Nafasi Debut: Ribbon Cutting + Community Tours

The Hill CDC is excited to debut Nafasi, our highly anticipated community and economic development initiative in collaboration with #ArtsinHD, with two events held on Friday, November 13th!

Keep scrolling to see the details below and where to register!

1. Virtual Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

3:00 - 4:00 PM

Due to COVID-19 protocols, unfortunately, we are only able to have a select number of individuals attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony in person via invitation only. In order to make sure the rest of the community could join we will be streaming the event on Zoom and to Facebook Live.

Join us as we unveil the debut of Nafasi on Centre, the newest addition to our Centre Avenue cultural corridor, as well as the artists and creatives selected for our Artist Residency Program. Nafasi on Centre will house six Hill District-based artists for a two-year program, designed to help them transition into a sustainable artistic or creative practice, by supporting them with mentorship, studio practice, business development and management, and, of course, community engagement throughout the length of the residency.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, you will hear from our Hill CDC staff, #ArtsinHD co-chairs, and of course our inaugural cohort of artists and creatives on just how exciting this journey has been so far and what is yet to come as we prepare to take new heights!


2. In-Person Community Tours

5:00 - 7:00 PM

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, we will host tours of the Nafasi on Centre Building.  Due to COVID-19 protocols, tickets will be timed and limited for each tour. Please select a ticket that corresponds to the time that you want to take a tour.

We will roll out a tiered membership program to Nafasi on Centre in 2021 for the community that will grant special access to programming, workshops, events, and more.  The first-floor cafe/gallery space in the front and the conference room in the back will also be available for rental by the community.


A Collaboration Between the Hill CDC and #ARTSINHD

Nafasi on Centre is a community development initiative utilizing art as the vehicle and is a partnership between the Hill CDC and #ArtsinHD, an action planning group, and a subcommittee of the Hill District Consensus Group. More specifically, Nafasi, which means “space” and "opportunity" in Swahili, is the first substantial project to emerge from the Hill District Arts Plan and is a cultural strategy to meet the 5 goals of the Greater Hill District's Master Plan, which aims to: (1) Build Upon the African American Cultural Legacy, (2) Family Friendly Housing Development Without Displacement, (3) Economic Empowerment & Community Development, (4) Make the Hill a Green and Well-Designed Community, and (5) Mobility, Transportation, and Parking.

Nafasi on Centre will consist of artist work-space in the basement, a cafe/gallery on the first floor, and four 1-bedroom apartments and two micro lofts, spread across the second and third floors.  


The residency and space at Nafasi on Centre will be programmed and overseen by the Hill CDC, in partnership with #ArtsinHD. 


Nafasi Program General Description

The Nafasi residency is a 2-year program, designed to help six (6) artists transition into a sustainable artistic or creative practice, by supporting them with mentorship, studio practice, business development and management, and, of course, community engagement throughout the length of the residency.
Nafasi’s mission is to support Black arts and culture by creating the space and opportunities for Hill District artists and creatives to learn and flourish in an affordable environment. This program focuses on inspiring participants to embrace new challenges in understanding and presenting their work while connecting to a quickly evolving and supportive community.  Artists will have opportunities to generate revenue as we exhibit some of their work or showcase their talent through events held in the Nafasi Gallery, which is located on the first floor of Nafasi On Centre.
Additionally, each artist will attend professional development sessions to introduce the necessary skills to make a successful transition. These workshops will include: partnering with guest speakers and industry leaders who will give best practices on essential entrepreneurship skills for artists including, Branding & Marketing, Business Finances and Sales, Online and Social Media Visibility, Grant writing, Public Art Projects, and More!

PowerPoint from Nafasi on Centre Program and Application Information Session Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 


Nafasi is targeted towards Hill District artists.  Hill District artists are defined as those who live in the Hill District, have lived or worked in the Hill District, or have very strong ties to the Hill District. We are hopeful to fill the residency based on our initial intention. If we do not have enough artists to fill our requirements, then we will open the residency to the broader community.  Applicants must be based within the Pittsburgh region. Applicants should be able to make a 2-year commitment to the program.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of individuals from #ArtsInHD and the Hill CDC. Areas that will be considered include quality of work, the potential impact of the program on their studio practice and artistic career, and demonstrated interest and experience in collaborating with other artists and community, specifically as it relates to the goals of the Greater Hill District Master Plan.


We are looking for operators for the Carousel Cafe on the first floor of Nafasi! Fill out an interest form by clicking on the button below.

Nafasi on Centre Cafe Operator Interest Form


Send any questions to Jordan Smith, Programs and Policy Coordinator at 412-765-1820 or jsmith [at] ()

This program is brought to you in partnership with the Heinz Endowments and #ArtsInHD, a committee of the Hill District Consensus Group!