Alloy Studios & Ace Hotel Pittsburgh
March 3
Various times

Ready to ignite your inner flame, jumpstart your creative career, and be empowered by visionary artistic voices?

Get uplifted and inspired—and celebrate Women’s History Month—with the return of The Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s SUNSTAR Festival.


The biennial celebration of the vast creative contributions of women in the arts, entrepreneurship and community has been busy making waves across and beyond East Liberty with cross-discipline events that showcase internally acclaimed artists and local rising stars.

For its ninth edition, SUNSTAR will set up shop at The Kelly Strayhorn’s Alloy Studios and Ace Hotel Pittsburgh, hosting a workshop, roundtable discussion, and performance.

Celebrating women and femmes in a variety of creative industries, the festivities kick off on Friday with the “Rise & Shine with Sunstars” event at the Ace from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The morning roundtable discussion will include a variety of activities designed to spark engaging conversations, and attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the creative practice of featured SUNSTAR artists Lori Hepner and Kendra Ross. The event will also feature vendors from Showcase Noir, music, a continental breakfast, and snacks.

On Friday from 8 to 9 p.m. at Alloy Studios, don’t miss Hepner and Ross’ special presentation of their work-in-progress titled, Intersection*ology. Exploring the many ways that women are perceived in societies past and present, the unique multimedia performance incorporates light, sound, movement, and imagery. Created in conjunction with The Kelly Strayhdorn’s month-long Freshworks residency and incubator program, the production will also examine the cross-section of art, gender, technology, memory, and more.


A visual artist whose work explores how digital technology is impacting society and individuals, Lori Hepner has exhibited work internationally. Based in Pittsburgh, Hepner is associate professor of integrative arts at Penn State University’s Greater Allegheny campus. Her recent projects include Status Symbols, a series of abstract, photo-based portraits that examine identity in the age of social media. She is currently working on a collection of experimental landscapes that are based on social media posts about personal worlds, memory and climate change.

Ross uses words, sounds, and her body to tell stories that explore ideas about liberation, movement, unity, identity, and more. Her creative practice is inspired by cultural traditions of the African diaspora, as well as gospel, jazz, blues, folk, soul, and American musical theater. Ross’ original musical compositions and theatrical performances invite audiences to explore her experiences as a Black woman living in the U.S.

Added incentive? SUNSTAR offers a special Pay What Makes You Happy ticket policy.

Looking for more events? Check out our 11 Pittsburgh events not to miss in MarchTop 10 family events in Pittsburgh this February and our 17 can’t-miss Pittsburgh concerts in 2017 feature stories.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.