School, neighbors plan space for arts at Wilson House
Duquesne University honors students and the August Wilson family want to turn the abandoned boyhood home of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright into a center for the arts.
Named for Wilson's mother, the nonprofit Daisy Wilson Artist Community on Bedford Avenue in the Hill District would boast a gallery space, artist residences, a coffeehouse and an outdoor venue for plays, concerts and movies.
Paul Ellis launched his dream for the artist community in 2005 when he acquired the three-story home where his uncle grew up. An adjacent 2 1⁄2-story building and a neighboring vacant lot are included in the plans, which could take a decade to become reality.
"This is a community-based project. You can't have a project of this scope without working with select partners, and Duquesne is as good as you can get," said Ellis, a Pittsburgh attorney.
Evan Stoddard, associate dean of Duquesne's McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, said students from his Community and University Honors Seminar will unveil their plan at noon today at the Hill District branch of the Carnegie Library. Duquesne previously has offered pharmacy, health care and educational services in the neighborhood that was a bastion of Pittsburgh's jazz community during Wilson's childhood.
Although the completion of the Daisy Wilson project may be years away, earlier this spring the students persuaded the university to grade the vacant lot so it can be seeded and used as an outdoor venue later this year.
Duquesne junior Dominic DiBiasio, 21, of Greensburg said he hopes the Daisy Wilson Artist Community will help dispel the stigma the Hill carries for some as a violent, crime-ridden neighborhood.
"We wanted to get some jam sessions or movies or Wilson plays on the lot as soon as possible," said DiBiasio, who is pursuing a double major in math and physics.
Junior Emily Bittle, 20, echoed his sentiments. The English major from Chambersburg said she hopes her class' plan becomes a springboard for future Duquesne students to interact with the nonprofit.
"The students have been great. They're dedicated and resourceful. I loved working with them," Ellis said.
Architect Rob Pfaffmann, who sits on the board of the Daisy Wilson Artist Community, said the students' ideas could bear fruit for many years as the project develops.
"This is a no-brainer. It is on the leading edge of change. This could be a tipping point for changing a neighborhood," he said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Judge denies request to lift gag order in Ford case
- Google grants teachers’ school supply wishes
- 2 Oakland houses destroyed by fire; none hurt
- Police investigate armed robberies in Lawrenceville
- Bethel Park settled police officer’s suit for $25,000
- Diocese of Pittsburgh plans service in response to black mass
- Controller to examine how much vehicles cost Allegheny County
- State lawmakers delay hearings on Corbett’s review of academic standards
- Parents keep children home from Brookline schools over threats
- Coach accused in $2,400 theft from Baldwin Hockey Club
- Backers of airport trade center look for more funding