City of Asylum/Pittsburgh Wins LINC-Ford Foundation Competition

by Silvia Duarte    /  February 10, 2011  / 2 Comments



700 applicants, 12 winners

City of Asylum Pittsburgh Logo

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.


Both buildings and the empty lot will become City of Asylum’s Literary Center. Photo: Laura Mustio

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.

Read LINC-Ford Foundation Press Release

Read more about the other winners

About the Author

Silvia Duarte is the managing editor of Sampsonia Way. She received her degree in Communication Sciences from Rafael Landivar University in Guatemala and her masters in Latin American studies from the Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain. Duarte was editor of El Periódico de Guatemala’s Sunday magazine from 2001 to 2006 and has written scholarly and journalistic articles in Germany, Spain, and the United States. She came to Pittsburgh in 2007 with her partner writer-in-exile Horacio Castellanos.

View all articles by Silvia Duarte

2 Comments on "City of Asylum/Pittsburgh Wins LINC-Ford Foundation Competition"

  1. Stephanie Rexroth February 11, 2011 at 11:11 pm ·

    That’s so awesome! Congrats, kudos and hip-hip-hooray:)

  2. Alida Baker February 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm ·

    Thank you, for the work that you do, for putting a new spin on \community development\, and for attracting a national foundation to our community.

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