The August Wilson African American Cultural Center has announced a 2023-24 season of events, exhibitions, performances and educational programs ‘that delve deep into the heart of African American culture and beyond.”
Among the highlights is an evening with Herbie Hancock, the trailblazer “whose influence on jazz, innovation and culture has endured since the 1960s. “From his time with the Miles Davis Quintet to the his ’70s album “Headhunters,” Hancock’s impact on music is undeniable. Hancock has won an Academy Award and 14 Grammys, including Album of the Year for his 2007 Joni Mitchell tribute album “River: The Joni Letters,” only the second jazz album to win the category title. Hancock performs March 27, 2024, at the Byham Theater, presented by the center and The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
“Our upcoming season is a vibrant tapestry of creativity, resilience, and the celebration of African American arts and culture” said Janis Burley, president and CEO of AWAACC said in a statement. “Each event is a testament to the enduring legacy of August Wilson, and we invite everyone to join us on this inspiring journey.”
In partnership with Demaskus Theatre Company, Our Song is described as a coming-of-age musical that weaves a poignant tapestry of African American history, from the depths of slavery to the triumphs of the present day. The performance opening Oct. 13 “takes audiences on an academic and emotional journey through pivotal historical eras,” with music that spans the rhythms of Africa to the Gospel music of today.
The Black Bottom Film Festival returns for a sixth year of illuminating and celebrating the rich tapestry of African American cinema. In addition to three days of films submitted by filmmakers from across the country, for the first time, Citizens (BBFF) will host a free panel discussion about film economy on Friday, October 27. “Reel Money: Building Pittsburgh’s Film Economy” aims to discuss making Pittsburgh a production capital.
On October 25, in honor of National Youth Justice Action Month, Broadway veteran Jeremy McQueen will present WILD, an Emmy award-winning ballet collaboration from The Black Iris Project. The Pennsylvania premiere presents the groundbreaking ballet “that elevates the voices of those affected by the juvenile justice system.”
Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival celebrates diversity through soul, funk, and R&B music. Headliners of the two-day event nclude Bobby Rush, Eric Gales, Pete Escovedo ft. Nestor Torres and Omara Portuando.
Also coming next season, honoring the center’s namesake, is Beyond the Red Door: August Wilson-inspired Experiential Theatre Series. The immersive experience “allows audiences to “delve into the world of August Wilson, exploring the themes, characters, and stories that continue to resonate today.”
The AWAACC visual arts season opens with Onna-Bugeisha: Warriors of Light by Tim Okamura (November 9, 2023-February 24, 2024). Curated by Karla Ferguson, this exhibition introduces women warriors guided by the Samurai Code.
Educational and free events remain at the forefront of the Center’s programming. AWCommunity Days, sponsored by UPMC/UPMC Health Plan, bring the community together through free family-friendly events featuring local vendors, artisans, performers, and themed activities at AWAACC.
This TRUTHSayers season brings speakers including Dr. H. Jean Wright III, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Isabel Wilkerson.
The season also includes the We Want the Funk Festival featuring Jeffery Osbourne, Average White Band and Loose Ends and Soul Sessions featuring artists such as Mumu Fresh, Kindred the Family Soul and Fred Hammond.
This month, catch the ongoing exhibitions Teenie Harris: Selected Works from the AWAACC Collection and Selected Works: Artist Image Resources x August Wilson Center. Lit Fridays is September 29 and AWCommunity Day: Open Air happens September 30.
TICKETS AND DETAILS
For more information, including events celebrating Pride Month, educational programming, event dates, tickets and details, visit awaacc.org.