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Actor from New York creates a program series featuring poetry, film and a dessert competition

By Diana Nelson Jones / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A role in a Barebones production brought actor Edwin Lee Gibson to Pittsburgh in 2012 and sealed a sort of love affair with this city, which has been his back-and-forth home for the past two years.

Now the director of the Kaufmann Center at the Hill House Association, he has initiated what he called “a new template for programs here.”

The debut event is “28 Days,” a five-week series of programs that began Friday night with poet Tameka Cage Conley’s readings from “For the Love of Words,” local poets performing their works and a display of prints and paintings by Genevieve Barber.

The series will feature poetry, art, history, film and food through March 19 as a nod to both Black History Month and Women’s History Month.

Mr. Gibson — who has won an Obie award, guest-starred on “Law and Order” and performed in numerous stage productions — came to Pittsburgh with a love of August Wilson’s work.

He rented an apartment in the Hill District in 2014 to volunteer as a youth mentor for Service Access for Youth, Youth Engaged in Service while sharing his time with New York for work on stage.

He said he has frequented places in New York “where people gather to bring their stories and poems, with a sign-up sheet to go up and do a reading.”

“When I came on board [at the Kaufmann Center], I found that there was nothing going on on a consistent basis, and I just knew something could be happening. We want people to know that there’s going to be fun and culture and art and love at the Kaufmann Center.”

Ms. Barber’s prints and paintings from the series “What They are Good At” will be on display from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today, with a reception at 6 p.m. that is free and open to the public.

Other featured events will be shows by artists George Gist, Valerie Goodwin and Amir Rashidd; a dessert competition with chef Elise Wims; the launch of Abby Mendelson’s book “Voices from the Hill”; a celebration with families of the Tuskegee Airmen; and the Pittsburgh premiere of “Can You Dig It?” a film about four urban farmers in Los Angeles.

Date Published: 
Tuesday, February 23, 2016 | 412-765-1820 |

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