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The Cultural Legacy Continues

The current physical location of 2900 Bedford Avenue has been present in the Hill District community since 1907 when it was established as St. Richard’s Catholic church serving Black Catholics in the Hill. Down through the ages, the corner of Bedford and Wandless has housed St. Richard School on the second floor to the conversion of the entire building to what became St. Benedict the Moor School until 2010.

At that time the complex that formerly was the housing for the parish rectory, convent, and school became St. Benedict the Moor Community Centre. The multi-use of the buildings from 2010 through 2021 included services to Pittsburgh's new residents from African, Caribbean, and European countries that were served by Acculturation for Justice, Access & Peace Outreach (AJAPO), Hill Dance Academy Theatre(HDAT), and others.

Throughout the years the names on the buildings changed but the rich history of community, education and service to the Hill community remained a part of the legacy started in 1907. In July 2021, Hill Dance Academy Theatre(HDAT) purchased the Community Centre. Today, 2900 Bedford Avenue is a rejuvenated educational facility serving Black and Brown children and preparing them for careers in dance. HDAT’s ownership of the 29,000 square foot facility is the forever Home for Black Dance and home to four local entrepreneurs who occupy lease space (Edo Scribes, CREW Productions LLC, Folk Quilts LLC, and Breezy Element). The presence of the buildings constructed in 1907 to serve the spiritual and educational needs of the Black community in the Hill continues today. The cultural and historical legacy of over 116 years of service to the Hill continues with HDAT’s expanded services through the arts, economic opportunities to artists for space and place to create and produce their art works, and an event center to that is open to the community for special occasion parties, home going ceremonies, and community event needs.

HDAT is committed to continuing to be a Beacon of Light in the Hill community through service, sharing of resources and expanding opportunities that build on the rich cultural, historical, and educational foundations established by so many throughout the years that served the community at 2900 Bedford Avenue.

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