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August Wilson Hopes To Draw Visitors With New Haiti Exhibit

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

CRAWLEY Dave Crawley
Dave Crawley joined KDKA in April of 1988 where he reports on the...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It has been a difficult past several months at the August Wilson Center.

Its mission to celebrate African-American culture is threatened by financial problems.

This is not the Haiti that we see in network images of poverty and disaster.

The colorful works of art, at the August Wilson Center, reflect a colorful culture in tune with the environment.

The works were collected by Point Breeze art gallery owner Ian Rawson, who grew up on the Caribbean island.

“It’s humorous,” said Rawson. “It has joy. It has a wonderful spirit of empathy for the natural world. They’re ahead of us in the United States in terms off ecological management. This is the Haiti we know this is the Haiti I grew up in.”

The bright images are a counterpoint to the cloud of debt hovering over the August Wilson Center. Sala Udin is one of the founders.

“The city needs to see this as a city resource, not just a black resource,” Udin said. “All we have to do is present good art and the public will come. But we have to take care of this treasure and we intend to do that.”

Historian John Ford shared stories of the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King’s march on Washington.

He then shows a map of Africa from 1732, which shows the two main slave ports.

The North Side man has been collecting African American artifacts for more than 45 years — puzzle pieces of a history that was almost erased by slavery.

“Everyone knows their history, but we don’t,” Ford said. “That history was taken away from us. And that history will give us the fortitude we need to move forward.”

A sentiment that’s shared by the supporters of the August Wilson Center.

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