4th Annual Nafasi Art Market Happening August 17th


Join us as a vendor for the 4th Annual Nafasi Art Market, celebrating the rich cultural legacy and creativity of our neighborhood.
Calling all talented creators and entrepreneurs in our vibrant community! Are you passionate about showcasing your unique artistry and crafts? Sign up today!

Don't miss your chance to win $100! Sign up for the raffle at the link below today!

Early Bird vendor registration has ended. Price for registration is now $50!
Secure your spot now to connect with fellow artists, creatives, wellness practitioners and entrepreneurs. Engage with the community!

Register for the Raffle Here
Vendors Register Here


Nafasi on Centre is a community development initiative utilizing art as a vehicle for community development and cultural preservation. Nafasi, wh
ich 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 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 managed by the Hill CDC.

Apply Here

Afro Riché Public Viewing and Artist Talk

On Saturday, March 23rd from 3 to 6 PM at Nafasi on Centre, the community gathered to witness the unveiling of Afro Riché, an antique baby grand piano meticulously restored and crafted by four talented Pittsburgh artists. The event was a vibrant celebration, with attendees coming together to admire the exquisite craftsmanship and the profound history encapsulated within the instrument.
The creative ingenuity of Cynthia Marie Kenderson, Ernest Bey, Theresa Monroe, Alfonzo Sloan, and Lauren Yvette was evident as Afro Riché was unveiled to the community. The piano's detail spoke volumes about the rich experiences of the black community, reflecting resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity.
As attendees explored the narrative woven into Afro Riché, they were captivated by its message of well-being, empowerment, and identity. The event provided a unique opportunity for reflection on cultural heritage and the diverse expressions of humanity through the lens of art.

Nafasi Private Event Rentals

Download Rental Application Here

Open Studios with Rell Rushin


Join Nafasi Resident Artist Rell Rushin for a series of Open Studio style painting session free to the community. Rell will be sharing guided painting techniques for people of all skill levels! Rell joined Nafasi as a resident artist for its current 2023 group. Rell uses oil, acrylic, and fiber to relay her personal experiences and respond to subjects such as beauty standards, daydreaming, and the representation of Black people in global mass media. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Rell is a graduate of both Rogers CAPA and Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts Voice department.

Register for Open Studios Here! 


Nafasi on Centre's Community Mural Project

We are excited to announce the winner of the community vote! After 300+ votes from community members, Camo Customz has been commissioned to lead the Mural Project! Thank you to all those who participated and voted, the fun is just beginning! 

Camo's conceptual design:

Camo will lead a series of Community Workshops throughout the month of July. There will be creative writing, a community forum, and an art-making workshop all held at Nafasi. Community members are invited to participate in each workshop to share stories and input for the project. If there are specific themes, imagery, or just have general ideas for the design, this is where you want to bring them! Click the button below to get your free spot in the workshops!


Project Location: Nafasi On Centre

Nafasi on Centre is thankful to our project funder, the National Endowment for the Arts, Challenge America Grant and to our programming sponsor PA Council on the Arts



Project Design Brief:

Nafasi on Centre is seeking an artist or artist team to design and install an exterior mural at 2145 Centre Avenue also known as Nafasi on Centre. Nafasi is a community Development Initiative of the Hill Community Development Corporation aimed to drive economic development through Arts and Culture. Nafasi hosts a 2 year Artist Residency Program aimed at supporting creatives on the path to a financially sustainable creative practice. The name Nafasi translates to “Space” and “Opportunity” in Swahili and is meant to be a gathering place for the community to engage in creative activity.  As the adjacent New Granada Square is evolving into a regional enclave for Black Arts and Culture to thrive, Nafasi provides deeply affordable housing and professional creative development.

The desired theme of the mural is to honor the cultural legacy of the Hill District from past generations while connecting and uplifting contemporary conditions, cultural leaders and legacy makers. The Hill District is known for its rich Black cultural legacy through sports, arts, culture and commerce and was also home to other diverse ethnic groups through early years. The Hill District  was the home of entrepreneurs, cultural leaders, political leaders, and musical titans.

A public call for artists is the basis of selection for this project that will also include community engagement  to inform the final design and theme for the artwork. Through a selection committee composed of Hill CDC staff, local arts professionals, and youth community members, four (4) artists will be invited to present their full concept and design proposals.

The total budget for this project is: $15K

The Selection Process:

Artists are called to respond to the Public Call for Artists with a brief concept narrative (no more than 300 words)  accompanied by a portfolio of past work and experience. Submissions will be accepted until the end of business day April 17th, 2023. The selection committee will collectively review the submissions and invite four (4) artists to submit a full concept proposal. Each invited artist will be compensated $250 for their proposals.  The full proposals must include initial design renderings, project narrative, a tentative budget, and timeline. Upon submitting the full proposals, each artist will be invited to present to the project’s selection committee and the broader community during a public community meeting held at 1908 Wylie Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15219. Each artist  will be given fifteen (15) mins to present followed by fifteen (15) mins for a  Q&A session.
Following the community meeting, the selection committee and neighborhood residents will have one week following the community meeting to vote for which proposal they feel best would align with the community’s cultural identity. 
Once the selected artist has been determined, they will be invited to collaborate with the community residents and selection committee through a series of 3-4 art making workshops that will help to inform and further develop the final design for the mural. The artist will also be able to work with the selection committee to finalize the necessary materials/equipment,  budget, and timeline for implementation. Upon reaching the final phase of installation, the lead artist or team and Nafasi staff will host a community paint day to invite families from the surrounding area to engage in art making activities and experience the mural installation together. 

Project Intention:

The goal of this project is to add to the continued beautification of the Hill District through exceptional and culturally appropriate public art. The site’s artwork should be:

Culturally Relevant to the Hill District’s Community Identity

Amplify the importance of Placekeeping and the preservation of the existing culture in a redeveloping community

Uplift the site as a place of significance in the development of the Artist Enclave in New Granada Square 

Resist severe weather, weathering, be appropriate for outdoor installation, etc.

Connect the cultural legacy of the Harlem Renaissance to the contemporary and future cultural identity and characteristics of the neighborhood.

Reflect love, collaboration, and black culture

Align with the values as stated in the Hill District Arts Plan 






Previous Events




The Hill CDC is proud to announce the return of one of Nafasi on Centre's most attended events from the previous year, The Nafasi Art Market.

Nafasi on Centre, which is an initiative of the Hill CDC and ArtsinHD, aims to serve its resident artists as well as the broader arts community through varying professional development opportunities and various creative exhibitions.

In that service to the broader community, the Nafasi Art Market was born. Complete with entertainment, food, and fun for the entire family, the Art Market is slated to include art exhibitions and performances from featured local artists, in addition to services from renowned vendors looking to sell their own art, expertise, or delicious foods for all to enjoy!

This event will take place Saturday August 13th from noon until 5:00PM , and will be located at Nafasi on Centre at 2145 Centre Avenue in Pittsburgh, PA, and in its adjacent green space. We're excited to host our neighbors and show you all the amazing things that our community's creatives have to offer.

Register Now:




As a part of the 58th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh-born and current Nafasi on Centre resident artist James "Yaya" Hough (b. 1974) will paint a mural in Pittsburgh's historic Hill District, the cultural and artistic hub where Hough was born.

Hough, in collaboration with the Carnegie Museum of Art and Nafasi, a community development initiative in the Hill District that utilizes art as a vehicle, has also been holding community workshops in the lead-up to the mural unveiling, which will take place later this year. This project expands on and continues upon Yaya's legacy of making art public to create common imaginaries.

We are so excited to share that this family-friendly event took place in our community. Guests were able to enjoy and become a part of a 2-day Paint Party, which will include free food, music by Pittsburgh-based performer Shade Cobain, as well as fun painting activities, sidewalk chalk art, and more!

2145 Centre Ave June 25th and 26th, 2022.


On Friday, May 27th, 2022, Nafasi's Gallery on center joined with Blaqk House for a night filled with art and great company. "Nafasi by Blaqk House Collections" was an interactive experience hosted from 5PM-7PM highlighting the work of resident artist, Cynthia Kenderson, among others! We are so glad that our Hill District family was able to join us for what was an awesome event! Light refreshments were served.

Friday, May 27, 2022 5:00pm
2145 Centre Ave Pittsburgh, PA ,15219



To celebrate Construction Inclusion Week this year, Turner Construction is partnering with the Hill CDC to do a Youth Winter Clothing Giveaway. 
Saturday, November 6th | 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Nafasi on Centre | 2145 Centre Avenue


In Collaboration with the Carnegie Museum of Art, Nafasi Resident Artist James YaYa Hough hosted a series of community forums and art making workshops at Nafasi on Centre. YaYa has been commissioned to create a mural that will be located in the Hill District as a part of the Carnegie 58th International. The Carnegie International is the longest running international arts exhibition in North America consisting of works by various emerging and established artists. Led by YaYa, Hill District residents and families along with members of the curatorial team engaged in storytelling and other activities that will creatively help shape the final narrative for the mural project. YaYa concluded the three workshops by leading everyone in a community art making session. Attendees of the workshop were given watercolor paints, colored pencils, and vibrant oil pastels to create their own unique stories.  The project is anticipated to be at installation phase in the spring of 2022. YaYa and the International’s Curatorial Team will host additional workshops located at the museum and will announce the dates soon.




Join Nafasi's Resident Artists for Saturday Brunch and discover new works of art for your collection!
This monthly event kicks off Saturday, October 30th from 12:00 - 3:00 PM with a showcase of new art for sale in our gallery, along with a fantastic brunch provided by Chef Dee, owner of Plates Catering available for purchase separately!
Each of Nafasi's Resident Artists will be in attendance for an opportunity to meet with you and talk in depth about their work and experiences gained through their creative practice!
Ticket sales end October 29th!
Tickets are $10 per person and include 2 mimosas

Register Here

Art For Sale


Nafasi in the News !!


Check out the articles below to recap the debut!

Thank you to our Community for your support and those who joined us in person and via Live Stream for Nafasi's Ribbon Cutting Ceremony ! 

Thank you to the Nafasi Scope Steering Committee:
Marimba Milliones, President & CEO
Felicity Williams, Esq., Programs & Policy Manager
Jordan Smith, Programs & Policy Coordinator
David Serbin, Real Estate & Development Manager
Kendra Ross, #ArtsinHD Co-Chair
Justin Laing, #ArtsinHD Co-Chair
Samantha Black, #ArtsinHD
Norman Brown, #ArtsinHD
Diamonte Walker, Deputy Director URA and #ArtsinHD

Thank you to our Funders:
Heinz Endowments
Opportunity Fund

Thank you to Joshua Pollard, owner of 2145 Centre Avenue and Dollar Bank who financed the rehabilitation

Thank you to our Sponsors:
First National Bank
Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh




Nafasi Residency 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