Visual Arts: Exhibit Closing Celebrations, August Wilson Center


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Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust invites the community to a closing celebration for two visual arts exhibitions on Thursday, September 7, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. in the August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Meet For the Culture artist, Robert Hodgeand experience Funky Turns 40: Black Character Revolution, Museum of UnCut Funk, before their closing Friday, September 8. The exhibits and closing celebrations are free and open to the public.

At 6:30 p.m. in the first floor’s BNY Mellon Gallery, guests can join the Toonseum Executive Director, John Kelly, as he discusses the cultural, historical and political significance of Funky Turns 40: Black Character Revolution. Funky Turns 40 celebrates the 40th anniversaries of the Saturday morning cartoons that featured the first positive Black characters in animation history. These 1970’s characters represent a historical and revolutionary shift in the popular depiction of Black people in animation.

In the second floor Claude Worthington Benedum Gallery, Robert Hodge and other contributing artists will celebrate the community-centered, evolving work, For the Culture. The exhibit speaks to a variety of subjects studying the creation of original forms of music such as blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, hip-hop, and house as it relates to race in America and the African American community. The exhibit is a collaboration between Hodge and Pittsburgh-based artists Amani Davis, Hannibal Hopson, DS Kinsel, Angelo Maggio, Supreme and Benjamin Swaby. Legendary pioneer of the Pittsburgh DJ and Hip Hop scene, DJ Selecta, will spin an art-inspired set. Refreshments will be served.

Funky Turns 40: Black Character Revolution – 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

For The Culture – 7 – 10 pm

About Robert Hodge
Born in Houston, Texas and raised in the City’s Third Ward district, Robert Hodge studied visual art at the Atlanta College of Art and more recently at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has exhibited his work in numerous national and international institutions, including Boyd Satellite Gallery (New Orleans, LA), the Project Row Houses (Houston, TX), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX), Contemporary Arts Museum (Houston, TX), New Gallery of Modern Art (Charlotte, NC), Coma Art Space (Los Angeles, CA), and Contemporary Museum of East Africa (Nairobi, Kenya). Named amongst the Houston Press’ 100 Most Creative People in 2011, the artist has also received grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Houston Arts Alliance and The Idea Fund. Hodge currently lives and works in Houston.

About John Kelly
John F. Kelly is the Executive Director of The ToonSeum, Pittsburgh’s Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art.  John has written extensively about the history of comics for publications including The Comics Journal and is a frequent moderator for programming at comics festivals including The Small Press Expo (SPX), Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC), Comic Arts Brooklyn (CAB) and Pittsburgh Indy Comix Expo (PIX).

August Wilson Center
The August Wilson Center is an architectural gem that offers multiple exhibition galleries, a 472-seat theater for performances in all genres, an education center for classes, lectures and hands-on learning, and dazzling spaces for community programs and events. The African American Cultural Center is the non-profit organization that owns the August Wilson Center. For rental inquiries, visit the African American Cultural Center pages on For more information and a calendar of events presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust taking place at the August Wilson Center, call 412-456-6666 or visit

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District. The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization.  A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity.  Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life.  Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Cultural Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts.  For more information, visit

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