Arts, Sports & Culture

We seek to cover our region's vibrant art and culture scene, as well as our iconic teams and the fans that follow them.

Expanded Arts and Culture reporting in western Pennsylvania is generously supported by the Jack Buncher Foundation.

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

In the summer of 1991, Bob Ziller had just moved to Pittsburgh from New York. He wasn’t living “anywhere in particular,” he says. He found a home away from home at a business that was another newcomer to the South Side: The Beehive Coffeehouse & Dessertery, which had just opened at South 14th and East Carson streets.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Six and a half tiny homes with a tie to inventor Thomas Edison are the latest addition to the Carnegie Science Center’s Miniature Railroad and Village exhibit. The model of Cement City, a historic district in Donora, Pa., represents an engineering experiment that challenged conventional homebuilding.

Art by Chris McGinnis

Chris McGinnis grew up in Indiana County and often spent family vacations at a camp in Allegheny National Forest, two hours north of Pittsburgh. He and his siblings explored the remains of an old tanning mill on the Clarion River – a ghost town recalling an industry of days gone by.

Courtesy of Film Pittsburgh

For many of the world’s filmmakers – surely most of them – short films are the way to go, a more affordable way to tell a story or realize one’s vision than a full-length feature. The hard part of the bargain is it’s a lot harder to find an audience. Movie theaters don’t routinely program short films; television stations don’t show them; and online, you’re competing with the whole internet.

Eric A. Smith / Hill Dance Academy Theater

A Pittsburgh dance organization is supporting a new initiative for more diversity in professional ballet. The Equity Project: Increasing the Presence of Blacks in Ballet is an effort anchored by the Dance Theater of Harlem, The International Association of Blacks in Dance and Dance/USA. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is among 21 major ballet organizations to adopt the agenda.

Alexander Hamilton Descendant Loans Heirlooms To Philly Museum

Nov 12, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

The fifth great-grandson of Alexander Hamilton loaned some family heirlooms, including a ring that has a lock of his hair inside, to the Museum of the American Revolution Monday.

Photo by Autumn Stankay / SkySight Photography

Starting Nov. 3, many visitors to the Westmoreland Museum of American Art have gotten a pleasant surprise: The venerable institution no longer requests donations from visitors.

Hold On To Your Music Foundation

In the aftermath of the shootings at the Tree of Life synagogue, many find it sobering to recall that this month is the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins have donated nearly $350,000 to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to benefit the victims of last month's synagogue massacre.

Short: Shoes Of The Trade

Nov 8, 2018
Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

Stay on your toes. For Julia Erickson, a principal dancer with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, this phrase is more than metaphor. It’s part of her job. And one that requires a special tool.

Photo courtesy of City Books

Like many Pittsburghers, Arlan Hess says that after the shootings last month at Tree of Life synagogue, she felt helpless.

Then she realized there was a way she could help.

Hess owns City Books on the North Side, and on Saturday the shop will host the Tree of Life Memorial Reading, with a dozen local writers and live music.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Genealogies, time cards, and newspaper clippings are among the hundreds of artifacts in the Heinz History Center’s Rauh Jewish History Program and Archives

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

When the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announced it would bring the smash hit musical "Hamilton" to the Benedum Center, leadership knew they were in for the biggest sale in their history. But they also knew that Hamilton tickets were among the most lucrative for scalpers: according to the New York Times, resale prices for Hamilton tickets can climb up to $10,090.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Public Theater

Lynn Nottage began researching the play that became Sweat in 2011. In today’s rapidly changing political landscape, that seems like eons ago. But when it premiered on Broadway in 2016, just five days before the presidential election, Sweat felt as topical as an op-ed column. One prominent critic even called it “the play that explains Trump’s win.”

Malcolm James McCormick, the chart-topping rapper known as Mac Miller, had fentanyl, cocaine and ethanol in his system at the time of death on Sept. 7, according to Los Angeles County's Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


Stephanie Butnick had only been to Pittsburgh once, briefly for a wedding, before she was assigned to cover the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill.  

Gene J. Puskar / AP


Fred Rogers' famous advice "look for the helpers" has been a salve for many this week as Pittsburghers struggled to cope with the shooting deaths of 11 people in Squirrel Hill on Saturday.

"Dear Mr. Trump: We write you on behalf of our client, Pharrell Williams, composer and performer of the hit song 'Happy.' On the day of the mass murder of 11 human beings at the hands of a deranged 'nationalist,' you played his song 'Happy' to a crowd at a political event in Indiana.

The famed Underground Railroad was not, of course, an actual railroad. 

Courtesy of the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

In response to the deadly shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue, in Squirrel Hill, several local cultural institutions are offering free admission this week.

The groups want to serve as places of healing and comfort.

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, on the North Side, is free to visitors through Friday.

So is the Frick Art Museum, in Point Breeze, which is hosting an exhibit of fantastical costumes made from paper.

University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh has many sports teams, but none is doing as well as the undefeated volleyball team. The talented group of 17 women has been serving up victory after victory all season long.


Jeanguy Saintus says it’s an uphill battle to showcase works from the Caribbean in the United States.

Alumni Theater Company

After 10 years without a permanent home, the Alumni Theater Company (ATC) is celebrating its new performance space at Washington Boulevard and Hamilton Avenue on the border of Larimer and Homewood.

Photo by Andrew Jordan / Courtesy of The Blanket

Christopher Williams has long been fascinated by the stories of martyred saints. He is especially captivated by Legenda aurea, or Golden Legend, a lushly illustrated collection of hagiographies first compiled in the 13th century by the Italian chronicler, Jacobus de Varagine.

Matt Rourke / AP

The official portrait of former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is about to be unveiled and will hang inside the governor's office in the Capitol.

Corbett, former first lady Susan Corbett and officials from his administration are expected to attend the Wednesday ceremony in Harrisburg.

The oil-on-canvas painting was done by Catherine Prescott, who taught painting and drawing for 20 years at Messiah College.

The 69-year-old former governor posed in Prescott's Mechanicsburg studio in the summer of 2017 for a set of photos that were used to create the painting.

Image courtesy of the University Art Gallery

In recent decades, critics have increasingly focused on how different genders are represented in film, TV and video games. But the critique can go much further into history, and the paintings, drawings and sculpture that also influence how we view each other.

Courtesy of City Theatre


The school-to-prison pipeline is the inspiration for a new show at Pittsburgh's City Theatre. Obie award-winning playwright Dominque Morisseau wrote PIPELINE to explore the disproportionate disciplining of minority students, which can put them on the pathway to eventual incarceration.

Courtesy of Point Park University

Visitors to Point Park University’s new Pittsburgh Playhouse, Downtown, are likely to be impressed. Visitors also familiar with the old Pittsburgh Playhouse, in Oakland, might well be wowed by the upgrade.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Maleeka Madison can’t catch a break. She’s too tall, too smart, and her skin’s too dark -- life is hard for the 13-year-old protagonist of Sharon Flake’s iconic novel, The Skin I’m In.

Courtesy of Mark Houser

Pittsburgh’s Gilded Age skyscrapers often pale in height and granduer to their modern-day cousins, but the tycoons behind them do not.