Posted on January 27, 2015
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Collaborating for Economic Strength
A powerful change agent for the last 30 years, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has transformed a 14-block area of downtown into one of the nation’s most vibrant cultural districts, attracting more than two million visitors each year and generating an economic impact that is estimated to exceed $300 million annually. Under the leadership of J. Kevin McMahon, president and CEO since 2001, the Trust has grown to be among the largest of Pittsburgh’s downtown property owners, managing one million square feet of property, including several restored historic theaters, newly constructed performance venues, public art projects, urban green space, riverfront recreation sites, restaurants, and parking garages. The Trust is the driving force that brings drama and musical performances, contemporary dance productions, family events, visual arts exhibits, and education and community engagement programs to the district’s theaters, galleries, and outdoor spaces throughout the year.
Along with anchor cultural partners such as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Public Theater, and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, a variety of free, open- to-the-public outdoor festivals—the International Children’s Festival, the Three Rivers Arts Festival, the JazzLive International Festival, and “Gallery Crawls”—are helping the Trust attract an increasingly wide and continually growing audience to the district. A $250,000 grant from the Foundation enabled the Trust to market the three-day JazzLive International Festival through jazz publications and social media, as well as promote the event to jazz followers nationwide, using established and respected media. With Foundation funding, the Trust also secured popular jazz groups as Festival performers and provided value-added features— jazz history materials, visual arts, and jazz music sales—that enriched the event and continue to bolster Pittsburgh’s economy and its profile as a “jazz city.” With Mr. McMahon at the helm, the Trust effectively nurtures meaningful collaborations that enhance the city’s art, entertainment, and cultural offerings, as well as promote Pittsburgh’s economic growth and vitality in significant ways.