Janis Burley Wilson
VP of Strategic Partnerships/ Community Engagement, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Presentation  | Building mutually beneficial relationships: Who do the arts impact?

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Janis Burley Wilson has been a cultural innovator for over almost two decades in Pittsburgh and beyond. She was named President/CEO of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in July 2017.   Prior to this appointment, she worked for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for fifteen years as Vice President of Education and Community Engagement, then later as the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships & Community Engagement. Her reinvention of the Pittsburgh jazz scene elevated her to Director of Jazz Programs in addition to her vice presidential roles. Burley Wilson’s work has diversified the Pittsburgh arts scene with programs like the Gallery Crawl, a downtown quarterly art showcase which she created in 2004. Other noteworthy programs that have grown and flourished under her management are Highmark First Night Pittsburgh and Showcase Noir, making dramatic programmatic changes to diversify audience and donor base. She also has forged hundreds of artistic partnerships and community connections that have made the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Cultural District more accessible. 

Janis started the weekly music series JazzLive in 2003 and the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival (PJLIF) in 2011. Her entrepreneurial efforts have attracted sponsors and partnerships with long established jazz presenters and festivals. One of the few women jazz presenters in the country, Janis has been asked to speak at national conferences about women in jazz, diversity and using the arts as a catalyst for economic development, and she represents the PJLIF internationally.  Most recently, she has developed the last two seasons of programming at the newly reopened August Wilson Center. Programming highlights include the Fences movie costume exhibit in collaboration with Paramount Pictures, the inaugural Black Bottom Film Festival, and Smoothfest, a weekend of smooth jazz. Burley Wilson, a Pittsburgh native, resides in the suburb of Monroeville with her three children.