The BGC 19th Annual Luncheon & Aggie Brose Awards- 2023
“Honoring excellence in community activism in Pittsburgh.”
2023 Theme of the event is “Art on the Ave: 25 years of Creativity on Penn Ave”
Friday, Nov. 3, 2023; Lunch: 11:30 am – 12:45 pm, Awards Ceremony: 12:45 – 1:45 pm
The Omni William Penn Hotel 530 William Penn Pl, Pittsburgh, PA 15219
- Heather McElwee
- janera solomon
- Sheila Ali
This event provides meaningful community development programs for Garfield and beyond. Since 1975, the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation (BGC) has served Garfield and the larger East End community with workforce development and career placements, affordable housing construction, mentoring and college preparation for local youths, new business development in the Penn Avenue commercial district, and neighborhood beautification projects.
The Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation (BGC) is thrilled to announce the 19th annual Aggie Awards Luncheon, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Penn Ave. Arts Initiative and the #Unblurred art crawl. Named after the late Aggie Brose, a devoted advocate for positive change, the awards honor outstanding contributions to community activism. Aggie Brose, a BGC founding member, dedicated over 40 years to advocating for better housing, safer streets, and employment opportunities in Garfield and beyond – leaving a remarkable legacy that inspires positive change to this day.
The keynote speaker for the event is La’Tasha D. Mayes, a trailblazer in Pennsylvania politics and the first woman to represent House District 24, which includes Garfield and Penn Avenue. As the first openly lesbian member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, La’Tasha tirelessly advocates for marginalized communities.
To mark the Penn Ave. Arts’ milestone 25th anniversary, the Aggie Awards proudly celebrate the exceptional women who have been instrumental in transforming Penn Avenue into a thriving arts hub, making an indelible mark on Pittsburgh’s arts and culture scene. The distinguished awardees for 2023 are:
ANQWENIQUE influences Penn Avenue’s arts scene by working with BOOM Concepts – supporting the community, connecting collaborations, and championing arts education for emerging artists while showcasing her talents in opera, jazz, and soul music.
Heather McElwee’s transformative leadership as Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Glass Center for over 20 years has attracted thousands of visitors and students, ensuring the Glass Center’s continued impact in the Penn Ave. Arts & Commercial District.
janera solomon’s visionary leadership has transformed the Penn Ave. arts community through the Kelly Strayhorn Theater & Fieldwork Gallery, enriching the cultural landscape.
Sheila Ali leads the Irma Freeman Center for Imagination, a thriving artistic hub on Penn Ave, empowering diverse talents through creative collaborations and addressing social issues.
The Aggie Awards also acknowledge Shirley Gleditsch, Nina Barbuto, Jennifer Quinio-Hedges, Jason Sauer, and Laura McLaughlin, who were previously honored at BGC awards luncheons for their invaluable contributions to the Penn Ave. Arts Initiative, alongside countless others who have played a significant role in shaping the thriving arts district along Penn Avenue. The event promises to be a remarkable celebration of the arts, local communities, and the spirit of positive change that Aggie Brose embodied for so long.
The 2024 Aggie Awards are made possible through the generous support of our esteemed sponsors. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Beacon Communities, Highmark, Giant Eagle, BOOM Concepts, Mistick Construction, UPMC, Learning Place, DuoLingo, Sitko Bruno, LLC, Wagner Agency INC. Insurance, Flaherty & O’hara, Gatesburg Road Development, Module, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, Bridgeway Capital, The Opportunity Fund, Pittsburgh Glass Center, GRB Law, Compass RE: Lillian, and Trace Brewing. Their commitment to our community and the arts is truly commendable, and we are honored to have them as our partners in celebrating excellence and creativity.
Unblurred: A Decades-Long Journey of Art and Community Transformation
Penn Avenue Arts District, nestled in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield, Garfield, and Friendship neighborhoods, has been a beacon of creativity and economic growth for 25 years. At the heart of this vibrant district stands “Unblurred,” a pioneering monthly art crawl that has become synonymous with artistic innovation and local culture. Unblurred, born in 1998 as part of the Penn Avenue Arts Initiative, was a visionary response to reinvigorate Penn Avenue, running through the Bloomfield, Garfield, and Friendship neighborhoods. This initiative sought to transform the corridor with art galleries, studios, and creative enterprises. The name “Unblurred” captured its essence: to clear the visual blur of storefronts that passed by in a flash through car windows.
Over the years, Unblurred has evolved into the longest-running monthly art crawl in Pittsburgh, welcoming thousands of visitors each month. While it began with a focus on art galleries and studios, it has since grown into a diverse and inclusive celebration of creativity. Unblurred has seen the rise of cultural hubs, the arrival of eclectic eateries, vintage boutiques, and lively street vendors, infusing the event with an undeniable energy.
2022 BGC Luncheon & Aggie Awards
Keynote Speaker was Celeste Smith
Aggie Brose Honorees for 2022:
- Joann Monroe- Executive Director, Garfield Jubilee
- Kristin Hughes-Octopus Garden founder & Friendship resident
- AJ Monsma- Community Engagement Coordinator for Garfield Community Farm
- Dr. Kendra Ross- Head of Social Impact at Duolingo
Photos of the 2022 Aggie Awards Luncheon.
2022 Aggie Awards Sponsors
Beacon Communities, Highmark / Allegheny Health Network, Giant Eagle, Learning Place, UPMC, DuoLingo, Mistick Construction, PNC Bank, Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Gatesburg Road Development, Flagherty & Ohara, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, Wagner Agency INC. Insurance, First National Bank, Module, Bridgeway Capital, Armor Plumbing, Move PGH, Citizens Bank, Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, Trace Brewing, Action Housing, LGA Partners, Neighborhood Allies, Remax, mossArchitects, goodblend, GRB Law
2021 Aggie Brose Awards.
The event featured Dr. Diamonte Walker as the Keynote Speaker. The Aggie Brose Awards were given to Tammy Thompson, Natalie DeiCas, Dr. Staci Ford, and Linda Fulmer.
The Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation 16th Annual Luncheon- Friday, Nov. 15, 2019
This year’s luncheon honored the efforts of Women of Distinction in Community Development. The keynote speaker was Gisele Fetterman, the Second Lady of PA.
The late Aggie Brose was the cornerstone of the BGC, and this year’s luncheon.
The inaugural “Aggie Brose” honorees are: LaShawn Burton Faulk, of Manchester Citizens Corp.; Celeste Scott, of Pittsburgh United; and Jessica Smith Perry, of the URA. Commander Jason Lando, formerly of PGH Police Zone 5, was presented the Distinguished Public Service award.
BGC 2019 Luncheon- Photos by John Colombo
2018 Luncheon The Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation’s Board of Directors celebrated 2018’s achievements on Friday Nov 9, 2018 at The Omni William Penn. The festivities kicked off with a Short Film by Documentary artist, Chris Ivey
The Keynote Speaker for the event was State Rep. Ed Gainey D-Allegheny from The PA House of Representatives. Emcee was P.J. Maloney of KQV Radio Awards were given! Pioneer Honoree: John Axtell, Neighborhood Advocate Public Service Honoree: Carl Redwood, Hill District Consensus group