As The August Wilson Center for African American Culture presents:
First Voice: A Pittsburgh International Black Arts Festival
October 10-20, 2007

PITTSBURGH, PA-First Voice: A Pittsburgh International Black Arts Festival, held October 10-20, will showcase an innovative and eclectic blend of performances and visual art installations by African American artists based both inside and outside the Pittsburgh region.

The August Wilson Center's First Voice will include works from emerging and established artists in theater, music, film, spoken word, dance, hip hop, the visual arts, educational activities and much more.

"This festival celebrates the creator and creative voice. It is an attempt to highlight our creative capital and celebrate the creative process, energy, and intellect of artists in this region," said Janera Solomon, curator of First Voice.

First Voice is the newest addition to a rich festival tradition that has celebrated African and African American art and artists in our region for decades. First Voice specifically answers recent market surveys of Pittsburgh's arts community that identified the need for cultivating individual artists and increasing public awareness and support of African American institutions, explained Neil Barclay, President and CEO of the August Wilson Center.

Barclay said the festival was named First Voice because of the artists' role in conceiving and producing these projects. "Here, we have endeavored to provide a platform where new and provocative works are performed and staged-a platform that allows the artists' voices to ring true," said Barclay, adding he hopes the festival will be repeated in the future. First Voice organizers said bringing local, national and international talent to the Pittsburgh stage as a unified voice works to "further uplift a dynamic community."

"First Voice celebrates the rhythms of Africa, the pioneers of Pittsburgh's Black Arts Movement, and the promise of talented young visual artists and performers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond," said Dana Payne, festival coordinator and Manager of Community Affairs for the August Wilson Center.

Support for the August Wilson Center's 2007-2008 season comes from the Allegheny Regional Asset District, Bayer Foundation, the Buhl Foundation, The Falk Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, The Ford Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Multicultural Arts Initiative, the National Dance Project (NDP) of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Pittsburgh Foundation, FedEx Ground and many individual donors. Media sponsors for PHILADANCO's Pittsburgh performance include New Pittsburgh Courier, Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation (WAMO-FM, AM 860 and WPGR), Brotha Ash Productions and WDUQ 90.5 FM.

Tickets for the August Wilson Center's First Voice: A Pittsburgh International Black Arts Festival can be purchased by calling 412.456.6666, or by visiting www.pgharts.org or The Box Office at Theater Square. Discounts available through group sales or at the door one hour before the performance only. For group reservations for 10 or more, call 412.471.6930.

Ticket prices are as follows:

Festival passes: $60 per person or $100 per couple. (Includes admission to all shows, discounts to opening reception) Single event tickets: $15 for general admission, $10 for seniors/students (valid ID required) and $5 for children under 12 years.


Film screenings and And The Beat Goes On: $5 for general admission. *Special events: $50 ($25 for festival pass holders) for the Oct. 10 opening reception and performance and $25 for the Oct. 20 closing event.



All First Voice events are held at the New Hazlett Theater, Allegheny Square East, North Side, unless otherwise noted in the schedule.

First Voice: A Pittsburgh International Black Arts Festival
Schedule of Events:


· First Voice Welcome Reception

Music, art and expression are the backdrop for this festival kick-off. Audience and artists will share the evening and enjoy light refreshments while celebrating Pittsburgh black arts, past and present. TIME: 5:30-8 p.m.

· Classical Steel: Phil Solomon and Steel Impressions

Phil Solomon and the Steel Impressions will perform a program of works by some of the world's best-loved composers. TIME: 6-7 p.m.

· Awadagin Pratt

The Pittsburgh born pianist, violinist, conductor, recording artist and educator is an exclusive EMI recording artist and has been acclaimed as "one of tomorrow's superstars." This single performance includes works by Bach, Beethoven, Grieg, Rachmaninoff, Saint-Saens, Tchaikovsky, and Mozart. TIME: 8 p.m.


· rise
Vanessa German

An evening-length event featuring Becca Cooper, La Verne Baker Hotep, Kellee Maize, Ayanah Moor and producer/performer Vanessa German. "rise" is a multidisciplinary performance--a compilation of movement, hip-hop, spoken word and video. TIME: 8 p.m.

· Recoil
Staycee Pearl

Artist/choreographer Staycee Pearl has joined forces with sound designer Herman Pearl and filmmaker Isabelle Strollo to create a stylized alternate universe through sound design, video animation and dance. This multimedia installation will remain in place for the duration of the festival. An extended piece with live dance is scheduled for the evening of October 13. This event will take at the location is August Wilson Center Gallery 209/9.


· Art and Activism: A discussion with Nora Chipaumire, Vanessa German and Kim Ellis

We bring together these artists -- performance/visual artist Vanessa German; hip-hop artist and poet/playwright Kim Ellis and choreographer Nora Chipaumire -- to share their experiences as artists working within and deriving inspiration from their communities. Bring your lunch and join these artists for a free discussion on the Hazlett stage. TIME: Noon to 1:30 p.m.

· Movement (R)evolution Africa

This critically acclaimed 2007 documentary film examines the work of nine African choreographers. Ranging geographically from Senegal to South Africa, the various dancers and companies relate new expressions in African dance that convey the beauty and tragedy of the country they share. The film features choreography and a deep examination of the dancers and their motivations. Produced and directed by Joan Frosch, co-directed and edited by Alla Kovgan. TIME: 6:30 p.m. (running time approx. 65 minutes)

· Chimurenga
Nora Chipaumire

Dancer Nora Chipaumire was born in Zimbabwe, during the second war of liberation, and now lives in self-imposed exile here in the U.S. where she creates as well as teaches. She has also worked as a featured dancer with the famed Urban Bush Women. Her solo dance pieces are inspired by the political, societal, economic and spiritual aspects of her time in Africa and America. Co-presented by Dance Alloy Theater and the New Hazlett Theater. TIME: 8 p.m.


· And the Beat Goes On: Hip Hop, Part 1
Luqman Salaam

The first of a two-part program salutes the work of Pittsburgh's hip hop community while exploring hip hop's worldwide influence. Hosted and created by artist/producer Luqman Salaam. Hip hop's four elements: DJ, MC, graffiti and breaking - will be explored. The program includes a screening of a 45-minute PBS documentary "Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes." TIME: 1-4 p.m.; panel discussion from 4-5 p.m.

I'll Fly Away to Freedom and Keepers of the Flame Awards Ceremony
The Legacy Arts Project

· I'll Fly Away to Freedom theatrical presentation and Keepers of the Flame Awards Ceremony
The Legacy Arts Project

This event is October 13, 2007 at 7pm at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty. An original performance, “I’ll Fly Away to Freedom” is based on a Gullah/Geechee Folktale about the Africans who could fly. Starring: Queen Quet (Chieftess and Head of State) of the Gullah/Geechee Nation.

Also featured:
Temujin Ekunfeo, as the Ibo King, Nana Malaya Rucker, as the Ibo Village Queen, The Legacy Arts Project Performers & Drummers, Poet Turhan Shabazz, Master Drummer Shabaka Perkin, Vocalists: Sandra Dowe & Brian Wright & The Legacy Arts Community Gospel Singers.

”The Keepers of the Flame Awards” to Elder Artists, who have shown they have flown far above their circumstances are: J. Spencer Bey; Temujin Ekunfeo; Art Powell; Dr. Ralph Proctor; Nana Malaya Rucker; Turhan Shabazz, and Harold Young. They will be presented following the October 13th performance only. FOR COMPLETE DETAILS AND TICKET INFORMATION CLICK HERE

· Recoil
Staycee Pearl

Artist/choreographer Staycee Pearl has joined forces with sound designer Herman Pearl and filmmaker Isabelle Strollo to create a stylized alternate universe through sound design, video animation and dance. This event will take at the location is August Wilson Center Gallery 209/9.

· Make Me Wanna Holla: An Evening of Electric Words
Chassity Cheatham, a.k.a. Yah Lioness

Produced and conceptualized by poet/writer/MC Chastity Cheatham, this program will be performed in three dramatic movements of spoken word, imagery and song featuring Kimberly Ellis, Gene Stovall, Vema Sam'I, Cavu, and Carolynne Perteete, among others.
TIME: 8 p.m.


I'll Fly Away to Freedom: The Legacy Arts Project

This encore performance of I'll Fly Away to Freedom, headlined by Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, is described as a Gospel Matinee featuring Temujin Ekunfeo, Nana Malaya Rucker, Turhan Shabazz, Shabaka Perkin, Sandra Dowe, Brian Wright and The Legacy Arts Community Gospel Choir. The African vocal traditions that spiritually and musically informed the African American gospel aesthetic are performed in this family oriented program. TIME: 3 p.m., LOCATION: Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty

Also featured:
Temujin Ekunfeo, as the Ibo King, Nana Malaya Rucker, as the Ibo Village Queen, The Legacy Arts Project Performers & Drummers, Poet Turhan Shabazz, Master Drummer Shabaka Perkin, Vocalists: Sandra Dowe & Brian Wright & The Legacy Arts Community Gospel Singers.


· One Voice
Deryck Tines

One Voice is an evening of sacred African American music from the spiritual to the contemporary. Organized by Deryck Tines, local activist and minister, this performance features a combination of singers and musicians of various backgrounds and faiths joined in celebration of African American sacred music. TIME: 5 p.m.


· Film screening and discussion
Dr. Aisha White

A long time participant in community outreach and education, Dr. Aisha White presents a black history treasure produced, written and directed by William Greaves, "The First World Festival of Negro Arts." Features Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes, Alvin Ailey, Aime Cesaire, Leopold Senghor and artists, performers and dignitaries from thirty countries. Panel discussion to follow. Dr. White has taught film and media courses at the University of Pittsburgh and Carlow University. TIME: 6:30 p.m.

· In Our Own Image, In Our Own Words: An Evening of Film
Chris Ivey, Filmmaker

Chris Ivey, an award-winning local filmmaker, will screen his latest project, co-produced by the August Wilson Center, which focuses on local artists' works in progress. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion.
TIME: 6:30 p.m.


· Cave Canem

Celebrate literary arts at this poetry reading and subsequent Q & A session with members of Cave Canem: Toi Derricotte, co-founder of Cave Canem and professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh; Cornelius Eady, a project co-founder; Terrance Hayes, professor of creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University; and Yona Harvey, a Cave Canem Fellow. TIME: 7 p.m.

· Step Afrika!

Step Afrika! goes a step beyond, presenting a showcase of performers from the U.S. and South Africa in a rousing display of precision dance. The performance includes a variety of percussive dance styles including stepping, tap, clogging, hip-hop and more. Step Afrika! has performed throughout the U.S., Europe and South Africa. Presented by the August Wilson Center in association with Our House Development.
TIME: 8:30 p.m.


· Awaiting Change and other works, featuring AIM Company members Kyle Abraham, Abraham.In.Motion

Pittsburgh-born choreographer Kyle Abraham intertwines his sensual and provocative movement vocabulary with a strong understanding of music. Abraham’s celebrated works manipulate the bases of human behavior and emotion onstage, evoking twisted worlds and storylines. This program includes the pieces Awaiting Change, a preview of an excerpt of Number 6, and other solos and duets that will happily reacquaint fans and thrill first-time viewers. TIME: 8 p.m.

· What We Have
Greer Reed and Sean Jones

The interdependency of music and dance are joyously married in the work of Greer Reed and Sean Jones. With Pittsburgh native Greer Reed being dance personified and Sean Jones being her musical counterpart, they have joined together to represent the ultimate marriage of these two art forms. Both Reed and Jones will join forces to represent both their artistic and personal unification, in the spirit of love; music giving way to dance and dance feeding music. Follows the Kyle Abraham presentation.


· Jazz All-Stars
The Roger Humphries' Big Band

A tribute to Pittsburgh's jazz greats Dakota Stanton, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Strayhorn and Art Blakey. The concert stars the Roger Humphries Big Band, featuring Roger Humphries. TIME: 8-9:30 p.m.


· One Chair, One Couch, One Evening
An Evening of Playwrights

A banquet for theater lovers, One Chair is a showcase of new works by playwrights inspired by the venerable August Wilson. The program presents the staging of scenes from four national playwrights realized with Pittsburgh-based actors and directors. This rare collaborative effort will feature the works of: Mark Clayton Southers, founder and producing Artistic Director for the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company; Anthony Chisolm; Eileen Morris; Chadwick Boseman and Javon Johnson. These stagings include scenes from "Breathe," "Ma Noah," and "Deep Azure." TIME: 8 p.m.


·Soul Garden: A Hip Hop Retrospective
Featuring The Legendary Big Daddy Kane
Presented by Luqman Salaam and Nate Mitchell

This closing musical event of First Voice should be a triumphant celebration in sight and sound. Nate Mitchell, founder and presenter of Soul Garden, and Pittsburgh Artist/producer Luqman Salaam have joined forces to create this night. Soul Garden creates a new live music scene that works within the traditions of jazz, hip hop, soul and R&B. The artists - one local, one regional and one national - will be separated by artistic interludes that combine to make the evening a true musical garden of expression and community.


Artist performing are Poet, Hip hop (SMI) Act, Soul act (Eviction Notice), Hip hop act (The Lioness), Poet, Hip hop Act (Charon Don), Intermission 10 minutes, Host, Hip Hop Act (RXC), Soul Act (Ab & The SoulJourners), Hip Hop Act (Akil Esoon), and The Legendary Big Daddy Kane TIME: 8 p.m.


All exhibitions are at August Wilson Center's Gallery 209/9, 209 Ninth Street, Between Penn and Liberty Avenues in the Cultural District, Downtown. Expanded gallery hours during First Voice festival are MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY 10a.m. to 5p.pm; THURSDAY EVENINGS UNTIL 7p.m. The gallery is closed Sunday.

SoulScapes by Women of Visions, Inc. - Main Gallery Space
October 5, 2007 - February 16, 2008

Soul sister, soul food, soul music - the term soul in the Black vernacular often refers to a sense of ethnic pride in language, customs, music and social consciousness. But soul can also be found in art, nature, objects and daily expression. This exhibit shows works in oil, watercolor, ceramics, photography, fiber and other media to analyze the manifestations of soul. Marica Jackson, ceramic artist and current president of Women of Visions, Inc., co-curated SoulScapes with Cecile Shellman, a specialist in aqueous
media and director of education at the August Wilson Center.


Murals allow a large-scale opportunity for extended storytelling. This exhibit showcases the work of three Pittsburgh muralists and explores the role of murals in the community.

Leslie Ansley and Monique Luck

Co-collaborators on a number of highly praised local works, Ansley and Luck have created a multidimensional mural that celebrates the life and legacy of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson. They have taken on the larger than life characters of Wilson's plays and brought them to life, using the mural as the stage. Their goal is to honor Wilson in a way that befits his storytelling and the characters he created.

Kyle Holbrook

Holbrook is a local muralist and educator who is currently executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway Community Mural Project. This series of 24 new public murals celebrates eight neighborhoods past and present and may be part of the largest public art project in recent city history. Students from across the Pittsburgh region collaborated with professional artists to produce these murals under Holbrook's direction.


September 28 - October 19
Future Tenant Gallery, Cultural District, Downtown

A group exhibit curated and produced by artist Christiane D. Leach, POWER is designed to collectively express the definition of feminine power through the eyes, hearts and souls of 20 female artists. In many circles, power is seen as a desirable attribute for men, but a questionable choice for women. Here, each artist will display a single work contributed with no limitations on medium, age, culture or experience. This exhibition seeks to undermine the dominant power structure while defining the power of the feminine.

The August Wilson Center and the Dance Alloy Theater Presents
A Contemporary African Dance Technique Master Class
Nora Chipaumire

Dance Alloy Theater Studio, 5530 Penn Avenue (Corner of Negley and Stratford Avenues in Friendship)
Contemporary African dance, a movement revolution, dancing over/under/inside and outside the tradition. This is a master class in Chipaumire's own movement idiom or style designed for the dancer keen on exploring a new method of dancing.

Sunday, October 7, 3 - 4:30pm
Intermediate Dancers Welcome
Call to Reserve Space: 412.363.4321
$13 in advance; $15 walk-in

Wednesday, October 10, 10 - 11:30am
Advanced and Professional Dancers Only
Call to Reserve Space: 412.363.4321
$15 (Professional Rates Available)

About the August Wilson Center for African American Culture
The August Wilson Center for African American Culture preserves, presents and interprets the art, culture, and history of African Americans in Pittsburgh and of people of African descent throughout the world. The Center realizes its mission with an engaging schedule of visual and performing arts programs as well as educational and public programs.

More information is available at the Center's Web site www.augustwilsoncenter.org.

For more information, schedule interviews or to obtain photos of the artists, please contact:

Treshea N. Wade, Manager of Communications
Phone: 412.258.2692



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