Wilkinsburg students first group to visit August Wilson Center

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On October 7, 2009, a group of Wilkinsburg elementary students from the district’s Gifted Support Program made a special field trip to the newly opened August Wilson Center for African American Culture. Led by Timothy Weinstein, Gifted Coordinator for the district, they had the distinct privilege of being the first student group to visit the center.

The mission of the August Wilson Center is to present performing, visual and educational programs that celebrate the contributions of African Americans within the region and the impact of cultural expression from Africa to the African Diaspora. The theme of the students’ field trip was “Communities.” Upon arriving at the Center, students first engaged in a detailed discussion about August Wilson himself, and the center’s architect, Allison Williams. The students then took part in a treasure hunt, during which they worked in small groups to find Charles “Teenie” Harris photographs located throughout the building. Then, students selected one photograph and wrote a brief essay based on the question, “How does this picture inspire you?” Students then presented their essays to the group.

In the afternoon, the students explored an exhibit titled “Remix, Renew, Reclaim.” After a brief discussion of the exhibit’s content, students utilized multimedia stations to develop audiovisual collages that expressed their definition of community. Again, the students presented their collages to the group, focusing on explaining why they chose to include the various elements. Due to the success of the field trip, plans are already in the works for a group of high school students to make a similar trip to the center.

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