This post is sponsored by the August Wilson African American Cultural Center.
An exciting new exhibit commemorating the life and plays of one of Pittsburgh’s most celebrated residents is opening soon, and you won’t want to miss your chance to be among the first to check it out!
The August Wilson African American Cultural Center (AWAACC) invites you to step inside the life and works of Pittsburgh-born, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson at their new permanent exhibition, August Wilson: The Writer’s Landscape. The exhibition will open to the public on Saturday, April 16th at the AWAACC’s stunning downtown home, which preserves and advances both Wilson’s legacy and Black culture across the Pittsburgh region.
Over 3,600 square feet of gallery space will be used to create the August Wilson: The Writer’s Landscape exhibition, which will include notable artifacts from Wilson’s estate, interactive and multi-sensory activations, and recreations of items from the 1900s to the early 2000s that help place Wilson’s acclaimed works in historical context.
August Wilson: The Writer’s Landscape will take visitors on a journey through Wilson’s life, from growing up in the Hill District of Pittsburgh to discovering his passion for storytelling and his award-winning career as a playwright. The exhibition will also tie moments in Wilson’s life and work to cultural conversations about race, family, community, and representation.
The exhibition was created in collaboration with Constanza Romero-Wilson, who is Wilson’s widow, the Executive Director of the August Wilson Legacy LLC, and also served as the Chief Curator of the exhibition. Romero-Wilson was key to bringing this project to life, and in a statement about its April opening, she said, “I’m deeply grateful that [August Wilson’s] cultural and artistic contributions will have a lasting home at the Center.”
What can you expect to see inside the exhibition? Romero-Wilson’s idea was that the “story” for the visitor’s experience should take place in three acts, much like Wilson’s plays.
First, you’ll explore the Coffee Shop, modeled after the one that the young Wilson would have frequented in the Hill District that served as a source of inspiration for many of the characters in his plays. Sit down, hear the sounds of the bustling shop and take in some of the newspapers and magazines from the era that Wilson may also have read.
Next up is the Office, which is a replica of Wilson’s creative space and work environment. Inside you’ll find some of his own possessions illuminated with interactive images that shed light on his creative process as a writer.
The third act is the Street, where you’ll walk through galleries dedicated to each of the 10 plays that make up Wilson’s celebrated The American Century Cycle. The galleries use physical props and costumes alongside videos of notable productions of the plays to bring them to life.
In addition to Wilson’s own personal writing desk, some of the unique, rarely-seen items that will make up the exhibition’s collection are a 1956 Rock-Ola jukebox, a 1940s RCA radio, and prop masks – all of which were used in Broadway productions of Wilson’s plays during his lifetime.
August Wilson: The Writer’s Landscape is an exciting addition to Pittsburgh’s growing arts and culture scene, and much like the August Wilson Center itself, this exhibition will serve as a space for all Pittsburghers to celebrate Black culture, reflect on the issues of identity that Wilson discussed in his works, and even be inspired to create your own works of art.
Access to the exhibit is free and will remain free in perpetuity, but registration for timed tickets is required. You can claim yours starting April 11th at the August Wilson Center’s website, awaacc.org, so make sure to reserve your spot for this amazing new exhibition!This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.