July 16, 2009

The Cultural Trust Cleans Up

Above trumpeter James Moore plays along with the Murray Avenue Jazz Initiative during a concert this past Tuesday in Katz Plaza in the Cultural District. Today the Post-Gazette has a great article about how the Cultural Trust has transformed a run-down area of town into a destination for local art enthusiasts as well as out-of-towners. The Post-Gazette says:
Twenty-five years ago, you wouldn't have spent a Friday or Saturday along the seedy Downtown corridors of Penn or Liberty avenues unless you were in the market for "adult" entertainment, "marital aids," paid companionship or porn.

Today those same streets are the heart of the Cultural District, drawing 1.5 million patrons last year to the symphony, ballet, opera, theater, galleries and restaurants.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has been the driving force in this transformation, and it's celebrating its 25th anniversary this weekend with a two-day party for the public to showcase the district and all that it offers.

The metamorphosis came about because H.J. "Jack" Heinz II envisioned a cultural district in the heart of Downtown that would act as an engine for economic development. He and other city leaders mapped out an area where an arts district would do the most good, bought up "noxious" properties for conversion and established the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to make it happen.

Today that area of town boasts Heinz Hall, the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, the O'Reilly Theater, Theater Square, the Harris Theater, Katz Plaza, Wood Street Galleries, SPACE, loft apartments and the Allegheny Riverfront Park, as well as numerous smaller arts spaces, offices, art works and restaurants.
Read on!

(Photo above is by Larry Roberts / Post-Gazette)

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