AWC reinventing itself

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In an effort to create innovative and diverse programming and make it accessible to all communities, the August Wilson Center is reinventing itself for the 2011-2012 season.

“We want to continue the legacy of greatness birthed out of this region,” explained President and CEO Andre Kimo Stone Guess. “Our goal is to expand our role as a vital incubator for emerging and established artists working in theater, dance, music and beyond.

AndreKGuess
ANDRE KIMO STONE GUESS, president and CEO of AWC introduced the artistic directors.

One step towards its reinvention is by bringing in new artistic directors that will help the August Wilson Center produce its own events from concept to completion.

By putting on the hat of producer, the Center will primarily develop original programs around its three resident ensembles: The August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble, which was founded and led by dancer and choreographer Greer Reed-Jones, The August Wilson Center Theater Ensemble led by theater director and playwright Mark Clayton Southers, and the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra led by trumpeter and recording artist Sean Jones.

“We want to do everything in our power to cultivate and nurture the enormous talent here in Pittsburgh—so they only leave Pittsburgh if they want to, not because they have to,” Guess said.

Beginning in 2011-12, the August Wilson Center will present the “Continuum,” a series of programs tied to a specific theme. This season’s continuum is “Affrilachia,” a term describing African-Americans living in Appalachia.

This season will include two exhibitions focusing on the national Romare Bearden Centennial celebration. From Process to Print: Graphic Works by Romare Bearden will run from July 15 to Sept. 12 in the August Wilson Center’s Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation Changing Exhibit Gallery.

The exhibit will showcase a collection of more than 75 lithographs, etchings, plates, screen prints and other mediums all created in a 30-year time period.

The Romare Bearden Foundation is a New York-based public foundation dedicated to the legacy of preeminent American artist and Pittsburgh Public Schools graduate, the late Romare Bearden.

“The richness of pattern and color, the strength of theme and the importance of mark and myth are evident in this body of work. Bearden’s formative years in Pittsburgh—as a boy in East Liberty living with his maternal grandmother—influenced his work throughout his entire career,” said Cecile Shellman, artistic director, Visual Arts & Exhibitions at the August Wilson Center.

“Romare Bearden is an example of the promise Pittsburgh holds for youth who dare to dream, are nurtured in their desires and persevere against the odds,” Shellman continued.

Other exhibits during the series includes lectures by Mary Schmidt Campbell PhD, vice chairman of President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities and dean of Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and Joe Trotter PhD, head of Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of History.

(For more information on the August Wilson Center’s eighth season, visit its website at http://www.augustwilsoncenter.org. or call 412-258-2700.)

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