City of Asylum’s Jazz Poetry Festival Awarded NEA Support

City of Asylum Receives Prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Grant  

PITTSBURGH, PA — May 19th, 2016 — The National Endowment for the Arts has announced that City of Asylum will be among its grant recipients for the 2016 award cycle. This award of $20,000 will support City of Asylum’s upcoming Jazz Poetry Festival to be held this Fall at City of Asylum’s new home at Alphabet City in Pittsburgh’s Northside.

The Jazz Poetry Festival will feature American jazz musicians as well as poets from around the world performing both together and individually.  The month-long festival commences on September 9th, 2016 and will feature weekly jazz and poetry events until October 9th, 2016.  The new acoustically-tuned performance space promises to be an ideal venue in which to showcase the work of international poets whose work has been censored or banned in their homelands. As with all City of Asylum events, festival performances will be free and open to the public.

The timing of this award could not be more auspicious. City of Asylum announced last week that it will be moving into a permanent new home, City of Asylum @ Alphabet City, formerly the site of the historic Masonic Building, located on the Garden Theater block of Pittsburgh’s Northside.   The $12.5 million project is the culmination of eight years of work and determination on the part of City of Asylum and promises to bring together a diverse community of both local and international artists, musicians and writers.  

City of Asylum is in good company among other Pittsburgh recipients of NEA funding this year.  Over $280,000 of NEA award money has been earmarked for arts projects in the greater Pittsburgh area.  Other local recipients of NEA funding this cycle include the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, and the Carnegie Institute. City of Asylum is proud to be among these other arts leaders as it continues to transform Pittsburgh into a global hub for arts and culture.

“The expansion of our Jazz Festival at City of Asylum @ Alphabet City will provide more opportunity to international artists and local audiences alike.” said Silvia Duarte, City of Asylum’s Assistant Director.  “This is a perfect way to inaugurate  this fantastic space and celebrate with our neighbors.”

Since 2004, City of Asylum has provided sanctuary for exiled writers endangered in their native lands.  In a row of Northside homes, whose facades are covered with texts in many languages, City of Asylum provides the writers with stipends and the support to become self-sustaining and engaged members of the community.

Building on that mission, City of Asylum has grown into a dynamic arts organization that has showcased over 300 writers, artists and musicians from 63 different countries. In 2015 it presented over 50 programs to diverse audiences of over 5,000 people. City of Asylum’s hallmark is accessibility and diversity, and all performances were free to the public. The 2016 NEA award will contribute to bolstering this mission as City of Asylum enters this new chapter at City of Asylum @ Alphabet City.  



For more information, contact:

Ayne Terceira

City Of Asylum




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