World-class art celebrates Pittsburgh’s African-American communities

By Kennedy Ellis

Pittsburgh can boasts as home to many legends in the arts, music and theater. The city’s influence on the arts world is evident in predominantly African-American communities such as the Hill District and East Liberty.

In the Hill District, a mural of two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson includes the names of his plays that highlighted life in Pittsburgh during the 20th century. In East Liberty, the stately Kelly-Strayhorn Theater pays homage to both legendary dancer Gene Kelly and ground-breaking composer Billy Strayhorn.

August #2
Photo credit: Kennedy Ellis

A mural depicts the creative nature of August Wilson, who many say is one of the world’s greatest playwrights.

Afro Institute
Photo credit: Kennedy Ellis

The Afro American Music Institute at 7136 Hamilton Ave in
Homewood. The institute is used for students who want to learn how to perform in the jazz and classical eras, among others.

Photo credit: Kennedy Ellis

Painted on a side of a building at 912 Bryn Mawr Road is an African-
American musical mural.

Famous Floor
Photo credit: Kennedy Ellis

A 5939 Penn Ave. sidewalk display highlights famous Pittsburgh African American theatre performers.

Kelly Strayhorn
Photo credit: Kennedy Ellis

The Kelly Strayhorn Theatre at 5941 Penn Ave. in East Liberty is
named after Gene Kelly and Billy Strayhorn.

Photo: Kennedy Ellis

August Wilson’s plays such as “Fences,” “Piano Lessons,” and “Jitney” are on display on an apartment building on 1-3 Erin Street in the Hill District.

Photo credit: Kennedy Ellis

African American art and music are celebrated as seen on a building at 2008 Centre Ave. in the Hill District.

About the author: Kennedy Ellis is a 15 year old sophomore at Hampton High School who lives in Hampton Township.