Photo: Ximena Etchart
Last year, Janera Solomon decided to step down
from her role as executive director of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST). After serving in the role for more than 10 years, leading the East Liberty venue through years of vibrant arts programming and community events, the Pittsburgh arts community wondered who would succeed her.
Yesterday, they got their answer: the KST board and search committee announced that it had chosen Joseph Hall as its new executive director in a unanimous vote, according to a press release.
“We are thrilled to have Joseph lead [KST], and we look forward to him applying his expertise, experience, and knowledge to continue to expand the impact of the organization,” says KST board chair, Yvonne Campos.
Hall has an extensive background in performing, curating, and producing. He started as an intern at KST in 2009 and went on to become the venue’s producing director in 2014, creating original programming like the My People and Freshworks series. In 2016, Hall worked with choreographer Staycee Pearl on the first Pearl Diving Movement Residency
. (At the time, he spoke to Pittsburgh City Paper
about the project, saying, “We’re also tapping into new connections for Pittsburgh. For local artists who aren’t necessarily a part of the dance community, but also for visiting artists who we can build a long-term relationship with.”)
He also co-produced and hosted Trans-Q Live!
at The Andy Warhol Museum, managed the promotion and outreach for the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures event with Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Terrance Hayes in 2013, and curated outdoor stages for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival.
Previously, he served as program manager for 651 ARTS in Brooklyn and as deputy director at BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, an organization that supports the development of “cutting-edge and challenging works in contemporary dance and all creative disciplines that are empowering to women, Latinos, and people of color, and the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community.”
“The experience and global network that I’ve gained by working in New York City, combined with my ongoing relationships with Pittsburgh’s arts and foundation communities, has uniquely prepared me for this role,” says Hall. “I see [KST] as a beacon of contemporary practices and a community convener that leads boldly toward equity and holistic innovation, from operations to public programs. For the city of Pittsburgh and beyond, I want to ensure that [KST] remains an East Liberty treasure.”