(Photo Credit: Thinkstock Image)

By Susan Constanse

When holiday schedules wind down next month, it’ll be time to get back to the other events that feed your mind. With so many museums, dance and theater companies, and an active writers’ community, there is always something to satisfy your cultural itch. Whatever artistic discipline you take the most pleasure in, you’ll find extraordinary programs in the Pittsburgh artscape this season. Or this might be a chance for you to experience a venue, dance company or theater new to you. Here’s a sampler to take you through the rest of winter.

(Source: City Theatre website/citytheatrecompany.org)

Through the Night

January 14 – February 5, 2012
Click here for ticketing information

Nominated for a 2011 Lucille Lortel award, Through the Night will be playing in January at City Theater. Written by Daniel Beaty, the one-man show tells six intersecting stories about what it means to be a black man in America today. The range of eclectic characters – a precocious 10-year-old boy, an overweight bishop, a college student escaping the projects – lend their own individual voices to reveal the hope, courage, and determination that we all need to make it through the night.

Intimate Science

January 21 – March 4, 2012
Free (Donations accepted)

Intimate Science is an exploration of the intersection between art, science and technology; appropriately exhibited at Carnegie Mellon’s Miller Gallery. The University has a long history of educating in multiple disciplines in its colleges. The exhibit is guest curated by Andrea Grover, who has assembled projects incorporating new technologies as well as examining social dynamics. Ms. Grover is assembling artists that are working fluidly across the disciplines, expanding their understanding of the physical and natural world.

Black, White & Read All Over: Featuring Lincoln Pierce

January 22, 2012, 7pm – 9pm
Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures
Click here for ticketing information

The Pittsburgh Arts and Lecture series is hosting an evening with Lincoln Pierce, the creator of Big Nate, at Carnegie Library Lecture Hall. A favorite comic strip, Big Nate follows the trials and tribulations of a rebellious sixth-grader through home, school and play. The comic strip is available in over 200 newspapers. Mr. Pierce has also authored books that mix illustration tightly into the story.

Jon Rubin, I'm not me (Source: Pittsburgh Center for the Arts)

2011 Artist of the Year, Jon Rubin and Emerging Artist, John Peña

Through January 22, 2012
Suggested contribution: $5 for adults; $3 for students and children; free for members

It’s worth a mention that the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts annual offering of Artist of the year will be ending on January 22. You still have time to make it to the exhibit and visit again, or see it for the first time.

Multi-disciplinary artist Jon Rubin was awarded the honor of Artist of the Year. His projects include starting a radio station that only plays the sound of an extinct bird, training a hypnotized human robot army, running an autonomous nomadic art school and operating a restaurant that produces a live talk show with its customers. John Peña is also a multi-disciplinary artist. In 2008, he received his M.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University. He later traveled Colombia on a Fulbright Fellowship. He has exhibited artworks at The Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh, Kevin Kavanaugh Gallery in Dublin, Kate Werble Gallery in NYC. He lives and works in Pittsburgh.

Wayne Koestenbaum & Myung Mi Kim

January 26, 2012, 8:30pm – 10pm
Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series

The Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series presents more adult fare, bringing writers to Pittsburgh for readings. In January, two acclaimed poets will be reading from their collections.

Wayne Koestenbaum will read from his recent book of poetry, Humiliation. Mr. Koestenbaum received a Whiting Writer’s Award in 1994 and taught in Yale’s English department from 1988 to 1996. He lives in New York City, where he is a Distinguished Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center. He published his first collection of poetry, Ode to Anna Moffo and Other Poems (Persea, 1990), which was chosen as one of The Village Voice Literary Supplement’s “Favorite Books of 1990.”

Myung Mi Kim will read from her book Penury. Myung Mi Kim’s books of poems include Dura, The Bounty, and Under Flag. Ms. Kim’s poems have appeared in such journals as Conjunctions, Sulfur, Avec, and Hambone. Recent honors include a residency at The University of Minnesota as Edelstein-Keller Writer in Residence, and two Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative North American Poetry. Myung Mi Kim is on the faculty of the Creative Writing Program at San Francisco State University.

Sean Jones Duets: Generation

Thursday, January 26, 2012, 7:00 PM
Click here for ticketing information

The duet series presented by Sean Jones has paired many prominent jazz musicians for duets at the August Wilson Center. This continuing series will showcase jazz traditions handed down through family generations in January. Benny Benack and Joe Negri join forces to pay homage to old and new traditions in Jazz. Negri, widely regarded as one of the foremost jazz guitarists in the country, and Benack, who has established his legacy in the long line of a musically gifted family, overlap their styles.

(Source: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre)

Uncommon with Chamber Orchestra

February 3 – 12, 2012
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

The first in a series, Uncommon is a World Premiere, choreographed by Dwight Rhoden to classical music, including Johann S. Bach, and Brahm’s Quintet by Dennis Nahat. The program challenges the notions of the relationship between classical music and ballet, showcasing the athleticism of the company’s dancers.


February 18, 2012, 8pm
Pittsburgh Dance Council

For dance with a contemporary flair, you should plan to attend Dance Work Rotterdam’s U.S. premiere of Anatomica. Choreographer André Gingras brings his signature high-energy to this wry commentary on the obsessive culture of “showing off,” an unyielding exploration of the danger, beauty and consequences of the human body on display.

Cathy Wilkes, Irish, b. 1966; Untitled, 2010, baby doll, papier-mâché, clay, paint, and shells; Rennie Collection, Vancouver (Source: Carnegie Museum of Art website)

Cathy Wilkes

Through February 26, 2012
Hours: Tue –Sat: 10 am – 5pm; Thurs, 10 am – 8 pm; Sun, noon – 5 pm
*Closed major holidays
Adults: $15; Seniors (65+): $12; Students with ID/Children ages 3–18: $11; Members and children under 3: Free

Cathy Wilkes, hailing from Ireland, is best known for her vulnerable, haunting sculptures and installations that are arranged into humanistic—if sometimes disturbing—domestic scenes. Her more recent paintings explore similar themes through roughly hewn, colorful abstraction. Including nine paintings, a recent sculpture, and a newly commissioned installation, this exhibition promises to be a comprehensive view of Wilkes’s deeply humanistic body of work. The exhibition is the 67th edition of the museum’s Forum series, which connects local audiences to a global network of important international contemporary artists.

Susan Constanse is a painter, living and working in Pittsburgh. Examples of her work can be viewed on her site, at http://www.susanconstanse.com