Today’s the day! Today, ONLY, is the day!
I’ve written about Pittsburgh’s Day of Giving in previous years (here, and here), but today, 2 October 2014, is specifically for the arts. It’s called Arts Day of Giving (ArtDOG) and donations will be partially matched through The Pittsburgh Foundation.
I love living in Africa, but oh I cannot tell you how I miss my writing community in Pittsburgh, as well as their vibrant artists of all media.
This year, would you please help me support one or more of my 5 non-profit faves? My 2014 picks to highlight are:
Autumn House Publishing
Children’s Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh
City of Asylum Pittsburgh
Indiana Arts Council
Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures
Let me tell you why they matter to me…
Autumn House Publishing, a Pittsburgh based literary publisher, has provided internships for some of my favorite writers, including Caroline Tanski and Christine Stroud. Some of my favorite books from Autumn House include: New World Order by Derek Green: A Poet’s Sourcebook, edited by Dawn Potter; A Raft of Grief, by Chelsea Rathburn; Not God After All, by Gerald Stern; and the incredibly moving The River is Rising by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley.
Autumn House has so many more books I love and have read, and I invite you to look at their entire collection here. They also hold an annual contest open to any writer, wherein they give a generous advance, travel/pubicity grant, and publication in works of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Several years ago they added an online publication for prose and poetry, Coal Hill Review, edited by Christine Stroud.
Children’s Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh is new to me. I had never heard of it until my beautiful friend Michelle mentioned it, and then shared a video on Facebook of her daughter, Caroline (a sweet and vivacious young artist) in the CFC, singing the National Anthem at a Pens game. CFC gives confidence to these children and helps hone burgeoning talent. It enriches their lives and the community through music and performing arts.
CFC “was established in 1983 initially to support the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s inaugural performance of Mahler’s Third Symphony.” (PSO) It has expanded in the past 26 years, and performances are not to be missed. CFC creates diversity and community by including needs-based tuition to talented children.
City of Asylum Pittsburgh holds an annual Jazz Poetry Concert, which is a *must do* event if Pittsburgh. World artists take stage to perform music and enthralling writing read aloud. I was in South Africa during this year’s 10th anniversary event, but Bill O’Driscoll’s write-up in Pittsburgh CityPaper allowed me to celebrate vicariously. I encourage you to read his piece here, to understand more of just what it feels like to be part of Pittsburgh’s Jazz Poetry Concert.
CoAP is important. CoAP supports exiled writers from around the world, and supports the community of Pittsburgh through art events and workshops. They are currently in the process of opening Alphabet City Center, “a home for writers, readers, and neighbors — that will include spaces for readings and performances, writing workshops and residencies, as well as a restaurant and a bookstore.” Help them open this necessary community center in 2015!
Indiana Arts Council represents my roots. I’m proud to be a writer who draws inspiration in part from the people and places of Indiana and Armstrong Counties. Despite the rural to small-town feel of this western Pennsylvania enclave, life here is rich with character and variety. Indiana County gave the world legendary screen actor Jimmy Stewart, and inspired the obsessively followed band, The Clarks. On the grounds of the old, Marion Center schoolhouse, where I passed by to visit my grandmother on Factory Street, now stands a plaque dedicated to artist Linton Park. When I visit my family, I pass Edward Abbey‘s commemorative sign in Home, PA.
IAC has a great youth program and connects the local university’s rich cultural diversity with its citizens. The Northern Appalachian Folk Festival had its 2nd year in Indiana and is a smart investment in Indiana County’s cultural future. Abundant with talent and inspiration, Indiana County is only just beginning to tap its potential as a cultural hub. Please join me in giving to this great organization so that they can do even more to benefit local artists and bring a diversity of culture to this beautiful town.
Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures brings in renowned writers to Carnegie Music Hall, where each writer gives a talk to a packed audience. The subjects vary. Sometimes the focus is on the research and history surrounding the book’s creation. Other times the lecture is about current social, political and economic issues related to the work. Other times it’s craft and character and the writer’s passion for creating such rich and intriguing places, events and people.
As a subscriber at PA&L, I have been fortunate to meet some of my writing heroes, like Rebecca Skloot, Candice Millard, Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Franzen, Téa Obreht and actor/writer, John Lithgow (and yes, I had each and every one of them sign my book “Marla…Quit Stalking Me!”)
Subscribe with me and let’s meet this great writers together!
I know it’s not payday yet, but ArtDOG has the option to donate via credit card as well. Please at the very least follow these great organizations, and if you can spare $15, make a donation.
Happy ArtDOG day, readers! There are many other wonderful arts organization in Pittsburgh. Please browse the full list, here.