The August Wilson African American Cultural Center is the new name |

The August Wilson African American Cultural Center is the new name

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop

The August Wilson Center in Downtown Pittsburgh announced in a news release it plans to add the words “African American” to its name.

The suggestion to do so by the center’s leadership was welcomed by the organization’s board of directors and they’ve agreed to this: The August Wilson African American Cultural Center.

“We heard from our friends and allies the depth of feeling associated with having ‘African American’ present in the institutional branding, and we believe it is an upside compromise to include it,” said Janis Burley Wilson, the center’s president and CEO in a news release. “August Wilson’s name alone signifies a celebration of African American culture. Although the August Wilson Cultural Center name embodies the African American experience, we’re planning to incorporate ‘African American’ back into the center’s name.

”This direction allows more voices within Pittsburgh’s community to feel included, and for the mission, vision and incredible programming to once again take center stage.”

The name was initially modified out of necessity following its financial reorganization and the bankruptcy of the original company, and after the building was purchased under new ownership and leadership, severing ties with the previous organization, according to a news release.

Constanza Romero Wilson, wife of August Wilson and executor of the estate supports the current leadership, the release said.

“August Wilson was an artist that very much looked toward the future with optimism and an impeccable trust in the power of the arts both as an instrument for change and as an affirmation of our common humanity,” she said in a release. “I am confident that he would embrace the vision and the mission of this organization.”

The center is working closely with the estate on a large-scale initiative to honor August Wilson’s legacy.

The vision for this unique center is on course with sound financial footing, solid leadership, and with dynamic and powerful plans for the future,” said Michael Polite, board chair of the August Wilson Cultural African American Center. “This amendment to the center’s name honors August Wilson and the deep impact his work continues to have with the African American community and beyond.”

The center will begin to phase-in the new name and branding over the next several weeks.


JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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