The Black Femme Musical Artist Incubator: Sunstar 2022

KST’s annual Sunstar Festival celebrates the power and diversity of womxn in art and creativity. Since its 2009 inception, Sunstar has endeavored to highlight a diversity of womxn musicians and to center BIPOC womxn.

For Spring 2022, the focus of our Sunstar Festival is KST’s The Black Femme Musical Artist Incubator (BFMA). Through this new program, KST seeks to use Sunstar as an opportunity to build out a model of support for Black femmes pursuing music in our city. 

Over the course of six weeks, BFMA will provide two black femme-idenitfying artists professional development sessions designed to expand their palette of possibility for future stage performances and equip them with the tools to carry their vision forward in the field. Session topics will include artist statement and biography writing, funding your work, building a dossier for your stage performance, and considering the theatricality of your stage performance with regard to lighting, effects, direction, and choreography.

While further developing these skills, the artists will apply what they are learning through:

  1. Developing and rehearsing a headlining 40-45 minute performance. 
  2. Curating one night of the festival in collaboration with KST staff by selecting three performers from their artistic family to present short sets surrounding the artist’s headline act.

The program will culminate with each artist presenting their performance and curated acts at Kelly Strayhorn Theater, March 18-19, 2022.

Want to learn more? Join KST for The Black Femme Musical Artist Incubator for Sunstar 2022 Virtual Info Session, Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at 6:00pm



Through The Black Femme Music Artist Incubaor (BFMA) & Sunstar, KST will:

  • Uplift and support the talent of black femme musicians in the greater Pittsburgh community.
  • Provide artists the tools and experiences to build confidence in their agency to navigate their careers.
  • Provide artists with the rehearsal space and professional and financial resources to move forward in their practice.
  • Create a mutual experience cohort that supports artists throughout their career.
  • Offer opportunities and visibility to multiple emerging musicians to help them build their portfolios.
  • Share a performance from each artist as part of a festival night specifically designed around and focusing on that artist.
  • Curate a welcoming, accessible, and affirming space for artists that aligns with our commitment to anti-oppression work.

Each BFMA Artist Will:

  • Participate in a program orientation with the KST Programming team and sign a residency agreement committing to make full use of their allocated time and resources and participation in proposed residency activities. 
  • Complete a six-week program with time commitments each week, ranging from 2-10 hours per week.
  • Work with 2 consultants in different specialties to further develop their music practice.
  • Choose three fellow musicians to perform 10-15 minute pre- or post-show lobby sets on their performance night.
  • Present a 40-45 minute performance on March 18th or 19th, 2022 that applies what they have learned over the course of the program and showcases their talent and growth.

Each BFMA Artists Will Receive:

  • Six weeks of professional development sessions at KST’s Alloy Studios
  • 20 hours of time with two Artistic Consultants for professional development
  • 10 hours of solo in-studio rehearsal time at Alloy Studios
  • One showing of their 40-45 minute  concert piece
  • Technical rehearsal with two crew members
  • A $2,000 honorarium, paid in $1,000 installments
  • A $1,000 resource budget
  • Photo and video documentation of their performance
  • Consultations with KST Staff throughout the program

The Black Femme Musical Artist Incubator is made possible with support from Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh, a partnership of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments.