyond.
“Our upcoming season is a vibrant tapestry of creativity, resilience, and the celebration of African American arts and culture” said Janis Burley, President, and CEO of AWAACC. “Each event is a testament to the enduring legacy of August Wilson, and we invite everyone to join us on this inspiring journey.”
In our season’s first partnership with Demaskus Theatre Company happening this October, Our Song is a captivating coming-of-age musical that weaves a poignant tapestry of African American history, from the depths of slavery to the triumphs of the present day. Follow a teenage girl on her quest to discover her authentic voice, all while unraveling deeply buried family secrets. This emotionally charged production takes audiences on an academic and emotional journey through pivotal historical eras, featuring a mesmerizing soundtrack that spans from the rhythms of Africa to the soul-stirring Gospel music of today. Prepare to traverse through moments of pain and sorrow, emerge into the brilliance of triumph and victory, and celebrate the enduring hope for a brighter tomorrow. Our Song is presented in collaboration with the Richard King Mellon Foundation.
The Black Bottom Film Festival presented by Citizens (BBFF) returns for a sixth year as a vibrant experience that illuminates and celebrates the rich tapestry of African American cinema. In addition to two days of films submitted by filmmakers from across the country, for the first time, Citizens will host a free panel discussion about film economy on Friday, October 27. Reel Money: Building Pittsburgh’s Film Economy aims to discuss making Pittsburgh a production capital. Join the panel to explore opportunities to boost the creative economy and foster local workforce development. Let’s amplify Black voices and ignite change in our film community.
On October 25, 2023, in honor of National Youth Justice Action Month, Broadway veteran Jeremy McQueen will present WILD, an Emmy award-winning ballet collaboration from The Black Iris Project. This Pennsylvania premiere showcases a groundbreaking ballet that elevates the voices of those affected by the juvenile justice system.
Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival celebrates diversity through soul, funk, and R&B music. Headliners of the 2-day festival include Bobby Rush, Eric Gales, Pete Escovedo ft. Nestor Torres and Omara Portuando.
Theatre enthusiasts are in for a treat with Beyond the Red Door: August Wilson inspired Experiential Theatre Series. This immersive experience allows audiences to delve into the world of August Wilson, exploring the themes, characters, and stories that continue to resonate today.
Our visual arts season opens with Onna-Bugeisha: Warriors of Light by Tim Okamura (Nov 9, 2023 – Feb 24, 2024). Curated by Karla Ferguson, this exhibition introduces women warriors guided by the Samurai Code.
The Center is thrilled to present a groundbreaking evening with Herbie Hancock, the iconic trailblazer whose influence on jazz, innovation, and culture has endured since the 1960s. From his time with the Miles Davis Quintet to the groundbreaking ’70s album “Headhunters,” Hancock’s impact on music and beyond continues to shape our world. This unforgettable performance is happening on March 27, 2024, at the Byham Theater, presented by the August Wilson African American Cultural Center and The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
Educational and free events remain at the forefront of the Center’s programming. AWCommunity Days, sponsored by UPMC/UPMC Health Plan, bring the community together through free family-friendly events featuring local vendors, artisans, performers, and themed activities at AWAACC.
For lovers of literature, Lit Fridays offers free monthly digital conversations with Black writers, artists, and thinkers. Curated by Literary Curator Jessica Lanay, this program highlights contemporary works and the issues affecting Black communities.
The Youth Writer’s Camp and Hip-Hop Camp Series nurture young talent, fostering creativity and storytelling.
Storytime Spotlight is a free educational series that introduces young children to books, featuring live readings and conversations with Black and Brown children’s book authors.
Pride and Joy: Commemorating Pride Month celebrates the LGBTQ+ community with live music and art, featuring emerging and established LGBTQ+ artists.
TRUTHSayers brings thought-provoking speakers to AWAACC, including Dr. H. Jean Wright III, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Isabel Wilkerson.
The ’23-’24 season also includes the legendary We Want the Funk Festival featuring Jeffery Osbourne, Average White Band and Loose Ends and Soul Sessions featuring artists like Mumu Fresh, Kindred the Family Soul, and Fred Hammond.
For the first time, AWAACC presents Hooks & Phonics Festival, a weekend of Hip Hop and Spoken Word, kicked off by “Poetry Unplugged.” From rising stars to legends like Rapsody and Slum Village, the festival celebrates storytelling by BIPOC orators and emcees, fearlessly sharing tales of trial and triumph.
Lastly, mark your calendars for the Take Center Stage Galaon April 6, 2024, an elegant evening celebrating the arts and culture and raising funds to support AWAACC’s year-round programming.
This ’23-’24 season at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center promises to be a journey of discovery, enlightenment, and celebration, inviting audiences of all backgrounds to come together and embrace the rich tapestry of African American culture.
Calendar of Events
9/1-ongoing Teenie Harris: Selected Works from the AWAACC Collection
9/1-ongoing Selected Works: Artist Image Resources x August Wilson Center
9/29 LIT Fridays
9/30 AWCommunity Day: Open Air
10/07 Art Camp
10/13-22 Demaskus presents Our Song
10/16 Royal Conservatoire of Scotland: Exchange Talks & AWAACC Presents: “What do you do with your legacy, and how do you best put it to use?”
10/24 Storytime Spotlight: Amber Tamar Harris
10/25 Black Iris Project presents WILD
10/26 – TruthSayers: Dr. H. Jean Wright III
10/27 LIT Fridays: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
10/27-29 – Black Bottom Film Festival presented by Citizens
11/3 Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival: Bobby Rush and Eric Gales
11/4 Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival: Family Fun Day & Pete Escovedo ft. Nestor Torres, and Omara Portuando
11/4 Art Camp
11/9 Onna-Bugeisha: Warriors of Light Opening
11/12 Beyond the Red Door (series)
11/15 – A Seat at Our Table: Dr. Jessica Harris
11/16 LIT Fridays: Mahogany Browne
11/18 Soul Sessions: Mumu Fresh
12/8 We Want the Funk Festival: Jeffery Osbourne
12/9 We Want the Funk Festival: Average White Band & Loose Ends
12/14 LIT Fridays: Crystal Joseph
12/16 AWCommunity Day
12/19 Storytime Spotlight
1/18 Beyond the Red Door (series)
1/19-21 Hooks & Phonics Festival
1/26 LIT Fridays
1/26 Gallery Crawl
2/8 Xippi, Heritage, and Metamorphosis: West African Art in the Modern Era
2/10 Youth Writer’s Camp
2/14 Soul Sessions: Kindred the Family Soul
2/23 LIT Fridays
2/24 Youth Writer’s Camp
2/27 Storytime Spotlight
3/07 – TruthSayers: Nikole Hannah Jones
3/09 – Sam McIntosh & 10K Movement
3/09 AWCommunity Day
3/16 Youth Writer’s Camp
3/16 Music & DJ Camp
3/27 – Herbie Hancock presented by AWAACC and PCT
3/29 LIT Fridays
3/30 Youth Writer’s Camp
4/1-30 The Writer’s Landscape
4/6 Take Center Stage Gala
4/9 Christian McBride’s New Quintet
4/11 A Seat at Our Table: Chef Eric Adjepong
4/23 Storytime Spotlight
4/26 LIT Fridays
4/26 Soul Sessions: Mya
4/27 Music & DJ Camp
5/11 Soul Sessions: Fred Hammond
5/17 Uhuru Jazz Series: Endea Owens & The Cookout
5/18 Music & DJ Camp
5/30 TruthSayers: Isabel Wilkerson
5/31 LIT Fridays
6/08 Dance Camp
6/28 LIT Fridays
6/29 Dance Camp
6/17 Chris Coles’ 9 Lives Project
6/25 Storytime Spotlight
6/28 Pride & Joy: Commemorating Pride Month
7/13 Dance Camp
7/20 AWCommunity Day
7/26 LIT Fridays
7/26 Gallery Crawl
For more information, including event dates, tickets, and programming details, visit awaacc.org.