University of Pittsburgh
July 19, 2007

African American Portrait Photography Featured in Upcoming Exhibition at Pittsburgh Filmmakers

Exhibition presents 36 seniors supported by Lemington Community Services

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-The free exhibition "Enduring Hearts"-featuring photographs of local African Americans age 90 and older-will run July 27 through Sept. 2 at Pittsburgh Filmmakers Gallery, 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland. Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

"Enduring Hearts" comprises 36 portraits taken at the 2006 Lemington Community Services Senior Center's annual spring luncheon, which recognized elderly people age 90 and older who are senior center volunteers or participants. A 20-minute video featuring interviews with seven of the seniors accompanies the exhibition.

The Lemington Senior Center has been a community resource in Pittsburgh's East End for 20 years-providing enrichment classes, legal assistance, meals, and many other services and programs. The center's executive director, Joy Starzl, earned her master's degree at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work.

"These men and women are living longer lives because they don't give up," said Starzl of the portrait subjects. "The Lemington Community Services Senior Center is there to support each of them as they fulfill their life missions."

The black-and-white photography in "Enduring Hearts" is the work of Armand Wright, a native of Pittsburgh's Hill District. Wright spent several years in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., before returning to Pittsburgh nine years ago. He worked for many years as an in-house photographer for the IBM Design Center in San Jose, Calif.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase seniors from the community in a meaningful way," Wright said.

A public reception, cohosted by Starzl and her husband, Thomas Starzl, Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery in Pitt's School of Medicine, will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 3 at the gallery. Wright, the Starzls, and Philip Hallen, president emeritus of the Falk Foundation, are expected to be in attendance and make remarks. A number of the seniors also are expected to attend. For more information, call Pittsburgh Filmmakers at 412-681-5449.

The University of Pittsburgh, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and the Falk Foundation provided funding for the exhibition.