Downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District has come a long way since the depths of the ’70s and ’80s when it was Pittsburgh’s unofficial red-light District. From its inception in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has led the way in one of the nation’s most prominent comeback stories. Now, as the bustling neighborhood of theaters, galleries, restaurants, and shops recovers from perhaps its biggest challenge – the pandemic – the Cultural Trust is making substantial new investments in several strategic properties in the neighborhood.
“These projects are just the first improvements people will see in the Cultural District over the next few years thanks to the success of our Trust: Building on the Dream Capital Campaign,” said Nick Gigante, the Trust’s Senior Vice President of Development and Real Estate. “The generosity of our donors will allow the Trust to continue our mission of using the arts as an economic generator and lead the revitalization of downtown as an arts and culture destination and an attractive neighborhood for residents, businesses, visitors, and workers.”
The Trust’s Building on the Dream Campaign exceeded its initial goal of raising $150 million over three years and has brought in $175 million in gifts, pledges, planned gifts, and endowments.
The first three properties that are benefitting from the success of the Capital Campaign include:
937 Liberty Avenue
When the building opens later this year, it will include a fully outfitted 100-seat theater on the first floor, a gallery on the second floor, and a 50-seat flex space/rehearsal stage/artist’s studio on the third floor. The Trust plans to provide technical and physical resources to artists and small arts organizations utilizing the space so they can focus on creating and producing work.
The building’s interior was renovated over the summer to improve its accessibility and safety. In addition, the first-floor theater will be named the Peirce Theater in honor of Joan and Bob Peirce, who have significantly contributed to the Trust’s Building on the Dream Capital Campaign.
The second-floor gallery is now showing “Rising Voices 2: The Bennett Prize for Women Figurative Realist Painters,” which features work by the finalists of the 2021 and 2019 Bennett Prize, 11 women artists presenting a diverse range of approaches and themes. The Bennett Prize, created in 2018, awards $50,000 to a woman artist to create her solo exhibition of figurative realist paintings, then travels the country. This exhibit runs through February 19.
The first- and third-floor spaces will be ready for use later this year, with participating arts organizations still to be announced. This project is made possible with generous support from the Allegheny Regional Asset District, Robert and Joan Peirce, and donors to the Trust: Building on the Dream Campaign for Pittsburgh’s Cultural District.
Greer Cabaret Theater
The reimagined Greer Cabaret Theater, Greer Lounge, and Theater Square Box Office will elevate the guest experience with intimate cabaret performances, relaxed acoustic performances in the lounge, and an expanded food and drink menu. Work began in the late summer of 2022, and the new layout is starting to emerge as the new spaces are being framed out. The project is on target for a grand reopening in late summer 2023.
This project is made possible with generous support from the Eden Hall Foundation, the Allegheny Regional Asset District, and donors to the Trust: Building on the Dream Campaign for Pittsburgh’s Cultural District.
Benedum Center Marquees
The distinctive and historic Stanley Photoplay marquee on the Penn Avenue side of the Benedum Center has been removed for repair and refurbishment by a local sign fabricator. The main marquee on 7th Street will also be refurbished later this spring. This project is made possible with the generous support of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and donors to the Trust: Building on the Dream Campaign for Pittsburgh’s Cultural District.
For more information, visit TrustArts.org/Dream.
Categories: Feature Stories
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