City of Asylum/Pittsburgh Wins LINC-Ford Foundation Competition
700 applicants, 12 winners
For its new Literary Center project, City of Asylum/Pittsburgh was a winner in the national “Space for Change” Competition. The award is accompanied by $50,000 and two years of technical support.
City of Asylum/Pittsburgh was begun in October of 2004 and is the publisher of Sampsonia Way. The organization is best known for its exiled-writer residency program and its “house publications” on the facades of the houses where the writers live. However, it also sponsors an annual Jazz-Poetry Concert and salon-style readings by authors from around the world as well as readings on the streets and gardens of the Central Northside and residencies for visiting international writers and translators.
What started out as a program with a limited mission has become a catalyst for the transformation of its Northside neighborhood, rooted in making reading and writing a part of everyday life.
The literary center on Monterey Street will convert a former bar, a vacant lot, and an abandoned home into a unified space with a bookstore (specializing in translations), a bar-café-restaurant, and spaces for readings and writing workshops. The project will enable a major expansion of City of Asylum/Pittsburgh’s literary program and residencies and is intended to be a home for literary activity in Pittsburgh.
Local foundation support has been critical to launching the project. Over $1.5 million has been committed by the Richard King Mellon Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, and the Hillman Foundation, with additional support expected over the next few months. Ground-breaking is projected for this coming summer.