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“Make your voice heard.” That’s the call to action of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture.

Recently, the center hosted the second of two 2011 town hall meetings, each of which took place at AWC.


The town hall meeting was attended by AWC president and CEO André Kimo Stone Guess, AWC chair of the board of directors Aaron Walton, AWC staff and, of course, Pittsburgh area residents.

“I don’t believe in the mantra ‘if you build it, they will come,’” said Guess. “The center belongs to the community and we want to make sure the community understands that.”

Besides giving AWC a lot of positive feedback, some of the topics discussed at the meeting included the idea of a AWC hosting a blues festival or jazz competition. One person asked about youth outreach. Another suggested AWC follow the lead of Howard University and host a conference for Black arts in Pittsburgh every two or three years.

Guess and AWC support the idea of its artists going out into the community doing workshops and seminars and will continue to do so. AWC is currently “doing things in the Hill District,” working with Mt. Ararat Baptist Church and other churches in the neighborhood.

“The community doesn’t always have to come to the center to see the artists,” said Guess.

Since the last town hall, which took place in August, AWC has started a theater company, and a dance academy. On the docket for next year is a town hall meeting that Guess plans to host “in one of the neighborhoods,” sometime in the first quarter of 2012.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” said Guess. “Really, there’s a lot more.”

The August Wilson Center for African American Culture is located on Liberty Avenue downtown. It currently has two exhibits that are open to the public: Teenie Harris Memories on the first floor and “Affrilachia Where I’m From!” in the second-floor gallery.

(For more information visit AugustWilsonCenter.org or call 412-258-2700.)

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