The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Timeline

With only two part-time employees and with no model to follow, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is established on the vision of H.J. (“Jack”) Heinz II, who names Robert Dickey III as the Trust’s first chairman. The $43-million restoration of the Stanley Theater begins.

Consolidated Natural Gas Company (CNG) agrees to become the anchor tenant of what will be named CNG Tower (later renamed Dominion Tower in 2000 and EQT Tower in 2009). The office building is located in the heart of the Cultural District–in the same block as Heinz Hall and across the street from the Benedum Center.

Carol Brown becomes President of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Jack Heinz passes away on February 27.

The restoration of the Stanley Theater is completed. On October 4, the Trust hosts the formal inaugural dedication of the new 2800-seat Benedum Center for the Performing Arts. Senator John Heinz notes during his address on the Benedum stage: “My father and his band of dreamers have unleashed a great idea. What we need to do is have the wisdom to understand it and the courage to see it through.”

Resident companies Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh CLO and Pittsburgh Opera perform at the Benedum Center.

The Trust partners with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and PACE to present an annual Broadway series in the Cultural District.

The Trust purchases the 1300-seat Fulton Theater. This venue, formerly known the Gayety Theater, was constructed in 1904 as a vaudeville house.

The Trust reopens the Fulton Theater, which is renamed the Byham Theater in 1995.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust establishes Wood Street Galleries.

The Trust purchases Doc Johnson’s House of Marital Aids and Love Potions and transforms the corner of Seventh Street at Penn Avenue into outdoor exhibition space for temporary, site-specific art projects. Previous installations have included Palazzo Nudo by Alexandr Brodsky, Labyrinth by James O. Loney and David A. Ludwig, and Season in Spiral by Takamasa Kuniyasu. Currently on display is Magnolias for Pittsburgh by Tony Tasset.

The Trust selects Richard Haas as the designer for the mural that would be painted on the Ft. Duquesne facade of the Fulton, now known as the Byham Theater.

The trompe l’oeil façade mural by Richard Haas is completed and serves as a northern entrance to the Cultural District for anyone crossing the Allegheny River over the Sixth Street Bridge.

A 194-seat former XXX-movie theater, called Art Cinema, is purchased and refurbished by the Trust and re-opened as the Harris Theater, named in honor of the inventor of the Nickelodeon and Pittsburgh native J.P. Harris. Pittsburgh Filmmakers today screens foreign, independent and classic films at the Harris Theater.

The Trust continues to build an authentic destination with extensive streetscaping improvements made throughout the Cultural District–from tree-lined brick sidewalks to colorful signage and banners.

The Trust purchases 801-807 Liberty Avenue. After extensive renovations, its uses include the Trust’s current administrative offices; Future Tenant, a CMU-operated art/performance space (now Crazy Mocha coffee house); and future home of the Trust’s Education Center, Shaw Galleries and Dozen Bake Shop.

The Trust’s District Plan includes the creation of Allegheny Riverfront Park, a two-tiered linear promenade located alongside the Allegheny River. The award-winning park is designed by installation artist Ann Hamilton and architect Michael Van Valkenburgh.
The Trust expands its visual arts footprint in the Cultural District to open storefront gallery space at 707-709 Penn Avenue.

The Trust’s 650-seat O’Reilly Theater opens as Pittsburgh Public Theater’s permanent home. Designed by Michael Graves, the O’Reilly Theater is built at a cost of approximately $25 million.

The Trust unveils Agnes R. Katz Plaza. This 23,000-square-foot public gathering space features a 25-foot bronze fountain, designed by sculptor Louise Bourgeois, and landscape design by Daniel Urban Kiley.

TREK Development Group, in cooperation with The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, establishes 900 Penn Avenue, one of the Cultural District’s first residential developments.

The Trust establishes Shared Services as a Cultural District cost savings consortium. Through its Shared Services department, the Trust increases efficiencies and decreases costs for Pittsburgh Cultural District member organizations: August Wilson Center for African American Culture, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Public Theater and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Since its inception, Shared Services has realized cumulative savings and cost avoidance for the District community of approximately $5.4 million.

J. Kevin McMahon is named President and CEO of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as the successor to Carol Brown.

The luxurious Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel opens in the landmark 1906 Fulton Building.

The Trust launches Trust Presents, bringing diverse, world-class entertainment to the Cultural District.

Pittsburgh Dance Council becomes a programming division of the Trust.

The African American Cultural Center of Greater Pittsburgh (later renamed The August Wilson Center for African American Cultural) is established.

The Trust opens Theater Square, a 330,000-sq. ft. complex, that includes a parking garage, centralized box office, the 265-seat Cabaret at Theater Square, Backstage Bar, Café Zao and the Carolyn M. Byham WQED 89.3fm remote broadcast studio.

The Trust collaborates with Three Rivers Arts Festival and 91.3fm WYEP on CD Live!, a Cultural District contemporary music series.

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center opens for business.

The Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (“CAPA”) moves to a permanent location in the Cultural District.

The Trust collaborates with Carnegie Mellon University to open Future Tenant at 801 Liberty Avenue (now housed at 819 Penn Avenue). The gallery space is operated by CMU Arts Management students, featuring works by CMU artists.

First Night Pittsburgh becomes a programming division of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

The Trust, Pittsburgh Symphony and Clear Channel bring the Pittsburgh premiere of Disney’s The Lion King to the Benedum Center.

The Trust presents the Quebec Festival and the inaugural Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts, a showcase of U.S. premieres by cutting-edge international artists.

The Trust turns an adult bookstore at 812 Liberty Avenue into SPACE, a gallery showcasing works by regional artists.

The Trust purchases 937 Liberty Avenue to open as office space by area arts organizations and a flex performing and visual arts venue.

The Trust hosts its first quarterly Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District.

With the help of the Trust, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre relocates to 542 Penn Avenue in the Cultural District.

The Trust presents the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes for an unprecedented 54-performance run that draws over 150,000 visitors generating an economic impact of $18 million.

One of only five arts presenters in the U.S., The Trust presents Measure for Measure, a production by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre of London, during Mark Rylance’s farewell tour as artistic director.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette names the Trust as “Pittsburgh’s single greatest creative force over the past decade.”

Developed by Lincoln Property in cooperation with The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, The Encore on Seventh opens in the Cultural District. This upscale 18-story, 151-unit high-rise represents the first new Downtown residential construction in 35 years.

The Trust presents the Australia Festival.

Renovations begin on the Century Building in the Cultural District as a project of TREK Development and The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

The Trust incorporates Pittsburgh International Children’s Theater as a programming division.

The Trust presents the second Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts.

Three Rivers Arts Festival becomes a programming division of the Trust.

The Trust transforms the Cultural District’s last standing adult bookstore at 943 Liberty Avenue into a dedicated arts space.

Scheduled to open this fall, the James E. Rohr Building at 805-807 Liberty Avenue will house the Trust’s Arts Education Center. In addition, Shaw Galleries and Dozen Bake Shop will provide ground-floor retail beginning this summer.

The Century Building, scheduled to open this summer, serves as the city’s first, affordable workforce residential loft development. The property houses 60 residential lofts, as well as commercial, retail and amenity spaces.

The Trust celebrates 25 years of service dedicated to transforming downtown Pittsburgh into a world-class destination for arts and entertainment.