May 13, 2021
Chris Cox, Director of Marketing and Communications
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Members of local arts organizations form Pittsburgh Arts Administrators of Color

Administrators at three local performing arts organizations and Carnegie Mellon University have created Pittsburgh Arts Administrators of Color (PAAC), an organization to unify and connect arts administrators of color in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. The group is a meeting place for socialization, mentorship, information sharing, and community. Its goals are to promote and expand knowledge and opportunity for arts administrators of color in the Greater Pittsburgh Region.

PAAC’s founders are:

  • Rebekah Diaz, Pittsburgh Opera’s Manager of Community Engagement and IDEA Initiatives
  • Monteze Freeland, an Associate Producer at City Theatre
  • Natalie Hatcher, an Outreach Program Manager at Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Science Pathways
  • Joanna Obuzor, an Operations Manager for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

“It’s been really wonderful to see the support for the creation of this group; not only from those for whom the group was intended, but also from allies within our organizations”,” says Diaz, a Bronx native and former opera singer. “The impetus to create this group came as a way to connect with other BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color) arts administrative and creatives here in Pittsburgh. There may not be many of us within each organization, but when we come together we are a stronger representation of BIPOC arts leaders in our community.”

PAAC’s mission includes fostering comradery, sharing resources, and networking. It will provide opportunities for personal and professional growth, and offer a holistic approach to the needs of arts professionals of color. “We’re really excited for the fellowship, networking and healing that will come from this group of brilliant minds,” says City Theatre’s Freeland. “Growing up in Baltimore afforded me an opportunity to create and learn from those who shared my cultural background, that doesn’t come so easily in Pittsburgh- but that doesn’t mean we can’t build a stronger and deeply diverse foundation for future generations. In fact, we are doing just that!”

PAAC began having monthly happy hours in late April. The events will be on Zoom initially, but as the COVID-19 pandemic eases PAAC will eventually transition to in-person get-togethers. In addition to socializing, events will provide members opportunities for professional development and mentoring. “Mentoring is crucial because it fosters connections with others in the industry as both parties build lifelong pathways; sustainable pipelines in Pittsburgh’s artistic community. Knowledge from a mentor regarding process as well as two-way information sharing can help mentees navigate the terrain of arts administration so goals become more attainable,” says Obuzor, a North Side native who spent 10 years as a stage manager.

Membership in PAAC is free; people can join at pghaac.com/m/create-account. Members will receive access to a membership directory, and have the ability to list their own businesses. A job listings portal and enewsletter are also planned. PAAC is also on Facebook.

For more information, please visit pghaac.com.