Pittsburgh's small arts groups perennially enrich the cultural landscape -- and perpetually struggle to make ends meet and produce work that's as good as they're capable of.
CenterStage, a new initiative of the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater in partnership with the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, aims to address the problem.
CenterStage launches Mon., Oct. 17, with the first installment of its workshop-style component, called Monday Night Rounds.
CenterStage is designed to support professional artists, managers and administrators of small arts groups. The idea is to promote connections between such folks and resources they need for both creative endeavors and arts-administrative purposes -- to bridge the gap, as Kelly-Strayhorn executive director janera solomon puts it, between "great ideas [and] limited infrastructure."
The Kelly-Strayhorn is itself a small-arts success story. Under solomon, the East Liberty theater has become an arts producer and a host to cutting-edge touring companies, mostly in dance but also other performance genres.
CenterStage, to be facilitated by local planning consultant Susan Blackman, has two components.
Monday Night Rounds is a series of eight monthly workshops allowing artists and arts managers of smaller companies to review each others' presentations and work thorugh case studies offered by fellow practitioners and guests. Topics will include developing an action plan, budgeting and fundraising, building a team and production issues. All the workshops will be held on Mondays from 7-9 p.m., in the Kelly-Strayhorn's lobby.
No application is necessary to attend Monday Night Rounds, but reservations are required; the fee is pay-what-you-can. Regular attendance even earns your company reduced rentals of the theater itself.
The second component of CenterStage is a 1-on-1 Coaching Intensive. These free intensives with Blackman include four one-hour sessions over a four-week period. Prospective participants must apply -- see www.kelly-strayhorn.org for an application.