I was excited when it opened.  On my first visit there I went with great anticipation. After all I had worked at the Senator John Heinz History center and I like museums and history centers so I expected to see great things at the AWC.  As I looked around there really was not much to see.

At this point–please don’t kill the messenger–I’m only telling you what I saw, my thoughts.  I wanted this building to succeed but there was nothing much there unless an event was not taking place.

For a while there was a gift shop, I even featured it for my Christmas Gift Guide on this very page then it closed. There was never a dedicated dining space but you could have lunch there on Thursdays and enjoy food from Savoy. The AWC had more of an appeal from the outside than in.  I felt that the center never had a real identity. What is it… a theater space, a cultural center or a banquet hall?

It is very sad to see the articles about selling something that was planned for so long and has been open for a short time as far as building years are concerned. People are shouting “save the AWC” so if someone throws some good money after bad what are you going to do with it now?

Once again my opinion only, the building is poorly laid out, it needs continuous exhibits about Black Pittsburgh, there should be continual plays with professional actors and an August in August street festival should happen every year; and it needs an upscale African-American restaurant with scrumptious soul food. It also needs a director with a vision.

(Email the columnist at debbienorrell@aol.com)

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