Trust Romance: Cultural District Love Stories

Tue, Feb 14, 2017

Written by: Kayla Washko

From the grandeur and magnificence of the Benedum Center to the grassy lawns of Point State Park, couples of all ages have made wonderful memories together in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District.

Last month, we set out to capture several of those love stories. Now, we share them with you. Thank you to all of the wonderful couples who participated in this project; we hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day!


Joe + Lynn Smith

After college, Joe was ready to start his life with Lynn, so he planned a very special surprise proposal in front of her paintings at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Dinah Denmark + Alice Greene

They met as volunteer DJs at 91.3 WYEP, but their relationship really began during a memorable night at the Byham Theater.

Blayre Holmes Davis + Austin Davis

Blayre and Austin met while Blayre was an intern at the August Wilson Center. Austin gave Blayre his business card, hoping she'd take the hint and call him for a date.

Ken + Pam McCrory

When Pam decided to share her love of dance with Ken, the two ended up forming a deep bond with one another--and a shared passion for the art form.

Andrew + Michelle Swensen

A date night to see Next to Normal helped Andrew and Michelle to turn their friendship into a romance.

Mansel + Char Freeman

She studied theater and was a fan of  August Wilson, so he planned a special one-year anniversary date for them at the AWC.

Mark + Laura Heckmann

A "behind-the-scenes" tour of the Byham Theater was the perfect rouse for Mark's stunning proposal to Laura.

Love Notes

From Joel: "My partner and I had only known each other about three weeks when I got the opportunity to use my boss's tickets to the touring production of West Side Story at the Benedum Center...I had no idea if he liked theatre, or musical theatre, or knew West Side Story - but he said YES. He picked me up and when we arrived at the theatre...The night was wonderful (he loved the show!) and in the six years since, we've seen countless more shows in the Cultural District and beyond and he's saved every playbill to prove it."

From Natalie, Jim, and family: "Love is always in the air in the Cultural District here in Pittsburgh. Jim and I cultivated our love attending many beautiful performances at the venues. Our love is built on art and music. We agree that Jazzlive is the most thorough expression of where we really felt great love for one another, our music family, and the collective supporters of the arts that celebrate this beautiful annual festival at Ninth and Penn. So much so, this story occurred, the final performance of Jazzlive 2013, while attending The Neville's show with my children. Jim and I were dancing and playing with the kids. As the concert wound down, a man approached us, introduced himself as an amateur photographer, and shared some beautiful observances. It was very surreal and beautiful to see our images on this stranger's captures from the evening. They are treasures of my heart and take my breath away every time I view them."

From Kristen:  "I met an intriguing man at my local hang out spot and we immediately clicked. We both had a lot in common, especially a love of live music. I am a huge Jazz fan so when the first Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival began in June of 2011, I contacted this man to see if he could join me. We had a delicious dinner and then spent the entire evening getting to know each other better. We now happily share a home with a beautiful pup and we have grown so much closer to each other after 5.5 years together. We attend Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival every single year since then and we celebrate our Anniversary for an entire weekend during the event each year. It is an extremely special occasion that we look forward to enjoying together every year!"

From Deborra: "My husband and I met working backstage for the first production of A Musical Christmas Carol. He was a student at CMU working as a carpenter, I was a Pitt Grad student working as an electrician. It was the Fulton then. We are both IATSE now and have been married 20 years. I am a professor at Cal U, he is a Shop Foreman for Movies, but we still work as stagehands for the Cultural Trust in between."

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