AWAACC provides a wide variety of year-round, signature visual arts, music, dance, theater, and film programs, as well as robust educational activities and a forum for communication engagement and celebration to present Black expression in all of its magnificent forms.
The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival (PIJF) presented by Citizens Bank is an annual celebration of music bringing people from all over the world to Pittsburgh to rejoice in the innovation and creativity of America’s original art form. PIJF has stayed committed to sharing all aspects of the genre from hard bop to jazz fusion. The festival illuminates the work of emerging artists to standard bearers, and offers concerts, workshops, lectures, jam sessions, parties and delicious food from the area’s restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Chaka Khan, Patti Labelle, Stanley Clarke, Dianne Reeves, Chick Correa, Eddie Palmieri, El Gran Combo, Marcus Miller, Gregory Porter, Christian McBride, WAR, The Average White Band, Terri Lynne Carrington, and Jazzmeia Horn have all performed at the festival.
The Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival (HBHF) is an annual fall music happening sponsored by Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield that brings the top Blues, folk, gospel and traditional artists to the “Steel City” for a regional weekend celebration of America’s ubiquitous root music. Workshops, lectures, parties and jam sessions are on the menu, along with a whole lot of Barbeque. Performers over the years include, Mavis Staples, CeCe Winans, Bettye LaVette, Rhiannon Giddens, Shemekia Copeland, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Christine Kingfish Ingram, New Breed Brass Band, Rare Essence and the Damien Sneed Gospel Choir.
From age-old classics to contemporary work, the Black Bottom Film Festival illuminates and observes independent African American cinema and innovative Black filmmakers. The festival showcases movies that focus on the themes of spiritual realism, race, family conflict, honor, duty and working-class struggle, motives often expressed in August Wilson’s Century Cycle plays. The festival also honors African-American filmmaking pioneers and fosters an examination of how Black filmmakers use art to inspire, challenge, confront, and influence American culture.
TRUTHSayers Speaker Series is an ongoing program bringing today’s preeminent speakers and artists to the Center to reflect on current events and share unique and thought-provoking material in hopes of inspiring racial awareness and understanding between people. Previous speakers include Angela Davis, Nikki Giovanni, Michael Eric Dyson, Angela Rye, Karamo Brown, and others.
AWCommunity Day is a free family-friendly event that features local vendors, artisans, performers and community building at the AWAACC. Guests can enjoy dance, music, theater, and more! AWCommunity Day is a quarterly event that is proudly sponsored by UPMC and UPMC Health Plan.
Soul Sessions is a series of intimate concerts featuring some of the most talented artists today live in the theater of the AWAACC. Previous performers include Leela James, Raheem Devaughn, Daley, Gregory Porter, Eric Roberson, Jeff Bradshaw, Marsha Ambrosius, Musiq and others.