Kelly Strayhorn Theater
Photo by Kelly Strayhorn Theater.

How do neighbors build better neighborhoods?

The Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) presents The FUTUREMAKERS Symposium to explore that question by engaging influencers across a variety of disciplines who are involved in their own neighborhood development.

On Tuesday, May 17th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the symposium will take place in various locations around Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood and serves as a mobile lab to the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group’s (PCRG) 6th Annual Community Reinvestment Summit.

Attendees will meet in three locations—KST’s Alloy Studios, Ace Hotel Pittsburgh and Kelly Strayhorn Theater—to exchange action-­based strategies designed to strengthen efforts to create diverse and inclusive neighborhoods.

KST is inviting people from across industries to attend this series of salons, live performances, fishbowl conversations and interactive maker sessions throughout the day. Attendees will discuss strategies to ignite transformative thought and catalyze networks of cultural sustainability—the practice of creating awareness of who we are and comprehending the different worldviews that make us distinct.

“We wanted to provide a cross-sector microsession that highlights creative entrepreneurs and innovators across industries,” says DS Kinsel, curator and producer of the event. “By bringing together people from across disciplines, and those who can navigate between nonprofit and for-profit sectors to take action, we learn how those people are influencing neighborhood development.”

The day culminates with a conversation between KST executive director janera solomon, and F. Javier Torres, director of national grantmaking at ArtPlace America, who will discuss the vital role of cross­sector creative place­making as a way to create opportunities. Torres spent six years as the director of Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, a program of Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, a community- based, multi­disciplinary arts complex and nonprofit organization that started in the South End neighborhood of Boston to address displacement of low-income families due to urban development.

A cash bar happy hour from 5 to­ 7 p.m. will feature DJ duo Tracksploitation. Like all KST events this season, registration is Pay What Makes You Happy! The full symposium schedule is available at

Maya Haptas has an M.A. in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and is a freelance writer covering various topics from architecture and urban design to wellness and skateboarding. She is currently the assistant editor of Bigfoot Skateboarding Magazine.