Transforming how young people think about the world is the bedrock of the August Wilson African American Cultural Center’s approach to education. August Wilson said, “All of art is a search for ways of being, of living life more fully.” Our purpose lives in the dynamic exchange of ideas within that process, to support artists from the African diaspora, and to uncover artistic expression that uplifts and informs.
Children who are shown art and provided the opportunity to learn about identity through the creative process have increased confidence and self-awareness. The AWAACC is committed to edifying community partners with the same level of artistic excellence that we present on our stages and in our galleries. Like our namesake, our goal is to humanize the Black experience and illuminate our common bonds. To this end, the Center is an ideal platform for schools to educate, engage and expose young audiences to compelling ideas, new concepts, and intriguing artists that connect, enrich, and inspire.
Students who participate in the AWAACC Education programs:
- Learn to interpret and think about life through the study of visual arts.
- Explore the writings and work of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright August Wilson.
- Develop problem solving and observation skills.
- Appreciate the cultural value of art and history.
- Understand that knowledge is power.
About Our Programs
A permanent addition to our education programs will be offered in 2022, with the premiere of the first exhibit dedicated to life and legacy of August Wilson titled August Wilson: The Writer’s Landscape. This permanent and interactive exhibit will cover over 3,600 square feet of the Center’s gallery spaces and will highlight all of August Wilson’s master works. The exhibit will allow students to explore the world around them through what is termed, August Wilson’s Century Cycle, a band of 10 plays which portray the 20th century African American experience, including plays such as the Piano Lesson, Fences, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Students will not only learn about August Wilson’s work, but his work process, and will be asked to share their own thoughts through spoken and written word.
This program is created to integrate with and be reinforced by classroom instructional curriculum.
AWAACC also provides in-classroom outreach programming. The curriculum is tailored for our learning partners to use as a teaching tool aligned with an educator’s specific work plan. Our customized educational programs can relate to our exhibits, a presentation, or be taken by students virtually. The Center also provides instruction about the performing arts.
Programs such as The Blues in Schools, offer lessons that teach students about the history of Blues music and the genre’s origins. The Center hosts two major festivals each year, the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, and the Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival, where we provide artists workshops and educational programming hosted by the world-renowned musicians.
Our standard education programs include special student matinee performances by artists who are performing at the Center, an annual Youth Writers Camp, and the newly created Hip-Hop Workshop which will have virtual and in-person learning opportunities.
Become a partner in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. Join us as we endeavor to be a cultural and educational leader in the community. With your company’s support, the AWAACC can provide an annual art-based education to thousands of our region’s schoolchildren.Learn More
To learn more about these educational outreach initiatives, matinees, virtual education programs, artistic and festival workshops, and our Youth Writers Camp, contact Cathryn Calhoun our Senior Manager of Education & Community Engagement.Contact Us