PearlArts at KST Mutual-Aid Residency

KST is thrilled to announce a two-year mutual-aid residency for PearlArts and their dance company, STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos (SPdp&SS). These two black-led arts organizations are partnering to share resources and work together to reestablish East Liberty as a hub for the Pittsburgh arts community.

PearlArts moved their daily artistic and administrative practices into KST’s Alloy Studios. They will be working side by side with KST staff, presenting PearlArts public programming as part of the KST season as well as to develop, implement, and manage public programming, including dance classes and helping KST relaunch The Alloy School.

The nonprofit performing arts industry in Pittsburgh and in the United States is facing crises on a variety of fronts. This year, many arts organizations and venues have been forced to eliminate programs, cancel performances, and others have had no choice, but to close altogether. However, community arts organizations Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) and PearlArts, two black-led arts organizations in the city of Pittsburgh, are partnering to share resources and work together to reestablish East Liberty as a hub for the Pittsburgh arts community.

KST has a dynamic footprint in Pittsburgh, with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios (formerly Dance Alloy) is a center for dance and art incubation at the nexus of Friendship, Garfield, and East Liberty, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving East Liberty business district. PearlArts is the creative space for STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos to develop multimedia dance centered works and serve the greater Pittsburgh area and beyond with artistic opportunities including  movement residencies, creative collaborations, and dance education.

PearlArts was located in the Mine Factory Building in Point Breeze since 2012 and will move into KST’s Alloy Studios location in January 2021 for a two-year mutual aid residency.

“If you look around there are very few places that provide a space for community residents and business professionals to enjoy the arts in East Liberty. Kelly Strayhorn Theater is the only performing arts venue in the community,” Hall said. “In 2020, arts have been hard hit by COVID-19 but for many years they’ve held a precarious position in our rapidly developing neighborhood. Our partnership with PearlArts will expand opportunities for a multiplicity of artists and audiences, building on KST’s mission to bring diverse communities together through the arts.”

Staycee Pearl agreed and stated that this is more than a partnership, but a reunion. “STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos debuted at Kelly Strayhorn Theater and served as the resident dance company for three years from 2010-2013,” Pearl said. “This opportunity afforded us the resources to experiment and expand, and now we return stronger than ever. Through this partnership, we will support the growth and development of Pittsburgh-based dance artists”

Program activities, including the long-awaited return of The Alloy School, are aimed towards reactivating KST’s Alloy Studios as a dance hub. This will be realized through morning and evening classes for dance professionals as well as community members, hourly rehearsal rentals for dance artists, and a forthcoming subsidized rental program for small scale performances in KST’s Alloy Studios performance space. PearlArts staff is working with KST staff to program The Alloy School classes and will additionally be working out of KST’s Alloy Studios offices for the duration of their residency. All of this activity will bring more artists to East Liberty regularly and will impact neighborhood restaurants and other businesses.