Monday, December 8, 2014

PositivelyPittsburghLive, Preserving the Mission; August Wilson Center Safe in the Hands of Local Nonprofits.

Preserving the Mission; August Wilson Center 

 Safe in the Hands of Local Nonprofits.

By Megan Grabowski

A few short months ago, during sale negotiations of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, community leaders were considering transforming the site into a 10 story hotel.    Many city leaders and nonprofit partners opposed this idea, purporting a desire to maintain the Center’s primary
August Wilson Center, picture
mission; a platform for African American Arts and programming.  In early November, three leading area nonprofits acquired control, at least temporarily, over the restructuring of the Center.  Pittsburgh Foundation President and CEO Maxwell King will serve as Chair of the interim authority, working alongside will be Heinz Endowments President and CEO Grant Oliphant and Director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Scott Izzo.   Under the control of temporary officials, community transparency, vital for Pittsburgh nonprofits and stakeholders, will be upheld until a permanent “Building Board” is established.  The Building Board will be responsible for preserving accountability while working with an assortment of groups.  

The first course of action for the temporary officers will be to obtain a long- term agreement with Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.  Based on the Trusts success in managing and developing the epicenter of arts and culture in Pittsburgh, a working relationship between the Building Board, a committed community advisory group and the Trust will help ensure the Center’s true mission is upheld while concurrently balancing a practical and appropriate operating budget.  Furthermore, immediate concerns to be addressed by the temporary management include evaluating the physical condition of the building, developing a comprehensive financial structure and resuming normal building operations.

Transitory leaders anticipate a 3- 6 month time frame before permanent governance is launched.  The Building Board will be comprised of 3-5 community members, predominantly African American authorities, in the area of nonprofit facilities management, business and finance.  Most important, the newly created stewards must have the Center’s original mission as priority number one; offering mostly, but not exclusively, distinguishable African American visual and performing arts for Pittsburghers and visitors from outside the region. 

You can read more about future plans for The August Wilson Center for African American Culture by clicking on the link here

Reviewed by Megan Grabowski

Positively Pittsburgh Good News Reviewer, Professional writer, Social-Media Junkie, Community Fundraiser and Pittsburgh Enthusiast

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