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The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Announces
Traveling While Black
Area premier of cinematic virtual reality experience
covers history of restriction of movement for Black Americans.
Created by Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams and
Emmy Award-winning Felix & Paul Studios.
May 19 – September 24, 2023 | 820 Liberty Gallery, Pittsburgh Cultural District
Pittsburgh, PA─ The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announces the area premier of Traveling While Black, a cinematic virtual reality experience that immerses viewers in the long history of restriction of movement for Black Americans and the creation of safe spaces in our communities. Traveling While Black is a 3D, 360-degree virtual reality documentary. Traveling While Black will be on view from Friday, May 19 to Sunday, September 24, 2023, at 820 Liberty Gallery, 820 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh Cultural District. 820 Gallery is a project of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
The exhibition is free and open to the public, by on-site registration for timed-entry viewing. Gallery hours: Wednesday-Thursday: 11am-6pm; Friday-Saturday: 11am-8pm; and Sunday: 11am-5pm. For more information, visit the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust website TrustArts.org/VisualArts or call 412-456-6666.
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is pleased to present this cinematic documentary about Black American history to broaden awareness, engage conversations and share in cultural exchanges and ideas through unique visual arts experiences. This exhibition is aligned with the Trust’s commitment to our community and the artists who create such diverse, thought-provoking works that provide opportunities to connect us through art. The Cultural Trust is eager to learn more through our guests’ experiences that will assist us in developing future artistic partnerships. The Trust Arts Education Department is developing a series of workshops around the film for teachers, students, and artists. The workshops will provide creative opportunities for these audiences to process the content in the film, dive deeper into the historical context surrounding it, and imagine future action steps for positive social change. Email email@example.com for more information or visit TrustArts.org/Education.
Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams and Emmy Award-winning Felix & Paul Studios' film transports viewers to historic Ben's Chili Bowl restaurant in Washington, D.C. Viewers share an intimate series of moments with several of Ben's patrons as they reflect on their experiences of restricted movement and race relations in the United States.
Confronting the way we understand and talk about race in America, Traveling While Black highlights the urgent need to not only remember the past but to learn from it, and to facilitate a dialogue about the challenges minority travelers still face today.
Traveling While Black is a traveling VR exhibition for participants to experience a deeper understanding of what segregation was like historically in today’s world of “stop and frisk.”
The Traveling While Black installation gathers multi-generational experiences and contemporary stories of “traveling while black” highlighting the urgent need to remember this past, build critical empathy, and facilitate a dialogue about the challenges minority travelers still face today.
The evocative exhibition production by Phi bridges the gap between the VR experience and the actual location of Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington, D.C.
Traveling While Black began in 2010 when Broadway and Executive Producer Bonnie Nelson Schwartz premiered a play called “The Green Book” at the Lincoln Theatre—next door to Ben’s Chili Bowl—the center of Washington, DC’s historic “Black Broadway.” It starred Julian Bond as Victor Green, creator of the Green Book, a guide for Black travelers during segregation. A wave of national attention followed the play and joined by Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams, the Traveling While Black project was born. Traveling While Black first premiered in April 2019 during the Washington, DC International Film Festival. filmfestdc.org Since then, the exhibition has launched a nation-wide tour at museums and universities across the country.
Traveling While Black Virtual Reality Experience Overview:
- Recommended for ages 12+.
- 820 Liberty Gallery will be transformed from streetscape with window art that creates the outside look of the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl, Washington DC.
- Provided at the exhibition: Oculus virtual reality headset.
- TWB Cinematic Virtual Realty experience length: approximately 30 minutes, including registration and post-survey participation.
- On-site registration only for timed-entry viewing every 45 minutes, as scheduled during gallery hours:
Wednesday-Thursday: between 11:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.; Friday-Saturday: between 11 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Post-cinematic virtual reality experience: guests are invited to complete a survey.
- For more information about 820 Liberty Gallery, visit: TrustArts.org/VisualArts.
Traveling While Black resource links:
Official website: Felix & Paul Studios
Director’s Statement PDF: PHI - Traveling While Black - Directors Statement
Promotional videos: Trailer: Traveling While Black: Official Teaser Trailer
Discussions with director Roger Ross Williams: Oculus VR for Good: Traveling While Black
Conversation at Sundance: “Traveling While Black” at the Sundance Film Festival: Premiere and Conversation
New York Times 360 video: Opinion | Traveling While Black
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust welcomes everyone to discover art from around the world and around the corner in the Cultural District. Five distinct galleries, owned and programmed by the Cultural Trust, are free and open to the public year-round, including Wood Street Galleries, SPACE, 707 Penn Gallery, 820 Liberty Gallery, and 937 Liberty Gallery. Public art installations are also part of the Trust’s commissioned works within the District’s 14-block easy-walking footprint. These public works of art reflect the creative urban energy, depth, and charm of Pittsburgh and the Cultural District. TrustArts.org/VisualArts
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District. The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization. A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity. Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life. Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts.
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