Though having only recently celebrated its second birthday, the August Wilson Center commands a striking architectural confidence. Its two-story steel-and-glass sail juts into the night sky with the bravado of a toddler who just lassoed his first neighborhood cat. Within the steal and glass, a 486-seat theater hosts plays, dance performances, and lectures while multiple exhibition galleries display art and cultural treasures for the community. The center draws on the legacy and culture of African Americans from Western Pennsylvania, infusing each curation with a celebration of rich history.
Perched in the Steel City's Cultural District downtown and staffed by passionate volunteers, the nonprofit ToonSeum pays homage to the art of the cartoon with rotating exhibits, kids' classes, and hands-on entertainment for all ages. Exhibitions have ranged from collections of original work to special displays honoring artists such as Pennsylvania native, Keith Haring. Contributing to the museum's ongoing educational mission, local cartoonists often donate their own time to teach fun-filled workshops or share the bleak realities of living with a talking cat.
Although Create a Frame / Handworks Gallery began as a designer framing store, works of art have wriggled their way off the walls and onto the shop floor, where 3-D pieces complement the flat compositions framers nestle beneath glass, mats, and moulding. Helmed by husband-and-wife team Wendy and Steven Denenberg for more than 30 years, the white custom-framing counter offsets a wall of frame samples from brands such as Adhisa and Roma, which encircle pieces of any size alongside flattering mats and glass to protect against passing impressionists. Tactile objets d'art dapple the rest of the gallery space with the colors of hand-hewn artisanal furniture, sparkling jewelry, and glass bowls, vases, and ceilings crafted by American and international artists.:m]]
Museums typically showcase art in carefully curated rooms. At Mattress Factory, however, the room itself is the art. Since 1977, the museum's two buildings have housed a permanent collection of contemporary installation art—room-sized works that engulf the entire space. In Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Dots Mirrored Room, mirrored ceilings and walls infinitely reflect a trio of fluorescent dots painted on a white formica floor. In Greer Lankton's It's all about ME, Not You, astroturf lines a floor covered in artful arrangements of grotesque dolls that form shrines to artists such as Patti Smith and Candy Darling.
To further immerse guests, Mattress Factory's exhibitions are paired with educational programs that range from lectures to hands-on art projects. Along with stimulating the public, the museum stimulates the growth of artists through its residency program, which invites participants to create installations while living near the museum, a much more practical alternative to hiding a secret cot in the coatroom.
Ace Paints & Furniture’s staff of color-matching experts and trained designers assist clients in their searches for home-decorating solutions. Ralph Lauren paints in suede and metallic finishes line shelves alongside high-traffic area coatings from Daich, which simulate the sturdy look of brick and stone. Outdoor furnishings such as adirondack chairs and porch swings provide a place to rest on sunny days so visitors can avoid splinters caused by tree-stump seating. Customers can opt for two-day UPS shipping to get home-improvement necessities briskly delivered to doorsteps.