Sunday, July 9, 2017

August Wilson Center Hosts Three Visual Arts Exhibits



The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is pleased to announce the arrival and opening of three visual art exhibitions on Friday, July 14, 2017 at the August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh including Funky Turns 40: Black Character Revolution in the BNY Mellon Gallery, Robert Hodge’s For The Culture in the Claude Worthington Benedum Gallery, and ARTivism: August Wilson Community Mural Project by Tarish Pipkins in the 1839 Gallery. Exhibits will be on display through September 8, 2017.

The August Wilson Center visual art galleries are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Wednesday & Thursday: 11:00am - 6:00pm; Friday & Saturday: 11:00am - 8:00pm; Sunday: noon - 5:00pm.

On Saturday, July 15, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the August Wilson Center, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust will host a Family Fun Day- a celebratory event welcoming these exhibits featuring food truck cuisine from Leon’s Caribbean and Rayne’s BBQ. The space will also be filled with afro-centric music provided by various DJs. Patrons are encouraged to consume and participate in all aspects of the afternoon: art, beats, and eats. Exhibits are open to the public and admission is free of charge.

Funky Turns 40: Black Character Revolution celebrates the 40th anniversaries of Saturday morning cartoons and cartoon specials that featured the first positive Black characters in animation history. These 1970’s characters are historically significant because they represent a revolutionary change in the way Black people were depicted in animated form compared to the ugly stereotypes presented in animated film and television through the late 1960’s.
Funky Turns 40 received high acclaim during its inaugural exhibition with the Toonseum in 2012. When commenting on its return to Pittsburgh and what audiences are intended to take away from the exhibit, Co-curator Loreen Williamson had this to say, “We originally contacted the August Wilson Center and really wanted to see the exhibition on display there. So, we are very excited to finally be able to bring Funky Turns 40 back to Pittsburgh to the August Wilson Center. Audiences of all ages love Funky Turns 40, because it either reminds them of their childhood or educates them about a previously unknown aspect of Black history that is fun and uplifting. The move towards more positive representation of the Black image in animation is an important victory resulting from the Civil Rights Movement. What we hope people take away from the exhibition is how groundbreaking these cartoons and characters truly were at that time.”

Robert Hodge’s For The Culture is a body of work that speaks on a variety of subjects studying the creation of original forms of music such as blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, hip-hop, and house as it relates to race in America and the African American community. Hodge narrates these stories through text, color, found and reclaimed material. “For the Culture is a way of paying tribute to the integrity, knowledge, self awareness, and the greater good from the generations who came before us. The show stems from an honest place regarding the times we are in, addressing politics, social justice, music, and many other issues that affect me wherever I am in the United States of America.”

A special feature to the opening event will be Tarish Pipkins’ ARTivism: The August Wilson Community Mural Project, where Pipkins will invite the public to hand-paint a mural alongside her in the gallery of the lower level. At the end of the event, Pipkins will set the finishing touches to prepare the piece for the duration of the exhibition. This project is a product of audience engagement and public immersion. “I was born, raised, and started my art career here in Pittsburgh. It is an honor for me as a black artist to participate in a community project that contributes to the legacy and honors such a legendary playwright and other prominent black artists from Pittsburgh,” says Pipkins.

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