Arts, Sports & Culture

We seek to cover our region's vibrant art and culture scene, as well as our iconic teams and the fans that follow them.

Expanded Arts and Culture reporting in western Pennsylvania is generously supported by the Jack Buncher Foundation.

Courtesy of Pennsylvania Resources Council

When people envision a sustainable future, they might think of such industrial-scale, tech-heavy approaches as solar arrays and electric vehicles. But creating a greener civilization also includes strategies as simple as finding new homes for stuff you don’t want any more.

Dominque Jouxtel

The very first Three Rivers Arts Festival, as created by the Women’s Committee of the Carnegie Institute, took place in June 1960. It ran four days, and drew 28,000.

U.S. Navy

The USS Pittsburgh, a Los Angeles-class, fast-attack submarine, returned to its homeport in Groton, Conn. in February, marking the successful completion of its final deployment—and with a Pittsburgher at the helm. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

Fences covered with blue tarps still surround the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, where 11 Jewish worshipers were killed last October.

But the three congregations which once worshipped there want to change that aesthetic.

National Archives at College Park, Md.

The Vietnam War indelibly marked recent history. But many Americans who lived through the war – not to mention those born after – remain minimally informed about basic facts about the conflict.

Photo by Barbara Weisburger / Photo courtesy of STAYCEE PEARL dance project

Fans of novelist Octavia Butler love her explorations of alternate realities for what they say about the complex world we actually live in. In Pittsburgh, Butler aficionados include choreographer Staycee Pearl, who this week debuts her second work inspired by the late Butler’s writings.

Chuck Cooper Foundation

In 1950, Charles “Chuck” Cooper became the first African-American player drafted by an NBA team when he was selected for a spot on the Boston Celtics.

Used by permission. © Tom Olin - Tom Olin Collection.

The Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. But like any civil-rights legislation, it required a fight. And photographer Tom Olin was on the front lines

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh recently added an online collection of crafting classes to its catalog. Creativebug is an educational arts and craft community that offers videos and transcripts in topics like knitting, crocheting and jewelry making.

Courtesy of the artist

tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE is a multidisciplinary artist well-known for decades in the local underground scene. He makes experimental films, writes eccentric books, and plays music – lots of music.

Courtesy of Silver Eye Center for Photography

Asked to name good cities for artists, most people would say New York or Los Angeles, maybe Chicago. And artists have indeed flocked to those towns for decades, if only because they’re where art buyers have flocked for decades. Silver Eye Center for Photography wants to help artists who live elsewhere get noticed.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Fringe

First thing to know about this year’s Pittsburgh Fringe: don’t go looking for it on the North Side, where it's been held for the past couple of years.

Will Wilson / Courtesy of The Westmoreland Museum of Art

A new exhibition at The Westmoreland Museum of Art explores the effects of colonialism in America while highlighting the experiences of Native Americans. The museum is offering performances, discussions and culinary experiences as part of the collection, which is anchored by a photography exhibit called, "Mingled Visions: The Photographs of Edward S. Curtis and Will Wilson."

Courtesy of the Braddock Carnegie Library

When Andrew Carnegie dedicated his first library in the United States, on March 30, 1889, he couldn’t have foreseen all the twists that lay in its future – including closure, rebirth, and a reworking in the mid-21st century. 

Peter Crimmins / WHYY

“Healing Tones,” a new composition commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra, opens with the sound of a ram’s horn or shofar — a traditional Jewish musical instrument.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

About half of all southwestern Pennsylvanians say their primary source of local news is from TV stations, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. 

Photo by Sarah Huny Young

Damon Young has a new tattoo.

In what’s got to be a relatively rare move for an author, the Pittsburgh-based blogger had the title of his new memoir, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker,” inked on his right bicep in inch-high letters, and then multiple times in smaller text running shoulder to elbow. 

Courtesy of Kristen Wesloh

How artists are integrated into a community can be an indicator of how well a city welcomes outsiders overall, according to City of Asylum's new executive director Kristen Wesloh. The North Side-based nonprofit has worked to create a community for writers, readers and neighbors in Pittsburgh for the last 15 years. 

Courtesy Tom Dugan

Simon Wiesenthal died in 2005, at age 96. But his legacy remains as relevant as ever.

Courtesy of Autumn House Press

Growing up in Chicago, recalls S. Brook Corfman, he was unsure where he fit in a world where everyone seemed to be either male or female. 

Photo by Andrea London

Andrea London has been a portrait photographer for 30 years. She works from her studio in the heart of Shadyside, where she shoots everyone – individuals and families – the same way: in black-and-white, on film, with a neutral backdrop. And she says she has always let her portraits speak for themselves.

Penn State To Collect $733K From Sandusky's Defunct Charity

Mar 20, 2019
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Penn State will collect hundreds of thousands of dollars left over from the defunct charity for youth founded by convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky, settling claims from a threatened civil lawsuit.

The university and the state attorney general's office both confirmed this week that an agreement was reached recently.

The university said it also will receive additional payments from entities that ensured The Second Mile, although the terms are confidential.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

The “humanities” are anything concerned with human culture, and so the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival ranges wide.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Industrial hemp is making a comeback in Pennsylvania after nearly a century of being illegal. The crop can be used to manufacture rope and clothing. Back when Pittsburgh was a young city, a woman defied tradition to run the largest rope-making business in the region.

Amy Sisk / WESA

Kristal Bodenschatz stands tall on the balance beam before she launches into a front tuck.

Photo by Derek Minto

Standup comedy can involve more than just standing up to tell jokes or stories. 

Courtesy of Jewish Family & Community Services

Jewish Family and Community Services in Squirrel Hill  is working to foster community for immigrants and refugees alike in Pittsburgh, according to its director of Refugee and Immigrant Services Leslie Aizenman. To achieve that, the JFCS is leading a collaboration among Casa San Jose, Literacy Pittsburgh, Latino Family Center of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, and South Hills Interfaith Movement.  

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A veteran of social activism since the 1960s is coming to Pittsburgh to help organizers of the future.

Allegheny Conference on Community Development Photographs / Detre Library & Archives at the History Center

A harsh winter with nearly 63 inches of snow, a sudden spring thaw and little to no water regulation combined to cause the worst flooding in Pittsburgh history: the St. Patrick’s Day flood of 1936.

Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art

The 57th Carnegie International ends March 25, so it’s time for a last look at the sprawling exhibit featuring cutting-edge work by 32 artists from around the world.

Three local arts leaders responded to a request to discuss one of their favorite works in the show.