Our Town

City of Asylum/Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania




Festival crowd.

Jazz musician Oliver Lake and African drummers from the Pittsburgh Dance Ensemble led poets, including Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, to the stage, playing an improvised Afro-blues march at the 2006 Jazz-Poetry Concert at City of Asylum/Pittsburgh. Photo by Chris Humphries, courtesy of City of Asylum/Pittsburgh

The NEA grant will support community-based performances by artists in residence and programming of the former theater marquee with an ongoing series of text-based artworks. Writer residency programs featuring writers from around the world, poetry concerts, and literary readings in public spaces will energize Pittsburgh's Federal North district, a neighborhood currently dominated by vacant dilapidated buildings and undergoing transformation by new development.

Coinciding with the project period, City of Asylum/Pittsburgh will relocate its facility to permanently anchor and activate Federal North with arts activities. Project partners also include City of Pittsburgh Office of Public Art, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, and local arts organizations. Performances and programming will target 3,200 residents of the Central Northside neighborhood where 56 percent of residents are African American.