KST Blog

Welcome to 1839!

1839 is inspired by the life, work, and legacy of Pittsburgh native, playwright August Wilson. The magazine serves as a nexus for the Greater Pittsburgh area’s writers and artists, providing a space to create, collaborate, cultivate and publish our thoughts, opinions, histories, and work.

  1. Checking In: Artists Around the World featuring Ni’Ja Winston

    Every Thursday at 2:00pm, KST Senior Producer Ben Pryor takes to Instagram Live for conversations with artists in Pittsburgh, throughout the US and around the world. They will connect on the impact of COVID-19 and adapting to working in the arts through a pandemic.

     For this Thursday, April 16th stream, Ben checks in with “Creative Capital and “Bessie” Awardee Ni’Ja Whitson. Check out Ni’Ja Whitson here: http://www.nijawhitson.com 

    Ni’Ja Whitson (NY/LA) is a Queer Nonbinary multidisciplinary artist, Creative Capital and “Bessie” Awardee, wound and word worker, referred to as “majestic” by The New York Times, and recognized by Brooklyn Magazine as a culture influencer. They engage transdisciplinarity through a critical intersection of the sacred and conceptual in Black, Queer, and Trans embodiedness, architectures, science, and spirit. Whitson is an 18th St. Artist in Residence (Los Angeles), 2020 Center for Performance Research artist in residence, 2018 MAP Fund awardee, featured choreographer of the 2018 CCA Biennial, 2018-2020 Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Fellow, and invited presenter at the 2019 Tanzkongress international festival. Residencies and fellowships include Jerome/Camargo, Dance in Process at Gibney, Hedgebrook, Movement Research, Bogliasco Fellowship with commissions including St. Mark’s Church at Danspace, American Realness and Vision festivals, ICA Philadelphia.Their award-winning practice extends to choreography and directing in conventional and experimental theatre and performance with recent commissions from Yale Dance Lab, Spoleto Festival (Omar composed by Rhiannon Giddens, directed by Charlotte Brathwaite), EMPAC, and New York Live Ideas Festival. Whitson received an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a second MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, receiving merit and artist awards at both. They are a sought-after speaker, presenter, masterclass facilitator and conversationalist whose offerings have been shared among notable institutions and arts organizations: Princeton, Cornell, LAX Festival, Movement Research, 2020 keynote of the Collegium for African Diasporic Dance conference. Checking In is a part of KST Global Stream, KST’s COVID-19 responsive online programming initiative.

    Below is video of the conversation between Ben Pryor and Ni’Ja Whitson. Check out the full schedule of upcoming guests here.

  2. No Covers Playlist!

    KST started working with singer and songwriter LoRen in May 2019 through the FUTUREMAKERS program. Between May and September 2019, KST staff supported LoRen in the planning and development of No Covers, a concert curated and produced by LoRen featuring Pittsburgh artists performing their original work. The concert was realized on Friday, December 13, 2019 and featured LoRen, Clara Kent, Kayli Kaufmann, Cam Chambers, Michael Smalls and Benjamin Barson. Check out this playlist of featured artists and photos of No Covers by Beth Barbis.  

       

  3. Down with ODD: featuring Hallie Donner

     

    Every Wednesday at 2:00pm, KST Deputy Director Orlana Darkins Drewery takes to Instagram Live for conversations with the KST community in Pittsburgh, and across the USA. Join us to see how folks are managing the impact of COVID-19. For this Wednesday, April 15th stream, Orlana chats it up with Alumni Theater Company (ATC) founder, Hallie Donner. Check out Alumni Theater Company here: https://www.alumnitheatercompany.org

    Hallie Donner graduated from Bucknell University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a teaching certificate. Hallie started her career as a third grade teacher at Featherbed Lane Elementary School in Baltimore, MD. Each of her four years at Featherbed, she volunteered to direct a school musical. Realizing that producing theater with young performers was her true passion, Hallie moved to Pittsburgh to obtain a Master’s degree in Arts Management at Carnegie Mellon University in 2000. Upon receiving her Master’s degree in 2000, Hallie began teaching at the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School a K-5 public charter school in East Liberty. From 2000 – 2016, Hallie founded and developed an innovative drama program at the charter school that integrates theater education with classroom studies and values education where young people explore and develop their creative capacity and personal character. In 2008, Hallie founded the Alumni Theater Company (ATC) to provide more intense learning and performance for youth in grades 6-12. ATC began as a group of exceptionally talented alumni from the charter school, and in 2012 became an independent 501(c)(3) organization.

    Down with ODD is a part of KST Global Stream, KST’s COVID-19 responsive online programming initiative.

    Below is video of the conversation between Orlana Darkins Drewery and Hallie Donner Check out the full schedule of upcoming guests here.

     

  4. 19 Mins with Joseph Hall: featuring Maria Bauman-Morales

    Every Tuesday at 12:30pm, KST Executive Director Joseph Hall takes to Instagram Live for conversations with arts leaders in Pittsburgh, across the USA, and internationally. Tune in, get to know Joseph, and find out how he and fellow arts leaders around the world are adapting to the challenges brought on by COVID-19.

    For this Tuesday, April 14th stream, Joseph was joined by “Bessie” award winning multi-disciplinary artist and Brooklyn, NY based community organizer, Maria Bauman-Morales. Check out Maria Bauman-Morales and MBDance here: http://www.mbdance.net

     Maria Bauman-Morales is a “Bessie” award winning multi-disciplinary artist and community organizer based in Brooklyn, NY. She is 2020 Columbia College Dance Center Practitioner-in-Residence, 2019 Gibney Dance in Process residency award winner, 2018-20 UBW Choreographic Center Fellow, 2017-19 Artist in Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange and was the 2017 Community Action Artist in Residence at Gibney. In 2009 she founded MBDance which recently premiered (re)Source to sold-out audiences, co-commissioned by the Chocolate Factory Theater and BAAD!. She creates bold and intimate artworks for MBDance, via dream-mapping and nuanced, powerful physicality. Centering non-linear stories, bodies and musings of queer people of color, she draws on her studies of English literature, capoeira, improvisation, dancing in nightclubs and concert dance classes to emphasize ancestors, imagination, and Spirit while embodying inter- dependence. Bauman-Morales is also a performance collaborator with Jumatatu Poe’s and Donte Beecham’s Let ‘im Move You: This is a Formation. Previously, she danced with Urban Bush Women (UBW) and was UBW’s Director of Education and Community Engagement before becoming Associate Artistic Director. She still works with Urban Bush Women as part of the UBW Summer Leadership Institute advisory council and faculty member for the Summer Leadership Institute. She is an active member of our dance community outside of choreography and performance. Bauman-Morales is a Core Trainer with The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, helping arts organizations and university dance programs understand and undo racism. In 2014, she co-founded a grassroots organization, Artists Co-creating Real Equity, which won the 2018 BAX Arts and Artists in Progress Award for working to undo racism in our daily lives. Organizing to undo racism informs her artistic work and the two areas are each ropes in a Double-dutch that is her holistic practice. She is also a mentor to early career artists through Queer Art Mentorship.

    19 Mins with Joseph Hall, is a part of KST Global Stream, KST’s COVID-19 responsive online programming initiative.

    Below is video of the conversation between Joseph Hall and Maria Bauman-Morales. Check out the full schedule of upcoming guests here.

  5. Checking In: Artists Around the World featuring Staycee Pearl

    Every Thursday at 2:00pm, KST Senior Producer Ben Pryor takes to Instagram Live for conversations with artists in Pittsburgh, throughout the US and around the world. They will connect on the impact of COVID-19 and adapting to working in the arts through a pandemic. Pryor kicks things off with Pittsburgh choreographer Staycee Pearl, Co-Artistic Director of Staycee Pearl Dance Projects and Soy Sos and PearlArts Studios. Check out Staycee Pearl and PearlArts Studios here: http://www.pearlartsstudios.com

    Staycee Pearl is the co-artistic director of PearlArts Studios and STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos (SPdp&SS), where she creates artful experiences through dance-centered multimedia works in collaboration with her husband and artistic collaborator, Herman Pearl. Staycee received her initial dance training at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. In 2010, SPdp&SS debuted at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, and served as resident dance company for the theater for three years. Staycee and husband/creative partner Herman Pearl proudly opened their dance/art/sound space, PearlArts Studios, in April of 2012. Since then the duo has produced several works including ..on being…, OCTAVIA, and FLOWERZ. Staycee is passionate about sharing resources and creating opportunities for the arts community by initiating project-generating programs including the Charrette Series, the In The Studio Series, and the PearlDiving Movement Residency. Checking In is a part of KST Global Stream, KST’s COVID-19 responsive online programming initiative.

    Below is video of the conversation between Ben Pryor and Choreographer Straycee Pearl Check out the full schedule of upcoming guests here.

  6. KST Global Stream: Down with ODD featuring LoRen

    Every Wednesday at 2:00pm, KST Deputy Director Orlana Darkins Drewery takes to Instagram Live for conversations with the KST community in Pittsburgh, and across the USA. Join us to see how folks are managing the impact of COVID-19. To kick things off, Orlana was joined by Artist LoRen for a great conversation. Check out LoRen here: https://www.lolandmusic.com/ Listen to LoRen’s music on Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/a-m-…

    LoRen is influenced by a wide range of vocalists from soul artists including Lauryn Hill and Sam Cooke, and compared to the sweet country singing of Taylor Swift, LoRen (Guest – Wednesday, April 8) has a sound that is unlike any other. LoRen has been writing her own music since the age of 8 and is trained in both classical and Broadway music. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, LoRen has participated and won numerous talent shows, and has performed in front of thousands. In 2016 LoRen was featured in a Maybelline New York campaign as an artist and model that “Makes it Happen.” LoRen later collaborated with a house music producer in the Netherlands, for an international house music project. In 2018, LoRen was selected to be a panelist for the Advancing Black Arts Pittsburgh grants program. LoRen is currently studying Music production at Full Sail University. Down with ODD is a part of KST Global Stream, KST’s COVID-19 responsive online programming initiative.

    Below is video of the conversation between Orlana Darkins Drewery and performer and 2019 Kelly Strayhorn Theater Futuremaker Loren Check out the full schedule of upcoming guests here.

     

  7. 19 Minutes with Joseph Hall and Dr. Jane Gabriels PhD.

    In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, KST Presents has launched KST Global Stream, a new series of online programming. As a part of KST Global Stream, we are pleased to bring you 19 Minutes with Joseph Hall, a conversation series on Instagram Live featuring KST Executive Director Joseph Hall in conversation with Arts Leaders from around the world.

    Below is video of the conversation between Hall and performer, singer, curator, producer and Executive Director of Made in BC – Dance on Tour, Dr. Jane Gabriels PhD. Check out the full schedule of upcoming guests here.

  8. Sunstar 2020 Playlist!

    It was on Thursday, March 12 that KST leadership and staff realized that we would not be able to host the 2020 Sunstar Festival. While the events of this year’s festival have been indefinitely postponed because of COVID-19, we are thrilled to share a taste of what the festival will be via the playlist below. Listen to tracks by Anqwenique Wingfield, RHYME, Inez, Clara Kent, Brittney Chantele and more. KST Presents will bring back Sunstar 2020 as soon as we are able!

  9. 19 Minutes with Joseph Hall & Charles Rice-Gonzalez

    In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, KST Presents has launched KST Global Stream, a new series of online programming. As a part of KST Global Stream, we are pleased to bring you 19 Minutes with Joseph Hall, a conversation series on Instagram Live featuring KST Executive Director Joseph Hall in conversation with Arts Leaders from around the world.

    Check out our first conversation below between Hall and writer and Co-Founder of BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Charles Rice-Gonzalez. And check out the full schedule of upcoming guests here.

     

  10. KST Welcomes Joseph Hall as Executive Director

    KST is thrilled to welcome Joseph Hall back to Pittsburgh as the new Executive Director of Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Hall’s first day on the job was Monday, March 2. Check out the short message from Hall below and join us for his official community welcome reception as a part of Neighborhood Happy Hour on Thursday, March 19 from 7:00pm – 9:00pm at Kelly Strayhorn Theater. HUNY will be there DJing sounds! Check back for more details on Hall’s first 100 days with KST and exciting news about the future of the institution.



    Neighborhood Happy Hour: Homecoming and Welcome Reception for Joseph Hall

    Thursday, March 19
    7:00pm – 9:00pm

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater
    5941 Penn Ave. 15206

    Free & Open to the Public
    RSVP Now!

    This monthly social at the KST Lobby Bar brings the people of East Liberty together! Grab a drink, meet your neighbors and chat over a snack from a local food truck. Invited guest speakers spark conversation and each event offers community members an opportunity to share news, announcements, and information about other East Liberty happenings, events, and concerns!

    This season’s first Happy Hour will be a Homecoming and Welcome Reception for KST’s new Executive Director, Joseph Hall. Join us as we invite East Liberty and all of Pittsburgh to welcome Hall back to town! Enjoy music by one of Pittsburgh’s hottest DJ’s “HUNY,”  delicious appetizers, KST Lobby Bar cocktails and more!