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.
Fein Art Gallery's talented team of framers and curators specializes in museum-style archival methods and is well versed in the matting, mounting, and framing of both commercial and residential art pieces. Keep your family's keepsakes safe by having them professionally tucked behind high-quality glass and acid-free backing. Prices vary depending on your customized design, starting at $75 for an 11"x14" frame. Whether you're looking to frame a painting, drawing, diploma, poster, family photo, child's art, coin, or stitch-work representation of your favorite ex-president, Fein Art Gallery will work with you to devise a framing plan that jives with your décor and budget, and they will carry it out with top-notch craftsmanship and care.
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.
Sunlight streams in through the large windows of Kiln-N-Time's studio, where amateur artists paint canvases and throw pottery in a celebration of self expression. For a simple craft project, guests can grab a pre-made ceramic vase, mug, or bowl and embellish it with sassy polka dots, a coffee-complementing hue, or text of the answer to life's ultimate question. More in-depth projects see artists building their pottery from scratch with a lump of clay and pottery wheels or painting flowers and beach landscapes during BYOB sessions. The studio can also perform restoration and conservation work on art pieces or create custom tiles for homes.