Students in the "Honors Tutorial in Social Justice: August Wilson House" course have assisted, since 2016, with programming on behalf of the nonprofit group dedicated to preserving August Wilson's legacy and boyhood home.
Students initially worked closely alongside AWH board members to launch the first-ever August Wilson Birthday Celebration block party on Bedford Avenue in the Hill District. They recruited food trucks and vendors, applied for permits, and organized the space and kept the event running on a shoestring. The event was a huge success - even the mayor stopped by!
In subsequent years, AWH has secured sponsors for the event and it has grown beyond our imagination! Honors College students have been free to plan innovative aspects of the block party for all visitors. Some highlights include:
- 2017: With the grand opening of August Wilson Park taking place the previous year, students created and ran children's games
- 2018: Students created educational materials about August Wilson and tabled at the block party
- 2019: The Honors College was out in full force as volunteers on every level of the block party
- 2020-2021: though the block party was cancelled in these years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students supported virtual events and the "Art for August" exhibit as it traveled from the Hill to Duquesne University's Gumberg Library
- 2022: With the grand opening of August Wilson House approaching in August 2022, students had a great idea: solicit artwork from the surrounding community that could form a tapestry to hang in the house. Individual block-party-goers created small pieces of art with the support of Honors College students, and children also enjoyed a scavenger hunt with fabulous prizes.
We can't wait to see what's to come in 2023, when the house will be fully operational!
Mission in Action
The partnership between Duquesne University and August Wilson House is dedicated to continuing the literary, historical and artistic legacy of Pittsburgh playwright and poet August Wilson. Since its founding, the partnership has engaged in a variety of activities including student-created business plans, communications and events.
This benefits students as a course which approaches social justice issues such as community trauma, poverty, and inequity head-on by working side-by-side with community partners in the Hill District. The heart of the course is in event planning and community organizing; students will participate in the creation of events and art enrichment plans for August Wilson House.
Launched in 2018, the Duquesne University/August Wilson House Fellowship provides opportunities for scholars and artists of color in varied media to engage in literary, cultural and artistic expression that advances their own work and serves the joint interests of the University and community. The Fellowship is designed to bring national and regional artists and scholars into a collaboration between the famed playwright's Hill District and educational and artistic institutions.
Supported by a $100,000 grant from the Nancy Jones Beard Foundation, August Wilson House Fellows at Duquesne serve as artists/scholars-in-residence, living in a Duquesne University apartment while developing their own creative work, engaging in research, teaching and participating in educational events both in the community and on campus.
The fellowship program furthers Duquesne's signature partnership with the August Wilson House. Fellows are invited to create work that can be showcased in Wilson's childhood home and the Hill community. They also have access to Duquesne's resources for scholarly research and public programs and conduct classroom presentations and programs that are hosted on campus and off. Duquesne and the August Wilson House are piloting the fellowship program with two fellows per academic year for three years, with the goal of sustaining the program thereafter.
Duquesne has partnered with the August Wilson House since 2011, with students from its Honors College supporting its programs to honor his art and historic presence.
Based in the Honors College since 2011, the partnership between Duquesne University and August Wilson House is dedicated to continuing the literary, historical and artistic legacy of Pittsburgh playwright and poet August Wilson. Since its founding, the partnership has engaged in a variety of activities including student-created business plans, communications and events.
August Wilson House is a project of the Daisy Wilson Artist Community, a non-profit organization named for Wilson's mother that was formed to renovate the playwright's childhood home and provide extensive arts and cultural programming to the community.
Duquesne University was founded in 1878 as a school for the children of Pittsburgh's poor immigrants by a group of Catholic missionaries also known as the Spiritans. From its humble beginnings in a room above a bakery in the Hill District, Duquesne today serves 9,500 students and is one of the nation's top Catholic universities.
Callie Holley is a Senior Musical Theatre and Producing for Film and Television student at New York University. As a singer, actress, writer, and producer, Callie seeks to create and be a part of work that illuminates truth and inspires communal connection. Her favorite previous credits include The Visitation: A Sound Walk (Destiny) Encantamiento: Music of Daniel Catán (Young Antonieta), Sonnets and Soul (Diana), Ain't Misbehavin' (Nell), Hair (Dionne), and Measure for Measure (Lucio). Callie can also be seen in the recently premiered Netflix film Giving Voice. This upcoming semester she will participate in award-winning actress, writer and producer Bryce Dallas Howard's Nine Muses Lab for multidisciplinary filmmakers, writing, producing and directing her first original short film.
Gerardo Navarro is currently a junior attending Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama. He enjoys spending time with the people he loves, going on adventures, and sharing a great meal. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Navarro aspires to write, perform, and continue sharing stories that uplift those of underrepresented communities. He was just seen as Miguel in "The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano'' at the New Hazlett Theatre in Pittsburgh, which also made its UK Premiere at the 2021 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.