The failure of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture
in downtown Pittsburgh has become the subject of curiosity for many who question why the institution, in a city that favors underdogs, was allowed to fail.
“Where was the voice and the person who was pointing at the Center, saying, 'Yes! No matter what, yes! Oh no, liquidation? No, we've got this, that's who we are,’” Vanessa German, a Pittsburgh artist told NPR
It seems that financial mismanagement and construction budget overages found the $42 million center in the red even before the building on Liberty Avenue in the cultural district opened.
An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
suggests that the center alienated Pittsburgh’s African American population by abandoning early pioneers of African American culture in the city and by choosing to open downtown, instead of in a neighborhood such as Homewood or the Hill District.
"There are so many plays contained in this story, he would have a field day," German said of the center’s namesake. "Tragedy, disappointment, betrayal — that's the stuff of August Wilson's plays!"
*Note, this story was written by Pittsburgh's own Larkin Page-Jacobs of WESA