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.VISIT PIJF WEBSITE
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.VISIT HBHF WEBSITE
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.
Beyond the Red Door, a new, year-long, theatrical event series, draws from the process, practice,and themes of the Center’s namesake, August Wilson. Hailing from Pittsburgh’s Hill District, Wilson created one of the richest collections of plays in American history, reaching across the 400-year history of Black people in this country to give life to their stories using theater. From immersive theatrical experiences to artist workshops, musical performances, and food tastings, Beyond the Red Door will bring together local and national artists to offer exciting, new portals into Wilson’s artistry.SEE MORE
Lit Friday is a virtual program offered by the August Wilson African American Cultural Center, hosted and curated by the Literary Curator, Jessica Lanay. Occurring on the final Friday of each month*, Lit Friday hosts writers, artists, and thinkers of the African Diaspora for conversations on their latest works and how they intersect with contemporary cultural and political happenings. Former Lit Friday guests include prominent writers and artists such as culture journalists Nelson George and Danyel Smith, Man Booker Prize winner and fiction writer Bernardine Evaristo, memoirist Ashley Ford, photographers such as Ming Smith and Nona Faustine, and acclaimed artists including Dr. Fahamu Pecou and Mikael Owunna. We are excited to welcome forthcoming guests such as fiction writer Nana Adjei-Brenyah, and poets Mahogany Browne and Roger Reeves.
Lit Friday also participates in cross-programming with other major media and educational institutions such as Netflix, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the Andy Warhol Museum, and others. Previous guests that Lit Friday has welcomed as the result of community partnering are actor, producer, and director Blair Underwood, documentarian and director Melissa Haizlip, Tony Award winning playwright and director George C. Wolfe, and Tony Award winning actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson.
You can also find Jessica Lanay occasionally conducting interviews for AWAACC's Truthsayers Speaker Series where she has previously interviewed Son of Baldwin and Nikki Giovanni.
Please visit the Events page for upcoming Lit Friday conversations.
*In November and December, Lit Friday is held on the Friday previous to the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas.